So I’m going to switch my Fastrack hybrid layout - currently 048 curves with 036 manual switches - over to 060 curves and 060 switches. But I have a figment question regarding the length of the straight part of the switches that has me puzzled.

Since all my 036 switches have a 10” straight, it was easy to swap in an 036 switch as I began to build my layout by removing a 10” straight. But - according to Lionel, the 060 switches have a 14 1/2” straight piece. It would be nice to pull two 10” straights and install the 14 1/2” switch plus a 5 1/2” - easy, right? But nowhere do I see a 5 1/2” straight piece of three rail Fastrack; only 4 1/2” and 5” plus the shorter fitter pieces that don’t seem to add mathematically in any combination to get 20” total?

So, I took all the math courses in high school and college - including Calculus! - but I can’t figure this one out! What am I missing? Help!

Last edited by Raven87
Original Post

Unfortunately, it takes 4 of the 1 3/8” fitter pieces to make up the 5 1/2” you need. The only other option is to custom cut a 10” to size. Here is a link to a fitment chart that goes up to 10”. I have another that goes further, but my laptop is packed in my suitcase at the moment ready for our drive back to Phoenix.

https://www.legacystation.com/lionel-fastrack-guide

Yes. That pretty much covers every combination.

Steve,

Something else to be aware of with the O60 switchesis the 1 3/8" half roadbed straight sections that come with them and the non removable straight within the curve of the switch.  If placing these switches in a curve, someone would also need to account for the 1 3/8 to 2 3/4 straight section added within the curve.  If you look closely at he image below there is a O60 curve with 2x 1 3/8" straight sections attached on the left, exactly overlaying the geometry of the O60 switch below it.

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Last edited by SteveH
@DoubleDAZ posted:

Unfortunately, it takes 4 of the 1 3/8” fitter pieces to make up the 5 1/2” you need. The only other option is to custom cut a 10” to size. Here is a link to a fitment chart that goes up to 10”. I have another that goes further, but my laptop is packed in my suitcase at the moment ready for our drive back to Phoenix.

https://www.legacystation.com/lionel-fastrack-guide

Yep a half inch piece would be nice.  I've done the 1 and 3/8" trick and while it works, it is the roughest piece of trackage on my line.  Lionel should just make a 1/2" filler piece.  If you can space the small pieces out it helps but sometimes that's hard to do. You can see the added pieces to get the correct size I needed. 2x 1 3/8 and 2x 1 3/4.

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Last edited by MartyE

Thank you Dave and Eddie. I wondered if that was the only option but hoped there was some math or measurement I was missing.

Any idea why Lionel would not make the bigger switches using a factor of 5”? Why not make the straight pieces of a length the you could use the 5” piece (or at least the 4 1/2”) to add in the difference?

Hard to understand the logic but at least there is a solution. But having to have multiple connections of four short pieces seems a bit odd. Thanks again!

@SteveH posted:

Steve,

Something else to be aware of with the O60 switchesis the 1 3/8" half roadbed straight sections that come with them and the non removable straight within the curve of the switch.  If placing these switches in a curve, someone would also need to account for the 1 3/8 to 2 3/4 straight section added within the curve.  If you look closely at he image below there is a O60 curve with 2x 1 3/8" straight sections attached on the left, exactly overlaying the geometry of the O60 switch below it.

Great point. Thanks Steve!

Actually, it would be nice if they made a 5 1/2” piece so the O60 switch would fit a 20” section. There are many other times a 5 1/2” would have made layout design a lot easier.

@MartyE posted:

Yep a half inch piece would be nice.  I've done the 1 and 3/8" trick and while it works, it is the roughest piece of trackage on my line.  Lionel should just make a 1/2" filler piece.

Or - just make the dang straight side of the switch an easy 1/2” longer!

And most of us have multiple switches so that’s a lot of tiny pieces with a lot of connection points.

Last edited by Raven87
@DoubleDAZ posted:

Actually, it would be nice if they made a 5 1/2” piece so the O60 switch would fit a 20” section. There are many other times a 5 1/2” would have made layout design a lot easier.

Absolutely!

And the 072 switch is another odd duck. It’s straight side is 15 5/8”?
What good reason could they have to not make it 15 1/2”?

I think they are trying to drive us crazy!

As far as the filler straight they put in, I use my dremmel to remove the road bed on any piece of track I mate to the switches especially the curves.  AT least for O72s, ocne you pull off the straight filler piece the curve is the same length as a standard O72 FT curve so cutting the roadbed on the joining curve keeps that geometry in tact.  Not a great picture but both the adjoining straight and curve have the roadbed cut to fit the switch.  I also cut the center rail of the straight to create a block.

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Last edited by MartyE
@Raven87 posted:

Nice layout Marty!

Thanks.  It's my hold over layout until I get the time and the room painted.  I just went through this exercise Saturday to get this switch installed.  I had a S curve that the Big Boy and 844 wouldn't navigate in a MU.

Last edited by MartyE

Does the curve part match up

So... maybe I should go with 072 switches? I don’t really have the room for 072 curves all around but now I’m rethinking the 060 switches. Hmm...

Does the curve part match up

If you are referring to my post with the O60 curve overlaid on the O60 switch, yes the curves line up if you align the curve at the convergent end of the switch.

That overlaid curve then has either one or 2 x straight 1-3/8" pieces attached to the divergent end to match the Switch's curve geometry exactly.

@Raven87 posted:

So... maybe I should go with 072 switches? I don’t really have the room for 072 curves all around but now I’m rethinking the 060 switches. Hmm...

Which ever size switch you go with, you may find this additional resource helpful:

Last edited by SteveH

That is an excellent resource. Thank you very much SteveH.

The bottom line is that the O60 switch is not a drop in replacement for an O60 curve section. And it is the only switch that is not.

If your plan is to have one of the O60 switches in place of an O60 curve, you lose the 30" radius. For me it was a can of worms.

@Raven87 posted:

So... maybe I should go with 072 switches? I don’t really have the room for 072 curves all around but now I’m rethinking the 060 switches. Hmm...

You might consider the O72 for the turnouts if you have room. Adding a 1 3/4" straight to the O72 switch gives you a 16" straight. That can be helpful as Lionel steps 6" between radii.

Otherwise, if you don't have O54 minimum equipment, O48 might be nice as it has a 15" straight. Easier to match with a 10" + 5" straight.

Unless you absolutely need O60 switches or O72 switches screw up too much of your layout, I’d definitely opt for the O72 switches. If you have a switch going into an O60 loop, consider the O72 as an easement.

I created a table that shows what is/isn't possible. Similar to the link Steve sent.

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That's interesting that all the other switches "curved" portions (with the add on piece removed) match their stand alone curved section except for the O60s.  Must have been a late Friday afternoon design.  I'd be deep dodo if that wasn't the case with the O72s for sure.

Thanks for the lists guys!

When dealing with these issues, I've been able to make pretty much anything work using one or more these principles:

1) Create a mirror image of an oddball switch geometry using regular track sections on the mirrored side of the curve.

2) If a needed short length of track is not possible, add just enough of a small section to the opposite side of the layout to leave a combination of lengths that is possible on the first side

3) Play around (in SCARM) with different combinations of curve diameters and degrees of turns to shorten or extend the effective length of the curve.

4) If all else fails, an 1/8" (sometimes greater, depending on how many pieces are shifted) gap or overrun can be fudged by nudging the pieces around.

@SteveH posted:

When dealing with these issues, I've been able to make pretty much anything work using one or more these principles:

1) Create a mirror image of an oddball switch geometry using regular track sections on the mirrored side of the curve.

2) If a needed short length of track is not possible, add just enough of a small section to the opposite side of the layout to leave a combination of lengths that is possible on the first side

3) Play around (in SCARM) with different combinations of curve diameters and degrees of turns to shorten or extend the effective length of the curve.

4) If all else fails, an 1/8" (sometimes greater, depending on how many pieces are shifted) gap or overrun can be fudged by nudging the pieces around.

A lot of what you point out is true until you add switches into an existing layout geometry.  Then it can become a different game of fill in the gaps.  LOL!

Absolutely great information here! Thank you.

@JackO posted:

You might consider the O72 for the turnouts if you have room. Adding a 1 3/4" straight to the O72 switch gives you a 16" straight. That can be helpful as Lionel steps 6" between radii.

Otherwise, if you don't have O54 minimum equipment, O48 might be nice as it has a 15" straight. Easier to match with a 10" + 5" straight.

Excellent points. Thank you.

@Raven87 not sure how rigid the rest of your layout is, but take a look at the length of the straight section where you plan to add the switch and see if there's any room to adjust. For instance, in the 20" scenario if you could adjust to 19.75", then you could use 3x of the 1 3/4" fillers instead of 4x of the 1 3/8".

I agree it's not fun to use a lot of small fillers to get a certain straight length, and it cal make for a bumpy ride as well. I have 0 issues with the 1 3/4" fillers, but the 1 3/8" ones are pretty hit or miss - the outer rails rarely seem to be level and I've had limited success trying to level them myself. Whenever possible, I try to avoid using too many of them or at least space them out so it doesn't look my trains are on a 5" "gravel road" track section.

However this is pretty much my only complaint about Fastrack, so I'll happily keep using it for the foreseeable future. I love the CC switches, built in roadbed, lift out extended truss bridge, and now that I have built up a pretty large collection, the ability to reconfigure my layout as often as I'd like. The pros definitely outweigh the cons for me.

Thanks Mike and I agree that Fastrack is awesome.
Because of my layout’s shape, I’ve decided that I am going to install 072 switches on both ends of the main line loop.

That will make it easier to ensure symmetry and help avoid having to use the small string of short fitter pieces since I can adjust as needed overall.

Sounds like a good idea. You won't regret going with 072 if you have the room (even if you're not using 072 curves) and your layout will be more future proof because of it. I have 2 pairs of 072 CC switches on my layout set up as crossovers between the two mainlines and they work great.

@Mike0289 posted:

Sounds like a good idea. You won't regret going with 072 if you have the room (even if you're not using 072 curves) and your layout will be more future proof because of it. I have 2 pairs of 072 CC switches on my layout set up as crossovers between the two mainlines and they work great.

I will most likely install two pair - one pair on each side - for access to/from the two passing tracks, at least one pair initially.

The inside passing track has four 036 switches going to storage spurs but the locomotives won’t actually have to navigate those because I’m going to buy a smaller switch engine eventually for those duties. Currently I just back the cars onto the spurs and disconnect.

And I plan to install two 072s for a reversing connection (between the inside passing line and the outer part of the mainline going the other direction that run parallel) to allow reversing a train on the mainline. Currently I use two manual 036’s RH switches to do that.

So I think for now I’m going to go with 060 curves (from my current 048s) due to space limitations and because I plan to stay with modern era diesels. But, who knows down the road... maybe I’ll go with larger curves then.

Last edited by Raven87

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