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Discussion Starter #1
On out layout, trains reach the mainline from a car storage barn via a long straight run of track. I recently added a passing siding to that long straight, so I could more easily manage shunting trains in and out of the car barn.



As soon as it was done, I realized it was a bit too small to manage the longest train likely to be in the barn. But I also realized I could extend it



So here's my question--can I cut down two aristo wide radius switches to do this:





In this picture, an aristo wide radius switch has been laid on top of the existing track. I want the siding to extend back to the right, on the top track, so a train can advance into the siding and then back up. You can see the wooden ladder with no track on it--that's where I want to extend the passing siding

So my question is will this work, is it doable? Or will I just end up destroying two perfectly usable switches? (Yes, I'll remove the Aristo switch throw!)

This won't be a mainline operation, strictly low speed shunting. As you can see, clearances are VERY tight--they have to be, given the available space. And yes, it's a terrible "S" curve, but I tested it--all my trains can make that turn, including two aristo 2-8-0's

It looks to me like I will have to cut the turnout rails on each switch, just at the end of the plastic box aristo uses to house the electrical connections.
 

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You're not alone.

A year ago, I was finalizing the track leads going into my new train shed and I considered the exact same thing. But it seemed that there wasn't much more than half an inch (one tie) that I could cut off anywhere on the Aristo switch that wouldn't require chopping off a bit of a guard rail or the curved rail, etc. The whole idea just didn't seem worth the effort and there was a definite feeling of "it's just not gonna work right". If it was an indoor layout on a surface that could take nails, I might have been more adventurous. But floating the turnouts in ballast would require a good fit that would "flow" properly to want to stay in place.

Also, the closer the parallel tracks, the further your stationary cars have to stay away from the crossing.

Admittedly, I was playing with an eight track yard. If it was only one or two switches, it might have been worth giving it a try. But I didn't feel I could pull it off.

JackM
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Glad to know I'm not the only one trying this.

I just realized I have an old LGB 1600 switch that might be easier to cut down, and when I lay it on the existing track the curve is identical. I may try that instead. I have an advantage here in that this is an elevated section of track, about two feet off the ground. And I'll only have to destroy one switch t try it out!
 

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Sure....

If you can handle the S curve, then go for it (although I'd sure like to know which rolling stock can, and I'll bet that backing through this will be a problem with almost anything except short cars and truck mounts, but who knows?)

What is the track to track spacing? Looks like about 6".... you won't be able to run 1:20.3 stuff on both adjacent tracks I think, but I believe you can go as tight as 13 scale feet, which is 5.3 inches if everything is to scale.

Let us know if you do it.

Greg
 

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It's going to depend on the length of your cars and the lateral play on the couplers. My dad's got switches like (LGB 1600) that in two of his yards, and he's got no trouble with "typical" LGB-length cars and body-mounted Kadee #1 couplers with fairly limited side-to-side play. I've got back-to-back Aristo 5' radius switches on the shelf railroad in my workshop, and I can get all my 1:20 freight stuff through there, but not my longer passenger cars. There's just not enough side-to-side play on the couplers. Kadee does make flexible mounts for the Aristo heavyweights and other long passenger cars specifically for that reason, so I'd say go for it, but be prepared to retool the couplers on your passenger cars if necessary.

Later,

K
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just managed to try it, thanks to daylight saving--I cut down the turnout on the LGB switch, and I was able to run an Aristo 4-6-2 (cut down to a 4-4-2) and two heavyweights back and forth with no glitches. I them tried two doubleheaded 2-8-0s built on Aristo drive blocks, pushing a track cleaner and pulling two heavyweights, and they also tracked through with no problems. I did modify the switch with a brass wrap on the guard rail, which I think helps a lot. I'm surprised it worked as well as it did.

I'll give it a more thorough test when there's daylight. I didn't even have time to clean the track--I just used some old brass track I had a round for the siding. It looks odd to have a brass LGB switch meeting a stainless Aristo switch, but it's in an area off the mainline and partly obscured.

The heavyweights have aristo truck mounted couplers, though I've shortened the tangs so they mount as closely as I think truck mounted couplers ever will. I'm still using truck mounted couplers on everything.




Kevin one of these heavyweights is part of the set I bought from your Dad. It had coupler mods done by you (I assume) involving a retracting spring. I took it off and replaced it withtwo wheel trucks.




The clearance is VERY tight. I:20 equipment will never make it. Fortunately I don't have any!
 

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From my preliminary research, 13 foot on center was the tightest spacing that was used. You are just a bit under that. Good use of space, I'm going to use that spacing on a storage yard.

Greg
 

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If model track turnouts, in all scales, were built to prototype specifications instead of being curved through the frog, a crossover such as the one you need would NOT be an S-Curve.

As an example, if you were to use AMS #6 turnouts, you'd find that they curve through the stock rails to the frog, then they're perfect straight from the guardrails through the end of the reverse leg. Putting two of them together produces a short large radius curve, a straight section from frog through frog, then a large radius curve from the frog to through the points.

It makes a tremendous difference, which is why the prototype doesn't make switches with curved reverse legs!

Robert
 
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