I have read many post from previous years comparing Gargraves to Ross. Ross is the clear favorite and from all accounts  and probably work the best.

Gargraves track priced sure looks good, but if they are trouble then they would be too expensive.
Own their own merits are Gargraves switches good? Do they work well with Lion Chief locomotives? If they were particularly troublesome in the past have they made any improvements in them recently. A number of those post are several years old.
How are they in comparison to Fastrack, Realtrax, Lionel tubular or any other switches " BESIDES ROSS."
Thankyou in advance for your thoughts.

Original Post

I apologize for not being more clear. Obviously Ross is the preffered switch when compared to Gargraves. 

I'm not interested in hearing about Ross Switches. I have enough information on them.

"Excluding Ross" does anyone have any opinions based on experience how are they in compare to switches like Fastrack, Realtrax, Lionel tubular or any other brand.

 

I have them both and they both operate fine. I do not run scale or the big steam locos. 99% Lionel traditional and Railking, with K line in there too. My Lionchiefs (steam and diesel) move through both GG and Ross just fine. IMHO the Ross is better suited for scale modelers, especially with the individual wood ties, very attractive. Gargraves fits my budget much better (less than 1/2 cost of Ross) and performs and looks fine. No experience with FT or MTH track.

Steve

Clevedale posted:

I apologize for not being more clear. Obviously Ross is the preffered switch when compared to Gargraves. 

"Excluding Ross" does anyone have any opinions based on experience how are they in compare to switches like Fastrack, Realtrax, Lionel tubular or any other brand.

 

I would rate ALL the above as being BETTER that Gargraves.

As always... Counting the days till Christmas.



SantaFeJim posted:
Clevedale posted:

I apologize for not being more clear. Obviously Ross is the preffered switch when compared to Gargraves. 

"Excluding Ross" does anyone have any opinions based on experience how are they in compare to switches like Fastrack, Realtrax, Lionel tubular or any other brand.

 

I would rate ALL the above as being BETTER that Gargraves.

Thanks for that opinion I appreciate  it.

GG switches are just fine. I have them. Ancient and new. Fine - and they have a smaller footprint (that is, "overhang"/length) than Ross, saving space/cutting. Same switch machines are used on both.

I have a Ross Yard Set - very nice. But the operation is no more or less reliable than my GG. Both are fine - and superior to the other brands, in my experience. 

But - both brands need spray painting right out of the box. Which I do. Of course, so do the other brands.

Take a very close comparative look at the tips of the points of Ross and GG switches.  The GG points have an abrupt edge on them.  The Ross are finely feathered to the stock rail and the top of the edge is rounded over for an absolute gentle transition.  Exactly like real trains.

If you are a "That's good enough" modeler, or a "That will do" builder then GG will be fine.

IME,  wired properly the MTH Real Trax is OK,  The MTH Scale Trax switches have been a small tad problematic.  Atlas   switches...…well…….before I spent that kind of money on Atlas I would definitely go to Ross.  Definitely never the 3 rail Atlas 7.5!    And never again in any lifetime would I use an Atlas switch motor.

I happen to favor the Tortoise switch machine.  They were actually recommended to me when I called Atlas to comment on their switch motors.

A discerning friend who is deeply invested in Lionel is now going all Ross.

Think about it, there must be a very strong reason that Ross is the most favored turnout by many folks.  I respect those with budget concerns but I encourage you to check around model train swap meets.  Ross can turn up in over purchases or even estate sales.  IMO, a  used Ross is better than any new anything else.

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

Also, compare the Frogs of the two switches. Big difference. Gargrave switches tend to have a plating that flakes off easier too.

My layout is almost 12 years old and I still have quite a few Gargrave switches in use. For the price they are a good STARTING point.

You're asking about apples and oranges!  You start with Gargraves switches, reject Ross switches and then throw in stuff like Fastrack, Realtrax, and tubular!

What track are you using?

I used Gargraves track and switches on most of my layouts. Finally switched to Ross but Gargraves are good but need a bit more attention. For the price you can't beat them. A great friend Jim Madden used the original Gargraves switches with wood ties tell he passed away a few years ago. They were in use for about 50 years. I think he got his monies worth. DonDSC_2777DSC_2773IMG_1862 2

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If saving money is important, then I would have no hesitation about going with any Gargraves switch that has shiny points, whether those are cast points or plated stamped metal points. I have used these and had good luck with them. (The older ones with the blackened stamped metal points I would avoid, if possible.)  Do I prefer Ross? Yes. But Gargraves switches work, and on the layout at my parents' we have about 30 of them, of various sizes and vintages, and better than half were acquired used. The shiny-point ones have been virtually trouble-free. The blackened-point ones have been... an education. Still, I'd take one of those over no switch at all - just, maybe, keep them off the main line.

The newer and current production models of GG are just fine. I would avoid the older ones with the black stamped points, unless you like to tinker and tweak a whole lot. The very early GGs that have no frog are okay in a conventional environment. I had signal issues with them when running command control. And avoid the early Curtis switches. Also, I prefer old school double coil switch machines mounted under the layout. But that's me.  If you are contemplating DZ switch machines, ask for opinions. Some people have had good experiences, others less so. BTW, I agree with the poster above regarding Atlas. I'm not a fan of them.

My 2 cents.

Chris

LVHR

 I have been a collector and lay out operator for over 40 years. During that time I’ve used about every kind of track, switches and you name it. After moving into a new home about six years ago I decided to create a brand new, large train room in the walkout area of my basement.   The layout that I designed has 20 switches. Being an old engineer and involved in manufacturing and quality control through the years, I decided to buy both a Roth switch and a Gargraves switch. I dissected both of them to look for pluses and minuses when it came to quality control and operation. I found the Gargraves switches to be equal in every aspect to the Ross switches and decided to use Gargraves is in my new layout.

I’ve had about six years of experience and all 20 switches continue to work well with no problems whatsoever. Even most of my pre-war tin plate satisfactorily navigate the Gargraves switches.  At 84 years old I doubt I would do it, however, if I decided to enlarge my layout, based on my history with Gargraves switches I would continue to use them.  

Based on your original post it seems you are about to start a new operating layout. Lots of luck and enjoy 😊 

Jim

 

If you are purchasing NEW switches, given my past experience with GarGraves, I woudn't hesitate to use them again. IF you're going to purchase USED switches, then you may end up with older GarGraves switches prior to the upgrading of their line of switches. I would definitely prefer the NEW GarGraves over older versions.

Best of luck whatever you decide.

Andre

I have 12 GG switches on my modest layout, some old and some of the newer.  After some initial fine tuning, they've been in operation for about 15 months without any problems.

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"

 

 

Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004

 

My layout is 31 years old with about 30 switches of which over 20 are Gargraves; the remainder being 2 K-Line, 2 Curtis, and some Ross. A number of the Gargraves were purchased used in 1985. A few (3, I believe) new in the early 2000's. All of the Gargraves have worked well although I did replace one from the 1985 purchase a few months ago with a new GG one. Some of the earlier Gargraves have required  a little tweaking, but nothing major.

jackson, CEO, Not-So-Great Eastern RR, aka The Never Done Line

          Division of the Southern Adirondack Railway Cartel

 

 

I had a small (11x4) switching layout from 2001 to 2011 and used Gargraves switches and track. I used prewar and postwar locomotives and cars. 

All worked very well. Maybe once a month, I would need to take a small pair of needle nose pliers and tweak the points of one of the six switches. No big deal, I thought of it as the same sort of basic maintenance like track cleaning. These were Gargraves switches before they were redesigned. I used NJ International switch motors (no longer manufactured, I believe) and Rix Rax undermounted hardware. 

I would recommend Gargraves switches. Keep us posted as you move ahead. 

228 on old layout train2_large

Tom 

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gunrunnerjohn posted:

You're asking about apples and oranges!  You start with Gargraves switches, reject Ross switches and then throw in stuff like Fastrack, Realtrax, and tubular!

What track are you using?

Wow exclamation points!

It's not that big of a deal.

Actually I'm asking about different track systems switch offerings other than Ross.

I had read enough post to understand that Ross was preferred and that I didn't need or want anymore information on them.

I only wanted to know how well Gargraves does or doesn't work these days! Also how they worked in comparison to other types of track.

To answer your question. The track I use will depend on the switches I decide to buy.

 

DSC_0007I had the older black Gargrave Switches and like I said before they required a little work sometimes. I slowly switched to Ross because some of my switches were in very hard to get to places. Those I changed first. The second reason I went with Ross is because they made so many types of switches. Curved, three way, four way and many more. Like Tom I used NJ International switch motors. If anyone wants to try under table switch motors they are available on the Bay and were marketed by many companies like Tenshodo and others. Also I use the Rix motor holder.  If I were do it over and have a simple layout, I would go with Gargraves new switches. By the way Tom, love the Lionel switcher. Donshopping

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One more thought: If I were to do it over, I would use Tortoise switch  machines, but, to rewire my control panel and to spend hours under the tables remounting switch machines is not my idea of fun at 75 years old. I too use twin coil machines. I tried Atlas and they seemed too weak; the one from Z-Stuff went up in smoke instantly and the company didn't want to talk about it. NJI machines were the only twin coil ones readily available at the time. They seem to fail with a fair amount of regularity, or as a fellow modeler says, "The quality goes away before the name goes on." Whenever I can find them new on the bay or at train meets I use Tenshodo machines as replacements.

jackson, CEO, Not-So-Great Eastern RR, aka The Never Done Line

          Division of the Southern Adirondack Railway Cartel

 

 

I have a little experience with GG, Ross. They workwell enough if you're running in "model form" 24/7 , but introduce some kids and high speed and you'll want fast point changes and anti-derail of Lionel, etc. and not slow changes like the servo types use.  We ended up using a bit of everything around 76. Nobody had enough stock to complete the layout in one style alone. (Though GG seems to be the most likely to get you closest sooner and likely to catch up first.)

Other folks have noted Ross plating is thicker than GG. PW Lionel is near bullet proof, all the rest more delicate.

I can't make myself like any plastic roadbed. I find it loud and white noise-ish with more highs.(GG too, but not nearly as bad... like roller skates or skateboard wheels and bearings spinning)

In the end, critical turnouts with more high speed runs got Lionel, the sidings, stubs, yard and runrounds remained "scale" of various (also had one or two Atlas or Athearn, but can't recall which for sure)

GG was the track chosen, hi-rail in mind. All controls were Lionel, even if they operated relays to work.

My all time favorite is Marx prewar O-27.   No gaps, no guide rails and near continuous center rail mean stalls and derails just don't happen. (fast operation too but you have to add anti-derail isolated rails on the connecting tracks as triggers, not hard at all)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Adriatic posted:

They workwell enough if you're running in "model form" 24/7 , but introduce some kids and high speed and you'll want fast point changes and anti-derail of Lionel, etc. and not slow changes like the servo types use.  

 

Hadn't thought of that at all. Grand Kid(s) are definitely going to be introduced. 

Thanks for that.

I am partial to the old twin-coil switch machines (Tenshodo, PFM, etc.), too. That said, the easiest machines to install on Gargraves are probably the ones from Z-Stuff. They also have quick "snap" action, and can be thrown by hand as well. The twin-coil machines are large enough that you will probably want to hide them under the table, and then you lose the ability to throw them manually; the Z-Stuff machines draw less attention to themselves. However, they are not 100% reliable. We have maybe a dozen of the Z-1000 switch machines in service. My experience is that the ones that work are absolutely consistent, but every so often you get a lemon. Those, it is best to just replace.

For ultimate reliability, there is the manual ground throw by Caboose Industries. The only problem with this is that, if the train derails, you can't blame it on the machine .

I should add my (slight) experience with Fastrack. I only have switches in O-36, and they are all manual. I have been very happy with them. They are noisy. But trains from prewar through the present run through them well, and they have a nice spring-loaded "non derail" feature that allows the wheel flanges to force the points over if you approach it from the wrong direction.

I'm finally getting to start acquiring track for my layout. After weighing advantages and disadvantages as I see them I'm going with ROSS switches. Ordered 2  11 degree switches and a couple of 042s last night. Only 4, but it's a start. Now to get some Gargraves or something to connect them.

Thanks for all of the opinions given.

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