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Hello all. Newbie turnout question here. I am looking into getting a few turnouts for my outdoor brass 332 railroad. I have a variety of new Piko and USA Trains and some older Aristo. People generally seem to like LGB products but in the LGB manual for turnouts it has this paragraph:

"Important! LGB turnouts are designed for the wheels on LGB locomotives and cars. If you use other makes of locomotives and/or cars, they may derail when running through LGB turnouts."

Is this just LGB being cautious and do their R3 turnouts generally work well with Piko, USA Trains and Aristo cars and locos?

Thank you.

Kent
 

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One of the issues I have seen is the USA Trains sliders are a bit different than the LGB sliders/shoes and can catch on the frog. I have changed them to LGB shoes (63218) and problem was gone.
 

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... but in the LGB manual for turnouts it has this paragraph:

"Important! LGB turnouts are designed for the wheels on LGB locomotives and cars. If you use other makes of locomotives and/or cars, they may derail when running through LGB turnouts."
when LGB started in 1968, there was just one other model railroad in 45mm gauge. (as far, as i know)
that was "Marklin Maxi" (scale 1:32) with much smaller rails and much finer wheels.
the Maxi stuff tended to "fall" into the frogs of LGB turnouts.
i always thought, that was the reason for the warning.
 

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The LGB flangeways are pretty large. This causes point picking of the frog when some other wheel profiles are used. Not a uncommon issue in my experience, I have had quite a few customers mention that their equipment occasionally picks the point on an LGB turnout when inquiring if my turnouts would do the same.

Generally you don't have many issues when using non-LGB brand rolling stock on LGB turnouts, but the point picking issue is prevalent enough that it would be smart to test each car and loco several times though the frog and either not run the problematic items on the line or adjust the back-to-back wheel spacing more narrow to miss the frog point.

Best,
Mike
 

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Actually the key is that the LGB turnout with LGB cars was originally designed to be a "flange bearing" frog. That means that the wheel does not ride on it's tread through the frog, but on the flange. This requires matching between flange depth on the wheel and the depth of the flangeway on the frog.

I also run Z scale and that is what Marklin did.

There are a number of advantages to doing this, but it wants all wheels to be the same. One design is to put metal strips in the bottom of the flangeway, so the wheels (metal ones) can continue to pick up power through the frog. It's actually a clever idea to supply power through a frog, but it has it's limitations overall.

Clearly this is advantageous for short wheelbase locos with limited power pickup.

Greg

p.s. there is more to the story, the gauge specs, the wider flangeways, guard rail dimensions, but that is getting pretty involved.
 

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Let's just say that the LGB R3 turnouts are better, last longer, and cars track better through them, than many of their competitors including the 10' diameter AristoCraft turnouts.
 

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As a fellow Newbie, I have had excellent luck purchasing used LGB track but have gotten burned on every used Turn-out that I have purchased. Everyone of them acts finicky - which is why they were likely listed.
Not sure if anyone else has had this experience but I will never buy a used Turn-out again off the Internet.
 

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With modifications, virtually any turnout can be made to work well. My Aristo 10' diameter work better and smoother than the LGB R3, since I corrected guard rail flangway widths, and matched the points to the stock rails, and lowered frogs.

Can't argue with this: (I have left it running 5 hours at a time) (several WR switches in diverging route)

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your insights. It does not sound like a chronic problem anyway. If I have a car or two with issues out of my 20 cars, I can handle that. Thank you Bubba ... I was planning to buy new turnouts for that very reason. I bought a caboose on ebay that feeds from track power and it likes to pop 10 amp fuses.

This may be a loaded question, but are there 332 brass turnouts out there that you would recommend over LGB? FYI - I have 11 tie per foot spacing and am not looking to spend big bucks on custom turnouts.

Thank you.

Kent
 

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I have found that LGB turnouts need to be on a perfectly flat surface for smooth operation with the EPL drives added. And for good power pickups, the sliding rails get power from 2 places, the screw that turns with the points and the silver bar the rails slide on.
 

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One of the issues I have seen is the USA Trains sliders are a bit different than the LGB sliders/shoes and can catch on the frog. I have changed them to LGB shoes (63218) and problem was gone.
Interesting fix, Dan. I'll keep that one in mind. My USAT SD40-2 and GP30 shoes were catching on my LGB R3 and R5 frogs. I found that the USAT shoes just needed to be re-bent a little bit, as they were not a perfect "L". They also needed a little bending front to back as they were not perfectly square either. Now they run smooth as butter through all of my turnouts with no catching at all.

I haven't had too many problems with my LGB R3/R5 turnouts. If anything, they've highlighted issues with some of my locomotives/rolling stock. For example, the slider shoes on my PIKO were manufactured wide, so periodically it would short out at the frog of a turnout. So I just had to grind a little bit bit material from the slider shoes to skinny them up a bit. My SD40-2 was picking one of the R5 points, but it's was because the pivoting axle on the front of the 3 axle truck wasn't moving/sliding around as free as it should've been. Got it lubricated/freed up and it has gone hundreds if not thousands of times through that turnout with no problems since. So as stated, other than issues with the train itself, I have no significant issues to speak of with the turnouts themselves. Out of the box, they maybe just need a little bit of filing to smooth out the points where they meet the stockrails. I have four R3's on the inner loop that the mainline runs through and two R5's and one R3 on the mainline of the outer loop. I run for hours and hours at a time and I have a mix of LGB, USA Trains, Aristocraft, PIKO, Bachmann, locomotives and rolling stock.
 

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The width of sliders has always been an issue, wider keeps them on the rails more and helps to not hang up on things, but wider will also short out some frogs. Some people go wider and then put some extra insulation on the ends of the rail heads in the frog. This is normally fingernail lacquer, but now you have another maintenance issue, and are hurting short wheelbase locos.

Many people find a balance... my balance is remove them ha ha!
 

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The width of sliders has always been an issue, wider keeps them on the rails more and helps to not hang up on things, but wider will also short out some frogs. Some people go wider and then put some extra insulation on the ends of the rail heads in the frog. This is normally fingernail lacquer, but now you have another maintenance issue, and are hurting short wheelbase locos.

Many people find a balance... my balance is remove them ha ha!
You're right - and for my operations (with brass track) I like having the sliders as I have to clean the track much less often (since power pickup is MUCH improved). I especially love USAT power pickup, since you get pickup from 8 wheels PLUS 4 sliders! With sliders, I can go many weeks (depending on the time of year) without having to clean the track. Having the sliders helps knock some of the crud off the track too. So for me, making them work is important. But anyways, your mileage may vary, as they say!
 

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With modifications, virtually any turnout can be made to work well. My Aristo 10' diameter work better and smoother than the LGB R3, since I corrected guard rail flangway widths, and matched the points to the stock rails, and lowered frogs.

Can't argue with this: (I have left it running 5 hours at a time) (several WR switches in diverging route)

That consist is following that caboose way too close! HA HA
 

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I have found that LGB turnouts need to be on a perfectly flat surface for smooth operation with the EPL drives added. And for good power pickups, the sliding rails get power from 2 places, the screw that turns with the points and the silver bar the rails slide on.
Not good enough and will eventually fail. For reliability one must solder jumper wires between the stock rails and the point rails. Any "physical contact" is just a failure waiting to happen.

As for tracking, I add a "rail shim" (my own idea) that pins the outter wheels in place to keep the trains from derailing. My heavyweights will not run through AristoCraft 10' diameter turnouts without these in place, partially because I tried to lower the flangeway so the wheels don't ride up (they need too). I also use them on the back-to-back LGB 8' diameter turnouts to keep the heavyweights from derailing there too.

BTW, contrary to George's write-up, it had nothing to do with a bad flangeway and the turnouts were new when George photograghed my shim. It was all about alleviating derailments which it does quite nicely.



LGB 1600 tips
 

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Not good enough and will eventually fail. For reliability one must solder jumper wires between the stock rails and the point rails. Any "physical contact" is just a failure waiting to happen.

As for tracking, I add a "rail shim" (my own idea) that pins the outter wheels in place to keep the trains from derailing. My heavyweights will not run through AristoCraft 10' diameter turnouts without these in place, partially because I tried to lower the flangeway so the wheels don't ride up (they need too). I also use them on the back-to-back LGB 8' diameter turnouts to keep the heavyweights from derailing there too.

BTW, contrary to George's write-up, it had nothing to do with a bad flangeway and the turnouts were new when George photograghed my shim. It was all about alleviating derailments which it does quite nicely.



LGB 1600 tips
Good method, but the shim doesn't work in all cases. I shimmed my check rail flangeway as you did and it actually induced issues for me. Ended up removing the shim! Once again, your mileage may vary!

Also, if the check rail gets beat up (as mentioned on George Schreyer's site), I suspect it can be smoothed back out with light touches of the tip of a soldering iron (to lightly melt the plastic back in place). Careful with this though! I have repaired thinner broken LGB check rails successfully by lightly melting the plastic with the tip of a soldering iron. I don't see why it wouldn't be a suitable method for resmoothing the check rails surface after it is roughed/beat up from being hit by wheels.
 

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No changes in 10 years.

"improving" turnouts also needs proper wheel gauge and most importantly back to back.

If you improve the switch, without setting proper back to back, wasted effort.

It's a system, all the specifications work together... track and wheel

Greg
 

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On another note for power pickups on small engines, I add a car behind these engines with power pickups feeding the engine. My LGB engine/powered tenders run great with the power cable between the 2 units. I do this with my LGB track cleaner loco with a training power pickup car also.
 
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