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Hi,
 
I’m working on building a holding yard for trains.   Some of my trains require a minimum of 8’ diameter curves.  I have been told that LGB switches were best but they have become hard to find.  I found Aristo 10’ switches.  Are the good to run or should I stay away from them?  I have no corners tighter than 10’ on my mainline.
 
Thanks
 

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I've heard they are not that good, but I have no personal experience. I'm getting ready to put in a couple of switches and I've heard the USA Trains are good. I'm primarily considering the Parker Co. and Outback.
 

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I only have the Aristo wide radius switches (13 of them) on my layout and have been pretty happy with them. Beyond the iniitial grinding out the frog to make it deeper they work pretty well. The only problem I have had is the slider (since removed) on a USA dismal causing a short when moving slow. At half the price of most #6 switches, they are good bang for the buck.

-Brian
 

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There's a review of the Switchcrafters switch in the upcoming Garden Railways.

I ordered a couple of #6 and one #8 from him last year in code 250 aluminum.  They are very nice.

Here's a shot of the frog:


And a shot of the points:


The ties are made from some sort of composite.  The rails came painted.  

I've been very pleased with them.
 

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Although most folks seem to prefer the LGB switches, on the IPP&W ( see www.ovgrs.org ), all the LGB switches have been taken out of mainline service and replaced by Aristo switches mostly the wide radius ones.

The reason for this is simple ... both the LGB and Aristo require some significant work to make them operate properly but the LGB took more effort for us. They are both very sloppy at the checkgauge with the result that semi scale wheelsets derail on the diverging route - LGB's gargantuan flanges thick and deep have made their flangeway extra sloppy and a real pita to shim out tight.

Now the fixes for the Aristo ...
1) check the frog ... if it sits high then use a mill file to bring it level with the rails around it
2) now check the flangeways ... if they are too shallow, use a thin file and deepen them so that flanges do not bang on them. this is only a problem with the coarse wheelsets made by LGB, and to a slightly lesser extent, B'mann, USAT and Aristo.
3) take a look at the checkgauge at the frog - if it is too sloppy, shim the guardrail with thin styrene or brass to tighten it. There are no accepted standards here but if you use a semiscale wheelset as a guage it will quickly tell you if tightening is needed (we have found that perhaps 2/3 of all Aristo switches need the checkgauge tightened by shimming.
4) remove the switch throw mechanism and pitch in the garbage - you can do it at the time you install the switch or you can wait till next spring when it fails after sitting under snow for a few months - it is easier now. Make your own switch throw from your favourite materials.

We run battery power (and live steam) only so we do not care about continuity. If you run track power, rewire the switch by using extra contacts on your switch throw. if you do not do this, about the time that the original Aristo switch throw mechanism fails, so will the micro switches that route the power in the switch.

What does the Northland RR do ... we use Llagas Creek kits - half the price, no operating hassles and even after laying some ties and installing a throwbar, probably still less work than an Aristo. of course, it is code 215 aluminum rail. If I used code 332 rail I would be considering a third party such as Outback ... or maybe I would build my own.

Regards ... Doug
 

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I installed a pair of the LGB 18000 and these are great. No rework and my pair of SD-45's roll through at high speed with 5 Arsito streamlines behind them.
I
 

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I have had a combination of Aristo Wide Radius and No. 6 switches on the layout for years and have never had to pull one for maintenance yet.  They do sit on a solid sub-roadbed (concrete or Mainline Enterprise) and ballast.  I can't give you a comparison because they are the only switches I have.

I've probably cursed myself with the last statement/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif

The only derailments I've had were from the switches not being fully thrown because of ballast or other debris being caught in the points.
 

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For all out quality, LGB is pretty hard to beat for a pre-fab switch. Aristo's are shoddy in comparison. As mentioned before, the frog does not sit level with the railhead and wheel flanges, especially on LGB products, tend to ride up on their flanges through the switch because the flangeways in the frog are to shallow. As for USA, I havent had any experience with them. Another brand to check out is Accucraft. They have both #6 and #8 switches made to look like standard guage track and #6's made to look like narrow gauge. I have been told that they aren't out yet so I guess you'll have to wait for them. My outdoor line is completely Aristo except for the turnouts, which are LGB. Good Hunting!
 

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Posted By Joe Johnson on 02/20/2008 6:17 A

I've probably cursed myself with the last statement/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif
The only derailments I've had were from the switches not being fully thrown because of ballast or other debris being caught in the points.



Your post brought a good smile to my face Joe.  If this happens then blame Murphy, he already has a lot to answer for.  ;)
Debris is a rare problem as I check the ROW when cleaning and checking  *  before running.  But not fully thrown switches can be a problem especially as the switches age .  The most common cause, for me anyway, is human error: that is I forget to set the switch correctly.  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif

* Checking is good 1:1 RR practice. On my Heritage Railroad a linesman walks the seven miles each morning (single track mostly) before the trains commence their daily running. 
 

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I used all LGB 1600 and been very happy with them, hardly any problems with them. I'm trying USA #6 on my new layout so far been very happy with them also.
 

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I have all Aristos but they leave a lot to be desired for the average folks.  They can be reworked  to operate more smoothley.  I have reworked all mine.  The only problem with LBG could not get in SS had they been available I would have bought them as the brass ones I had worked flawlessly .  Switchcrafters looks like they would perform quite well and did notice that they seem to follow the proto type for samson switch points, Later RJD
 

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I have a page on all the tips for modifying Aristo WR switches. Click here for the page on my site. It's a bit of reading, but you will be happy if you follow the simple mods. Also, the Aristo motors are pretty poor. I converted to air power. If you keep the aristo's they are simple to repair, but very tough to make weather-resistant. You can swap LGB or other electric motors with better results. You might leave a switch yard with manual switches.

The fixes are pretty simple, and afterwards, they run smoother than my #6's.

Regards, Greg
 

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I only have 1 Aristo 10 foot diameter brass switch.  I changed all te wiring on the bottom to heavier duty wire as I run a pair of SD-45's and wanted 19 amp  wiring.

I added the EPL drive and I have had no problems with this switch on my outdoor New Englands layout.  In use for 4 years!!
 

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I have around 35 turnouts and most of them are Aristo. I have to work on them before they are installed, and continue to work on them all the time. By working on them to keep power running, pieces from falling off, and guage problems when I first get them they work fine. I put in LGB turnouts and run on them...... never do much of anything to them. I put in USA turnouts and run on them and never do much of anything to them. It is up to you..... do you like running trains or working on turnouts. To be fair even the 1:1 RRs have to work on their turnouts.
 

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Switchcrafters are nice looking but apparently do not have insulated frogs and thus cannot be used (as-is) with track power.   They even say they are designed  for battery powered layouts on their website.

Al
 

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I had some aristo's and they were totaly junk, LGB or PIKO switches are what I have, love them to death
 
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