What is a switch lead

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Biased turkey, May 14, 2007.

  1. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Could anyone please be kind enough to explain what a "switch lead" is ?
    I used the search engine, but none of the found threads explain what it is.
    Tia for any info.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I may be wrong, but it is the short piece of track before the points that lead into the switch.

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    A switch lead (or switching lead, or drill track) is a long track (as long as the longest track in the yard) that is used when, well, switching. It avoids having to foul the main, and possibly reduces the number of turnouts your train must negotiate when shuttling back and forth.

  4. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    If you're interested in this sort of thing, John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation is a worthwhile read. He explains how and why railroads are laid out the way they are, including the hows and whys of switching leads.
  6. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    The part about length is general advice, not part of the definition of a switch lead.

    And if you look at British sources, you'll see them call the same thing a "headshunt".
  7. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I have decided after reading this post I still need to do some more research before laying my track in a couple off weeks. I am heading up to wisconsin in a day and a half so I cant get it before I leave but when I get there I will find a hobby store and pick up john armstrongs book track planning for realistic operations. should make the trip back on the train very enjoyable.
  8. NP 1364

    NP 1364 New Member

    switching lead

    Most large flat yards have 1 east/south and 1 west/north main track then a arrival/departure track for each main.
    A switching lead would be or could be the arrival/departure lead that would have the yard ladder switch near each end with head space between the yard switch and main switch that would hold x number of cars.
    So the yard engine would pull a cut that would fit in the head space and drill/kick the cars into the proper tracks then go get some more and do the same thing untill all of the setout was switched.

    Then a locomotive would pull the sorted cars out put them on the departure track to be picked up or the yard master would have the power cut off it train go into the yard pull its cut out get back on it train and leave
  9. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    It is also known as a shunting neck.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    In some cases, a switch lead might be only big enough for a small engine and one car. This is a headache for the switchmen, but "operating interest" on a model railroad.

Share This Page