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Peco has added another Unifrog turnout

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Peco has added another Unifrog turnout
Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 11:26 AM

As some may be aware, Peco is reportedly planning to replace their two lines of turnouts (Insulfrog and Electrofrog) with a single line (Unifrog).

Until recently, the HO North American code 83 Peco track line has only had the Diamond crossing and Double Slip Switch as Unifrog.

During the past couple of weeks I have noticed vendors are showing the Peco HO Code 83 #6 Insulfrog and Electrofrog as "discontinued" and have replace them with the #6 Unifrog.

The Unifrog has a short metal frog followed by a plastic filled gab and then bifurcating rails.  Basically they look like an Insulfrog but with a metal tip frog, which I believe can be energized.

In my case, I opted to buy and stock pile some Peco HO electrofrog code 83 #6 turnouts for my main yard.  But still don't have as many as I will need so time has caught up and existing stock on #6 electrofrog code 83 are harder do find.

If anyone knows of a shop that still has Peco code 83 #6 electrofrog, please pm me as I could use a few more.

OTOH, some may prefer the new Unifrog.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, November 19, 2020 1:55 PM

 I just want my Code 70 North American turnouts so I can build my yard. They've only been promising those for years.

 Unifrog makes no difference to me, I am using Electrofrog anyway. If the next batch I order come as Unifrog, so be it.

 Peco web site still shows #6's as Electrofrog or Unifrog. SL-8361/8361 Insulfrog and SL-E8361/E8362 as Electrofrog. The Unifrog double slip is SL-U8363.

                                       --Randy

 


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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, November 19, 2020 2:45 PM

 They're all easy. Non power routing is easier for DCC. Or really, makes no difference as relying on the turnout to supply power after the frog is a bad idea anyway. With one, you need insulated joiners before any feeders downstream of the turnout, with the others, just connect feeders. Neither is particularly difficult.

 What I think gets missed is that with Electrofrog and similarly designed turnouts like Fast Tracks is that the gaps in the center diverging rails do not have to go as close to the turnout as possible. That can go some distance away, they just have to be gapped before any fixed polarity feeders are connected. So stretch it out a bit and make it part od the OS detection section, maybe a car or locomotive length, instead of just a couple of inches.

                                        --Randy

 


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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 4:53 PM

Right, I get it y'all like other thing than me but this is my preference. Some my welcome unifrog, but not all.

I prefer Electrofrog, partly for appearance, solid rails, and partly because the insulfrog rails can short if wide tread wheels bridge the gap.  Some report it others don't.  I prefer  to not go there.  That's me.

Walthers had new turnouts come so if I can't find anymore Electrofrog Peco #6, maybe I'll fill in with Walthers.  

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, November 19, 2020 7:30 PM

 If you power the Unifrog the samwe way you power the frog on an Electrofrog, it can't possibly short the way an Insulfrog might. There should be zero issues.

                     --Randy

 


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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 8:26 PM

riogrande5761
In my case, I opted to buy and stock pile some Peco HO electrofrog code 83 #6 turnouts for my main yard. 

Welcome to my world.

I am sitting on quite a stockpile of old style Non-DCC-Friendly Walthers/Shinohara code 83 trackage components.

-Kevin

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 9:10 PM

Lastspikemike
There are no negatives to the Unifrog design. 

You don't know that.

Take a closer look.  They look very much like insulfrog with a metal tip.

Anyway, it's early days yet.  We could still see reports similar to insulfrog.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 9:13 PM

rrinker

 If you power the Unifrog the samwe way you power the frog on an Electrofrog, it can't possibly short the way an Insulfrog might. There should be zero issues.

                     --Randy

 

Then why insulate the metal tip from the two rails if they are all the same polarity.  Might as well be electrofrog then.  

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:55 AM

Unifrog is the best of both worlds (Insulfrog and Electrofrog).

What's not to like?

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 20, 2020 8:31 AM

riogrande5761

 

 
rrinker

 If you power the Unifrog the samwe way you power the frog on an Electrofrog, it can't possibly short the way an Insulfrog might. There should be zero issues.

                     --Randy

 

 

Then why insulate the metal tip from the two rails if they are all the same polarity.  Might as well be electrofrog then.  

 

 The two diverging rails are NOT the same polarity. That what makes the Unifrog like an Insulfrog. The metal tip has to be insulated to keep them from shorting together. Instead of a plastic tip, they use a metal tip so that it can be powered and never have the dead section that exists with an Insulfrog.

 It really is best of both worlds, no insulated joiners needed on the diverging rails, no requirement to power the frog point, but you can, which eliminates the potential short point on the Insulfrog. The closure rails are already tied to the stock rails, which is a modification on an Electrofrog, so that saves a step as well.

 Ad if you want to run DC and use power routing - snipping 2 jumpers makes it power routing like an Insulfrog, with a metal frog that can still be powered, like an Electrofrog. 

                              --Randy

 


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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, November 20, 2020 10:46 AM

rrinker
 The two diverging rails are NOT the same polarity. That what makes the Unifrog like an Insulfrog.

Exactly.  And some have reported Insulfrog getting shorts where wider tread metal wheels touch both rails near the plastic point.  There is a "fix" for that, which is to paint the ends of those rails were they are close together with black nail polish or something else to insulate them at the problem point.  See photo below:

As you can see with this photo of the Unifrog point area, they look very much like the Insulfrog with a similar potential for shorts:

Many report no issues, but some do.  That is one of a couple of reasons I'm going with Electrofrog.  I am planning to use frog juicers which are configured for DCC running.

I've managed to find and order a number of right-hand #6 electrofrog recently.  Now I'm hunting for some left-hand #6.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 20, 2020 2:39 PM

  I'd like to see a picture of a regular Unifrog turnout and not the double slip - the N scale ones fo NOT have the two rails anywhere near close to each other -0 if the bridge on an N scale one, you have some serious problems. Here is an N scale one:

https://jamestrainparts.com/2018/07/30/peco-pecos-new-unifrog-turnouts/

The diverging side of the frog is cut at least as far up as an Electrofrog. No way is an oversize wheel going to bridge that gap between the two diverging rails. I still say the metal tip on the double slip is bigger than the plastic tip of the old Insulfrog version of it, otherwise why bother powering it, a teeny tiny dead section that short shouldn;t stall out anything.

 I am pretty confident a Unifrog will work as reliably as an Electrofrog, without having to make all the modifications needed on an Electrofrog. Supposedly you don;t need to do the mods with a Frog Juiver, but I fail to see the point of buying a $20+ per turnout electronic gizmo when a @4 switch does the job just fine. If I was handlaying some crazy trackwork to replicate one of the New York terminals like Tim Warris did with the CNJ Bronx Terminal, with turnouts passing through turnouts and frogs within closure rails (there's also a good pic of some of this at one of the big passeneger union stations, with like 6 tracks curving in from one side, passing through 7 tracks coming from another direction, which have turnouts splitting into a third direction in the middle of all these crossings). Yeah, not going to figure out all the correct SPDT switch links to get the correct frog polarity with that kind of thing, Frog Juicer all the way there. 

                             --Randy

 


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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, November 20, 2020 3:13 PM

rrinker
I'd like to see a picture of a regular Unifrog turnout and not the double slip - the N scale ones fo NOT have the two rails anywhere near close to each other -0 if the bridge on an N scale one, you have some serious problems.

you can zoom in on this photo

Henry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, November 20, 2020 5:01 PM

rrinker
I'd like to see a picture of a regular Unifrog turnout and not the double slip

From what I see in photo's, the Peco code 83 #6 Unifrog looks just the same as the frog on the double slip switch.  It appears they easily could have the same issue as the Insulfrog turnouts that some have reported shorting issues with and had to paint or coat the ends of the rails near the frog to mitigate the shorting.

AFAIK, only the HO code 83 cross-over, double slip and now #6 turnouts are in the Unifrog line.  Eventually the #5 and #8 turnouts and #7 curved will join the Unifrog line.

I have read on some British model RR forums that there are big fans of the Electrofrog line who are very upset that Peco is planning to discontinue them all for Unifrog.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:44 PM

I like them

I ran experiments after buying one and the only locomotive that stalled at a very slow speed was my Bachmann 0-4-0.  That's OK,  him going up on the minning horseshoe track without any turnouts anyway.

There is only one wire with no insulator casing on it if you want to power the frog.  What I found was interesting is the right turnouts have an insulator where the wire goes under the frog where as the left ones do not.  I will feed the wire through the foam anyway in case I ever want to power them.  The cool thing about these new turnouts is the track connector goes into a cubby in the ties so you don't have to replace ties or slide and glue them underneath.

No Ox conductive lubricant will work for that since nobody solders turnouts anyway and I will also be putting No Ox on the blade contacts as well.  I ordered only enough of these turnouts for the main line but I will be ordering the rest soon. 

ISO-frog and Electro-frog are still perfectly good turnouts.  The only difference is Unifrog gives you a choice of either, depending how you want to use them.  Plug-and-play or power the Frog.  PECO is phasing out two turnouts to replace them with one that functions as both.

After a few hundred thousands of dollars to retool everything to make this new product.  I don't think PECO is going south anywhere too soon like another thread suggests.  They have a premium product selling it well while consolidating their expenditures.

 

 

TF

 

 

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, November 20, 2020 10:14 PM

So, out of the box the unifrog acts like an Atlas Custom Line, but all its jumpers are exposed so it can be rewired like an electrofrog, or any old fashioned sold rail turnout.

Not a bad idea, BUT why did they make the isolated part of the frog so small? 

It looks like it is an invitation to the same sort of shorting out that some people have experianced with the insulfrog.

From a business and customer standpoint it does makes more sense to have just one product rather than two.

While the Atlas is not really convertible to power routing, the frog is easily powered. I prefer the electrical properties of the Atlas design.

I use relays for power routing and frog power polarity if turnouts are operated by machines. I use small slide switches as ground throws for manual turnouts. Those slide switches provide power routing and frog power.

Both much more relible long term that contacts at the rail.

I'm happy with what I use, I will keep my extra money in my pocket.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:07 AM

Lastspikemike

The shorting problem is not a Peco issue nor is it a turnout issue. It's a rolling stock wheelset issue and all commercial turnouts suffer from the same issue. 

Nope. It is a turnout issue.

It happens with Walthers Shinohara Code 83 turnouts, but I have never had it happen with an Atlas Custom Line Code 83 or Code 100 turnout. It does not happen on my Peco Unifrog Code 83 double slips, but it has happened on my Peco Code 83 crossings.

The problem is not the wheesets on rolling stock. The problem is with converging rails of opposite polarity on the turnout without sufficient clearance for wheelsets. It is a turnout design flaw.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:26 AM

Yes.  The shorting problem with Insulfrogs is because the frog length is too short, so the rails of opposite polarity diverge at a point that's narrower on turnouts that have a slightly longer frog, like the Atlas frog. Wheel treads can come across and touch the other rail.  A little nail polish prevented contact.

Jim highlighted that already in his pics.

And I agree with Jim and Sheldon, the new Unifrog looks to have that same short frog.

But it wouldn't take much more length to solve the issue, so maybe pics aren't a reliable measure at this point.

Having said that, Mike is making a point that if it was purely a turnout design flaw then every locomotive would short over the turnout.  That's not the case.  To my knowledge, its an occasional short problem and not an every-time shorting problem.

So while Jim is correct in saying that there have been many reports, It would be nice to know the exact conditions that brought about those shorts.

Anecdotally, I have run some Peco code 83 #6s on my previous layout, and am testing my current layout now, all with Pecos.  I have never had a shorting problem.

Having said that, all of my locos are diesels, DCC Sound that have been produced since 2008. 

Maybe steam locos with sloppy middle drivers?  Wider treads?  Older P2Ks where the owner replaced the gears but got the gauging a bit off?  Certain brands of six axle trucks?  To Mikes point, if not every loco does it everytime, there are probably certain locos that will never short.  

And in places like a hidden staging yard, I can certainly see why somebody would not want to take their chances by having those rails being opposite polarity.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:32 AM

Doughless

Having said that, Mike is making a point that if it was purely a turnout design flaw then every locomotive would short over the turnout.  That's not the case.  To my knowledge, its an occaisional short problem and not an every-time shorting problem.

In my experience, especially on the Walthers Shinohara turnouts, all of my locos that passed over such turnouts shorted without exception until I solved the problem with a coat of clear nail polish.

Even if not all of your locos short on problematic turnouts, that doesn't rule out the turnouts as the cause of the shorts. There may be "play" in the wheelsets for example, but if those locos perform flawlessly everywhere else on the layout, the shorting problem leads back to the turnout - - insufficient clearance.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:32 AM

richhotrain

 

 
Lastspikemike

The shorting problem is not a Peco issue nor is it a turnout issue. It's a rolling stock wheelset issue and all commercial turnouts suffer from the same issue. 

 

 

Nope. It is a turnout issue.

 

It happens with Walthers Shinohara Code 83 turnouts, but I have never had it happen with an Atlas Custom Line Code 83 or Code 100 turnout. It does not happen on my Peco Unifrog Code 83 double slips, but it has happened on my Peco Code 83 crossings.

The problem is not the wheesets on rolling stock. The problem is with converging rails of opposite polarity on the turnout without sufficient clearance for wheelsets. It is a turnout design flaw.

Rich

 

Exactly, it is physically and electrically impossible to have these problems with an Atlas turnout. The points are always the same polarity as the their stock rail, and the frog is long enough to insure a wheel thread cannot contact the other rail on any opposite polarity pzrt..

If you have short wheelbase locos all you need to do is power your frogs.

After a decade of scratch built turnouts, I decided the Atlas electrical approach was superior.

Then when I developed my Advanced Cab Control, I found it to be even more important to have feed thru wiring, no power routing, and isolated frogs that can be powered.

These features are actually important to my Automatic Train Control feature. Run a red signal and your train stops.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by betamax on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:44 AM

It isn't a design problem with the Insulfrog, it is a user problem.

The Insulfrog is power routing, so adding insulated rail joiners to the point rails eliminates the issue of a short where they converge in the frog. 

The issue arises in DCC because all the track has feeders, so both point rails will be energized by the downstream trackage, leading to a short should a wheel tread bridge the point rails at the heel of the frog. 

With DC this wasn't really a problem as most users took advantage of the power routing feature, where only one of the point rails was energized, controlled by the switch rails. 

 

Tags: Insulfrog , Unifrog
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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:44 AM

richhotrain

 

 
Doughless

Having said that, Mike is making a point that if it was purely a turnout design flaw then every locomotive would short over the turnout.  That's not the case.  To my knowledge, its an occaisional short problem and not an every-time shorting problem.

 

 

In my experience, especially on the Walthers Shinohara turnouts, all of my locos that passed over such turnouts shorted without exception until I solved the problem with a coat of clear nail polish.

 

Even if not all of your locos short on problematic turnouts, that doesn't rule out the turnouts as the cause of the shorts. There may be "play" in the wheelsets for example, but if those locos perform flawlessly everywhere else on the layout, the shorting problem leads back to the turnout - - insufficient clearance.

Rich

 

I think its a matter of semantics.  To me, saying that its a turnout design flaw means that its something that should be redesigned....which would show up in sales drop offs.  I'm assuming there are plenty of folks like myself who have never had a problem, in whatever their circumstances might be.

And maybe the new Unifrog frog is a bit longer.

But I think the point of having the short frog is to eliminate the need to power the frog or installing keep alives for shorter locomotives...which a person would weigh the efforts with installing those remedies against the efforts of just applying a little nail polish if they had the problem.

I would also think that beveling the inside corners of the two rails might do the trick.  The wheels can't be touching very much metal of the opposing rail.

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:53 AM

Doughless

I would also think that beveling the inside corners of the two rails might do the trick.  The wheels can't be touching very much metal of the opposing rail. 

Yep, that would work. Clear nail polish is a great temporary fix. Temporary in the sense that constant use of trains over the area may eventually require another dab of clear nail polish although I have never had to do a repeat application.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, November 21, 2020 9:01 AM

richhotrain

 

 
Doughless

I would also think that beveling the inside corners of the two rails might do the trick.  The wheels can't be touching very much metal of the opposing rail. 

 

 

Yep, that would work. Clear nail polish is a great temporary fix. Temporary in the sense that constant use of trains over the area may eventually require another dab of clear nail polish although I have never had to do a repeat application.

 

Rich

 

Absolutely, and I totally understand Jim's reason for the OP and wanting the electrofrog.  

But we simply don't know yet if the unifrog has the same frog length.

- Douglas

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Posted by markie97 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 9:41 AM

I have over 30 insulfrog turnouts on my layout both code 100 and code 83. I power all 6 rails to the turnouts with no insulating between rail and turnout. This way I do not have to rely on point rail to stock rail contact for power in that section of turnout. I did experience some shorting at the frogs so on turnouts that exhibited the problem I filed a larger gap between the rails at the frog. As a preventative measure I painted all frogs with black nail polish but tried to keep the inside portion of the rails free of nail polish and only painted the rails at the gap. Also kept this area reasonably short. Very happy with the results. The frog length on the Peco turnouts is shorter than the Atlas also the Atlas frogs are sometimes slightly higher than the incoming rails affecting wheel contact. At least that was my previous experience on my previous layout.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 21, 2020 10:03 AM

markie97

I have over 30 insulfrog turnouts on my layout both code 100 and code 83. I power all 6 rails to the turnouts with no insulating between rail and turnout. This way I do not have to rely on point rail to stock rail contact for power in that section of turnout. I did experience some shorting at the frogs so on turnouts that exhibited the problem I filed a larger gap between the rails at the frog. As a preventative measure I painted all frogs with black nail polish but tried to keep the inside portion of the rails free of nail polish and only painted the rails at the gap. Also kept this area reasonably short. Very happy with the results. The frog length on the Peco turnouts is shorter than the Atlas also the Atlas frogs are sometimes slightly higher than the incoming rails affecting wheel contact. At least that was my previous experience on my previous layout.

 

The ocassional Atlas frog that is too high is easily filed down to rail height.

All these various brands of turnouts work fine, they all have their quirks and strengths depending on your needs.

Even using DC, I prefer the point rails to be the same polarity as their stock rail.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 10:21 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Not a bad idea, BUT why did they make the isolated part of the frog so small?  It looks like it is an invitation to the same sort of shorting out that some people have experianced with the insulfrog.

It looks that way to me also.

I have no skin in this debate because I doubt I will ever use a Peco HO scale turnout, so I will not be joining in.

- -
The shorting problem is not a Peco issue nor is it a turnout issue. It's a rolling stock wheelset issue and all commercial turnouts suffer from the same issue.

"All Commercial Turnouts Suffer"?

This is another of the 100% false statements.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 21, 2020 11:24 AM

In many ways, I prefer Atlas to Peco for turnouts, and Atlas is far less expensive than Peco.

But Peco has two things going for it, shorter length and the spring loaded point rails. Yeah, I know, Atlas turnouts can be shortened and springs can be added. But, out of the box, Peco has these two advantages over Atlas.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:01 PM

 And more variety. Since I have found hand laying turnouts is not for me, the availability of multiple sizes in both straight and curved is a huge boon. Also, the Atlas 4 1/2 is just a little too small, a #5 is just right for industrial areas.,

 Some people say Atlas turnouts have out of spec flangeways - every time I had a loco that bounced in an Atlas turnout, it was proven that the wheels were slightly out of gauge when checked with an NMRA gauge. Fix the wheels, no more bounce.

                                        --Randy

 


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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:14 PM

rrinker

 And more variety. Since I have found hand laying turnouts is not for me, the availability of multiple sizes in both straight and curved is a huge boon. Also, the Atlas 4 1/2 is just a little too small, a #5 is just right for industrial areas.,

 Some people say Atlas turnouts have out of spec flangeways - every time I had a loco that bounced in an Atlas turnout, it was proven that the wheels were slightly out of gauge when checked with an NMRA gauge. Fix the wheels, no more bounce.

                                        --Randy

 

 

Interestingly my experiance has been somewhat opposite.

I find that for true industrial areas the Atlas #4.5 is fine, and sometimes Atlas Snap switches are fine, like for waterfront street trackage.

I find that for my needs #5's are not big enough for yards where mainline locos have to arrive and depart.

I have yet to see a curved turnout from any brand that was of much value to me, they are all too sharp. With a minimum mainline radius of 36", I would be looking for curved turnouts with an inside radius of 36". 

I just build curved turnouts when I need them and have learned how to actually bend commercial straight turnouts into very gentle curved turnouts.

So Atlas #6 and #8 turnouts are great for my mainline.

Sheldon

    

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