Author Topic: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?  (Read 1481 times)

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draskouasshat

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Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« on: November 25, 2018, 11:06:19 AM »
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Does anyone have a #8 FT jig for code 55 that would be willing to help me? Id like to buy a completed #8 turnout to test. I think it will be the perfect standard size for my layout and it's long wheelbase steam locomotives.
Our n scale turnout numbering system is way off the prototype and i keep second guessing what i should order.
Ill be buying the jig to get started on building my own stuff and honing my skills to build off of templates for any of my other needs.
I know this is kind of a want to buy post but figured this was the best place for it.
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robert3985

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2018, 01:59:42 PM »
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@draskouasshat , I don't think ya need to "test" a true #8 as your standard mainline turnout. It's what I chose as the minimum on my mainlines where long wheelbase steam locomotives and passenger trains would be traveling, although I use #7's and a few #6's where shorter wheelbase steam locomotives would be going, such as on the Park City Branch and on to the sand house track at the Echo Coaling Tower, my #8's look great as my Big Boys, Challengers, FEF's and 2-10-2's glide through them.

I build my turnouts off of downloadable templates from both Fast Tracks and Proto87Stores.  When I plop the templates on top of my scaled-down prototype turnout diagrams (see below), the rails are pretty much right where they should be on the Fast Tracks templates, except for any indication where the closure rail toes should be.  I'm going to assume that their milled fixtures are pretty much identical to their downloadable templates, so you could just download the PDF files from their site, print 'em out and see for yourself what size turnouts fit your requirements.

Where I could, I also made and installed some #10's and #12's...just because I had room, and on my prototype those were high-speed turnouts.  Plus, I like the obvious variety which is also prototypical for what I'm modeling.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll be totally happy with the #8's built from FT fixtures...or, if you have the room, and to be unique, you might want to consider #9's...just for the helluvit!  :D

Photo (1) - Just for shirts and giggles, here's a chart to compare prototype turnout lengths and proportions:



It's not that our N-scale numbering system is way off, it's the manufacturers who have constructed RTR turnouts to non-prototype proportions who are way off...Atlas C55 turnouts being a case in point, all of them being way too short between the frog point and the closure point heels.  On the other hand, ME #6 C55's are spot-on for being correctly proportioned (I've checked 'em).

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 02:47:15 PM by robert3985 »

draskouasshat

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2018, 03:33:50 PM »
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thanks bob. I will move into using the paper templates but for now, id like consistency in my turnouts and I believe the FT jigs will help with that until I pick up the new skill. ill have a couple curved turnouts at summit ill be building so this is why im starting with the jig to get going.

Drasko
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robert3985

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2018, 01:57:05 AM »
+1
thanks bob. I will move into using the paper templates but for now, id like consistency in my turnouts and I believe the FT jigs will help with that until I pick up the new skill. ill have a couple curved turnouts at summit ill be building so this is why im starting with the jig to get going.

Drasko

What I was saying in my usual overly verbose manner,  :D is that to check how a Fast Tracks #8...or any other Fast Tracks turnout will fit on your layout, you can download their paper templates from their site and print them at 100%.  I am sure their templates are exactly the same proportions as their aluminum fixtures, so there won't be any surprises when you use their fixtures to build your mainline turnouts, whatever number you decide on.

I included a prototype turnout chart in my previous reply that is scaled-down prototype drawings for you to check the Fast Tracks templates against to make sure they're correctly proportioned before you spring for the big bucks and buy the FT jigs, fixtures and tools.  I was not intending for you to use that chart to make templates and build your turnouts on top of 'em...although I've done that many times.

However, I'm pretty sure the Fast Tracks turnouts are very very close to being protoypically proportioned as far as how the rails are placed in relationship to each other.

@

 Hey Bob, I have that same template sheet and was thinking about where it came from. If I remember right, it came in a NMRA Bulletin back in the '80 or '90's. I've used it a lot over the years building turnouts.

 

Nope.  This was the centerfold of the September/October 1994 N-Scale magazine, with turnouts reduced to N scale from the Engineering and Maintenance of Way Cyclopedia. I've used it hundreds of times to make turnouts too...the dots adjacent to the ties on the #6, #7,#8 and #10 turnouts are indicators I put there for where my PCB ties are located.

rodsup9000

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2018, 02:54:47 AM »
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Thanks Bob, I knew it came in a magazine, just forgot what one. 
Rodney

My Feather River Canyon in N-scale
http://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31585.0

draskouasshat

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 10:25:54 AM »
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I got ya Bob. The fitment isn't what i was after. Im actually using it to run my steam locomotives through to test reliability before i decide on that size. Cajon pass had what looked like real #10s all over it and my minds eye sets that as a #8 in our terms.
I want to see how my steam handles this turnout before i order the jig.

Rodney i need to get up to your house!

Drasko
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robert3985

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2018, 09:30:59 PM »
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I got ya Bob. The fitment isn't what i was after. Im actually using it to run my steam locomotives through to test reliability before i decide on that size. Cajon pass had what looked like real #10s all over it and my minds eye sets that as a #8 in our terms.
I want to see how my steam handles this turnout before i order the jig.

Drasko


Drasko @draskouasshat , Since the effective diverging radius of an N-scale #8 turnout built to prototype standards is 38.02", I doubt very much that your long-wheelbase steam engines are going to have a problem negotiating them.

Interestingly, just going with #9's instead, will increase the effective diverging radius to 51.29", which would be a noticeably larger radius.

Just for the sake of comparison, a #10 has an effective diverging radius of 64.40".

When building turnouts to a strict NMRA standard, you'll quickly find that almost ALL engines are not gauged properly and will bounce over the frogs.  A properly proportioned hand-laid turnout clearance-checked with the N-scale NMRA "gage" will cause you to have to make sure your motive power is nearly perfectly gauged, if you haven't done that already.  I don't view this as a "problem" and you'll be rewarded by your trains gliding over your hand-built turnouts smoother and more reliably than with any RTR turnout.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore



« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 02:05:52 AM by robert3985 »

jdcolombo

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2018, 10:48:53 PM »
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FWIW . . .

I have built #6 turnouts using a FastTracks jig, and #4's using a paper template.  All my steam locos, which include Walthers/LL Berkshires; Bachmann Berkshires; a Kato UP FEF; a Kato GS4; two Bachman EM-1's; a Walthers N&W 2-8-8-2; and an Athearn Challenger and Big Boy negotiate the #6's as smooth as silk.  They will even negotiate the #4's without problem (I don't use my big steam power for switching duties which will encounter the #4's, but just as a test, I ran the Berks and the Big Boy over them just to see).   By the way, these engines routinely have issues with Atlas Code 55 #5's, which just aren't built very well, IMHO.

All modern plastic steam locos are advertised as being capable of negotiating 12"-radius curves, though I have found that my Berks are more comfortable with 13" radius minimums.  Some rigid-wheelbase brass, like a C&O T1 (2-10-4) might require a higher minimum - my Key brass Berkshire requires 16" if I have the tender mounted at its closest (and most prototypically correct) position.  But as Bob has pointed out, the diverging radius of a #8 turnout is WAY more than this.  There is no N-scale steam loco I'm aware of, including rigid-wheelbase brass, that would have any problem whatsoever on a #8 turnout built to NMRA standards.

Of course, there is a difference between operating well and LOOKING like the prototype.  Mainline turnouts on prototype railroads - for passing sidings, for example - are typically VERY high numbers, with #16's (allowing 40 mph speed through the turnout) or #20's (good for 50 mph) common.  So if you are after the prototype look as opposed to simply excellent operation, a #8 won't do it.  A #12 would be more appropriate for getting the mainline passing-siding look.

But as Bob noted, what you WILL have to do regardless of the turnout number you use is take an NMRA wheel gauge to EVERYTHING and make sure the wheels are EXACTLY in gauge.  I've found that the drivers tend to be pretty much spot on with modern N scale steam (e.g., anything built after 1995).  But trailing truck wheels, pilot truck wheels, and especially tender wheels are often severely out of gauge.  Ditto for diesels - I have never bought a diesel loco from a mainstream manufacturer (Atlas, IM, FVM and BLI) that had the wheels correctly gauged; they are almost always a tad narrow.  Why this is so hard to get right at the factory I do not know.  But apparently it is.

John C.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 10:50:40 PM by jdcolombo »

garethashenden

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2018, 12:45:32 AM »
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Drasko @draskouasshat , Since the effective diverging radius of an N-scale #8 turnout built to prototype standards is 38.02", I doubt very much that your long-wheelbase steam engines are going to have a problem negotiating them.

Interestingly, just going with #9's instead, will increase the effective diverging radius to 51.29", which would a noticeably larger radius.

Just for the sake of comparison, a #10 has an effective diverging radius of 64.40".

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

Fast Tracks state that the diverging radius of their #8 turnout is 36”. It’s near the top of the paper template.

draskouasshat

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2018, 05:29:43 PM »
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FWIW . . .

I have built #6 turnouts using a FastTracks jig, and #4's using a paper template.  All my steam locos, which include Walthers/LL Berkshires; Bachmann Berkshires; a Kato UP FEF; a Kato GS4; two Bachman EM-1's; a Walthers N&W 2-8-8-2; and an Athearn Challenger and Big Boy negotiate the #6's as smooth as silk.  They will even negotiate the #4's without problem (I don't use my big steam power for switching duties which will encounter the #4's, but just as a test, I ran the Berks and the Big Boy over them just to see).   By the way, these engines routinely have issues with Atlas Code 55 #5's, which just aren't built very well, IMHO.

All modern plastic steam locos are advertised as being capable of negotiating 12"-radius curves, though I have found that my Berks are more comfortable with 13" radius minimums.  Some rigid-wheelbase brass, like a C&O T1 (2-10-4) might require a higher minimum - my Key brass Berkshire requires 16" if I have the tender mounted at its closest (and most prototypically correct) position.  But as Bob has pointed out, the diverging radius of a #8 turnout is WAY more than this.  There is no N-scale steam loco I'm aware of, including rigid-wheelbase brass, that would have any problem whatsoever on a #8 turnout built to NMRA standards.

Of course, there is a difference between operating well and LOOKING like the prototype.  Mainline turnouts on prototype railroads - for passing sidings, for example - are typically VERY high numbers, with #16's (allowing 40 mph speed through the turnout) or #20's (good for 50 mph) common.  So if you are after the prototype look as opposed to simply excellent operation, a #8 won't do it.  A #12 would be more appropriate for getting the mainline passing-siding look.

But as Bob noted, what you WILL have to do regardless of the turnout number you use is take an NMRA wheel gauge to EVERYTHING and make sure the wheels are EXACTLY in gauge.  I've found that the drivers tend to be pretty much spot on with modern N scale steam (e.g., anything built after 1995).  But trailing truck wheels, pilot truck wheels, and especially tender wheels are often severely out of gauge.  Ditto for diesels - I have never bought a diesel loco from a mainstream manufacturer (Atlas, IM, FVM and BLI) that had the wheels correctly gauged; they are almost always a tad narrow.  Why this is so hard to get right at the factory I do not know.  But apparently it is.

John C.

john,
modern mainline turnouts are more like #24s although there are some older 20s and even 152 still out there. all new installations on the BNSF for crossovers and sidings is usually a 24.
Also, a #16 is most definetly not good for 40. ill have to look at some timetables for an exact speed restriction but 40 is waaaay too high. thats whats on a 24 as of now.

Im modeling cajon pass so all mainline crossovers are short, maybe a #10 proto but maybe a #15 max. 1947 cajon looks alot different than modern day cajon with higher speed switces.

#8s seem to be what should fit the bill in regards to proto look and large rigid wheelbase steam.

Mark W sold me a swict and hopefully ill see it this week and set it up for testing.

Drasko
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jdcolombo

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2018, 06:16:14 PM »
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john,
modern mainline turnouts are more like #24s although there are some older 20s and even 152 still out there. all new installations on the BNSF for crossovers and sidings is usually a 24.
Also, a #16 is most definetly not good for 40. ill have to look at some timetables for an exact speed restriction but 40 is waaaay too high. thats whats on a 24 as of now.

Drasko

Yep, you're right.  I was looking at the wrong row of a table.  Rough rule of thumb is that maximum speed on diverging route is twice the turnout number, but RR's often use speeds lower than that to minimize wear.

In any event, from a modeling perspective, you should have zero problems running any steam through a properly-constructed #8.

John C.

peteski

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2018, 06:21:32 PM »
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If Drasko has enough room for an uncompressed (distance-wise) layout then I think he has a right idea to use turnouts equivalent to what would be used on 1:1 railroad.  :)  The models going over those turrnouts will look just liek 1:1 locos traversing a 1:1 scale turnout. Awesome!
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robert3985

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2018, 06:45:20 AM »
+1
Fast Tracks state that the diverging radius of their #8 turnout is 36”. It’s near the top of the paper template.

Since I downloaded my FT turnout templates in 2014, the version I had was 1.02, and the effective diverging track radius is not included on the PDF's.  This caused me to go to the FT site and take a peek at what is there now as far as track templates are concerned, and the version on nearly all of the new drawings is version 2.00...with lots of interesting and useful information included, including the effective diverging track radius on most turnouts.

I thought it was interesting, because the information I used to get the diverging track radius was contained in the box in the chart that I uploaded to my initial comment here...from the "Engineering and Maintenance of Way Cyclopedia", which lists the diverging centerline radius of the diverging tracks for #8's as "509.39' ", for #9's as "683.95' " and for #10's as "845.68' "...which when converted to 1/160th scale equals an N-scale diverging track radius of 38.024" (#8), 51.29" (#9), and 64.40" (#10).

Did this mean that since Fast Tracks says their turnouts are built to NMRA standards, that the NMRA's diverging track radius is different than a scaled-down prototype turnout??

I decided to take a closer look at the NMRA's "Recommended Practices" page.

When I looked at the information contained in the NMRA bulletins RP-12 Turnouts - General - (2/2015), and RP-12x (zip file contains 12.1 to 12.54) (2/2015) I found some interesting and disturbing information which changed my assumptions about NMRA turnout standards.

Hmmmm...the NMRA lists two turnout standards for N-scale turnouts (1) "Fine:N Scale" and (2) "N Scale"...and most of the turnout measurements for these two standards are different.

Even the diverging track radius is different between the two NMRA standards, with the diverging radius of a "Fine:N Scale" #8 turnout being 33.374" as opposed to the NMRA "N Scale" equivalent at 31.94", both dimensions being significantly smaller than what Fast Tracks gives you at 36".  Prototype equivalent diverging track radius is 38.024"

Even worse for the NMRA is the diverging track radius of an NMRA "Fine:N Scale" and "N Scale" #9 turnout, listed respectively as 42.183" and 40.333", as opposed to the Fast Tracks product which is at 50".  Prototype equivalent diverging track radius is 51.29",

Finally, for a #10 turnout, NMRA "Fine:N Scale" and "N Scale" turnouts are listed respectively as 53.837" and 51.524", as opposed to the Fast Track #10 product which is 64".  Prototype equivalent diverging track radius is 64.400"

It's late, and I didn't check the other dimensional and clearance differences between the NMRA's two standards, Fast Tracks and prototype equivalent, but it is pretty clear that the NMRA's two standards aren't even close to equivalent prototype dimensions at least for the diverging track radii. 

The opposite side of the coin is that turnouts made from Fast Tracks fixtures are MUCH closer to the equivalent prototype dimensions for diverging track radii than turnouts built to NMRA Standards...either NMRA "Fine:N Scale" or plain ol' NMRA "N Scale" standards.

This is a discovery for me, and I've always claimed that I built my turnouts to a "tight" NMRA standard, which evidently isn't true. 

HOWEVER, the NMRA sells only one (1) N Scale RP-2 track "gage"...the Mark IV, for checking such essential clearances at flangeway width and depth, point toe width, and check gauge...all of which are different from each other in both "Fine:N Scale" and "N Scale".

I use the N-scale Mark IV RP-2 "Gage" when checking clearances on each and every turnout I make, and make all of my clearances "tight" so that the gage's feelers and nubs have an interference fit.  Truthfully, I've never felt the need to actually measure the nubs and notches on NMRA's gage, so I don't know exactly what the measurements are on my turnouts. 

All I know is that my turnouts function excellently using the "interference fit" protocol when building them, and proportioning them very close to how prototype turnouts are built.

Fast Tracks states in their literature that their turnouts are built to NMRA standards, but this doesn't appear to be correct, and in this case, it's a good thing. 

I'm guessing that Fast Tracks, like me and others who use reduced-to-N-scale paper templates of prototype drawings, have made our turnouts proportioned very closely to what the real deal looks like, but used the NMRA clearance "gage" to establish our product as NMRA compliant so that our rolling stock and motive power equipped with NMRA compliant wheels, will run reliably on our tracks.  An added benefit from doing it this way instead of adhering to all of the NMRA's turnout dimensions, are turnouts that will run prototype-proportioned equipment more reliably because the relationship between the equipment and the track remains the same no matter what volume it occupies.  In other words, reliable operation for prototype turnouts is much the same for N scale turnouts, and fiddling with the basic proportions is just asking for reliability problems.

These discoveries makes me feel even better about Fast Tracks, and in the future, I am going to more fully endorse their fixtures and construction methods (with a few exceptions) to anyone wanting to get into hand-laying their own track.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 11:24:15 AM by robert3985 »

garethashenden

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Re: Who has a fasttracks #8 jig for code 55?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2018, 10:13:24 AM »
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Since I downloaded my FT turnout templates in 2014, the version I had was 1.02, and the effective diverging track radius is not included on the PDF's.  This caused me to go to the FT site and take a peek at what is there now as far as track templates are concerned, and the version on nearly all of the new drawings is version 2.00...with lots of interesting and useful information included, including the effective diverging track radius on most turnouts.

I thought it was interesting, because the information I used to get the diverging track radius was contained in the box in the chart that I uploaded to my initial comment here...from the "Engineering and Maintenance of Way Cyclopedia", which lists the diverging centerline radius of the diverging tracks for #8's as "509.39' ", for #9's as "683.95' " and for #10's as "845.68' "...which when converted to 1/160th scale equals an N-scale diverging track radius of 38.024" (#8), 51.29" (#9), and 64.40" (#10).

Did this mean that since Fast Tracks says their turnouts are built to NMRA standards, that the NMRA's diverging track radius is different than a scaled-down prototype turnout??

I decided to take a closer look at the NMRA's "Recommended Practices" page.

When I looked at the information contained in the NMRA bulletins RP-12 Turnouts - General - (2/2015), and RP-12x (zip file contains 12.1 to 12.54) (2/2015) I found some interesting and disturbing information which changed my assumptions about NMRA turnout standards.

Hmmmm...the NMRA lists two turnout standards for N-scale turnouts (1) "Fine:N Scale" and (2) "N Scale"...and most of the turnout measurements for these two standards are different.

Even the diverging track radius is different between the two NMRA standards, with the diverging radius of a "Fine:N Scale" #8 turnout being 33.374" as opposed to the NMRA "N Scale" equivalent at 31.94", both dimensions being significantly smaller than what Fast Tracks gives you at 36".  Prototype equivalent diverging track radius is 38.024"

Even worse for the NMRA is the diverging track radius of an NMRA "Fine:N Scale" and "N Scale" #9 turnout, listed respectively as 42.183" and 40.333", as opposed to the Fast Tracks product which is at 50".  Prototype equivalent diverging track radius is 51.29",

Finally, for a #10 turnout, NMRA "Fine:N Scale" and "N Scale" turnouts are listed respectively as 53.837" and 51.524", as opposed to the Fast Track #10 product which is 64".  Prototype equivalent diverging track radius is 64.400"

It's late, and I didn't check the other dimensional and clearance differences between the NMRA's two standards, Fast Tracks and prototype equivalent, but it is pretty clear that the NMRA's two standards aren't even close to equivalent prototype dimensions at least for the diverging track radii. 

The opposite side of the coin is that turnouts made from Fast Tracks fixtures are MUCH closer to the equivalent prototype dimensions for diverging track radii than turnouts built to NMRA Standards...either NMRA "Fine:N Scale" or plain ol' NMRA "N Scale" standards.

This is a discovery for me, and I've always claimed that I built my turnouts to a "tight" NMRA standard, which evidently isn't true. 

HOWEVER, the NMRA sells only one (1) N Scale RP-2 track "gage"...the Mark IV, for checking such essential clearances at flangeway width and depth, point toe width, and check gauge...all of which are different each other in both "Fine:N Scale" and "N Scale".

I use the N-scale Mark IV RP-2 "Gage" when checking clearances on each and every turnout I make, and make all of my clearances "tight" so that the gage's feelers and nubs have an interference fit.  Truthfully, I've never felt the need to actually measure the nubs and notches on NMRA's gage, so I don't know exactly what the measurements are on my turnouts. 

All I know is that my turnouts function excellently using the "interference fit" protocol when building them, and proportioning them very close to how prototype turnouts are built.

Fast Tracks states in their literature that their turnouts are built to NMRA standards, but this doesn't appear to be correct, and in this case, is a good thing. 

I'm guessing that Fast Tracks, like me and others who use reduced-to-N-scale paper templates of prototype drawings, have made our turnouts proportioned very closely to what the real deal looks like, but used the NMRA clearance "gage" to establish our product as NMRA compliant so that our rolling stock and motive power equipped with NMRA compliant wheels, will run reliably on our tracks.  An added benefit from doing it this way instead of adhering to all of the NMRA's turnout dimensions, are turnouts that will run prototype-proportioned equipment more reliably because the relationship between the equipment and the track remains the same no matter what volume it occupies.  In other words, reliable operation for prototype turnouts is much the same for N scale turnouts, and fiddling with the basic proportions is just asking for reliability problems.

These discoveries makes me feel even better about Fast Tracks, and in the future, I am going to more fully endorse their fixtures and construction methods (with a few exceptions) to anyone wanting to get into hand-laying their own track.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore



I’m not sure that actual Proto:160 standards are needed, but something more accurate would be nice.
I’ve done a few experiments based off of the 2mm Association’s standards but regauged to 9mm. It looks nice, but every axle has to be reguaged. True scale track gauge seems to be 8.97mm, I wonder if I made if 8.5 or so if anyone would notice. Might not have to reguage everything then. But that’s a different discussion.