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Model Railroading > Track Switch Machines

Date: 06/09/10 19:13
Track Switch Machines
Author: video7105

I wanted to throw out a question about switches and the switch machines used by most. I know there seems to be a consensus that having the switch machine under the table is best, but then what do you use on the layout side for a switch machine like we see for real. Is it against every body's rule of thumb to not have an exposed switch machine? Or is it OK, to have exposed switch machines on the top of the layout? Or why the thought of having it hidden on the underside of the layout?

Date: 06/09/10 19:48
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: wabash2800

If the model switch machine is track level to most it looks toylike. But if it doesn't bother you, go for it.

Date: 06/09/10 20:06
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: wjpyper

I prefer undertable machines (Atlas) because table-top takes up too much space on my O-gauge layout.
Bill Pyper
Salem, OR

Date: 06/10/10 00:04
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: alaska

An exposed switch machine could be hidden with scenery or look prototypical near a control tower by attaching fake rods from the machine to the tower.
In most cases, however, the switch machines are NOT visible and controlled with rods under them (just check out photos of yards or remote areas that have switchs and YOU WILL NOT see any machines controlling them.
For me the PECO switch machines work the best since they are mounted directly to the switch and all is needed is to cut a notch in the road bed to accomdate the machine.


Date: 06/10/10 06:34
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: TCnR

There's a number of parts to the posted question. There are hobbyists who model the track detail with as much enthusiasm as other folks put into freight cars, scenery and locomotives. Details West or Details Associates had castings representing modern switch motors, switch stands etc. Kalmbach had a soft cover book on track details, haven't looked through that one though. Under table switch motors keep the scenes less complicated, the more sophisticated switch motors are fairly large and difficult to hide under a bush or plaster rock.

Date: 06/11/10 10:57
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: COFLZephyr

If you under mount the switch machine (Tortoise, switchmaster, singlet servo)then on the top side you can mount a switch motor that is a model of the prototype. In HO scale Details West makes a cast one (item SM903 as I recall)and Railway Express Minatures makes them N scale as part of trackside accessories set. Just as a comment, I have used Tortoise machines under mounted for 20+ years but recently switched to the new singlet servo which I find a much better option for turnout automation for DCC.

Date: 06/13/10 10:43
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: BNO_BOB

There are many ways to do anything.
I have some switches mounted under the layout.
But as I get older, and adjustments or repairs ar needed, I like switch machine that are above the layout more now.
Attached are two photos showing how I hid a switch machine on my layout.

Date: 06/13/10 10:47
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: BNO_BOB

And you can use removable scenery sections to hide a switch machine too.

Date: 06/13/10 15:40
Re: Track Switch Machines
Author: drolsen

It sounds like you want to add prototype detail like the switch machine in the first photo below. As mentioned above, Details West makes a cast metal part very similar to this version. You can see a drawing of the part on the Walthers website:


For manual ground throws like the one in the second photo, you can use another DW part like this one:


You'd just need to remove the sign (I forget what it's called) on the top, if your ground throw doesn't have one.


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