fast tracks vs. ?

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techdiver

New Member
I am sure there are those here who have, or are building their own switches using the Fast Tracks materials How do they compare to Peco for example. Is it cost effective? Can someone a normal idiot like me use this system to make workable switches or should I just save my nickles and buy Pecos when I can. I do not have a layout yet, I am in the process of planning and developing my ideas and collecting materials. I will be going the DCC route. Thanks
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
I personally haven't used the FasTracks system myself, but I know people on other forums who have - and they're really pleased with it. I plan to borrow a friend's #6 jigs to make a few of my own when the time comes. Buying a turnout building kit with the jigs and all the specialized grinding tools, is only cost-effective if you plan to use ~12-15 turnouts of that same angle. For just 2 or 3, you're probably better off just buying the Pecos [ unless you know for sure that your layout will be much larger within a year or two ].

To make the turnouts DCC-friendly, you just need to make sure your frogs are gapped sufficiently.
 
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macjet

Member
There is no modification needed to make FastTracks DCC friendly. Built to spec they are DCC compatible. My frogs were gaped with the smallest jewelers blade possible and are barely wider then a sheet of construction paper.

There is no quality comparison between Peco and FT. It's like comparing gold to wood. FT's are scale turnouts. Peco's are model train turnouts.

There also isn't any worry over experience. I built all of mine and I've NEVER hand laid any track prior to FT. I went from Atlas turnouts to FT in one week. FT provides step-by-step video tutorials.

I don't even buy the "cost effective" argument. It's like saying "why buy an Athearn Genesis when you can buy five Bachmann's instead". Well, Genesis is a quality locomotive worth the money and Bachmann's aren't. I would agree that the investment for two or three turnouts would be excessive but I wouldn't try to get the pennies to line up on the comparison either. FT turnouts look like the real deal. Peco's don't. Somewhere in the middle of that is the value of scale turnouts. Where that value lies will vary by modeler.

I bought my #6 jig with the intent of building seven turnouts. To date that jig has produced 29 unless I've forgotten a few.
 

tankist

Active Member
macjet, can you elaborate on the cost?
once the jig and frog "template" thingie are purchased, i understand that consumables are wooden and PCB ties + rails. leaving the tools aside, what is the cost per turnout?
and i actually wonder about the cost breakdown of the initial kit as well...
 

macjet

Member
Tankist:

I believe about $9. The PC ties and rail are something like $2-3. The laser cut ties from FT are $7.14 or $6.43 for 20+. The ties are the majority of the cost. I have tried using different ties and even had a friend with a laser cut a tie sheet to fit the FT turnouts. Every time I've got back to the FT ties and just paid the $7. We are in the process of building 20 turnouts for a Free-mo yard and our total cost is going to be less then $200.

I hope this helps but I really don't keep an accurate track of the cost per turnout. I won't use anything else and I just order what I need as I need it and really don't calculate anything.

Now, adding Details West parts can really escalate the cost considerably.:D
 

cncproadwarrior

North of the 49th
I recently purchased a #5 double cross over jig from FT. I never worked with hand laid tracks before and I struggled with the first few. But after I got the hang of it, I could build a quality prototypical turnout in about an hour. In addition to double crossovers, I can also make #5 turnouts and built 20 of them in addition to 2 crossovers.

In addition to the quality, I like the prototypical look. I just don't like the two big rivets that hold the points on a mass produced turnout.
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
what does it cost to purchase all the tools and such to create these turnouts? I'm about to build a yard module and will need about 5+ turnouts and maybe it's worth it to buy FT and then have the tools for later.
Dave
 

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
I have about 200 bucks wrapped up in the tools so far.
The template is the most expensive, it is a tick over 100 bucks. But you can find them used on ebay and other online auctions I'm sure.
I know I will be selling mine to a friend when I'm done.

I tell everyone that asks the following.
-You will not be a pro at first, don't expect to be!
-You will mess up a couple turnouts, but don't let that mess with you.
-Once you get comfy with the setup, you will pump out turnouts in a 30-40 minute time span and they work perfect!

Don't let cost set you aside, you can easily pump out 20 to 30 turnouts in little time and money and easily pay for the cost of what you would have with Peco/Walthers/Atlas turnouts.

Another thing, if you stick a NMRA gauge on any of the name brand turnouts, none of them are to gauge! The Fast Track turnouts are to gauge every time I've build one.

The biggest thing is getting the points right, if they don't set right, then you won't have a good turnout. Once you figure that one out, you are fine and they are operationally the best turnouts.
 

macjet

Member
I have about 200 bucks wrapped up in the tools so far.
The template is the most expensive, it is a tick over 100 bucks. But you can find them used on ebay and other online auctions I'm sure.
I know I will be selling mine to a friend when I'm done.

I tell everyone that asks the following.
-You will not be a pro at first, don't expect to be!
-You will mess up a couple turnouts, but don't let that mess with you.
-Once you get comfy with the setup, you will pump out turnouts in a 30-40 minute time span and they work perfect!

Don't let cost set you aside, you can easily pump out 20 to 30 turnouts in little time and money and easily pay for the cost of what you would have with Peco/Walthers/Atlas turnouts.

Another thing, if you stick a NMRA gauge on any of the name brand turnouts, none of them are to gauge! The Fast Track turnouts are to gauge every time I've build one.

The biggest thing is getting the points right, if they don't set right, then you won't have a good turnout. Once you figure that one out, you are fine and they are operationally the best turnouts.
Spot on!




...
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I made only 6 #8 turnouts with my FT jigs and only two double slip #6's with those jigs. Clearly I paid through the nose for the #6 DS, especially considering that the first was junk. As for the #8's, they are all out on my main, and I find them to be excellent and reliable. They work out to about $40/unit, about what a WS #6 three-way or one of their DS's is worth.

But wait!!! I also scratched two turnouts with the know-how I gained from all those Fast Tracks efforts. I scratched a curved #10 in place, and built a curved wye on my bench. Now that was sweet! You see, you pay plenty big up front, but your career in building specialwork is thereby launched. What price would you like to place on that with no clinics nearby or guys who can show you how to do it?

-Crandell
 




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