# Quick Question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by OnTrack, Dec 1, 2006.

1. ### OnTrackMember

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Im using "snap switches" as turnouts for my layout instead of a mark 4, and mark 6 for example. I noticed that they have a tighter curve? will 6 axle locomotives be able to handle that? This is all Atlas track, code 100. Thanks.
2. ### MasonJarIt's not rocket surgery

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The only way really to tell is to test, but I would think that if they will make it, it will be at slow speed...

The snap switches have different geometry than the numbered turnouts (#4, #6, etc). The snap switch goes into an 18" radius curve to make it easy to fit, especailly on 4x8 layouts that use 18" radius sectional track.

True numbered turnouts diverge at a given angle. This angle is easiest to understand as a number, so that's why they're labelled like that. A #4 diverges 1 unit away from the main route for every 4 units of distance travelled. A #6 takes 6 units to diverge 1, and so on.

The important thing to remember is that they are not interchangable in track plans. If you use a #4 in place of a snap switch, for example, you will need to alter the trackwork to make it fit.

Andrew
3. ### OnTrackMember

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Thank you mason, come to think of it since you mentioned they are designed to make an 18" radius, if i remember correctly a 6 axle can negotiate an 18" curve correct? May look a little less realiastic, but it can handle it. Thanks for your help.
4. ### MasonJarIt's not rocket surgery

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It really does depend on which engines you are talking about. Some will make it, others not. Some will make it on their own, but will derail all the cars behind because the coupler hangs out over the outside rail in the curve. Many of the more recent models often come with a recommended minimum radius.

The "optics" of it are totally up to you of course.

Andrew
5. ### TriplexActive Member

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A small 6-axle (RSD-4/5, SD7/9/35, etc.) should handle 18". A larger 6-axle (E-units, SD50/60/70, Dash-8/9) will almost certainly uncouple cars behind it.
6. ### OnTrackMember

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Ok, well I have a follow up question then. If I was to replace my snap switches with, mark 4's and mark 6's (so i have no problems with 6 axles, im really fond of the largers ones, AND change my track plan as mason stated to fit with the new switches) would I be able to use the electronic switch machines from my snap switch's on the mark's?
7. ### dsfraserMember

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99% yes, if they are Atlas or Tortoise.
8. ### OnTrackMember

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Alright, thanks guys.
9. ### TriplexActive Member

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For large 6-axles #4 straight-frog switches are also too tight; the minimum radius in one of them is about 18" (actually, probably a little less).
10. ### nkp174Active Member

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On Track, I've sent many a 8 coupled steam locomotives (0-8-0, 2-8-0, 2-8-2, 2-8-4, 4-8-4) through #4s without a problem as well as PA-1s. I've heard not to use them on mainlines (which makes sense), but I've never experienced a problem with Atlas Custom Line #4s. I still would use longer turnouts (#6s & #8) if I was building a layout with comercial track. I generally found the snap switches to be substantially more troublesome.
11. ### Russ BellinisActive Member

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The problem I have found with Atlas switches, either Snap switches or Custom Line is that both use sheet metal stampings for the points. You will not use them very long before the weight of your locomotives will loosen the points up enough for them to "lay" over and go out of gauge. Peco switches are probably the best in code 100 Shinohara are second and not bad. How well you 6 axles locomotives handle #4 switches will depend on how much overhang you have on the ends of the body. One trick to help them handle tighter radius, if you have no other choice, is to not mount the coupler of the locomotive in a box, or mount the entire coupler/box assembly loosely enough to allow the coupler box to swing a bit in the corners.
12. ### nkp174Active Member

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I have seen one set of points get damage, but considering how many turnouts my brother and I had on our layout growing up, I wouldn't worry at all about it...most of the turnouts haven't had a problem in 15yrs of service.

That being said, Peco and Shinohara do have better reputations than atlas turnouts.
13. ### OnTrackMember

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Hmm well im still confused, I guess I dont understand how a railraod works in real life. What I mean is, if a #4 is still somewhat tight for a large 6 axle, and you would reccomend using #6 on the mainlines, then how do the larger 6 axles run in the yards and such? Could some one give me a little explanation?

If it makes it any eaiser, maybe tell me what you, or what to use on the yards, and what to use on the mainlines with having larger 6 axles.
14. ### santafewillieMember

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I use a combination of snap-switches and customline #4's and #6's. I only use # 6's on the mainlines, including passing sidings, arrival/departure tracks, and yard entrances, and plan to use only #6's in the staging yards. #4's and snap-switches work for me in industrial switching and classification yards because I only use shorter 4-axle diesels there. I have used 6-axle power without problems (excepting the Kato C44W-9) on snap switches but they do look unrealistic, and there have been some issues (not often), when backing through. I will echo dsfraser on the switch machines...no problems
15. ### OnTrackMember

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Okay, I have adjusted my track plan. All the switches in my staging yard are all #6's now, as well as the switches on my mainline. All the switches on my siding and spurs, for industries and such will be #4's. I have already used Xtrk Cad and re-did my plan with those switches to make sure it all works out fine with my benchwork, and its a go! I would like to thank all of you guys for being so patient with a newcomer, its nice to have a lot of good advice, rather than hearing "go search"sign1 . Thanks. Ill update my thread with pics, one i have laid some track down.
16. ### TriplexActive Member

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In real life, the speed you're travelling at determines what size of turnout you need. The physics don't scale down linearly. On a model, a turnout you can go through at low speed, you can usually go through at higher speed. Basically, on the model, we use curves and turnouts as sharp as those in cramped industrial areas on the prototype - everywhere. In reality, you might find a yard made with #8 turnouts and a high-speed mainline with #20s.
17. ### 60103Pooh Bah

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A prototype steam loco might have a minimum radius in the 800-1000 feet range. That's around 10 feet in HO. And at that speed they are expected to be just crawling into a roundhouse.
18. ### OnTrackMember

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Im beginning to better understand all of this. All of my track that I ordered will be here tomorrow or tuesday. Ill begin laying it down and i'll post some pics. Thanks again guys. My 8-40CW will be here soon too! I cant wait.

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