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:
- Industrial Lead: Frog #14 (L 138″ x W 10″)
- Sig 1: Frog #14 (L 136 x W 10″)
- Odom Lead: Frog #10 (L 108″ x W 10″)
- Sugar Track: Frog #10 (L 108″ x W 10″)
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 was 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.