Author Topic: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars  (Read 2604 times)

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archangelo

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Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« on: February 23, 2014, 12:25:58 PM »
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I'm setting up a small yard, with a fair amount of passenger operation.  Can I get smooth performance from #4 turnouts, or do I need to go to #6s?

jmo

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 01:33:22 PM »
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For cars that long I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than #8, or even #10.
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altohorn25

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 01:56:57 PM »
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You'll never keep 80' passenger cars on the tracks with #4 turnouts.  The bigger the better.  #8's is the smallest I would go.  #10 or #12 would be better.

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Scottl

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 02:00:35 PM »
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How much space do you have?  Larger turnouts are best for these types of cars, but they take a correspondingly larger amount of space to use.  You can probably make due with tighter turnouts if you plan carefully and space is limited.  I use #7 for most of my yards and they seem to handle long cars like centrebeams and six axle locos well.

nkalanaga

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 04:32:47 PM »
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Mine work fine on #6 turnouts with body mounted 1025 couplers.  They look a little silly, but work just fine.  They don't like #4s at all.  If yours have truck mounted couplers they'll probably take #4s, but you may have to remove the end skirts.
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robert3985

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 08:47:20 PM »
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Just remember that Atlas 55 #7's aren't really #7's.  The frog angle is correct, but the distance between the point of the frog and the closure point toes is way too short making the effective diverging radius much smaller than a correctly proportioned #7. 

When placing a properly proportioned #6 such as the ME #6, and the Atlas 55 #7 side by side, it's easy to see that they're essentially the same length (the #7 should be about 1/3 longer), except you'll get more tracks in a yard with a real #6 because of the sharper frog angle, but gain no significantly larger diverging radius using the Atlas 55 #7.

Here's a photo I've posted before with a side-by-side comparison of an ME #6 (on top) and an Atlas 55 #7:


Effective diverging track radius for a properly proportioned #6 turnout in N-scale is 23"

Effective diverging track radius for a properly proportioned #7 turnout in N-scale is 27"

Effective diverging track radius for a properly proportioned #8 turnout in N-scale is 36"

Effective diverging track radius for a properly proportioned #10 turnout in N-scale is 64"

If your minimum mainline radius is 24", the minimum mainline turnout, or turnout for big engines and passenger cars is an ME #6 and your body-mounted couplers on your passenger cars should work okay.  Yup, you'll get some funny wiggling and waggling as the cars go through, but have you stood in the vestibule in a real passenger car while traversing a yard?

Even the Atlas 55 #7 will work okay, but you're not gaining anything by using it, and with its extremely limited availability and plated frog, guard rails and closure points, I'd say it's out of contention.

To go to a North American prototype #8 in N-scale, you've got to build it.  If you choose to make them yourself (you really don't have an option here) the easy way is to order materials, jigs & fixtures and instructions from Fast Tracks.  Consensus is that it'll take from two to four turnouts before you're happy with both function and appearance.  You'll also need some basic tools and instructions on how to solder properly and what materials to use.

If you've got a big yard to build, it'll be worth it to build your own with the Fast Tracks system no matter what size turnout you decide to build.  Truth is, properly proportioned #7's will improve the appearance of your long cars a lot as they traverse the switches, and might be a good compromise between looking good and saving space.  BUT, you get the added good looks (a true #7 effective diverging track radius) only if you build your own.  As a possible bonus, maybe you can use true #7's on the rest of your layout, making it the one turnouts most used, which is a good way to determine what Fast Tracks jig & fixture setup to buy.

As for #10's, even though prototypes often use #10's in yards, for N-scale, it's overkill unless you've got a lot of room.  Just remember that the Atlas 55 #10 suffers from the same shortcomings as their #7 and if you decide to use 'em, build 'em yourself.

wcfn100

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 10:09:36 PM »
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Here's a photo I've posted before with a side-by-side comparison of an ME #6 (on top) and an Atlas 55 #7:


The Atlas definitely has issues, but you can't really compare the two as neither are build accurately.  I was considering using the ME one's on the layout I'm thinking about for my sons, but that picture ends all that. 

Back to the topic, in reality, the frog angle (or #) isn't really the determination of whether a passenger car will operate smoothly.  It's more about the overall construction e.g. the diverting rail angle and radius, and the tolerances.  These will differ among manufacturers.

I assume that we're talking about Kato Unitrack here, in which case I would think #6's would be much preferred.

Jason

jdcolombo

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2014, 10:30:19 PM »
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My 80' passenger cars navigate Atlas Code 55 #7 turnouts fine (they won't make it through Atlas #5's).

BUT . . . they run much more smoothly through my hand-made (Fast-Tracks jig) #6's.

I think that this is all about what Jason and Bob have just pointed out: tolerances and construction quality.  My hand-made #6's are just better on both those fronts.  Honestly, if I had it all to do over again, I would use Fast Tracks jig-made #6's in place of the 70 Atlas #7's I have on my layout.  I just didn't know about Fast Tracks when I started construction on my layout.  With the jig and a proper set of tools, you'll have an excellent turnout by your third try (the first will be a learning experience; the second will be usable, but probably won't look very good).  The downside, of course, is time - it takes me about three hours to complete a turnout from the time I sit down at my bench with the materials at hand to a painted final product with all the ties in place ready to put on the layout.  But since Atlas Code 55 track is unavailable and the delivery date is "who knows when," you can probably make all the #6's you need before you could buy them from Atlas!  And once you learn the techniques through the Fast Tracks system, you can then build other #'s using just paper templates.  I started with a jig and #6's, then built a few #4's for some industrial switching areas using just a template.  My hand-built #4's vastly outperform Atlas #5's.  I've never tried running 80's passenger cars through them, but my Athearn Big Boy will navigate them easily.

John C.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 10:35:46 PM by jdcolombo »

mmagliaro

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2014, 01:11:55 PM »
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I agree with sentiment that this is much more about tolerances than it is about the sharpness or accuracy of the turnout.


QUESTION:
The original post said "a small yard".  How small?   If you are only pushing cuts of 3 or 4 passenger cars around, things work
a lot more easily.   You can definitely push a few 80' cars through a #5.  I just tried that.   When the trains get long,
there are a lot more forces at work on curves and at frogs trying to buck the cars one way or the other off the track
and then gradual curves and turnouts become a lot more important.

I just tried pulling and then pushing a train of nine  80' passenger cars in and out of my yard.   They had to go through
five turnouts, some diverging, and some straight, some trailing point and some facing. 

It all worked fine, and I would not categorize them as "bumping" or "rocking and rolling" through the turnouts.

The turnouts are all Atlas c55 #7.

The cars are a mix of Kato, Walthers, Rapido and Con-Cor.  Some have Fox Valley wheels, some have Atlas 36 metal, and some
have Kato.   Some are truck-mounted, and some are body mounted.

In other words, this is a pretty ugly test, and still, it all worked.  I wouldn't recommend shoving a cut of passenger
cars through a yard of turnouts at 40 mph.  But then, who would do that in real life?

That catch is that every single one of those cars has wheelsets that I have made sure are very precisely in gauge.

And every one of those Atlas turnouts has been hand-filed and preened so that there is good clearance around the point rails and
proper gauge all the way through the point rails (two things that are almost always way off on Atlas turnouts).

I can't speak to using #4 or #5 with a long train.   I don't have a long space with #5's in it that I can test a string of passenger cars on.




chicken45

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2014, 01:24:18 PM »
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Aren't turnouts numbered by speed? How fast are you shifting cars in your yard?
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garethashenden

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 02:07:17 PM »
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Aren't turnouts numbered by speed? How fast are you shifting cars in your yard?

No, turnouts are numbered by the diverging angle. A number 4 turnout has the diverging route moving away from the straight route 1 foot for every 4 feet you travel. A number 8 turnout moves one foot every 8 feet. You can measure that in inches or meters or whatever, it's the ratio that matters. 4:1, 5:1, 8:1 etc.
The higher the number the faster you can go, but there's no specific speed for a given turnout number.

wcfn100

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2014, 02:45:00 PM »
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The higher the number the faster you can go, but there's no specific speed for a given turnout number.

Not to belabor the point, but it's not the frog angle or number that is the determining factor on speed. Case in point is  Peco's line of c55 Electrofrog turnouts.  They have a small, medium and long radius. All of which share the same frog angle of 10deg. The issue lays with the radius of the diverting track and the angle the points divert from the stock rail.  The sharper either or both of those are, the more likely you could have issues. 

Jason



chicken45

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2014, 03:15:08 PM »
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No, turnouts are numbered by the diverging angle. A number 4 turnout has the diverging route moving away from the straight route 1 foot for every 4 feet you travel. A number 8 turnout moves one foot every 8 feet. You can measure that in inches or meters or whatever, it's the ratio that matters. 4:1, 5:1, 8:1 etc.
The higher the number the faster you can go, but there's no specific speed for a given turnout number.

I did a terrible job of saying that. I was getting was I thought I heard that turnout number * 2 = top speed through the turnout.
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TiVoPrince

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2014, 07:24:06 PM »
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If
you are not 'married' to code55 rail Kato Unitrak #6 turnouts take my Kato Amtrak F40s and Superliners and they run reliably at about 80% available speed in all directions...
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robert3985

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Re: Turnout # for 80' Passenger Cars
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2014, 05:05:21 AM »
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If
you are not 'married' to code55 rail Kato Unitrak #6 turnouts take my Kato Amtrak F40s and Superliners and they run reliably at about 80% available speed in all directions...

Personally, I AM married to code 55...and code 40.  I'd be happier with code 45 and code 35, or even code 55 and 40 drawn to an N-scale profile rather than an HO scale profile.  All RTR turnouts look like junk compared to my hand-laid turnouts...including Kato Unitrack (yecchhh!!) and my turnouts run smoother than any N-scale RTR turnouts I've EVER run.

And, mine cost me about two bucks apiece and a couple of hours to build and install.  WHAT A BARGAIN!!  :D