The New Turnout

Months before Rokuhan finally released a new switch, I fabricated my own so the layout construction could continue. I began by carefully plotting the switch geometry using track planning software from AnyRail. I used a full-size print of the part to chop up pieces of track roadbed to match. Then I installed the stock rails.

I soldered two tapered pieces of rail together to make the frog point, then marked the shape of the frog on a piece of sheet nickel silver. After cutting out the frog base with a jeweler's saw, I soldered all of the parts together to complete the frog.

I attached the finished frog to the roadbed with a screw, allowing me to remove it as construction progressed. The next step was to make the points, which I fabricated from a single piece of sheet nickel silver; it took a few tries to get it right.

The points pivoted on a pin I mounted to the underside of the heel of the frog. The last step was to add guard rails, which I made from strip styrene.

A throw rod connected the points to a switch machine (removed from a regular turnout) mounted under the scenery a few inches away; the rod ran through a styrene tube. The red wire supplied power to the frog and points via the circuitry in the switch machine.


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