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Scale Rails of SW Florida Trainroom

Layout, Turnouts and Track

Track plan of LA Division 1
Track plan of the Joint Line
Track plan of Staging
Track plan of N Scale Layout
The track and turnout standards have evolved from the early years.  We are Code 83 nickel silver, mainly Atlas flex track.  In the early years we used all Shinohara turnouts.  To improve reliablility we have gone to Fast Tracks for all #5, #6 turnouts for HO, Hon3 and Dual Gauge.  The solid point rails on the Fast Tracks turnouts are outstanding.  We also use all electro-frog turnouts with powered frogs off the tortoise switch machines.  No power routing turnouts are allowed on the layout.  In new wiring all track sections and turnouts have 22 gauge stranded feeders to 12 gauge stranded buses.  Almost no track is soldered.  As rail joiners electrically fail feeders are added.

To the right is a completed #6 Right Fast Track turnout.  We paint them before installation.  The throwbar is trimmed to adjust for installation.  Once you have the plate and tools ($250) each turnout costs about $11 and 2-3 hours of work.  Once complete you have a turnout that will last a lifetime.

We use Tortoise slow motion switch machines for all turnouts.  We have over 300 on the layout.  We might fix one a year.  Some of ours are 14 years old.  They just keep working.  Most turnouts operate via a simple DPDT toggle with two R/G LED's for direction.  Two exceptions.

1. Staging is run completely via SRC-16 Routing Controllers (Team Digital).
2. All tripple turnouts operate via a SPST center off toggle switch driving a SIC-24 controller (Team Digital) that drives the tortoise and LED's.  Each tripple turnout takes two tortoise switch machines.  This way you don't need to know how the tripple turnout works it's just up, center or down.  The logic on the SIC-24 is used to make the center LED work correctly.  The left and right are easy.

Our electronics theory is not to run the layout via computer but have the electronics make running the layout easier and intuitive to operate.  If it takes more than a minute to explain a panel it's too complex.  Everything is very visual.


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