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Peco Code 100 Three Way Turnout Questions

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Peco Code 100 Three Way Turnout Questions
Posted by Late4Dinner on Sunday, May 31, 2020 5:09 PM

For my first layout I am seriously considering the 59th and Rust track plan from the April 2019 Model Railroader. This plan uses two 3 way turnouts, which leads to my questions.

Peco code 100 turnouts are available as insulfrog and electrofrog. Does it matter?Which would work better for a small switching layout? I've tried to research this, but the internet has turning my brain to mush, and my reading comprehension isn't what it used to be.

I cannot find Code 83 3 way turnouts, except on ebay, which I stopped using a long time ago. Would it look better to use adapter tracks and make the rest of the layout code 83, or should I stay with code 100 throughout? As a novice will a code 100 layout look bad to me, or do you think that's something that would only bother a trained eye?

Any advice is welcome.

Tom

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Posted by davidmurray on Sunday, May 31, 2020 6:18 PM

Tom:  my layout is code 100, peco, Atlas, Model power mixed.  One time between operating sessions I replaced a front of table spur with code 83 track.  At the end of the session I asked the guys what they thought of way I did to that spur.   The only opinion was that I had done a good job of reballasting.  I didn't do any more replacing.

Electrofrogs have a better ability to handle short wheelbase locos with out stalling.

Other opinions may of course vary.

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by Late4Dinner on Sunday, May 31, 2020 10:09 PM

Thanks David. Unless someone comes up with some strong reasons not to, I'll get the electrofrogs and do the whole thing code 100.

Tom

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Posted by cuyama on Sunday, May 31, 2020 10:22 PM

Unless you're interested in a railroad-themed puzzle per se, there might be better choices of track plan in the overall 14' of length. Without the added length at each end beyond the nominal 8' plan, it might prove tedious to switch for most. And a newcomer to the hobby might find the removable pieces a little tricky to make reliable.

If you do have the full 14' of length available, a lot of interesting possibilities would fit.

Sharing your actual space and the kind of layout that interests you might help others help you.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, May 31, 2020 10:36 PM

Hi Tom,

There is a visible difference between Code 83 and Code 100 track when you put them side by side without ballast, but in your case I would go for function as opposed to appearance. If the layout is all Code 100 I think that very few people will notice, and if they do comment negatively, don't invite them back!Smile, Wink & GrinLaugh

I will have a mix of Code 100 and Code 83 on my under construction layout. The Code 83 will only be used in my locomotive service area. The rest of the layout will be Code 100. That sounds like I'm trying to get fancy with rail sizes but the reality is that I had no choice due to turnout geometry. I won't go into the details. It would take forever to explain.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Onewolf on Monday, June 1, 2020 8:36 AM

If you decide to go with Peco Code 100 Insulfrog, I have a Peco 3-way turnout you can have. I have no use for it.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

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Posted by Late4Dinner on Monday, June 1, 2020 3:07 PM

Byron & the rest,

This will be a long, self-indulgent post. I apologize in advance.

I guess I have paralysis by analysis. I got interested in model railroading about three months ago, and I have been buying books (including Track Planning for Realistic Operation), looking at lots of layouts and track plans, looking at a many websites and forums, innumerable internet searches, a hundred Sandborn maps, following train tracks in Google earth, and reading the last ten years of Model Railroader. It is difficult reaching a decison on what to do. The problem is I don't have a whole lotta "givens and druthers." I am still not sure whether to go HO or N scale. I have only posted a few times, because I don't expect you guys to do my work for me.

So here are my G & Ds:

1. I have a downstairs room that needs some work before it is usable. The room is 12’ x 21’. I will share it with my wife’s gym equipment which includes a fairly large universal gym. I think someday I will be doing an L shaped layout. Right now I want to build my skills with something smaller. It can be hollow core door size, or smaller. I can’t go any larger. It’s going in a room with closets, boxes, dormers and windows. I can do maybe 8’ along a wall. An L is not practical in this room.

2. I am set on the 50s or 60s. Diesel only.

3. I have been researching prototypes. Online, one can find turn of the previous century Sanborn Maps, and Google Earth lets one get great info for the present day. I am finding it harder to research what industries existed in an area in the 50s and 60s. So I may have to reluctantly freelance a town, but not a railroad. No decals for me!  

4. I want to stay east of the Mississippi, but not New England.

5. I don’t have a favorite railroad. The Atlantic Coast Line is out because I don’t like purple.

6. No industrial preference for me, but I would prefer smaller industries. 

7. I am doing this solo. I am not a social person. That is what attracted me to a switching layout. I thought I had to have a group to do operations. I did just read Ops Challenge (and Fun!) on a Small Layout (https://www.layoutvision.com/fun-ops-small-layout), so that has opened my mind a bit. 

8. I don’t currently have any trains or buildings that I need to use.

9. I want a road with a residence or two, and a store or two. I’d really like more, but that’ll come with the big layout. I am more interested in buildings than mountains, tunnels or lakes.

10. I don’t know if I need a continuous run. 

I have reached the point where I want to make a decision and start building. I was attracted to the urban setting of 59th and Rust, and I thought it would be fun to build and fun to run the trains. It’s not the first layout I’ve had a crush on, and I’m sure it is not the last.

So, I will appreciate any suggestions. I’ll try to keep quiet until I have made my final selection. Thank you for you time.

Tom

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, June 1, 2020 5:05 PM

No need to keep quiet, posting here may help others help you along the way.

Deciding between N Scale and HO Scale is an important first step; the possibilities are quite different in a given space. If you have space to walk all the way around a hollow-core-door-sized (HCD) layout, that would be useful to know. 30” (and especially 36”) is a long way to reach over a layout against the wall. Continuous run is probably not possible for HO scale on a shelf layout as you describe, but certainly do-able in N scale (and maybe HO) for a HCD.

Depending on where you live, current health department restrictions might make it difficult to visit a hobby store to get familiar with HO scale and N scale to help make the decision. But hands-on experience is best to tell you what works for you (personally, I model in N scale and today’s engines and track work fine for switching layouts).

For a shelf a foot or two wide along the wall, there are quite a few options, even in HO. But if you can’t add the extensions of the 59th and Rust layout, that specific layout won’t be a good choice as-drawn.

Many fun layouts have been built on variations of Linn Westcott’s 1'6"X6' “Switchman’s Nightmare” – I’ve done a few for various clients in different sizes with a number of themes.

One well-known variation is the Highland Terminal design. Could be reworked a bit in my mind to make operation smoother, especially if extending to the 8’ length. It's a bit more of a puzzle than I personally like as-drawn.

If you can eke out one more foot, I published some 2’X9’ HO switching layouts that might be interesting. The best of those, in my opinion, is this one. It was designed to use specific kits that the builder had on-hand, but others could be substituted for the general locale that you choose. I really like this arrangement of paired running tracks (imagined to continue off the edge of the benchwork) with crossovers to allow for switching and use it a lot.

So my suggestion would be to share your questions, ideas, and possibilities here and I’m sure that folks will have input. If you do eventually choose N scale, there are lots more ideas to share for that space.

Byron

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Posted by cowman on Monday, June 1, 2020 6:46 PM

If  you are starting on a hollow core door, I'd recommend N scale, unless you put an extention on the width, HO wont be on the table for a continuous run.

A club that puts on shows near me has a long narrow layout with a scenic divider near the back.  Behind the divider are a few tracks where they can stage a couple of trains to create variety  of trains rolling through the scenery on the front.  In N, there would be room on a 36" door for two or three tracks behind the divider and plenty of room for switching or other scenery in the front.  Can also leave a sidings that could connect to a larger layout later.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, June 1, 2020 6:56 PM

Late4Dinner
10. I don’t know if I need a continuous run.

A lot of people think this is important.  If you are showing your layout to children, round and round is good enough.  In another thread Byron is showing a couple switching layouts/puzzles. 

Because of an impending move, my construction got halted at a 2x12 switching layout.  For me, that's not enough.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 1:46 PM

cowman
In N, there would be room on a 36" door for two or three tracks behind the divider and plenty of room for switching or other scenery in the front.

Indeed. Here's an N scale example on a 30"X80" door from Model Railroad Planning 2008. There are probably hundreds more on the Internet. 

The Original Poster's decision on N vs. HO will determine what's viable.

Byron

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 2:41 PM

On a prevous layout, I used a couple of Code 100 Peco 3-way turnouts powered by Peco machines.  I used these to gain a bit of yard space.  I'm sure they wouldn't be prototypical.  Mine were power-routing Insulfrogs.  I liked that because it allowed me to park switch engines there and have them shut down when the track they were on was not selected.  Both of mine had three stub-end sidings from the frog ends.  I run DCC.

Having used a lot of both Code 100 and Code 83, I find the thinner ties of Code 83 much easier to ballast correctly.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 3:32 PM

A couple of suggestions, regardless of scale or code of track:

a. Use the early days in the hobby to learn what you like.  Buy some track that starts you out with one appealing track plan, and build that plan.  Just don't 'nail anything down'.  No glues, no track nails...just joiners and some power feeds here and there.  Run the system and see if you like that type of arrangement, or layout; and

b. Remember that today is not tomorrow.  We all evolve in the hobby, usually by growth.  We want a bigger engine, a bigger layout, a bigger track system, a bigger town, a bigger forest, a bigger mountain...you name it, we'll want it eventually.  So, if you feel that a single door is where you want to be, regardless of scale, then would you consider arranging the tracks so that you could abut another door up to one end and use a joiner to mate two rails?  Think modular.  If you haven't come across the term FREMO yet, google it and see if that is something that appeals to you.  I realize you're not the social type, but maybe you'll tolerate others with that passion on whom you can rely occasionally to build a much larger track system that you can actually enjoy.  Or, just add your own module.

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Posted by Late4Dinner on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 3:49 PM

While there is lots of good advice here, I like Selector's the best. I'm going to buy some N scale stuff and play with it. If it's too small for my old eyes I'll give it to my grandson and move up to HO. 

I thank you all for your thoughts and contributions.

Now to pick out a locomotive . . .

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Posted by John Busby on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 12:08 AM

Hi Late4Dinner

I am going to hit point 2 and 10 with some other thoughts added

Don't be to quick to say no steam as steam lasted a lot longer in switching, shortline and industrial use long after mainline steam was gone.

Circle lines are not as unprototypical as many people think there is of course the the well known circle line on the tube one of Hornby's original early track plans was infact a good although very very crushed version of a real industrial railway.

In Australia and no doubt also in the USA there will be versions of full size continuos run industrial lines and others as well.

You don't need a circle line but they can be usefull and must fit in the space you have with an absalute minimum of second radius for whatever scale you use

If going for a door I would sugest "N" scale is the best option as it will allow big scenery that can make the trains look small compared to what is around it important for visual effect.

Well a couple of houses and a couple of stores is pretty much what my towns mostly look like, I do like have a place of worship as well because every town and villiage in the world has one but as was pointed out to me they can get a bit space hungry.

A take away food place is another good one for implying a larger than visual popuation town.

For your industry try and set them up so both input and output can both go by rail it will make switching more interesting as car A and car B must go to the right loading unloading point fuel for the industry power plant might be one and product out the other.

regards John

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Posted by Bayway Terminal on Sunday, June 14, 2020 6:53 PM

insulfrog / code 100 is my choice for a small layout with multiple turnouts. My 2.5' x 14' reverse-yard - switching layout has 21 turnouts, all are Peco code 100 insulfrog. I used Arizona Minerial Stone for ballast after laying & painting the track rail brown, afterwards one can hardley tell the difference in track height, otherwise with code 83 expect de-railments through the switches, especially when running lighter 4 axel diesel engines. In hard to reach areas with 2 way / 3 way turnouts I run heavier 6 axel switchers for better traction & voltage connectivity, remember to solder your joint connections and run feeder wires where needed, and always keep in mind that '"A Clean Track is a Happy Track". Bayway Terminal    

 

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, June 20, 2020 8:28 AM

Onewolf

If you decide to go with Peco Code 100 Insulfrog, I have a Peco 3-way turnout you can have. I have no use for it.

 



I visited some of your NUMEROUS photo presentations. That is a really big layout you have there. I was having a little problem with trying to find a way to navigate thru your layout as a whole? Can you give us some other links??

I see you have lots of steam engines, and I assume you have used a fair amount of Peco turnouts? Have you employed shims on the guard rails of any of them? I was getting ready to shim a lot of my Pecos when I read a gentleman's posting about an alternative,...to bend the guard rail inward ever so slightly,...

 BEND the Guardrails rather than shim them ?
http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/274590.aspx

Have you ever heard of such a method, and/or used it?

 

BTW, if you haven't found a home for that extra 3-way you have, I could use it for my recent addition of another one in my brick-factory redesign. The one I have here is a bit ratty.

 

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 2:11 PM

For the past few days I have been doing some experiments on shimming Peco turnouts (recording new items here soon,  http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/274590.aspx

I have decided to go with the plastic shim route. I've also discovered the excessive guard rail dimensions in the 3-way turnouts that makes believe I could have problems backing thru them like this fellow had with his curved Pecos (I call them double curves),...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNQSIiZ5ob4

My staging tracks (3 different sections of 6 tracks each), are going to be backed into often,....backed down a helix grade. And those 3 sections are going to be accessed via a 3-way Peco

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