Flange-ways in our Turnouts

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How is it that the Standards are felt to be mystifying? As stated in the first Video "Demystifying the NMRA Standards" That has not been my experience and to the contrary, the Standards clarify; or, explain what it is I need; or, want to understand! Possibly not the video producers intentions; but, by stating "Demystifying the NMRA Standards", it appears they are saying they are the only person smart enough to clarify these confusing standards.

I know, I've read far more into what is intended. However, I enjoy looking at how things get worded. "Turnouts and the NMRA Standards" would be a better choice of verbiage!
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Bending/Squeezing Peco Guard Rails

This is a 'new solution' I've not heard of before,...

Years ago when I built my Buffalo Line I used Peco code 100 curved turnouts in a few of my staging yards for the ladder. Discovered that when backing long trains into the tracks that cars would derail at the frogs. So I measured the gap between the guardrail discovered that it was a bit too wide so I then got a small length of styrene about .010 less than that measurement. Been so long ago I do not remember the sizes. Anyway I would put the piece of styrene in the gap then using a pair of square nose line mans pliers gently squeeze between the rail and guardrail as the plastic they use is fairly soft . When the styrene spacers is tight I stop and remove the piece and the guardrail is now closer to the rail with no white styrene shim to deal with. You don't have to move the entire guard rail just the section directly across from the point of frog. Have never broken a Peco doing this and 29 years later they are still in service with no derailments. Nice thing is this can be done easily when the turnout is in place and ballasted ! ----------- Ken

Subsequently after I mentioned some reservations about performing this 'operation' on some older Peco turnouts ,..
I have a bunch of Evergreen styrene . So I found out what fit tightly in a non modified Peco . Then subtracted .010 from that and that's what I used as a spacer when I bend the guardrail. The line mans pliers I use have a fairly wide square jaw end . You only need to move the guardrail about .010 and only the portion leading up to the point of frog and the point. I've done Peco's that have been in place for over ten years and have yet to have a failure. --- Ken

Has anyone else had any experiences with this??


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Over the past few days I've been looking at this 'bending the guard rail' idea, and thus far I am not that enamored with the idea. Certainly it would save a lot of time, but I've run into a few problems.

Spacer Piece:
First off I though it would be wise to find a good solid piece (metal) to place between the track and the guard rail such that I didn't over-bend the guard rail. I found in my closest approximation that the stock gap is about .050". I happen to have a nice piece of tough steel plate that measures about .030" thick. Using this plate thickness would leave me with a .030" gap which II felt was just right considering that I had done previous experiment with .010" and .020" shims into that .050" gap,....equals .040" or .030" gap on finished turnout.

I had a number of different sets of pliers, including several sets of line-man pliers, and I had an older screwed up turnout to experiment on. I started off squeezing the guard rail with one face of the pliers and the metal rail itself with the other. First off I needed to lightly round off the very sharp edges of one squeezing face of the pliers as they would dig into the relatively soft plastic of the guide rail. Sgueezing directly against the metal rail did NOT appear to be any problem with dislodging the rail, nor marring it up. But even with the smooth face (no 'teeth' in that direct gripping area of my pliers), I still marred up the plastic guard rail (admittedly it was the outer surface of my flangeway), but is still was a little unsightly.

I subsequently discovered that I was NOT getting my flangeway slot down to the dimension of my spacer piece (.030"), but rather to only about .040". What might be the problem? I thought perhaps like a lot of bending exercises it need to be over-bent slightly to end up with my desired slot dimension. I subsequently inserted a slightly thinner piece of metal and achieved that goal,...but it was not a nice smooth looking guard rail any longer, and it had actually peaked up in a few spots that would need filing down.

I was (am) getting discouraged with this ideal and went back looking at the metal shim idea. While this looks really slick, it not as easy as it looks to get a good firm (non-glued) fit.
..and the metal shim is not readily 'trimmable' like the plastic shims.

I believe I may return to some plastic shim experiments,...wish Evergreen made black plastic strips.


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New Experiments with Plastic Shims

I'm going to run some new experiments with the plastic shims. To me they seem to offer the longest, smoothest slot transition.

I want to reaffirm the minimum thicknesses that are acceptable, best steps in applying them, and which types of turnouts are to be considered ???

I'm trying to set up the most challenging, while simple track plan into which to place each of the different turnouts under question. Here is what I've come up with,...

The locos will come down a relatively straight section that then turns left thru a 24" radius section of track. It then must immediately enter the turnout in question (short Y shown here) and go off in either of 2 directions,...diverge off onto the right hand track/siding, or enter the curved track to the left which is a challenging 22" radius curve.

This reversal of curves should put the loco to the challenge of negotiating the turnout while challenging the turnout to steer the loco thru without picking-the-frog, and/or derailing in some other manner.

(I'm already surprised at a few initial trials without any shims)

I started out with the short 'Y' turnout type as I have utilized quite a few on my layout plan,...and I figured its relatively tight curves might make it a challenge, particularly where I have several in a row right after one another.

(I also have a Roco brand Y in there to test, as I have a few of those on my plan)


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I was (am) getting discouraged with this ideal and went back looking at the metal shim idea. While this looks really slick, it not as easy as it looks to get a good firm (non-glued) fit.
..and the metal shim is not readily 'trimmable' like the plastic shims.
You know, it's funny. I have an old peco turnout that has been giving me some trouble lately, and just at the same time as I was getting ready to fight that battle, this post comes along. And wouldn't you know it? This solved my problem. 😁😁😁


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'Y' turnouts discovery

I also have a Roco and a Atlas Y type turnouts. In general I have found that the flange slot of their guard rails are about .040" wide, while the Peco's are about .050". And both of the others have slightly longer guard rails.

Preliminary report,....all my test steamers had no problems with the Roco or Atlas Y's,...without shimming.


Well-Known Member
Was there a specific logo or car that was giving you the problem?
What size was that old Peco?

How did you fix it,...what sort of shim did you use?
It was two specific locos, and a few hopper cars, that were giving me trouble - a couple of Athern Bluebox GP38-2's.
I used a thin sheet of brass stock that I happened to have lying around to make the shim. Not sure what the exact size is, but it was just think enough to solve the problem.


Well-Known Member
So far I have experimented with shims varying between .010", .015", and as large as .020" thick,...metal and plastic.

In general I have found that the thin ones work just fine,.....010" seems to be fine.

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