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straight sections in yard ladder

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straight sections in yard ladder
Posted by Llenroc fan on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 6:34 AM

Is there an ideal length for straight sections in yard ladders to avoid S curves?  I'm using Peco small radius code 100 turnouts and want to avoid the throw from hitting the adjoining track and make the routing through the turnouts smoother.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:02 AM

I ended up clipping the ends of the throws on my Code 83 to solve the interference problem.  If I motorize the switch points I use the centre hole for the actuating rod anyway. The throw bar extensions are only required if you must install the switch motor on top of the layout or  need an offset under the table.

Also, the smallest interference with the travel of that throw bar can prevent proper electrical contact between the point rail and the stock rail which creates a hard to spot open circuit. Peco turnouts are power routing and it can be very puzzling when one route is powered and the other not when you switch the points. On my layout it took a multimeter to identify the exact location of the open circuit. The point rail looked like it was in contact, you could not see the gap. But the very end of the throwbar extension was just touching a tie on an adjacent siding enough to open the contact point.

Don't be reluctant to clip those interfering plastic parts off. I use sprue cutting pliers because a knife won't work on top of the foam track bed.

Since Peco can be finger switched at the points those extensions are really not needed.

Reading your post again I see that your question may relate to how the yard ladder is laid out initially.  Can you reorient the ladder so that only the diverging routes create the sidings? You get no S curves then. Or, you can build a ladder with just one S curve at the throat, only one straight section is then required to stretch out the S curve. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:16 AM

Llenroc fan
Is there an ideal length for straight sections in yard ladders to avoid S curves?

I do not know if there is ideal.

Whenever I build something new I set up a test section and physically try it out. I have a "test train" that I run with an 86 foot high cube, two other freight cars, and a 4-8-2 locomotive. If that will work, I know I am OK for layout operations.

The Peco code 100 S curves would probably be no problem for many modelers, but if you are backing up large equipment, it could become an issue.

Testing will let you know for sure.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:07 AM

You can clip a piece off the Peco throws but I prefer to leave as much of my Peco's in-tact as possible, considering the cost and potential for re-use.

What I do instead is trim the ties of the adjoining (much cheaper) flex track so things can fit.

The above are Peco large code 100 but the principle is the same if arranged in a similar manner using smaller Peco's.

As for S curves, there is an ideal (or rather a minimum) according to John Armstrong in his Track Planning for Realistic Operation book, which I highly recommend.

For your consideration: "The wild coupler angles we observed when passing from curved to straight track are doubly accentuated in passing from one curve to another bending in the opposite direction.  The resulting binding or sidewise pull is probably the largest single cause of derailments in well-built, but poorly designed track plans.  S curves insidiously creep in on you unless you specifically watch out for them. ... Fig 5-7 points out some of the less obvious places S curves can occur."

 

Of particular importance, "If there is a section of straight track between reverse curves which is at least as long as the wheelbase of the longest car passing through them, the effect is no worse than that of two separate curves, and the S-curve problem disappears completely.

So much of the issue has to do with the longest rolling stock expected to be used.

I chose to use the largest of Peco code 100 in my staging yard to minimize any negative operational effects on long cars such as passenger cars or TOFC flat cars.

Using small Peco turnouts would increase the severity of S-curves such as the first track coming off a ladder, where S curve effects are much like a cross-over.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:30 AM

I had to cut both the ends of some ties and throw bars. It depends exactiy where the end of the throwbar interferes with the ends of ties. Some locations you would have to remove the end of the tie back to the rail. 

Maybe consider using Peco #8 (large radius) for the throat turnout since space need not be limited at that point. You need a lead in track anyway so in a sense the space occupied by the #8 comes for free. Even using a (middle radius)  #6 will ease that initial curve of the first siding.

We used Code 83 #5 for the ladder, the entry turnout is actually a curved #7 followed by a #6 before the rest of the ladder. 

If you have not yet bought your ladder turnouts take a look at Model Engineering's specialized ladder system of #5 turnouts compressed by some clever shaping. ME comes in Code 83 or 70. You would need transition joiners or a transition track (Walthers makes short transition track sections for Code 100 to Code 83 and Code 83 to Code 70). 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:06 AM

I have had to trim some other brands of turnouts because they have more track for the turnout number, especially after the frog.  With Peco, they are pretty short for their number, and so far I haven't found it necessary to trim any ties or rail off of them.  No throw rods were trimmed on mine because I trimmed ties of adjacent track instead.  If you go with track centers less than 2 inches, you may need to do more trimming.

From what I have seen, Peco large correspond most closely to a American #7 turnouts.  Notice in the photo, the tip of the frog is about halfway between a Shinohara #6 and Shinohara #8, placing it as a #7.

Peco medium are probably closer to a #5.  Peco code 100 streamline turnouts are not manufactured to American numbering system and they do not number them as Atlas, ME and Walthers may.

ME ladder turnouts may be one option, assuming you can find them since many have complained they are sold out at most vendors.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 1:17 PM

How can you get an S-curve from a yard ladder? 

There is no ideal length of track.  Just do what you can to fit in cars.  My stub-ended yard ladder tracks can accomodate plenty of cars.  No S-curve there.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 2:24 PM

The first turnout to the second turnout will be an S curve if you start your yard to be parallel to a straight mainline. Indeed, technically, each successive turnout in that yard ladder will create an S curve separated only by the straight section of the turnout leading into it.  Eventually, depending on your perception of what makes an S curve there will be sidings beginning only with a curve in the one direction.

If you run your main line through the diverging route rather than the straight route of the first turnout then the ladder itself will not involve S curves. Whether your main line will then have an S curve depends on alignment.

If your first yard turnout from the mainline creates a yard at the correct angle to the mainline then no S curve need be created. 

Atlas snap switches can compress a yard ladder because they include a substitution radius (18" for a #4 and 22" for a #6).

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Posted by Llenroc fan on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 4:05 PM

"If your first yard turnout from the mainline creates a yard at the correct angle to the mainline then no S curve need be created. "

I don't quite understand what you mean by this.  (That may be due to just having finished a 5+ mile run though.)  Can you explain further or provide a sketch?

I'm dealing with a "compression problem" as I had a seperate 1000 sq ft building in my old house and now I'm restricted to half of a two car garage for trains and workshop and exercise area. :(  As a result, I'm tying to squeeze the yard in a small space.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 4:31 PM

Hopefully this photo will illustrate:

The red line that goes into the ladder and through the first turnout forms an S-curve.  The turnouts in this photo are Peco large radius (approx #7) so the S-curve is relatively gentle.  If you make the same ladder using Peco small radius code 100 instead, the S-curve will be much more pronounced and long cars, such as passenger cars may derail.  Best test the longest cars before you get too far along with the ladder.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 4:44 PM

riogrande5761

I have had to trim some other brands of turnouts because they have more track for the turnout number, especially after the frog.  With Peco, they are pretty short for their number, and so far I haven't found it necessary to trim any ties or rail off of them.  No throw rods were trimmed on mine because I trimmed ties of adjacent track instead.  If you go with track centers less than 2 inches, you may need to do more trimming.

From what I have seen, Peco large correspond most closely to a American #7 turnouts.  Notice in the photo, the tip of the frog is about halfway between a Shinohara #6 and Shinohara #8, placing it as a #7.

Peco medium are probably closer to a #5.  Peco code 100 streamline turnouts are not manufactured to American numbering system and they do not number them as Atlas, ME and Walthers may.

ME ladder turnouts may be one option, assuming you can find them since many have complained they are sold out at most vendors.  

 

I have never liked the Atlas Super Switch you have shown above because of the excess length of the diverging route.

Using the Atlas Custom Line (which you do not show) eliminates this problem and makes yard ladders with 2" track centers with no cutting or piecing, and also butt together to make crossovers with no cutting.

The other electrical and mechanical aspects of the Super Switch and the Custom Line switch are the same. The tie arrangement on the Super Switch is more proto correct, that is the primary reason it was created.

I was never crazy about the Shinohara products for the same reason.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 4:54 PM

I recall some modelers who are sticklers for prototypical looking track prefer the Super Switch.  I think Rob Spangler commented to that effect.

It's true that the Custom Line are easier to use in yards for yard ladders - no trimming needed.  In this yard I used a combination of both Super Switches and Custom Line because I already had some Super Switches but the ones I added later are Custom line.

You can see which are which because the Super Switch drawbare sticks out long on both dies, but is very short on one side on the Custom Line.  I minimized the amount of trimming necessary.

There are also some Walthers #8 turnouts in this yard (on the right) - I did have to trim them a bit to form a crossover that fit the centerlines.  There is a Shinohara code 70 as well.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:47 PM

Superswitches are higher quality build than Custom Line also. This is quite noticeable when running a locomotive over the diverging route. 

Custom line are more like the current versions of snap switches, but perhaps only because the 22" radius #6 snap switches are better built than previously. 

Custom line throw bars  and tie spacing facilitate use of Atlas surface mount switch motors. Those don't fit the Superswitches. 

I just bought a few ME Code 70 ladder system turnouts. I'm building a switching yard to try them out. I'm also building two sections of Code 83 main line using Walthers new flex track that is supposed to be just Shinohara made by a new manufacturer. All is to form part of a shelf layout incorporating some form of folded dogbone and two reversing loops....

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 6:46 PM

Lastspikemike

Superswitches are higher quality build than Custom Line also. This is quite noticeable when running a locomotive over the diverging route. 

Custom line are more like the current versions of snap switches, but perhaps only because the 22" radius #6 snap switches are better built than previously. 

Custom line throw bars and tie spacing facilitate use of Atlas surface mount switch motors. Those don't fit the Superswitches. 

I just bought a few ME Code 70 ladder system turnouts. I'm building a switching yard to try them out. I'm also building two sections of Code 83 main line using Walthers new flex track that is supposed to be just Shinohara made by a new manufacturer. All is to form part of a shelf layout incorporating some form of folded dogbone and two reversing loops....

 

We have been down this road, there is no #6 "snap switch", and the last time I held a Super Switch and a #6 Custom Line switch in my hand, the rail components were identical.

The 22" radius "Snap Switch" is not a #6 by any measure, it is a curved frog toy trainset switch that replaces a section of 22" radius snap track.

A #6 Custom Line is a straight frog, prototype style #6 with the same geometry as the Super Switch, with a different tie layout and a short diverging route for making crossovers and yard ladders.

Yes, the Super Switch lacks the tie clips for the switch machine and has a double ended throwbar.

And again, I don't have samples of each product from every production run in the last 25 years, so I'm not going to debate build quality from product to product or production run to production run.

But the 120 Custom Line turnouts I have work fine, and have for decades. Just like they have for many of my friends.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by wp8thsub on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:15 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
...there is no #6 "snap switch", and the last time I held a Super Switch and a #6 Custom Line switch in my hand, the rail components were identical...

A #6 Custom Line is a straight frog, prototype style #6 with the same geometry as the Super Switch, with a different tie layout and a short diverging route for making crossovers and yard ladders.

That's true.  

JC Turnouts 2

by wp8thsub, on Flickr

These are Atlas #6 Super Track turnouts, showing the arrangement of ties beyond the frog.  I acquired most of these second hand, and some were already modified from use on a friend's layout and lacked the full complement of ties.

A Custom Line #6 can be dropped onto any of these and shows identical geometry, so the two are interchangeable from the standpoint of using them in a layout design.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 9:03 AM

The "#6" snap switch is intended as an alternative to a #6 Custom line turnout, or vice versa, when using flex track. I know because I've done that. The snapswitch is also designed to substitute for sectional track: one straight and one 18" radius curve. Whether it is exactly a #6 frog or not is of absolutely no interest to anyone needing to use one in place of a Custom line turnout, which incidentally does not substitute for any sectional track.

Put another way, nobody cares,or perhaps nobody should care, about this type of technical difference given that a snapswitch is no more protypical than the 18" radius curve it is intended to replace.

You use a 22" snapswitch instead of a Custom line #6 because you need to in order to fit that spot on your layout. They are practically interchangeable in that sense, which is why turnouts have frog numbers to begin with.

I decided to post an observation about ME ladder track in a separate thread. Suffice to say here that the system only needs two turnouts: a 5b and a 5e. The 5b can be very easily cut, albeit carefully, to create a 5c and a 5e can be similarly modified. The two stock rails just need clipping right at the frog. The exact location can be determined from the 5d. Note the insulating gap right after the ends of the frog which is preserved by cutting the stock rails just that much longer. The ends of the inner rails just come off with the ties.  Then the turnout becomes either a 5c or a 5d depending on which yiu started with. I mention this because my LHS is out of stock on 5c and it seems so is everybody. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, October 1, 2020 9:55 AM

Do you not understand the difference between a straight frog and a curved frog?

It makes a big difference.

And the 22" radius snap switch is much sharper than any #6.

I know a lot of my stuff will not make thru a 22" radius snap switch, but is more than comfortable thru a #6 with a straight frog.

Where do you get these ideas? The differences in the geometry of turnouts is well published and does make a difference. 

The Atlas Custom Line and Super Switch are the longest, smoothest #6 on the market in terms of their geometry.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, October 1, 2020 10:07 AM

Turnout numbers are an expression of the frog angle in units of length vs change.

A #6 means that 6 units from the frog point, the rails are 1 unit apart, or about 9.32 degrees.

Both rails are straight thru the frog area.

The substitution radius is about 40" or more, way more than the 22" radius snap switch.

It all does matter...

Sheldon

    

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, October 1, 2020 10:42 AM

S curves along with radius that is alowed is dependent on what you want to run. People are always worring about these things and easements on layouts where they don't realy mater. So if you are running big stuff it can mater alot, short stuff like mine, rairly.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, October 1, 2020 11:14 AM

Of course Randy; what you say is obvious to most experienced layout builders but the caution is raised in John Armstrongs book for the inexperienced.  Naturally the book is to educate novices about all the aspects and nuances of layout building.  I keep it around to reference mininums and standards from time to time as I don't remember everythong.

The subject of S-curves cautions is rightly raised in this forum because often novices join and are learning things.  For those who already know these things, it's naturally redundant but echo's still seem to occur.  

As for these #6 snap switches/turnouts, could you post photo's of these, perhaps in the packaging?

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, October 1, 2020 11:27 AM

Atlas does not call it a #6, they call it a 22" radius snap switch, items 0544 thru 0547.

I'm not so good at posting links using this tablet....

It is likely barely #4.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, October 1, 2020 12:05 PM

Lastspikemike
Put another way, nobody cares,or perhaps nobody should care, about this type of technical difference given that a snapswitch is no more protypical than the 18" radius curve it is intended to replace.

You will find that a lot of people care very deeply about the technical aspects of model railroad turnouts.

Using terms like "nobody cares" only stirs up a bunch of heated discussion from the "nobodys" that really do care.

riogrande5761
As for these #6 snap switches/turnouts, could you post photo's of these, perhaps in the packaging?

There is no such thing as a "#6 Snap Switch" from Atlas. I think Spike is just trying to pull Sheldon's chain for some reason.

We are currently dealing with another self-appointed-expert-on-everything that loves to argue.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 2:06 PM

Exactly the point I'm trying to make although you presumably inadvertently  didn't intend to make it for me.

The OP is using small radius Code 100 Peco to build a yard that works for him. 

Protypical accuracy is irrelevant to his question, indeed inimical because he wants a functioning track layout. 

Instead we get, yet again, discussions about how, in effect, what he wants to do is not the correct way to go about it.

I say again, nobody should care if an Atlas snaptrack 22" radius turnout is or isn't really a #6 nor should anybody care that a Code 100 Peco small radius turnout in no way compares to an Atlas #6 Superswitch.

It just isn't a relevant response to the OP's question.  

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 2:10 PM

Atlas has photos of their products:

https://shop.atlasrr.com/c-487-h0-code-100-snap-switches.aspx

 

https://shop.atlasrr.com/c-498-h54.aspx

Only Code 83 snap track line includes the 22" radius turnouts.

Somewhere the actual dimensions, substitution radii and switch motor information is also available. 

Peco's website is also full of useful information but very hard to navigate probably because the British think differently to Americans so following the logic of their site can be challenging.

They do have a page or several with very useful and printable turnout templates for planning purposes. 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 2:16 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Turnout numbers are an expression of the frog angle in units of length vs change.

A #6 means that 6 units from the frog point, the rails are 1 unit apart, or about 9.32 degrees.

Both rails are straight thru the frog area.

The substitution radius is about 40" or more, way more than the 22" radius snap switch.

It all does matter...

Sheldon

 

Do you mean I either didn't understand or failed to recall this simple information the last time(s) you made this point?

Of course I looked it all up, and that's what I do whenever I think I don't know something.

The OP isn't interested and nor should we be on this point.

If you're already running 18" curves in your yard who the heck cares if the frog on the turnout is curved or straight? A #4 or equivalent will do the job. Model trains do not behave at all like real ones, even when traversing frogs.

The real question is about the S curve effect. That does matter. Model trains will stringline or jacknife (if reversing) when transiting an S curve especially over turnouts that create the S curve.    So, it may make sense to find a larger number frog or substitution radius for one or both elements of the curve even if the rest of the yard sidings don't need them. Or, including some straight track between the two opposing direction turnouts would result in much smoother operation, up to the length of the longest car wheelbase would ease any S curve at yard speeds. 

So far, only a couple of useful answers to the question posed.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, October 1, 2020 2:52 PM

SeeYou190
 
Lastspikemike
Put another way, nobody cares,or perhaps nobody should care, about this type of technical difference given that a snapswitch is no more protypical than the 18" radius curve it is intended to replace.  

You will find that a lot of people care very deeply about the technical aspects of model railroad turnouts.

Using terms like "nobody cares" only stirs up a bunch of heated discussion from the "nobodys" that really do care. 

riogrande5761
As for these #6 snap switches/turnouts, could you post photo's of these, perhaps in the packaging? 

There is no such thing as a "#6 Snap Switch" from Atlas. I think Spike is just trying to pull Sheldon's chain for some reason.

We are currently dealing with another self-appointed-expert-on-everything that loves to argue.

-Kevin

Maybe our argumentitive friend here is on the spectrum, as they say, judging by the kind of responses we are reading.

The fictitious $6 snap switch seems to be one example that has stirred up unnecessary discussion.   

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, October 1, 2020 3:54 PM

When designing or building a layout, if you install this switch 

Code 83 Snap-Switch(R) Manual Turnout -- 18" Radius, Left Hand-1

In place of this switch:

Amazon.com: Atlas HO Scale Code 83 Custom-Line #6 Turnout Manual Left: Toys  & Games

Or this switch:

Stock photo

 

Your layout will be messed up. 

The snap switch is designed to fit into a 22 inch radius curve.  I had two in my previous layout because I needed two reverse loops at each end of my point to point operating layout in order to run trains like a toy trainset roundy-round when the mood struck. 

It does not really have a frog number, per se, because that is irrelevant.  Its purchased for the radius of the curved rails of the diverging route, not for the frog #.  Those curved diverging rails would make a horrible crossover compared to the standard diverging route geometry.

However, it is more like the custom line version of the #4 frog switch:

Atlas Trains #4 Custom-Line Left Turnout Code 83 HO Scale by Atlas #561 -  Eugene Toy & Hobby

 

 

- Douglas

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, October 1, 2020 7:52 PM

Wrong snap switch(es). The 22" radius are part numbers 544 to 546.  If you are using sectional track they work perfectly as they are designed to do. If you use flex track they cannot screw up your layout design or construction unless you don't want 22" radius turnouts. 

Peco Code 100 small radius turnouts are 24" (610mm). 

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, October 1, 2020 9:00 PM

Lastspikemike

Wrong snap switch(es). The 22" radius are part numbers 544 to 546.  If you are using sectional track they work perfectly as they are designed to do. If you use flex track they cannot screw up your layout design or construction unless you don't want 22" radius turnouts. 

Peco Code 100 small radius turnouts are 24" (610mm). 

 

 

 

The 22" radius snap switch is code 83 and is the part# I showed above.  The 18" radius snap switch is code 100, and is part number 0860, etc shown below.  

The code 83 is 22". The code 100 is 18".  They are Snap Switches with a radius.  They don't have frog numbers. They are not really meant to compare to their frog numbered counterparts, especially in terms of embedded radius.

Also, Peco has Small, Medium, and Large turnouts in code 100 with the curved diverging routes similar to the Atlas snap switches.   They are labeled by their size, not their frog numbers, because, like the Snap Switches, the curved radii is the relevant factor.

Peco's code 83 turnouts are #5, #6, and #8...frog numbers....because they have the "North American" geometry meaning the diverging route is straight...similar to the Atlas frog numbered turnouts. 

The turnouts that have frog numbers have straight diverging routes and they are designed for building yard ladders, crossovers, and most spurs (although curved diverging routes could be used for tight spurs in industrial areas, which is why they are not a "train set" type of product).

The turnouts that are lebeled Small, Medium, Large..and Snap Switches...are not labeled by their frog numbers because the point of the design is to immediately start a curve with the diverging route.

While the yard ladder would be compressed relative to the ladder made with Custom Line frog numbered switches, the snap switch's curved diverging route would make the S curve shown in RioGrande's post more severe. 

As they would if they were used to make a crossover. 

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, October 1, 2020 9:07 PM

Douglas,

Actually they do make both 18" radius and 22" radius code 83 snap switches.

Items 0540 thru 0543 - maunal and remote 18" radius code 83 snap switches

Items 0544 thru 0547 - maunal and remote 22" radius code 83 snap switches

Sheldon

    

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