Q on switch machines and turnouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Santa Fe Jack, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I intend to use Tortoise switch machines with my Shinohara turnouts, and have a question about if there are reasons to hook the switch machine control wire to one place or another on the turnout.

    My turnouts typically look like this one:

    There are two holes for sticking the wire into, one that runs between the elongated ties and one opposite. What are the longer ties for?

    Is there any reason why I cannot cut off the side that is not used, and trim back the side that is used?
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The longer ties are where the prototype mounts its switch stand/switch machine.
    probably no reason not to trim the throwbar.
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    The throwbar is left long on both sides for the benefit of modellers who control turnout movement with ground throws, such as those offered by Caboose Industries. Generally, if you're using manually operated ground throws, you're also using walk-around control. It's usually preferable to put the ground throw on the side of the track nearest the operator, so as to not block access to it when a train is occupying the track. If necessary, the two long ties for switchstand mounting can be cut off and re-installed on the near side of the track, then the ground throw installed thereon. The unused long side of the throwbar should then be trimmed off. If you're using a Tortoise machine, drill a new hole in the throwbar mid-way between the points for the actuating wire, and trim off both ends of the throwbar, removing the moulded-in holes. The switchstand ties can be left where they are, or moved to the opposite side of the switch, and a dummy switchstand can be mounted on them.
    Here's a photo showing a couple of ground throws on the near side of the tracks. One switch is a left hander, the other a right.


  4. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    OK. I was wondering about that. The only down side to having the hole in the middle is the potential problem of having the wire from the switch machine be too long and interfere with the train, but that's just a matter of cutting it to the correct length, I suppose.

    It would look cleanest this way, and I would trim off the existing holes and the long ties for the ground throw, since all my turnouts will be operated by the Tortoise switch machines, and in the yard things get pretty tight anyway.

    Thanks for the tips.

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