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Turnouts for club layout

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  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: US
  • 27 posts
Turnouts for club layout
Posted by dstaley on Monday, October 27, 2003 9:31 PM
Hello all,
I seem to have become the maintenance-of-way guy for our local club, and I'm looking for recommendations on what brand of turnout might be best suited for high traffic, heavy use mainlines on a club layout. These turnouts pass thousands of wheels through in a week, and problems with electrical contacts at the points has been killing many of the turnouts we are using today.

Is there anyone out there who has experience with club layouts that has found a clear winner? We are using a Digitrax DCC system, and have both hand thrown and Tortoise switch machine thrown turnouts.

Thanks!
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 8:15 AM
Our switching layout, which is very hands-on, uses Peco switches that are thrown manually - not even ground throws. They seem very reliable, and the spring mechanism locks the points tight against the chosen route. The set up is for one engine only and therefore uses DC control.

The local modular club specifies #6 (or equivalent (or larger)) for the main, #5 or better for the turnout to the branchline, and #4 or better on the branchline itself. The club does not specify which brand, although the track must be Code 83 or 100. They use Digitrax DCC.

You may need to power the point rails directly with a feeder, rather than relying on the contact of the rails, or whatever "internal circuitry" your current turnouts have. Since you are using DCC, continually powering the points (and all rails) shouldn't be a problem?? (I don't know for sure - just beginning to explore DCC myself).

Andrew
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: US
  • 27 posts
Posted by dstaley on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 7:07 AM
Powering the point rails can be done but it will require the addition of a microswitch for turnouts with ground throws.

The alternative would be to heavily modify the turnout points as shown in the October MRR, but this is difficult to do once the turnout has been ballasted in place. The turnouts we have today have both point rails connected via metal pivot bars, so they're shorted together. If I have to modify the club's turnouts in this way, it will be difficult to do on the turnouts that have already been ballasted in place.

I've been thinking about requesting Peco, since Loy's recommends them based on the electrical aspects of the frog design. Has anyone in this forum had experience with the longevity and durability of these or other turnouts in a club setting?

Anyone with MR&T had experience with one brand or another of turnout lasting a long time?

Thanks!
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 11:42 AM
Peco's probably your best bet here. Don't know if you've seen their adverts in MR magazine but they're not joking when they say their points are used every day on their exhibition layouts - I've been to their factory exhibition a few times now and it seems completely reliable.

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