newb turnout question.

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jhoban, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    Hopefully this is a simple one.

    Does a turnout cut power to the section of track not curently being used. For example, if I have a simple oval track with a turnout going into a dead end, (train yard) can a train sit there without getting power until the switch is thrown.

    I really hope I described that well enough.
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    You did, and it doesn't. If you notice, the outside rails are continous, but the inside rails are isolated by frogs, at least all the ones I have are. What you need to do is to use insulated joiners and wire that section of track as a separate block through a switch. That way you can cut power to it when you want your train to sit there and reverse polarity when you want to move the train out..
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You can also wire a turnout to be "power routing" where power goes to the direction the points are thrown and the other direction is dead. I haven't done it, so I would need to pull out one of my books for the instructions. Kalmbach publishes a book "How To Wire Your Model Railroad" that covers power routing turnouts. I think "101 Track Plans For Model Railroads" also tells how to wire power routing turnouts.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Electrically, there are 3 types of turnout. 2 of them will cut the power to a siding.
    Atlas snap switch and most similar ones (I'm talking HO here, not sure about N) all rails are powered right through. Both tracks get power all the time.
    All rail switch/electrofrog: both rails past the frog are connected to the stock rail that the points are touching. On the wrong side, both rails have the same polarity. Will cause a short if you have power coming from past the frog. Need extra wiring and insulated rail joiners. Will isolate a train.
    Plastic frog/insulfrog: each point is connected to one of the rails past the frog. If the point isn't touching the stock rail, the rail is dead i.e. neither + nor -. Good for wiring an oval without insulated joiners. Will isolate a train.
    1st and 3rd types both have plastic frogs. need closer inspection to see which type they are, but type 1 are probably all switches will curves all the way through them.
    Clear as mud? Am I too technical?
  5. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    oh yeah, way to technical. But thanks for the info. I need to look into them more anyways. Havent seen a switch in years, dont even know what a frog is. Well, I know, but couldnt point it out on a track.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Quick definitions: frog is where 2 rails cross. Stock rails are the continuous rails on the outside. Points are the long sharp pointy things that move. Best way to test the switch is to apply power to the one end and see what happens at the other.
    Turnout: I think is the civil engineers term. Switch is the common term. So I call it a turnout when I buy it at the shop and after it's laid in place, it becomes a switch. (Boy am I going to get told off about that!)
  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Don't know why you'd say that. After over 50 years in electronics, I find it hard to call anything a switch that doesn't have a knob or lever on it, and its primary job isn't to route electricity:rolleyes:...but I can if need be in the proper context. You see, it is difficult to tell someone how to "wire a switch to operate your switch":confused: without tripping on your tounge. So it really isn't out of line, and one heck of a lot more understandable sometimes to call an electronic switch a switch and a railroad switch a turnout when necessary.:eek::eek::eek::eek:
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    What do you do about power-routing turnouts, 'cuz they're a switch, but also a switch, and so, ummm, ahhh... :rolleyes: ;) :D

    David - I was always under the impression that turnout was a modeller's term to avoid the confusion with the electrical switches that are often used on layouts. However, my Canadian National MoW rulebook refers to "turnouts" and has plans for them from #6 to #20.

  9. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    Well what are they refered to in the real world of trains. I just figured they were called switches because they allowed you to switch tracks, not because of the electricity issue.
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Since not too many prototype railroads use the rails for powering their engines, I think you have the right idea on why they are called what they are. But if they are indeed "switches", then what would you call the thing that actually switches the switches? Wouldn't that also technically and rightfully be called a switch too?:D:D:D:D

    Hey, this is getting too complicated, anyone want to continue this discussion over a cold beer????:wave::thumb::wave::thumb:
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    As I mentioned above, the Canadian National Railways Maintenance of Way book calls them "turnouts".

    However, I think you will find that the name varies by RR. Also, the lever apparatus that moves the points is almost always called a "switch stand", hardly ever a "turnout stand"...;)

    Isn't it still morning in AZ Don? ;) :D

  12. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    A cold beer, and a camp fire. Now that is a great place to continue the conversation.

    I would call it a switch lever. I think I am gonna write the president and make sure he gets a bill passed to call it one thing, so we are all one the same page.
  13. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    I'm waiting to see if you decide on power routing turnouts or not. All the Turnouts I have are Insulfrog not electrofrog meaning that both routes are powered all the time.
    This can affect how many blocks you have traditional DC wiring.

    Electrofrog turnouts are really for an advanced modeler IMHO and beginners are best using Insulfrogs on thier first layout or 2.
  14. jhoban

    jhoban Member

    I have yet to come up with a good layout with my 2 tracks plus a train yard, so I most likely will just stick with what I have. Oh well, if any of you havent looked recently, head over to the future layout forum and see if you can squeeze a trainyard in there.
  15. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Yes, by my watch it is indeed morning, or wait, it could be evening, let me look ouside before I commit to one or the other...:p:p You do understand that being retired entitles one to do what they want, when they want to, and that one day is the same as the other, practically speaking.:wave::wave: All I know is that the week begins on Sunday morning since that's when we go to church. That's the only difference, and we usually don't drink beer before mass...:D

    Uhh, I was going to switch what I said, but it would only add to the confusion of this topic..:confused:
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    My 1962 rule book has a section (p54 et seq.) called "Handling of Switches and Derails" and calls it switch all the way through.
    But now, I'm going downstairs and run my 0-6-0 turnouting engine, and maybe my RS3 road turnouter.
    And when I'm out with the British club, I have to call them "points".

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