Author Topic: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale  (Read 1508 times)

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Maletrain

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2019, 11:26:55 AM »
+2
While I really do appreciate Bob's trackwork, I simply don't have the time left in my life to make and get to operate a layout of the size that I want with trackwork that has Bob's level of detail.  So, I need to make compromises.  For me, the over-tall rail is the most eye-catching thing after the stamped point rail hinges and cast frogs+guardrails are eliminated.  So, hand made code 40 turnouts come in as second to handmade turnouts in general.  But, I really like the idea of noticeable differences in track height between mainlines and secondary trackage, so I will probably use code 55 for mainlines, even though it is too tall, even if my (much more extensive) secondary tracks can be code 40.

Tie plates and spikes are nice details only when they are rendered in something that looks prototypical.  Otherwise, they just scream "toy train" like the stamped switch point hinges.  Unfortunately, actual usable sized steel spikes to hold down rails are too big for N scale, too.  So, unless somebody makes a product that marries the Peco system for burying rail bases into ties for gauging with the details like Central Valley uses for their tie strips on the surfaces of the ties, we are stuck with the choice of forever striving to build a museum or operating our model railroads at some time in our lives.

With the foregoing as explanation, I will tell you that I would buy a significant number of code 40 turnouts that are pretty much what I could produce with a bunch of Fast Tracks tools that I don't (yet?) own. 

I will also say that I would be interested in some frets of tie plate with N scale spike details and prototypical rail joint plates that I could add to some special trackage close to the front of the layout where I could pose models for pictures.  If a line of those was sold separately, they could be used to turn as many or as few of the no-detail Fast Tracks type turnouts into detailed models as individuals wish to spend the money and time to obtain.

But, lack of those details is not going to stop me from buying good looking, good operating code 40 (or code 55) turnouts.  But, expensive inclusion of those detail on all of the ready-made Fast Tracks type turnouts would definitely limit the number that I would purchase.

C855B

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2019, 11:52:11 AM »
0
... I will also say that I would be interested in some frets of tie plate with N scale spike details and prototypical rail joint plates that I could add to some special trackage close to the front of the layout where I could pose models for pictures.  If a line of those was sold separately, ...

http://www.proto87.com/N_scale_turnouts_and_track.html
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

CRL

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2019, 08:25:50 PM »
0
Since my personal n-scale preferences are towards a good general effect level of scenery combined with operational reliability, I’m satisfied using Peco code 55 track and turnouts. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate those of you that enjoy hand laying everything, and if I was modeling On3, I’d be taking that approach. But given my n-scale priorities, it’s not necessary for me to be happy.

Basically, if I don’t notice a glaring difference from a 2’+ viewing distance, it’s not going to annoy me enough to justify the time and effort.

wazzou

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2019, 10:10:55 PM »
0
But given my n-scale priorities, it’s not necessary for me to be happy.


Whhaaaaat?  :facepalm:



I know, context is important.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 10:12:37 PM by wazzou »
Bryan

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Point353

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2019, 11:50:40 PM »
0
Micro Engineering made a really GREAT decision (irony) to increase the size of the "spikeheads" on both C40 and C55 flex for added durability I suppose, which in C40, makes it virtually unusable for anything but engines and cars equipped with actual low-profile flanges.  This means that such common engines such as Kato F's, Kato E's, Atlas GP-7's and 9's, and many others won't run on it...at all.  Their flanges hit each and every spikehead molded into the new C40 flex. 

The lack of tie plate and spike details on hand laid PCB C40 track really bugs me, so on my foreground mainline trackage, I'm using new Micro Engineering flex with the big inside spike heads carefully sanded down with a NWSL "The Detail Sander" stick.  This allows (so far) my test engines to run smoothly without hitting the spikes, and I like the way the track looks better too.  I'm considering sanding down the outside spikeheads just for the improved cosmetics.

So, it isn't just a matter of having RTR turnouts in C40 to "use" C40 rails on your model railroad.  Your choices are very limited.  Will you use Micro Engineering C40 flex (and sand down the spike heads so that your engines and cars will actually RUN ON IT?!?...and enjoy the look of having tie plates and spikes on your non-turnout trackage??...

Since I am now running only my own trains with low-pros on every car and fairly low-pro flanges on most of my motive power, I am now using ME C40 flex as mainline siding and spur trackage, but with filed-down inside spikeheads.  Guests who bring their own trains are warned that only low-pro wheelsets will run on the layout.

So, "using code 40 track" is not as simple as it may seem at first, since mere turnout availability doesn't answer all the potential problems.
What engines have you found, if any, that will run on the latest version of ME C40 flex without either having to sand down the spike heads on the track or reduce the depth of the flanges on the engine wheels?

Chris333

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2019, 12:14:39 AM »
0
I'd like some decent code 55 turnouts first.  :P

robert3985

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2019, 12:23:05 AM »
0
What engines have you found, if any, that will run on the latest version of ME C40 flex without either having to sand down the spike heads on the track or reduce the depth of the flanges on the engine wheels?

When installing the ME C40 center siding track, I was using a Kato F-3 as my electrical/mechanical test engine.  I run an assortment of engines on my layout, all types specific to my ten year time window between 1947 through 1956, so my engines are a combination of brass imports, Kato, Athearn, Atlas, Bachmann, LL and Broadway Limited, including GP-7's, GP-9's, Alco FA/FB's, E's, PA's, F3's, F7's and F9's, Big Boys, FEF's, Light MacArthurs, Harriman Era Consolidations and several early Alco S-series switchers according to U.P.'s odd helper engine assignments up the Wasatch Grade.

Truth is, I didn't test all of my engines on the section of track I was installing, since my main concern was getting my test engines to run first. I sanded the spikeheads carefully and progressively, testing as I went...until my Kato F3 and my Atlas GP-9 test engines ran unobstructed.  Since the center siding's east end three-turnout entrance is finished and the west end isn't, I haven't run all of my engines yet on the sanded-down ME C40 flex, but there is still plenty of spike material left to sand down if I run into interference problems when the siding is complete.

In other words, I just kept sanding until my test engines didn't bump spikeheads.

Luckily, I don't have any engines that have extra-deep flanges so I'm not planning on having clearance problems after I test everything when the siding is complete.  I am not going to replace any wheelsets, or turn flanges down on my motive power, but none of my rolling stock run pizza cutters, with most of them slowly having their plastic wheelsets replaced with FVM narrow tread lo-pro brass wheelsets.

Wish I could answer your question more definitively, but the trick is...just keep sanding until your chosen engine runs on it!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 12:27:17 AM by robert3985 »

ednadolski

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2019, 12:55:58 AM »
0
Thanks dudes for your many great responses! I have to admit that I would not have thought that the interest level would be this high, but it sure is great to see. Apparently there is some untapped potential in C40 track, and the lack of available turnouts has been a limiting factor holding things back.

I'll take a pass at summing up the key points (if I miss anything important, please LMK):

- Most common sizes: #6, #8, #10, based upon a standard geometry - possible something like this pic that @robert3985  posted:



- DCC friendly w/isolated frog and proper point rail polarity

- NMRA-compliant dimensions (avoid oversized flangeways)

- Levels of detail/pricing (all unpainted):
   - Economy/Skeleton - unwired, but complete and functional
   Price $20-$25
   - Moderate - Above w/attached (wood) ties and frog wire
        Price $30-$35
   - Craftsman - Above w/full tieplates & details (Frankly there doesn't seem to be much interest in this, and it may be too labor-intensive, but perhaps some kind of add-on kit could work.)
        Price $45-$50

- No curved/crossings/wye/slips etc.

- Usable w/ ME C40 flex (ie, height matches)

- Challenges:
   - Finding a way to construct reasonable quantities at acceptable cost (mostly labor, tho an etched tieplate strip could get pricey)
   - Inherently more delicate than commercial plastic TOs
   - How to pragmatically make a reliable throwbar


So, "using code 40 track" is not as simple as it may seem at first, since mere turnout availability doesn't answer all the potential problems.

Agreed, and it would not be practical to try to address them all.   WRT wheel flanges, low-profiles would probably be a requirement.  Making compromises to accommodate oversized flanges would affect reliability, and since Code 40 is all about appearance, pizza-cutters don't really align with that objective anyways.


I'd like some decent code 55 turnouts first.  :P

At this point the discussion about Code 40 turnouts is informational.  I have an interest in doing some sort of compact layout in N scale with Code 40 track, and I am also interested in building on the learning that I had done with my previous project to build a detailed turnout (which was Code 55).  If I have some idea of what the general interests are for Code 40 turnouts, then I can try to factor those in when making design choices in current & future projects.  It's a matter of starting small, and then see if anything grows out of it ;)

Cheers,
Ed

ednadolski

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2019, 01:01:26 AM »
0
When installing the ME C40 center siding track, I was using a Kato F-3 as my electrical/mechanical test engine.  I run an assortment of engines on my layout, all types specific to my ten year time window between 1947 through 1956, so my engines are a combination of brass imports, Kato, Athearn, Atlas, Bachmann, LL and Broadway Limited, including GP-7's, GP-9's, Alco FA/FB's, E's, PA's, F3's, F7's and F9's, Big Boys, FEF's, Light MacArthurs, Harriman Era Consolidations and several early Alco S-series switchers according to U.P.'s odd helper engine assignments up the Wasatch Grade.

Whew, that would be a long list to have to convert to low-profile wheels!   Do all those operate properly on NMRA-compliant turnouts?

Ed


robert3985

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2019, 05:07:24 AM »
0
Whew, that would be a long list to have to convert to low-profile wheels!   Do all those operate properly on NMRA-compliant turnouts?

Ed

And I left out a few like Challengers, turbines and Fairbanks-Morse units!

Yes, all of them operate great through both my C55 and C40 hand laid turnouts, and my PCB hand laid C40 trackage.

My bench-made turnouts are "tight" NMRA compliant in all clearance aspects except at the point rail toes at the throwbar.  I make those "gaps" smaller but not "Proto160" small since the point rails are the same polarity as their adjacent stock rails, there isn't any need for the gap to be so huge as is the NMRA standard.  For sure I make sure the check-gauge at the frog is right on too for both straight and diverging trackage. 

What I mean by "tight" is that when using my NMRA Mark IV Standards Gage, the tabs on the "gage" when run through the spaces such as between the guard rails and adjacent stock rails, or between the frog point and the wing rails...it's an "interference" fit...I can get the tab through, but the tab is always touching both rails on either side of the gap, and sometimes is a bit difficult to drag through.

For my application, since I make sure every one of my engines is exactly properly gauged, the "tight" clearances make the trains roll through much smoother than if a turnout is built to accommodate out-of-gauge wheelsets, which most current RTR turnouts do since the vast majority of off-the-shelf engines have at least one out-of-gauge wheelset if run fresh out of the box.

I just assume that new engines are out of gauge and check 'em and fix 'em before putting them on the layout.

I've never had an engine not work on my "tight" turnouts after gauging its wheelsets...and all of them run silky smooth through all the turnouts.

I don't worry about checking rolling stock, as only a very few cars that I've ever had were out of gauge...and those were brass imports.

I've read countless posts on different blogs about turnout problems, with certain engines "hopping" at the frog or catching the point toes, but when the poster is put through the logic-train (haha) of how to determine whether it's a turnout problem, or a motive power problem, it's almost always out of gauge wheelsets, because inexperienced (and experienced) model railroaders often assume that their new engine is properly gauged.  They haven't figured out that if everything except one or two cars or engines doesn't make it through a section of track or a turnout, it's not the track's problem.

I also don't adhere to NMRA standards when setting the position of the point rail heel blocks and hinges.  Using Andy's Tri-Planed point rails, and his etched heel block hinges, I can put them exactly where they prototypically should be so far in my #6's, #8's and #4 Wyes I've made using both products.

By the way, I think offering your turnouts at different levels of detail is a great idea as well as offering additional parts for the purchaser to do it himself.

I am convinced that Proto87Stores' detail frets are not too successful because their details are too flat, and Andy has not proportioned them properly...they don't protrude from the rail foot far enough (they're not wide enough) when I compare them to photos of real mainline trackage.

This is a really exciting idea you're mulling over in your head, and I hope it comes to fruition!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 11:03:40 AM by robert3985 »

Bill H

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Re: Commercial Code 40 turnouts for N scale
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2019, 10:12:04 AM »
+1
Don't want to put too much drift in the thread, but as far as turnout build standards, I have to agree with Bob Gilmore. I am a code 40 guy from the start after getting back into the hobby in the late eighties previously suffering from post-Mehano frustration. Been building my own from scratch or from fast tracks jigs and always hold the turnout tight to the NMRA gauge as Bob describes. Also agree on the point rail gaps, the NMRA spec is about twice what it should be if the wheels are all in spec.

Kind regards,
Bill