Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Double Crossover or Two Single Crossovers?

1179 views
29 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Double Crossover or Two Single Crossovers?
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 5:14 AM

For those of you who model double mainlines and/or large passenger station complexes, which do you prefer? A double crossover or two single crossovers?

Double crossovers are more expensive, retailing for around $100 and discounted to around $80, whereas turnouts can be had for as little as $15 each.

Double crossovers take up less space, 20 inches or so versus 39 inches or longer for two pairs of single turnovers.

Double crossovers are more complex in terms of rail segments, jumpers, and overall wiring compared to the construction of a single turnout.

I am torn between the two forms of track work as I contemplate making a modification to my current layout. I have had double crossovers in the past, and it has been a love/hate relationship for the reasons mentioned.

What are your thoughts and what is your experience?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • From: Just south of the drift ice barrier
  • 9,333 posts
Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, May 13, 2017 6:11 AM

Rich.

the question is not what a modelrailroader would do, but the prototype. The answer is rather simple - real railroads avoided double crossover switches like the devil shunning the holy water. Double crossovers were expensive to built, deailment prone and costly to maintain.

Ulrich     

People of my age don´t tan, they simply rust!


  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 1,438 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, May 13, 2017 7:05 AM

Real estate would be my concern, but after seeing Howard Zane's layout, I feel cheap and unworthy  Wink  However if you've had issues before, why go there again?

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 3,546 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, May 13, 2017 9:05 AM

richhotrain

For those of you who model double mainlines

 

 

I studied the double main line of the UP across several states.  There were many paired crossovers (usually high speed #20) and no double crossovers.

and/or large passenger station complexes, which do you prefer? A double crossover or two single crossovers?

 

 

Passenger stations that will have crossovers at all tend to be in confined areas.  I have seen plenty of double crossovers in that situation.  Frequently in the company of a number of double slips.

 

So the general case is that railroads will use paired crossovers when they have the room.

 

I did see a curious exception (seems there's ALWAYS curious exceptions):  a new commuter line in Chicago where the design wizards put in double crossovers near stations when they had plenty of room to avoid it.  That said, they also could be extremely clever lads/lasses who are privy to info that explains the decision.

 

Ed

 

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 6,154 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2017 9:07 AM

Rich,

Ulrich is right. The prototype would avoid complex double crossovers unless space required its use.

I have a few double crossovers, but as a double track mainline guy, I have mostly pairs of opposite single crossovers and a few slip switches.

A passenger station throat is the one place where you did find lots of complex trackage on the prototype when necessary.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 1,814 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, May 13, 2017 9:16 AM

Rich
 
I built my own double crossover from Atlas code 83 #6 Custom Line turnouts and a 19° crossover.  It works great!  I had tried four or five commercially made turnouts but everyone gave my deep flange Rivarossi locomotives problems.  I’d never had a problem with any locomotive using Atlas code 83 turnouts so I setout to build my own.
 
Check out my blog post:
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 10:56 AM

Sir Madog

Rich.

the question is not what a modelrailroader would do, but the prototype. The answer is rather simple - real railroads avoided double crossover switches like the devil shunning the holy water. Double crossovers were expensive to built, deailment prone and costly to maintain.

 

Thanks, Ulrich. Yeah, at one time, I had three double crossovers on my layout, now only one.  One of the most serious problems with a double crossover is the eventual loss of power to one or more rail segments due to the embedded jumpers. This causes locos to stall at slow speeds. However, derailments have not been a problem.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 10:57 AM

BigDaddy

Real estate would be my concern, but after seeing Howard Zane's layout, I feel cheap and unworthy  Wink  However if you've had issues before, why go there again?

 

Thanks, Henry, point well taken.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 10:59 AM

7j43k
 
 
richhotrain

For those of you who model double mainlines 

I studied the double main line of the UP across several states.  There were many paired crossovers (usually high speed #20) and no double crossovers. 

and/or large passenger station complexes, which do you prefer? A double crossover or two single crossovers?

 

Passenger stations that will have crossovers at all tend to be in confined areas.  I have seen plenty of double crossovers in that situation.  Frequently in the company of a number of double slips. 

So the general case is that railroads will use paired crossovers when they have the room. 

I did see a curious exception (seems there's ALWAYS curious exceptions):  a new commuter line in Chicago where the design wizards put in double crossovers near stations when they had plenty of room to avoid it.  That said, they also could be extremely clever lads/lasses who are privy to info that explains the decision. 

Ed 

Thanks, Ed. You raise some good points. For one thing, I do have the room for two pairs of single crossovers, so maybe that should be the rationale. The location of the track in question is the pair of lead tracks into and out of my downtown passenger station. So at least a double crossover would be prototypical in that sense.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:01 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Rich,

Ulrich is right. The prototype would avoid complex double crossovers unless space required its use.

I have a few double crossovers, but as a double track mainline guy, I have mostly pairs of opposite single crossovers and a few slip switches.

A passenger station throat is the one place where you did find lots of complex trackage on the prototype when necessary.

Sheldon

 

Thanks, Sheldon. You guessed it. The passenger station throat is the exact location where I am considering a double crossover.  Sad

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:08 AM

RR_Mel

Rich
 
I built my own double crossover from Atlas code 83 #6 Custom Line turnouts and a 19° crossover.  It works great!  I had tried four or five commercially made turnouts but everyone gave my deep flange Rivarossi locomotives problems.  I’d never had a problem with any locomotive using Atlas code 83 turnouts so I setout to build my own.
 
Check out my blog post:
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 

Mel, that is a spectacular piece of track work. I have considered using four turnouts and a crossing to make my own double crossover. Initially, I got excited about doing what you did until I read your blog post. LOL. Yikes, that was a lot of work.

Let me ask you two questions. One, what is the length of your double crossover? Two, if you weren't trying to match up with a 2" on center double mainline, would the project have required so much cutting?  

Oops, another question, Could you simply mate four Atlas Custom Line turnouts with a 19 degree crosssing without any cutting and, if so, how far apart would the parallel mainlines be from one another?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 6,154 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:26 AM

Rich, years ago Atlas published a track plan book with all the geometry of their track components. I still have my fathers copy......copyright the year I was born, 1957. Custom Line track geometry has never changed in all this time.

A #6 double crossover made with the 19 degree crossing and no cutting yields 3" track centers with an overall length of 26 inches. It requires 2" straight sections between the straight legs ofthe turnouts.

Two #6 turnouts back to back yields the traditional 2" track centers - another reason I like Atlas turnouts.......

If you do the cutting like Mel, the overall lenght is 24" at 2" track centers.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:33 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Rich, years ago Atlas published a track plan book with all the geometry of their track components. I still have my fathers copy......copyright the year I was born, 1957. Custom Line track geometry has never changed in all this time.

A #6 double crossover made with the 19 degree crossing and no cutting yields 3" track centers with an overall length of 26 inches. It requires 2" straight sections between the straight legs ofthe turnouts.

Two #6 turnouts back to back yields the traditional 2" track centers - another reason I like Atlas turnouts.......

If you do the cutting like Mel, the overall lenght is 24" at 2" track centers.

Sheldon

 

Sheldon, that is excellent information.  Thanks for posting it.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 1,814 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, May 13, 2017 12:18 PM

richhotrain

 

 
 

 

 

Initially, I got excited about doing what you did until I read your blog post. LOL. Yikes, that was a lot of work.

 

Let me ask you two questions. One, what is the length of your double crossover? Two, if you weren't trying to match up with a 2" on center double mainline, would the project have required so much cutting?  

Oops, another question, Could you simply mate four Atlas Custom Line turnouts with a 19 degree crosssing without any cutting and, if so, how far apart would the parallel mainlines be from one another?

Rich

 

I went out to my layout and measured mine and it is 20” end to end.  It’s been so long I can’t remember much about the difficulty but I would think if it was a really hard task I would remember.  I normally remember the real toughies.
 
The one thing I do remember is I only made one error in the entire project, I made one cut on the crossover 1/16” too short.  I filled the gap with solder and now It’s very hard to find it.
 
Best as I can remember the hardest part was balancing the throw arms to use a single Tortoise.  That was very time consuming.  It has worked flawlessly for five years.  I think I spent more time drawing it up to see if it was possible than building it.  I don’t remember it taking more than a single session to cut and assemble it.
 
The biggest surprise was in the assembly.  I was going to put it together to see if it would work then dissemble it to take pictures.  It was so touchy to get all of the tracks to line up in the joiners I didn’t dissemble it so I don’t have any pictures of the individual sections.
 
I did post my full size drawings on my Google Drive if anyone wants the pattern for cutting.  My drawings came out to within 1/64” accuracy. 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

 

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 6,154 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2017 12:25 PM

Mel, is that 20" measured to the points? The lenghts I listed are to the end of the Atlas turnout ties/rail joint.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 1,814 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, May 13, 2017 1:51 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Mel, is that 20" measured to the points? The lenghts I listed are to the end of the Atlas turnout ties/rail joint.

Sheldon

 

The end to end rail measurement is 20¼”.  I went to my Google Drive and the PDF drawing has been removed for being a corrupt or outdated file.  It’s been there since 2012.  I uploaded an actual size AutoCAD DWG drawing.  I can’t get the new version of Adobe to except a large drawing.  ??
 
This is a link to the drawing:
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 1,814 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, May 13, 2017 2:16 PM

Sheldon
 
To make doubly sure I did a lot of measuring to the actual turnouts.
 
From end of rail (both ends) to the center of the crossover measures 10⅛” . . . . 20¼” end to end.
 
From the end of rail to moving rail is 1” (all)
 
Edit:
 
I forgot one: Center to center is 2"
 
I don’t have a clue!
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 6,154 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2017 2:20 PM

Mel, now that I think about it, you likely had to make the straight legs ofthe turnouts a little shorter as well. That would make it less than the 24" of two turnouts.

I don't have Autocad, so i can't open your file.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 1,814 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, May 13, 2017 2:41 PM

I had tried three code 83 Sinohara type turnouts early on (1992-4) and non of them would pass my new at the time Rivarossi Cab Froward so I reverted to a pair of Atlas #6 Custom Line forming a single crossover.  All of my locomotives pass the Atlas code 83 turnouts without any problems.
 
Before I built my own I bought a Fast Track Double Crossover but the wiring was more complex than I wanted to get into.  It did pass my deep flange wheels very good.  I sold it on eBay.  I like to use the KISS policy on everything I can (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID).
 
I wouldn’t hesitate to build a second one, mine works perfect using one Tortoise.  
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 12,836 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Saturday, May 13, 2017 9:17 PM

Back to when and where a double crossover would be appropriate.

A club I once belonged to had a requirement for a four track passenger station fed from a double track main, and very litttle track length for a throat.  The 'double crossover' I built had double slips at the end closest to the platforms.  Every rail fragment had its' own drop, so losing rail contact never happened.  As for what happened after I was reassigned , I have no idea.

In my fairly immediate future is an asymmetrical double crossover with a double slip at one corner.  The prototype, at a place called Higashi-Shiojiri, allowed for meets and passes on a single track where there was only a very short space between the abutments of a high bridge and the portal of a long upgrade tunnel.  Mine serves the same purpose on my coal-hauler, since the Yamamoto station occupies a narrow shelf at a #4 frog angle to the through track.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 11 posts
Posted by kingcoal on Saturday, May 13, 2017 9:55 PM

Rich -  What era do you model? If you are in steam or 1st Generation diesel era, the more complex trackage was fairly common. As many of the posters have indicated, the double crossover with a integrated crossing would not be in vogue at this time, and probably not since the '50's or '60's.

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 3,546 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:03 PM

kingcoal

Rich -  What era do you model? 

I am failing to see how this is an era dependant question.  It would seem that the same engineering and financial considerations would transcend eras.

 

Ed 

  • Member since
    April, 2012
  • From: Huron, SD
  • 453 posts
Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:48 PM

If you're modeling in Code 83, the PICO US style Code 83 turnouts are much shorter than Atlas; they match the dimensions of the NMRA templates.

 

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, May 14, 2017 4:37 AM

kingcoal

Rich -  What era do you model? If you are in steam or 1st Generation diesel era, the more complex trackage was fairly common. As many of the posters have indicated, the double crossover with a integrated crossing would not be in vogue at this time, and probably not since the '50's or '60's.

 

While I don't strictly adhere to a specific era or area, I loosely model Dearborn Station in downtown Chicago in the early 1950s.  Dearborn station made extensive use of crossovers and double slips in the station and on the lead tracks. I have seen photos that appear to show a double crossover between Track 3 and Track 4, but all of the photos show a locomotive crossing the trackwork, so I cannot say for sure. Let me dig up a photo and post it if I can find one.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: California
  • 3,643 posts
Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, May 14, 2017 6:08 AM

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, May 14, 2017 6:15 AM

Yep, the first and third photos show the "double crossover" which, technically does not seem to be a double crossover, but close with a slip arrangement on one end.

Rich

Edit Note: By the way, that first photo is from 1950.

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 11 posts
Posted by kingcoal on Sunday, May 14, 2017 12:25 PM

Great photos of Dearborn. Most older terminals have that really cool, complex trackwork thing going for them. I never saw Dearborn personally, but if you stand on Roosevelt Road in Chicago, or at the business end of NorthWestern Terminal in Chicago, you'd see double slips, double crossovers and other complex trackwork. If you can build it and make it operationally reliable, it would be appropriate. They are certainly space savers. Built in an era with lots of employees being around to maintain them. Currently, railroads try to eliminate turnouts and rail crossings to reduce maintenance and improve safety.

 

  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • 188 posts
Posted by Choops on Monday, May 15, 2017 9:38 AM

Check out the trackwork at the Olgilvie transportation center. It is just a few block north of Dearborn station.   It uses many double crossovers and slip switches.  They funnel 4 tracks from the west and 4 from the north down to 6 tracks arthru a curve then back out to 14 platforms in about 3 city blocks.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ogilvie+Transportation+Center/@41.887213,-87.641524,17.67z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x880e2cc70438f0b3:0x809acd0a4506c042!8m2!3d41.8827041!4d-87.6404337

Steve

Modeling Union Pacific between Cheyenne and Laramie in 1957 (roughly)
  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 15,820 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:26 AM

Thanks for all the input everyone. While double crossovers continue to fascinate me, I have decided to use two pairs of single crossovers for this purpose.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: California
  • 3,643 posts
Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:09 AM

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

Users Online

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook