Poll: What kind of turnouts do you use (or plan to use), on your layout?
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Remote (electric)
0 0%
7 46.67%
Both kinds
8 53.33%
Total 15 vote(s) 100%
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Turnout question poll
Right now, I've got all my roadbed down on my new layout and I'm ready to lay some track. I've got enough manual and remote turnouts that I need with a few extra of both kinds if needed later on. I know which type I'm going to use, but I'm wondering what type do you use on your layouts. Manual is more realistic, remote electromagnetic is a lot more convenient if you run trains often and do a lot of switching.

I don't think we've run a poll since changing to the new software, so this is a good test to see how it does. The question is, what type of turnouts do you use?
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
It's actually a very complex question.

Manual for the turnouts you can easily reach.

Electric for the turnouts you can't reach.

But you can Manually switch a turnout that is hard to reach if you use rods and levers.


Another thing is whether you want the HOG reaching into the scene to throw the turnout.

However, if all of your turnout controls are on the fascia you don't have to worry about the HOG reaching into the scene. (Except for uncoupling, but that's a whole other can of worms.)

Then, ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Use either/both. What ever you've got and/or can afford to use....
Ron Wm. Hurlbut
Toronto, Ontario, Dominion of Canada
Ontario Narrow Gauge Show
Humber Valley & Simcoe Railway Blog
All my turnouts are easy to reach and I have been convinced and experienced at Freelance 2018-1 time that dead frogs are no issue for modern diesel engines = manual turnouts
both . in hidden storage there powered , and if I cant see the turnout it would be powered , if close to the edge a caboose throw , the rest have a remote mechanical operation
I just refuse to call em " turnouts".....In the real world they're called switches, so that's what I call em in miniature.
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I have three manual turnouts which are located immediately in front of the control panel. The other 15 or so are all powered with Rix or Tenshodo twin coil switch machine.

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All manual with push rods mounted in the fascia to operate.
The double junction with double slip has 3 tortoi (electric) and one bluepoint (push rod). The dead end station is all finger-poken. The next station is push rods. The one I'm working on now is getting electrics (solenoids) installed as I need the extra contacts.
Moderato ma non troppo
Perth & Exeter Railway Company
Esquesing & Chinguacousy Radial Railway
In model railroading, there are between six and two hundred ways of performing a given task.
Most modellers can get two of them to work.
I model a branchline connected to two shortlines, none of which would have had someone in a tower somewhere throwing a switch. They would stop the train and someone would get off and throw the switch manually so in the interest of realism I throw them manually as well. While the layout is 31 feet long it is only 28 inches wide at the widest point so reaching them isn't a problem. This does take a little longer to do then pushing a button which has the added benefit of making the layout seem larger.

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
Thanks for the insight. Since my layout is on a 36" door, I can easily reach everything, therefore I'm going with all manual. I still have some new electric ones that I may have future use for, depends on how I can expand later on. Let's face it, my passion is in building things anyway, and for me, running trains is secondary. That could change though....

And yes, I agree, they are called switches in the real world, but in my world of electronics, switches are used in electrical circuits so it's a lot less confusing to call them turnouts and that may be the reason they're called that in the modeling world. Maybe using, "rail switch" or "electric switch", might have been better, but it's way too late to change that connotation now.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
On my ISLs I prefer manual but,on a large loop layout then I would use both.

Summerset Ry

Switching Service You Can Rely On!
I have a mix of switch brands, but most were originally Atlas, and were manually controlled with Caboose Industries ground throws.  I also have some Shinohara switches, also controlled by the CI ground throws.  One of the Shinoharas, a wye, is under a low bridge, and is currently the only motorised one, with a Tortoise, run from a variable-output wall wart.

When I added the partial second level to the layout, I used more Atlas and Shinohara switches, along with the CI ground throws, but was given a number of Micro Engineering and Peco switches.  With their spring-loaded points, the ground throws weren't needed, so I simply added Central Valley switchstands, which, for photo-taking purposes, can be aligned to match the position of the points.  In normal operations, though, I seldom bother.

There are a number of switches on the upper level, mostly for industrial areas and mostly not-yet installed, that are or will be difficult to reach, and I have a number of BluePoint manually-operated controllers which will be activated from the layout fascia.

Adding that second level also affected the portion of the layout below it.  While many switches near the aisle are easy to operate manually, those behind structures or farther back from the fascia are now more difficult to operate without bumping into other stuff.
My hope is to mechanise them, and while some can be done with the BluePoint machines, I also have four Rapido "Rail Crew" switch machines, bought for an exceptionally good price when my LHS closed last year.
In addition to those, I have four Fulgurex "Slow action switch machines", one bought cheaply at another LHS closing sale, and the other three, free, from a Member on the Model Railroader Forums.  Marketed by PFM, these are motor-driven through a gearbox.

I used one of these, many years ago, to power a scratchbuilt curved switch, roughly a #12, with a moveable frog.   Both the machine and the switch worked flawlessly, and if I had been able to afford the machines, the entire layout would have been so-equipped.  I don't recall the exact price, but somewhere around $20.00 apiece, in the mid-'70s.

I've already converted many of my Atlas switches to "sprung" manual operation, removing the Caboose Industries ground throws, and adding a homemade spring, bent from piano wire, to the point rails.  This spring is enough to keep the points in the position in which they're placed by a flick of a finger.  While the Caboose Industries ground throws work great, they do loom rather large in photos.  When I have enough of those converted, I'll likely offer the CIs here in the Swap Meet.

I also have a couple of Central Valley switch kits, two yet to be built, and one in operation, which uses the homemade spring-between-the-points.

I hope to start installation of the Fulgurex machines soon.

I have remote switches. All run by air.
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I have not built my layout, yet; but when I do it will be a switching layout in an "L" shape 18" - 24" wide. I am building it at @ 50 inches in height; and, since I am 6 feet tall, I will be able to reach all of the switch controls without damaging scenery. The biggest advantage to me is that Central Valley kits are much less expensive than ready made switches and the ground throws are also cheaper than motorized controls. The ground throws are not scale sized, but neither are my fingers!
I use manual turnouts on the layout, but I use switch machines in my staging yards -- the old atlas, surface mounts.  Easy to replace, easy to install, and cheap to find.  

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