Turn-out advice please...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by RonP, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    I know i have asked this before but i forget and must ask again announce1

    What turn-outs are complete junk and what is acceptable. In front of me I have NS Atlas and what looks to be steel life like. I know for fact there are is another brand up stairs.

    I want to make an engine terminal and want to use these turnouts. What should i do to make them work no matter what ?
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    If you want them to work decently well, the bare minimum is atlas custom line. Stay away from the atlas "snap switches", anything tyco, bachmann, life-like, AHM, or Model Power. Atlas custom-line #4s will work okay, especially in an engine terminal area that will see slower speeds and locomotives only. Generally speaking, higher frog numbers #6-8 are more reliable than #4. People claim Peco are most reliable, and Micro Engineering are the best looking. Both of those brands will outperform the atlas. Shinohara are usually good, but difficult to rank because they are sometimes hard to find, and have changed the design between the production runs to where some work great and others require adjustment.


    Edit: I misread your question. It sounds like you want to use what you have on hand. If that is the case, use the tyco in an area that is least likely to be run over(basically for show only). I don't think there is any amount of tweaking one can do to get tyco, LL, or MP switches to run well at all.

  3. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    Thank you for the reply.

    As for the Life like i have here. What makes it so bad ? Is it out of gauge or is it just the fact they are sloppy I see flashing on the frog, lol that did make me laugh.
  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I don't mean to hi-jack, but what about curved switches, how would one custom make one?


    wow, that was a close one, lol.
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    poor design for the points, mostly. Probably out of gauge. And any switch where the diverging route is a curve rather than a uniform frog angle is going to be a problem for longer locomotives.

  6. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    Thank you very much.

    About curved turnouts, I know fast track makes a jig, we use these at the club and I HIGHLY recommend them. Never built one but I am just about ready to since it looks so easy.

    G.E.C. do as you please, I don't mind. Your layout thread has been thoroughly entertaining me for over a year.
  7. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    First off, it uses steel rail. Secondly, it's very cheap construction. The mechanism is flimsy and generally doesn't last long.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The major problems in a turnout are the pointy end of the points, where the points swivel and the frog.
    The points need to be sharp and nestle close to the stock rail. Sharp can be achieved with a file but if they don't close properly you're probably stuck.
    If they don't line up with the other rail where they swivel, that's anothe serious problem. It might be fixable with a file.
    Frogs sometimes are the wrong height. Also may have problems with flangeways -- both width and depth.

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