Switch Machines

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In the continuing design process on my "new and improved" project railroad, I'm giving some thought to what switch machines I should use.

Previously on the modular section I used some power switch machines from NJ International if I recall correctly. I don't even know if they're still around.

The yard used hand throws by Caboose Industries, which work well and are inexpensive.

Now that I'm considering expanding, I'd like to use the same brand for all new installations, making installation and troubleshooting easier. I know there are lots of them out there, including slow motion and DCC compatible.

What are some good brands to take a look at?


JeffShultz said:
Tortoise should be considered, of course.... eventually I'm going to put those in.

OK, so tell me why. Obviously it's slow motion, but why is that important and what else is there to reccomend it? Is it DCC compatible? Tell me more. :)


Registered Member
Staff member
Well my preference would have been Peco or the Tortoise, but alas either one in the quantities I needed, was too expensive for my budget. I used the ugly Atlas turnout mounted ones and the under the table ones where I could. Most of these I picked up very cheap at train shows. At this point I'm doing some reconsidering, and then maybe the Tortoise machines will fit in my budget.
There are areas where switching rr cars will be a hands on task (for uncoupling) so why not throw the switches in those areas by hand also ( foolproof and positive turnout control) since you're in that area anyway. These controls can be purchased, home made or a combination of both. The use of hand operated turnouts will certainly reduce costs, remove some of the ugly above table eye sores, and make available better quality turnout control motors affordable. :)
Cheers Willis

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