Model Railroading sure looks different nowadays...

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Quip

Learner
New Age Model Railroading


It's certainly not like it used to be... What do you guys think? Are the *new guys welcome to usher in their new methods, or should we stick with the tried and true ?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Selector

Well-Known Member
There is a full-length video on Tim Warris' site at handlaidtrack.com.

I built six Code 100 #8 turnouts for my current layout back in 2006. I also used his system to build a #6 double-slip turnout. They work very well. Even better, they gave me the knowledge and confidence to build two customized turnouts right on my layout. They both work very well.

-Crandell
 

rfxcasey

Member
Still seems like a whole lot of work but I am sure it is much faster then the oldskool method with more consistent results.
 

bkpigs

Member
I wounder how much that jig in his hands costs. The one he uses to file the points of the rail. I am sure the aluminum one on the table is pretty pricey too.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
A couple of thoughts: Yes, they are steep. If you were only going to build five turnouts for the cost of the materials bundle they send you, plus the jigs, you will pay a hefty premium for what will be very smooth and slick turnouts. However, if you don't need your layout up by next Tuesday, you could build two of the turnouts a week during a couple of evenings in front of the TV. In a couple of months you'd have maybe 15 turnouts, at which the cost per comes down to maybe $18...about what a Peco #6 costs these days if you don't have to have it shipped to you. If you need 26 turnouts, you are getting them for about $12 each, and they are far superior to any commercial product.

The second thought is that, for about $30 shipped, you should be able to snag one already made for you...check ebay. It might be a good exercise to trial one and see if you like it. Get buddy to make you 20 of them and he may sell them for $18 each. Better than any commercial one and you get them for about the same price.

What you would miss, though, is the opportunity to learn how to 'roll yer own'. How much is a Peco or Walthers/Shinohara three-way turnout? $45-50, and don't forget to pay the nice delivery man. A double slip is close to that. But no matter what configuration of track you need, if it isn't available commercially, and you can't close your loop without it, who ya gonna call? Well, you draw it out on a piece of tissue paper, tracing it over some tacked-in flex to get the angles, and then you build it at the bench. When you go to insert it, you'll find it fits, and that anything you own that rolls will run through it like poop through a goose. It'll cost you $4 in materials, some of it recycled from other turnouts or flex segments, plus about an hour of your time, including the ties and ballasting.

-Crandell
 
Last edited by a moderator:

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
I bought the #5 jig to do an industrial complex and some industrial siding switches.
Lets just say, I'm seriously thinking about replacing all my Walthers and MicroEngineering turnouts with FastTracks turnouts.

Takes me around 30-45 minutes to build a turnout and they work flawlessly! They look great and the trains like them better than any turnout I've ever owned.

Its a new age and its progress, we must embrace it and move forward!
 

NYSW F45

Active Member
wow. i mean that guy has probably been doing it along time. he just makes it look so easy. I actually want to just build one for the hell of it.

To those who do this all the time. Do you have to worry about the jigs getting worn down from the filing? Also what kind of file do you use?
 

NYSW F45

Active Member
i just watched his soldering video. i never realized the "clean" tip issue. everytime i've tried to solder something it always would ball up and not work out for me.
 

RW&C

N Scale with Stone Tools
Wow... for $115 not including rail or ties for the N scale version, I might as well just buy a bundle of Atlas switches for the same amount and call it a day. Or perhaps make my own jig from cut bits of aluminum. Better brush up on my hacksaw skills.

The only way this could be practical is a) you have a trillion turnouts to do, or b) you're in a club, everyone chips in a few bucks, and you borrow it when needed.

That said, it's clearly an amazing tool. I love a well made tool, and this apparently makes it so easy even I could do it. :)
 

CIOR

Central Indiana & Ohio RR
I've went through one of the point filing jigs, they do wear down after time, meaning you don't get the same points. Just a hazard of it I guess.
Its the only jig that I've had issues with, although the longer I go, the stock aid jig is starting to wear, but it isn't as bad.

Overall I'm happy with it.

My first turnout wasn't that great, but its usable, however after the first one and the learning curve, you get a handle on it quickly and you will start whipping them out in no time at all.

If you want to build your own, I highly suggest these jigs, they are great and well thought out. Do yourself a favor and set down one evening and watch the videos and take notes if needed.
 
Looks very interesting and wow!

I barely have time to eat and look on the forum most nights.
A night in the train room is usually trying to build a structure or change some trucks.
Running a train would be a novel idea.
Cant imagine having the time to build turnouts.
 

Quip

Learner
He uses the 10" Nicholson file from the Fast Tracks website...

It is true, it is a bit of a pricey system, but the quality of the final product offsets that in my opinion... Not to mention all the sales and whatnot that Fast Tracks does. The first turnout I ever made was on a Fast Tracks jig, and I did it simply by watching the videos and reading the instructions. An awesome system for anyone, be it new to the hobby or a master of it.
 

cncproadwarrior

North of the 49th
I needed 2 double crossovers and 20 turnouts for my layout. After researching mass produced turnouts to include price, quality and comments/feedback from model railroaders, I decided to buy a #5 double crossover jig from Fast Tracks. You can also use the double crossover jig to build turnouts.

Even though I had no previous experience, I only messed up one turnout but was able to salvage most of the material to be used again. It took me 4 hours to build my first turnout. Now I can build one in about an hour.

Here are my unscientific comments:

Pros:
-the tools and jigs are superbly designed and built with quality materials
-the results are excellent quality turnouts even though you have no previous experience at hand laying track (like me)
-the turnouts look more prototypical having no unsightly rivets on the point rails
-turnouts are sturdy
-excellent documentation and support
-allows you to learn about hand laying tracks and turnouts in particular
-cost per turnout based on volume is equal to or less than the best mass produced turnout
-with experience, you have the tools to build other turnouts using the paper templates from the Fast Tracks site
-Terry is very good to deal with and has your best interests at heart

Cons:
-high initial cash outlay
-time consuming but in my case, I'm retired and have lots of time to devote to hand building turnouts

If you decide to proceed with Fast Tracks is to use an NMRA track gauge to check your work (as suggested) along the way as you are building. I didn't and needed to tweak the turnouts afterwards. This is not due to faults with Fast Tracks but to my building skils.:p

Also, buy the tools suggested like the point form tool. You don't have to but it makes the end result better by having the tracks fit together perfectly and speeds up the process.
 

Quip

Learner
Nice looking trackwork CNC ! I've never used manual ground throws myself... Wouldn't the rolling stock get in the way of you switching them ? I'm not sure I'd want to be reaching over my layout to flick one of those, especially after I've had a glass of wine :p For me its a toss up between the Tortoise or the Bullfrog... Has anyone here tried the Bullfrogs ? How do they work ?
 

cncproadwarrior

North of the 49th
Nice looking trackwork CNC ! I've never used manual ground throws myself... Wouldn't the rolling stock get in the way of you switching them ? I'm not sure I'd want to be reaching over my layout to flick one of those, especially after I've had a glass of wine :p For me its a toss up between the Tortoise or the Bullfrog... Has anyone here tried the Bullfrogs ? How do they work ?
Good point. Yes that's a problem so I'm thinking of moving them to the outside edge of the yard. I have a few turnouts on the inside of the yard on my mainlines and those ground throws are on the outside edge as well. That seems to work well.
 

Quip

Learner
Oh, they don't need to be right next to the turnout ? I hadn't realized you could mount them remotely... That's interesting.
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top