Walthers turnout modification

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In reading the info on modifying Walthers/Shinohara turnouts, I have a question/suggestion. It seems that if you isolated the frog as the first step, you can use the length of the closure rail and point rail to make a single piece of rail to replace them both. This would make the conversion easier and better looking by eliminating the rail joiners, and the tie modification to accomidate them, and the bond wires around them. I have not tried this, but the only problem I foresee is the stiffness of the rail. With Tortoise or other switch machines, this probably would not be a problem. Where have I gone wrong? As I said, the benefits in appearance and ease of conversion at the cost of some bulk rail seems to be obvious, so I assume this must have been tried. Any input would be appreciated. William Dunlow dunloww@aol.com

-- William Dunlow (dunloww@aol.com), April 15, 2002



Actually, I prefer turnouts that have a solid rail as you describe. That's one of the reasons the Tillig is favorite turnout.

I just haven't tried making such a rail for a Walthers/Shinohara or any other. I've scratchbuilt turnouts before. While I was pleased that it took me no longer than my friends who had tried it, I still wasn't very fast at it. You are only talking about making two rails. I suppose I could do that in a reasonable time. If you are good at this kind of thing, I suggest you go for it!

Note to anyone who has never built a turnout from scratch: I think my first whole turnout took 12 hours. I believe it could be done in 8. Just making two sets of points should be doable in under an hour - perhaps only 20-30 minutes with practice.

So if you want to go do this to a Walthers/Shinohara, or any other turnout, there are two things you should check for before you go all out with this approach.

1. Be sure that you can remove the closure rails from your existing turnouts and slide new ones in their place. Even if you can slide the old ones out. Sliding new ones in, and curving them appropriately as you put them in, could be tough. So be sure you can do this.

2. Bu sure the turnout motor you intend to use is strong enough. I have seen Torti on a friend's layout, installed per the manufacturer's instructions, have trouble throwing some turnouts. In fairness to the Circuitron folks, while their switch machine was installed properly, I think the throwbar was rubbing on the the Homasote and that the situation could have been made to work fine and their was no fault of their switch machine. No matter who's switch machine you use, if you have too much friction, you are likely to encounter problems. So build one turnout this way and be sure you install the throwbar so that it encounters no friction and that your switch machine of choice is capable of throwing it. USING A SINGLE PIECE POINT/CLOSURE RAIL DEFINITELY ADDS SPRINGINESS AND RESISTANCE TO A SWITCH MACHINE. SO DO MAKE A TEST. (Just for reference, I use the Hankscraft motor on the Tillig turnouts. You are free to try whatever you'd like.)

If you can get a new rail into your turnout, are good at grinding them into point rails, and your switch machine of choice can throw it, go for it - this is the ideal arrangement.

-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), April 24, 2002.

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