Turnouts & Switches

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by rockislandmike, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    So far all I've used for track laying (on my small practice HO layouts) is Atlas snap-switches (which equate to an 18" radius curve, that much I do know).

    Now, if I wanted to use 22" curves on my 4' x 8' spring layout (I'm planning the trackage now), do I need #4 or #6 switches?? I'm totally confused. And do I need to worry about this electro/intra/frog thing????

    Is there somewhere on the web that would give me a quick lesson as to what all this means, in English???
  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The number of a turnout is an idicator of the angle that the "siding", leaves the"main". A #4, gets 1' away in 4' of length, a #6
    is 1' away in 6' of length. As the number increases, the angle decreases. Most industrial track will use #4, this makes for sharp turns, but road engines usually don't get in here anyay. If road engines are going to set out and pick up freight from these sidings, then #6 or #8 turnouts should be used.

    Frogs, are the casting used where the rails cross. One form, used in models, has both throw rails electricly common to the frog, and the rails just beyond the frog have to be gapped to prevent short circuits. In the case of "insulfrogs" or insulated frogs, the frog itself is gapped at both ends, and usually non-powered. These turnouts also have an insulated throwbar, because the throw rails, and the rails leading to the frog are wired common to the rails they would touch when the turnout is switched(main to siding,or vice versa).

    Hope this helps.
  3. billk

    billk Active Member

    Mike - What is a "spring layout"? Anyway, if you haven't already gotten it, get Track Planning for Realistic Operations. It has more answers about this kind of stuff than you have questions. Kalmbach (i.e. Model Railroader) publishes it. You can problably find it at Amazon.com.
  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Another book that would be good for you to have at this point would be Easy Wiring For Model Railroads (or something like that) from Kalmbach Pub.
    If you can't find any of these on Amazon, I'm pretty sure you can get them through Walthers
    Another book you might like is 101 Track Plans For Model Railroads...also from Kalmbach. This book has quite a few ideas for 4x8 plans.
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Somebody asked about my spring layout.

    First, I have a shelf layout next to my computer here in the home office (1'0" x 7'5") - I had most of the track laid on this puppy, my first layout, when last weekend I decided I wasn't very happy with it. For two reasons - some of the grades were too steep; and the reason for the grades was no longer necessary (it was to reach a credenza on the other wall that won't be here much longer). Anyways, all the track is now gone, and the shelf layout is almost flat again. I'm now modeling a different scene.

    The "SPRING LAYOUT" is a 4' x 8' framework that's ready to go in the garage. I built it in the fall thinking THAT would be my first layout. Once built, however, we quickly realized it wasn't going anywhere in THIS house (rental property, quite small). So once it gets warm enough (we live in Alberta), I'm going to start developing that - i.e., SPRING.

    Gotta go walk the dog now.
  6. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    PS - thanks for all the suggestions on books. I'll be on the lookout for them over the next while.

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