Peco Proto:87 Conversion (or Diversion)


A long time ago, I purchased a stash of Peco #8 turnouts, just in case I got fed up with trying to make my own. But abandoning this Proto:87 venture would lead me right back to why I diverged onto the Proto:87 course anyway: Peco frogs don’t look like frogs (see post – Frog Frenzy). With making a suitable turnout moving at a glacial pace, and after another frustrating failure last week, I ordered a half dozen Details West #8 frogs to replace those ugly Peco frogs and move the layout along with at least a temporary track while I figure out how to build a suitable turnout.

One lament with this idea would be that I would have to build this temporary track as a standard HO track, while everything else I’m building would be Proto:87. As I ripped out the Peco frog and refitted it with a nice Details West frog, I had the idea to convert the Details West frog to be usable as a Proto:87 frog. To do so, I simply glued a .030 styrene shim to the wing rail portion of the Details West manganese frogs. This shim was then sanded down to not interfere with the flange-ways, and acts to carry the wheel tread from the closure rails to the frog point without dropping into the enormous HO gap. I also removed the Peco guard rails, filed their bases and moved them closer to the stock rails so that they met the Proto:87 Check gauge. If I do another one, I’ll try to make a video or take in progress photos.



Author: Greg Amer

4 thoughts on “Peco Proto:87 Conversion (or Diversion)

  1. Did you try out the P87 Stores frogs? I have fund they drop right into Shinohara turnouts. I imagine the same would be true with Peco as well.

    How do the points work with P87?


    1. Thanks Rene,

      I have successfully replaced the Proto87 stores into a Peco turnout. It is really a very simple process, just set the new frog on top of the turnout and align it with the frog and closure rails, mark the turnout and cut out the old frog. It takes a little cleanup to get it pretty, but it’s mostly just shaving down some plastic burs. I glue in the Proto87 Frog. Wiggle the guard rails loose, file the inside base of the guard rails and move them closer to the stock rails to achieve the proper check gauge.

      It takes about 15 to 20 minutes and the proto87 wheels run just fine on a modified Peco turnout.


  2. Thanks Craig. I think I can make a temporary layout to Proto:87 standards. The track gauge is the same, just need to make adjustments to the frog and guard rails. I really like the way the turnouts I’m building look, especially the color separation and textures.

  3. Looks good. Keep trying on the turnouts, you’ll get it. Can you lay down your track and put those temporary turnouts in and still run P:87? What about the points? Is there a different in gauge between the NMRA standard and P:87?
    Or have you considered laying to NMRA specs (including equipment) and then when you’ve mastered turnouts do a big change over with the equipment and turnouts from NMRA to P:87? If I lived closer I’d offer to come help you build turnouts 🙂

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