Where would you put switches? - Lionel Fastrack - UPDATE _ NEW PICS

While I am saving for switches I really want to run trains...

I need a different perspective on where to put switches... when I put them in.. they look funny...

Where would you put switches?  I would like to have the ability to get access to all 3 lines.    The outside line is O-60, the middle is O-48 and the inside is O-36.

I have o-36 switches... I have O-72 switches. 

Thank you everyone!

Bryan3 - TRAIN O-60-O-48-O-36 - FEB 12, 2018







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Original Post


You'll like the O72 switches as they are the flattest for crossovers.

I don't recall how you are operating your trains.

You may have mess with isolating loops if you are running conventionally.

Crossing over out of the corner helps a lot with the small radius switches. It takes the jerky movement out and makes engines and cars happy.

The switches set the track spacing. Make the outside loop first with the O72 crossovers. They need the 1 3/8" no-roadbed piece between the turn-outs and one half-roadbed piece on the thru end. RR-T has the as an X number.

The O48 and O36 don't use them.

BeachHead2's idea looks like a good start.

What's the current switch inventory?



Arctic Railroad

I have a similar current layout and i put them like this.  It also took a lot of switches and it's helpful to have the same ones paired, back to back to make it all fit together reasonably nicely.  I can't say I truly recommend this -- it's just a data point for you. 


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Thank you for the replies back...

I was looking for another post and stumbled across an older thread dealing with this very topic...   in that one they used the switches in the corners... o36-036 inner and middle... and then o-48 to o-48 connecting the outer and middle..

I only have two O-48's, so that will not work.

I have 12 O-72 switches and 10 O-36 switches...  I am saving for O-60 switches now... I am in too deep to start over with another brand of track. 

When I started out.. the O-60 was the odd switch out... no one used it... it was all O-36 or O-72....  not now, it has changed.

Lots of awesome layouts out there with O-60 turn out, ie; the 5x15 from Ken O Scale with the O-60 Bowtie... I added O-72 turnouts to it and it does not look good on paper.  Even assembling it on the table... it just does not look right.

I live in Canada.  Whereas I can buy a switch for $109.959 (US) ... it is more like $166.00 then 13% tax.  1 switch is just about $188.00 (CDN)

So, until then, this will get me up and running...






So... I have 12 revisions to this layout...   I cannot imagine how the guys and gals ever designed layouts with RR or AR...

My benchwork was finished on Friday... 5 x 17 this gives me 2' on each end to reach.  I can access the left side for the first 7' feet of the layout, then my furnace gets in the way.  I cannot get the 5' after that' easily'  a step ladder gets me up there.   I deliberately went with this crossover configuration and placement because I can reach around both side - again with the step stool... whereas if i put them against the far wall... it would have been a total bummer - if there was... or when a derailment happens.

The turnouts are all O-72 with one O-36.. I forgot I had non working 'spare' turnouts... no biggie its only for the siding.

This layout gives me everything that I want in my layout.  3 trains... a must.  Conventionally or otherwise.

I wanted to use the MTH double engine house -   Use  my MTH Operating Platform 

Then alot of my city... check check and check...

The next phase is wiring.  This bogged down my last layout and I want to make it easy this time around... but that is another post.

I am so happy to have 2' on either side... way better than an extra 4' length wise.  My knees are sore from being on the wood top.. and is it normal to have the fastrack rail ties still imprinted in my knees? 


But it runs... I only have one train and its Thomas with the LionChief.  It is real slow, but the whole track is being powered off the 18 volts.

Finally... after years of not running.. we are up.








To get a pair of matching reversing loops (Highly recommended), you should be able to trace a figure 8 (can be as distorted as you like and dosen't require a use of a crossover as a pair of switches can function in that capacity) as you follow your track plan.

Some examples:



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No reason for non-working spares - they can be repaired unless there is physical damage

Thomas shouldn't be slow - so, you have one test connection only?  You need an MTH Z-1000, CW-80 or larger - the Thomas power pack would be the issue - it's DC only with low amperage - use AC power - Thomas is my track tester also - a very useful engine!

Good design addressing the reach GIVENS and your layout DRUTHERS!

Oh, for the track knees - use two small pieces of plywood on top of the rails - move around upon those or to get to spot between tracks


Arctic Railroad

ADCX Rob has effectively drawn what would be a reversing loop into your current design.

You have a lot of space for a good layout.  Some tweeking and you will have something very enjoyable to operate for a long time.  Running in loops gets old after while and going to 2 loops with sidings and staging with the return loop will bring a lot of operational satisfaction.  Having a place to park and stage trains is an often over looked item which greatly enhances operations.  Having the reversing loop that you can turn a whole train around with is often forgotten as well and eliminates many headaches.

Multiple continuous loops do allow you to run multiple trains at a time, set the throttle and let them go.  But then what do you do after that?  Blow the horn/whistle, watch the round and round?  Having to adjust speeds, set to sidings while another train passes, running two trains on the same loop in the opposite direction, that brings some excitement, keeps you busy, and most of all is just plain fun to operate.

I say this because I have had the round and round layouts, no staging, no reversing loops, etc.  I always lost interest in running trains quickly.  It's even not exciting to watch for visitors.

Thank you for the frank reply Rob... I hear what your saying about the round and round, totally agree on your points.

That being said, I will re-visit my layout and try to implement some or all of those ideas.  Having operating options will be better too.  I have boxes of operating accessories from my old layout... that would be a good distraction.  




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