My search of the OGR Forum database revealed that there has been only one brief review, dated 8/26/12, of Custom Trax S-scale track items. Has anybody else used this product on their layout, and if so, what are its pros and cons?
They are listed as a resource on the NASG website. Since they only make code 100 rail S gauge track and turnouts the product is exclusively for S scale modelers. Those of us with high rail wheels cannot use their products. The turnouts look good and are DCC compatible, they offer 3 colors of ballast. Pricing seems very reasonable to me for what they provide.
The possibility of using Custom Trax intrigued me because their #8 turnouts would have been ideal for incorporating more closely spaced sidings and yard tracks. Too bad they don't offer a hi-rail line of products for guys like me [and apparently most S operators].
Thanks Tom and Mark for your help and insights.
Bob, you must have some real space available to make a yard ladder using #8’s. Most of my yard ladder tracks are #5’s giving 3” center to center spacing in the freight yard. I have some #6’s in the passenger yard but that was for track geometry, not spacing. The 3” spacing was chosen so any of my engines could use the yard. The Big Boy, Challenger and the AM Northern have some large overhangs on my 30” minimum radius curves. At 2 3/4” spacing those engines would have been banned from the yard.
I am including some pictures for info. The 3 turnouts are #5, #6 & #8 top to bottom.
The premise for my original question was predicated on a preliminary Lionel AF FasTrack layout plan drawn with SCARM software [attached]. It utilizes both turnout types [R20 and R27] currently offered by Lionel. The encircled "yard" area would look more realistic [and probably accommodate an additional track on the right side] if even the lowest-numbered turnout [#5] shown in your third photo could be substituted for the R27s I'm limited to [with FasTrack].
What brand of trackage did you use for your layout? Is the company still in business?
Bob, I cannot tell what C to C distance you get from the drawing (looks like about 5"), my sidings are 3" using #5's. You can get #5 turnouts from Fox Valley that use the same profile rail (.138) that is used on the FasTrack system. Be aware these turnouts are not plug and play. They will need roadbed, a relay to power the frog with the correct "polarity" for straight and diverging settings. You also need a turnout motor such as a DZ2500 or a Tortoise.
My turnouts also use .138 rail to match up with the MTH track used on the layout. Since I needed 50 turnouts mixed between the 3 sizes I had them custom made. At the time only .125 rail and smaller turnouts were available commercially in numbered sizes. Those who made mine are not in the business of making S gauge turnouts and will not accept any more commissions.
I see you have either 2 or 4 reverse loops depending upon where you put the rail isolation gaps. What do you plan to use for the automatic reverse loop controllers? Will the layout be AC, DC or DCC? If AC will you use the Legacy system with the LCS? I recommend it, operating a layout as you have designed will be much more enjoyable with the LCS.
Unfortunately I don't have the time to make Fox Valley #5 turnouts fully compatible with FasTrack's plug-and-play system. Unless Lionel produces a #5 relatively soon [fat chance of that happening!], or if I can find someone willing to modify several Fox Valley turnouts for me, I'll stick with an all FasTrack layout and live with the wider track spacing.
My motive power roster comprises just one unit, an American Models PRR K-4 Streamlined Pacific loco and tender that was upgraded to DCC operation.
The closest thing to a plug and play numbered turnout is American Models. Their sectional track system is well made but does not have integral roadbed. Curved turnouts are made because the can directly substitute for straight or curved sectional track pieces where numbered turnouts cannot. MTH and Lionel turnouts are also closed frog designs. As you state, using numbered turnouts in S scale is a lot more work. In O gauge the market is so large that numbered turnouts are available as plug and play plus with three rails the frog polarity does not need to be switched.
If I elect to use Lionel AF FasTrack for my planned layout I'll give the "surgical procedure" you outlined serious consideration for at least one R27 turnout...provided the section removed is devoid of any complex electrical components.
Thanks again to you and Tom for your sage advice and recommendations.