Quick Question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by OnTrack, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Im using "snap switches" as turnouts for my layout instead of a mark 4, and mark 6 for example. I noticed that they have a tighter curve? will 6 axle locomotives be able to handle that? This is all Atlas track, code 100. Thanks.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The only way really to tell is to test, but I would think that if they will make it, it will be at slow speed...

    The snap switches have different geometry than the numbered turnouts (#4, #6, etc). The snap switch goes into an 18" radius curve to make it easy to fit, especailly on 4x8 layouts that use 18" radius sectional track.

    True numbered turnouts diverge at a given angle. This angle is easiest to understand as a number, so that's why they're labelled like that. A #4 diverges 1 unit away from the main route for every 4 units of distance travelled. A #6 takes 6 units to diverge 1, and so on.

    The important thing to remember is that they are not interchangable in track plans. If you use a #4 in place of a snap switch, for example, you will need to alter the trackwork to make it fit.

  3. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Thank you mason, come to think of it since you mentioned they are designed to make an 18" radius, if i remember correctly a 6 axle can negotiate an 18" curve correct? May look a little less realiastic, but it can handle it. Thanks for your help.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    It really does depend on which engines you are talking about. Some will make it, others not. Some will make it on their own, but will derail all the cars behind because the coupler hangs out over the outside rail in the curve. Many of the more recent models often come with a recommended minimum radius.

    The "optics" of it are totally up to you of course.

  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    A small 6-axle (RSD-4/5, SD7/9/35, etc.) should handle 18". A larger 6-axle (E-units, SD50/60/70, Dash-8/9) will almost certainly uncouple cars behind it.
  6. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Ok, well I have a follow up question then. If I was to replace my snap switches with, mark 4's and mark 6's (so i have no problems with 6 axles, im really fond of the largers ones, AND change my track plan as mason stated to fit with the new switches) would I be able to use the electronic switch machines from my snap switch's on the mark's?
  7. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    99% yes, if they are Atlas or Tortoise.
  8. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Alright, thanks guys.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    For large 6-axles #4 straight-frog switches are also too tight; the minimum radius in one of them is about 18" (actually, probably a little less).
  10. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    On Track, I've sent many a 8 coupled steam locomotives (0-8-0, 2-8-0, 2-8-2, 2-8-4, 4-8-4) through #4s without a problem as well as PA-1s. I've heard not to use them on mainlines (which makes sense), but I've never experienced a problem with Atlas Custom Line #4s. I still would use longer turnouts (#6s & #8) if I was building a layout with comercial track. I generally found the snap switches to be substantially more troublesome.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The problem I have found with Atlas switches, either Snap switches or Custom Line is that both use sheet metal stampings for the points. You will not use them very long before the weight of your locomotives will loosen the points up enough for them to "lay" over and go out of gauge. Peco switches are probably the best in code 100 Shinohara are second and not bad. How well you 6 axles locomotives handle #4 switches will depend on how much overhang you have on the ends of the body. One trick to help them handle tighter radius, if you have no other choice, is to not mount the coupler of the locomotive in a box, or mount the entire coupler/box assembly loosely enough to allow the coupler box to swing a bit in the corners.
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I have seen one set of points get damage, but considering how many turnouts my brother and I had on our layout growing up, I wouldn't worry at all about it...most of the turnouts haven't had a problem in 15yrs of service.

    That being said, Peco and Shinohara do have better reputations than atlas turnouts.
  13. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Hmm well im still confused, I guess I dont understand how a railraod works in real life. What I mean is, if a #4 is still somewhat tight for a large 6 axle, and you would reccomend using #6 on the mainlines, then how do the larger 6 axles run in the yards and such? Could some one give me a little explanation?

    If it makes it any eaiser, maybe tell me what you, or what to use on the yards, and what to use on the mainlines with having larger 6 axles.
  14. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    I use a combination of snap-switches and customline #4's and #6's. I only use # 6's on the mainlines, including passing sidings, arrival/departure tracks, and yard entrances, and plan to use only #6's in the staging yards. #4's and snap-switches work for me in industrial switching and classification yards because I only use shorter 4-axle diesels there. I have used 6-axle power without problems (excepting the Kato C44W-9) on snap switches but they do look unrealistic, and there have been some issues (not often), when backing through. I will echo dsfraser on the switch machines...no problems
  15. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Okay, I have adjusted my track plan. All the switches in my staging yard are all #6's now, as well as the switches on my mainline. All the switches on my siding and spurs, for industries and such will be #4's. I have already used Xtrk Cad and re-did my plan with those switches to make sure it all works out fine with my benchwork, and its a go! I would like to thank all of you guys for being so patient with a newcomer, its nice to have a lot of good advice, rather than hearing "go search"sign1 . Thanks. Ill update my thread with pics, one i have laid some track down.
  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    In real life, the speed you're travelling at determines what size of turnout you need. The physics don't scale down linearly. On a model, a turnout you can go through at low speed, you can usually go through at higher speed. Basically, on the model, we use curves and turnouts as sharp as those in cramped industrial areas on the prototype - everywhere. In reality, you might find a yard made with #8 turnouts and a high-speed mainline with #20s.
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    A prototype steam loco might have a minimum radius in the 800-1000 feet range. That's around 10 feet in HO. And at that speed they are expected to be just crawling into a roundhouse.
  18. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Im beginning to better understand all of this. All of my track that I ordered will be here tomorrow or tuesday. Ill begin laying it down and i'll post some pics. Thanks again guys. My 8-40CW will be here soon too! I cant wait.
  19. OnTrack

    OnTrack Member

    Okay so i got my 8-40 today, and long with my turnouts I ordered #6's, #4's and some 22in curved track. I ran it with 5 freight cars, through the #6's at high speeds, and low speeds and it made it through with no de-railments. So im happy with that, once i get my hands on a digital camera ill update my layout thread with some pics of what I have going on lately. Thanks for all the help, its very appreciated.:)

    On a side note: The dash 8 is the Bachman Spectrum Version DCC Equiped, and ready. Roadname is CSX. But I am very impressed with it, runs well, smooth and pretty quiet as well. I just thought i'd throw that in for you guys.
  20. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Watch out using XTrkCAD NMRA turnouts. The are a lot shorter than the Walthers/Shinohara ones. For example the XTrkCAD NMRA #6 is about 7.4" long while the Walthers/Shinohara is about 11.5" long. Makes a big difference on yard layout. Looking at the Walthers/Shinohara #6 it looks like you could cut about 2" off the two track end without going past the electrical cross connects but it would still be 2" longer than the NMRA #6 that XTrkCAD has in the standard turnout list.

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