Turnouts first... or track?

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.


Not that I'm close to doing it yet, but I was wondering about this. After I've got the track centers drawn on the benchwork and I'm ready to start permanently laying track, it seems like the right thing to do would be to install all the turnouts first and then connect the flex track to those. Is this the prefered way or does it matter? Is it just as easy to lay the track first and install turnouts when I get to them?


I think eather way will work,Myself I do the track and then turn outs,maybe it is a little less track cutting?


Jarrell, I think you will find out that you will use both ways as you go along. It doesn't really matter since you have to cut track to length anyway. Just make sure that the turnout will have the proper angle for the diverging route connection, i.e. keep the adjoining straight track loose until you are sure of the alignment. :)

FYI: Use your center mark as a guide and not as an absolute. It is ok to come off the mark some to achieve alignments. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that your track joiners are perfectly aligned and mated so there is no kink or sharp edge at the joint.
Last edited by a moderator:

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
I vote for turnouts first. In reality though, Rex is right. You'll use a combination of both as required. I do think turnout placement is obviously paramount.


I prefer to start with the inbound/outbound yard switch and work from there..On my industrial switching layouts I prefer to lay my switches in place and work to the switches since the switches are the key part to a workable track design..


Ok, I think I'll go with the turnouts first and lay track to them unless I see it's easier in an area to go the other way.

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.