turnouts and s-curves question

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by spitfire, Apr 6, 2003.

  1. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Hi folks, I'm having a little problem with the turnouts that I bought. Hoping to get more track in less room I purchased Peco set track with a curve radius of 12.5 degrees. There's a runaround siding and to keep the 2 parallel tracks close together (2") I am butting one turnout into the other.

    The problem is that this produces an s-curve through the diverging track. I could add a short straight section I guess but that would put the parallel tracks too far apart. :( :(

    What do people use in a situation like this? I am going to be throwing the turnouts manually for a while, so something that snaps into place is required. Thanks in advance.

    :confused: Val

    Attached Files:

  2. interurban

    interurban Active Member


    Hi Val, I don`t think you will have a problem with that as it looks like it has a very small stright section built in.
    I recomend you put the switches down with lead on and off track pin slightly, give it 3 ft of track ethier side and test the freight and engine through it;)
    I would wire up two switch throws to one activation switch so they will open and close together and will alow for trouble free switching.:p
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Val,
    You shouldn't have any problems with the points as they are, but it would be best to add just 1" of track between them for best results.

  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Val I have a lot of places like that in my track work and have had NO problems, Remember you are in a yard, so you will be at low speed. At situation like that on the mainline where you would try to go thru it at a scale 60 mph (or kilometers :D ) would probably cause you problems.
  5. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member


    I have two places on my layout where I have two switches butted together like your drawing. I have never had a problem with this. "N" Scale
  6. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks very much to all for the sage advice. As luck would have it I "happened" to be near a hobby shop this afternoon and have purchased Peco medium radius turnouts to use instead of the set track, which I will use elsewhere.

    :D Val
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Val "S" curves is not a dirty word..What gives you the problem is tight "S" curves.What you have there is a smooth "S" curve.You should be just fine.I have had switches like yours on my past HO layouts and currently have them on my N Scale layout.Again I have use such for years with no problems...Also the club has many such like switches and we never have a problem backing though them.

    Now if you back 86' autopart boxcars or 89' flats through that switch at mach 1,then be prepaired to re-rail your cars..But Val I know you would never do that!:D :D :D Right?:rolleyes: :eek: :D :D
  8. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Val, since you've switched to 'medium radius' Pecos, this answer is kind of redundant....you've eliminated most of the risk.

    There are certain brands and/or types of equipment that tend to derail more often than others on short 'S' bends, in spite of some of the reassuring posts here.

    It's not for all the same reasons, either, it can be wheelbase, couplers, power truck or driving wheel sideplay, weight, or any combination of these and other things.

    Some 'S' bend "trouble-seekers" CAN often include:

    - Long fixed-wheelbase steam locos, like 2-10-2, with all flanged drivers.
    -12-wheel diesels, including, but not limited to, P2K SD units.
    -Steam loco lead & trailing trucks that are a bit light in weight.
    -Passenger cars over 60' long, with body-mount couplers.
    -Cars lighter in weight than NMRA spec's.
    ....none of these are "always" problems, but all of them are "sometimes" problems on short 'S' bends.;)
    regards / Mike
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    the Peco set track switches are sharper than their short switches. (18" R vs 24"R, I think :rolleyes: ) Remembering that you have an 0-8-0 switcher, I think going to the larger was a good idea. If you need a crossover like that, it should probably be a larger radius than your normal curves.
    That said, go to the Barhurst St bridge and look at the end of the GO train yard there.
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks David and Mike. I did a little test run of my locos through the original Peco set track turnouts, and although there were no derailments, ultimately I decided I didn't really like the looks of it.
    My LHS guy had been trying to talk me into longer turnouts, with no luck since I was determined to save space. Looks like he was right all along!
    David, I will be taking a little trip down to Bathurst and to Strachan to do a little photo research just as soon as I get a second memory card for my camera.

    :rolleyes: Val
  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I know what you mean about small radius turnouts abutted as you describe. It just doesn't look right (pretty awful actually) on long rollingstock going through them (or any "S" curve for that matter). I did read a "rule of thumb" somewhere, that if you need an "S" curve, then have a straight section as long as your longest pice of rollingstock between the curves. Purely for aesthetics. (looks), but that's impossible for what you want using parrellel track.

    I have bought most of the track for my second layout, and have put together the turnout/crossing structures (on the kitchen floor:eek: :eek: ) for testing and "look & see". I'm using Peco large radius turnouts for anything that goes anywhere near a mainline. (I run a lot of long passenger stock). Garahbara MKI used small radius turnouts. I'll never go near small radius turnouts again. Not only because of probs with body mounted couplers (replacement of the bogie mounted ones) on long rollingstock, but for the aesthetic look of trains passing through them as well.

    I know space can be at a premium, but if at all possible, use large radius turnouts for the stucture you desire, especially if you envisgage high use of it. You won't regret it.:cool:
    I had to use small radius turnouts first, to find out that I'd regret it!!!:eek: :mad: , But then again, on a 1.2m * 2.4m layout, you don't have much choice when "cramming" in all that you want.

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