Turnout Operations


One thing that has been bothering me as I worked on the layout is how to operate the turnouts in the Deseronto yard. I had been going down the path of using power operation everywhere but the wiring was bothering me, to say nothing of the cost of all the gear required. The yard has 26 actuators, including four double slips, so that is a fairly high density for installing things, to say nothing of the collection of wire under the benchwork. I was thinking down the line of using CAT5 to each Tortoise, then using a network patch panel to consolidate the motor leads and leave the integral contacts exposed. But then I was reading a discussion elsewhere on the forum and one poster mentioned the mechanical levers offered by 'Humpyard Purveyors'. When I followed the link it stuck me that this was the perfect solution for the yard -- and I had a blank area adjacent to the throttle panel that can be routed out for a line of these items. Hopefully it won't take too long to get them.

The rest of the layout is still being put together using power operators for the turnouts -- Atlas solenoids for the upper deck (where clearance is a critical issue) and tortoise slo-mo for the lower deck. But now that the control distribution has changed there is more room for populating the control panel with status LEDs. I am not sure how I am going to do turnout state indication on the manual operators, perhaps a set of contacts on the bottom of the switch lever.

One other thought that I have is that were I to do the benchwork over again (unlikely), I would have made much more provision for the masses of wire. I drilled big holes through the supports for wire -- track feed, DC auxiliary power and control signals (including LOCOnet). But as these fill up I realize that there is nowhere near enough space. I am thinking that a couple of runs of Panduct might have been a better idea (this is a slotted trough that is used a lot in industrial wiring and networking). No room for it now -- there are management requirements for things to be stored under the layout that nix a retrofit. It has been a real challenge to find a solution that fit in the available space, was movable on demand, and had enough complexity to be interesting.


Turnout actuators/throws.

I visited a club layout recently where the turnouts are operated by old Car hood release cables.


The pull handle being mounted on the layouts facia on a diagram of the yards etc to relate which turnout each pull handle operated.


to the wreckers yard with you.

The humpyard controls can be

The humpyard controls can be used to activate a switch for frog powering or turnout position or both. Page 3 of the instructions show a simple home made switch.


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