Being a locomotive engineer, I look at turonouts every day. And the model turnouts always look toy like. I’ve never really been a rivet counter, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on what was wrong. The first clue was the length of the gaurd rail. The gaurdrail on a Peco #6 turnout spans five ties. The real life turnouts I see at work span 10 or more ties. The next clue was the length 0f the points. The points I see at work span the length of at least one 60″ engine, whereas the Peco #6 turnouts are only a half engine length long.

So, I decided to take some actual measurements to determine real life frog sizes. What an eye opener. I measured four prototype turnouts which will appear on my layout. To determine frog number, I divided the length of the frog by the width as described in the Castskill Archive.These are the results:

  1. Industrial Lead: Frog #14 (L 138″ x W 10″)
  2. Sig 1: Frog #14 (L 136 x W 10″)
  3. Odom Lead: Frog #10 (L 108″ x W 10″)
  4. Sugar Track: Frog #10 (L 108″ x W 10″)
  • sig-1-103
  • sig-1-102
  • sig-1-101
  • odom-103
  • odom-102
  • odom-101
  • industrial-102
  • industrial-103
  • industrial-101

Wow! No wonder the #6 turnout looks like a toy, it’s one half the size of my prototype turnout. So what to do? The largest commercially available turnout kits I’d be willing to use are #9 Proto:87 Superfine or #10 Proto:87 Ultimate. I know building a model railroad is about comprimise and maybe I can comprimise with #8 turnouts, but #6′s are almost completely out of the water for me now.

I waas wondering if I could find a prototype #6 turnout. On a whim I drove out to roundhouse wye at Argo yard and found one of tightest turnouts I could remember seeing. The Argo roundhouse wye switch turns out to be a #8.

  • argo-wye-102
  • argo-wye-103
  • argo-wye-101

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Greg Amer

  6 Responses to “Frog Survey”

  1. Wow! That’s an awesome looking frog Craig.

  2. Well then you’ve got it made. :) Homemade #9 frog up top, commercial #4 on bottom. Time to start spiking some rail.

  3. They have machined points, frogs, throw rods, tie plates. Just about everything, just depends on how detailed you want to get.

  4. Do they have points available as well? Once you build the frog, and the points the rest of the turnout is easy. Just keep your calipers handy and check frequently the gauge, etc.

  5. Craig, I’m considering #8 #9 or #10. I really like the manganese frogs from . I ordered a #8 kit to see if I can put together my own turnout.

  6. Go #9 and scratch build your own frogs! Make one and than you can learn or find someone to cast up some copies..

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