Wiring for hand Laid Turnouts

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How about some information concerning wiring DCC friendly hand laid turnouts?



-- Mansfield (gofigure@zianet.com), August 19, 1998


Hand laid turnouts are about the same as BK Enterprises and Railway Engineering turnouts. A lot depends on the point switch rail methods you use. In any case gap the frog completely on each side. Provide contacts via the throw mechanism to power the frog. Allow the switch and closure rails to be powered the same as the their ajoining base rails. Alan has asked about a reliable double slip switch. Well, it takes a LOT of doing - but handlaid via. the Ed Stimpson methods is really reliable (and VERY beautiful). Wiring a slip switch is super easy if you always move the points for crossing and/or slip eachway in tandem. The slip has a natural split electrically if all four ends move at the same time. -ed mccamey-

-- Ed McCamey (emccamey@cheerful.com), August 19, 1998.

I'm replying to several requests on more info: The Ed Stimpson major article was published in the May, 1978 Model Railroader for regular turnouts. The real beauty of the method is the use of carefully placed PC Board ties which keep everything in perfect alignment for ever. The majority of the ties are wood for appearance. Clover house is still the best source for the PC ties. Ed Stimpson gave a series of clinics at some NMRA regionals with handouts in the eighties. Most of the slip switch stuff is the same as the Paul Mallery "Trackwork Handbook" which has been re-released in the third edition from Carstens. Be careful with using the Mallery book. Some of the measurements and specifications in the text and construction area are not updated to the newer NMRA S3. The latest S3 is reprinted in the back and is correct. I recommend the NMRA RP series for finer trackwork anyway. Be sure and check out the stuff - mostly text - that is on the web from Railway Engineering (I don't have the links up right now - but you can follow links from the Narrow Gage Circle to get there). I'm now making my own spikes with .015 piano wire which is discussed well at the Railway Engineering site. They are real easy and quick to make - hold and install much better than the commerical stuff form Micro Engineering and best of all don't bend themselves or jiggle the rails out of gage! I'm preparing a bunch of charts and pictures for a clinic I'm doing on handlaid track and special crossing work. When I get it all together - I'll scan it in and put it up somewhere on the WEB so more people can have access to it. Let me know how your're doing with your trackwork. There's only a few of us about now days. I've been handlaying for 35 years now and have done a lot on various clubs around the country. -ed mccamey-

-- Ed McCamey (emccamey@cheerful.com), August 20, 1998.

I vote for hand laid track with a dead frog, if you have the patience. Commercial turnouts do save time up front, but what is a few hours now if you have continual problems with non-friendly turnouts for the duration? The dead frog is due to: (1) all wheel pickup has virtually eliminated the requirement for a powered frog, (2) with DCC, power routing is NOT desireable, and (3) it is simpler, more reliable, and less maintenance when a power routing contact is not involved (any and all mechanical systems WILL fail -- it's not IF, but WHEN?).

I have had it with commercial turnouts in my staging areas (two major staging yards with 10 - 12 track each, and the associated number of turnouts). So I plan to completely rebuild them with hand laid turnouts. Reliability, rather than appearance, is driving this effort.

-- Norman Beveridge (nbeveridge@aol.com), April 12, 2000.

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