Turnout issues

ScaleyGuy Jan 21, 2020

  1. ScaleyGuy

    ScaleyGuy New Member

    model in HO and am having an issue with my Peco curved turnout. I seem to get frequent derailments when switching to the inner passing track. I am thinking of switching out that Peco for a Atlas Mark 3 curved turnout or should I make a major change and reposition the turnout on a straight? I have to say I am a little disappointed with Peco as I also tend to have some derailment issues in another area ( just a straight turnout) especially when running a steam locomotive where the front wheels will tend to go off. Peco switches are cheap and I thought the extra $ spent would pay off. Doesn't look to be the case.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  2. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

    I have 2 of them on my layout and have not had any issue with them. Have you by chance set up an S curve situation by accident? Mine has one at the start of a curve off a straight run of track, the other is on a curve to a siding.

    I hope you figure it out.
    gjslsffan and Joe Lovett like this.
  3. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    Where do you think the problem spot is? Frog, points? Is your layout ballasted? Peco turnouts are usually quality pieces, so it could be some other issue or a repair that needs to be made. Make sure the points contact the outer stock rails completely. The wheels could be picking the points, especially if you have a switch machine or ballast.
  4. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

    Peco are quality switches. First looks at a few things

    1 what kind of switch machine are you using? Manual or power?

    2 are the points seated or do they move when the engine goes through them?

    3 check the gauge with an NMRA track gauge. make sure the rails are in gauge as well as the troublesome wheels. If it is only that one engine then I would be sure to see why that is the problem.

    4 check for ballast in the wrong place. Those little pebbles can get in the worst places.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  5. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

    As others have commented, Peco are good quality turnouts and superior to Atlas. Atlas are lower quality and cost less. You get what you pay for.

    Probably the only comparable turnouts (revised version) are the MicroEngineering turnouts. Or you could go Tilig Elite for about twice the price if Peco aren't good enough for you, but they are European style turnouts.

    Either you have a rare defective turnout or possibly a track configuration such as an S curve that pre-disposes trains to derail.

    You are the only person i have ever heard calling Peco cheap.

    Go to this link and check out this highly professional layout builder who is constructing his very large complex layout with Peco turnouts and tell him they are cheap. That guy knows what he is doing - it's obvious.


    Follow the suggestions above - and see where it leads you.
    gjslsffan and Kevin Anderson like this.
  6. ScaleyGuy

    ScaleyGuy New Member

    I mis-typed and mean to say Peco switches are NOT cheap and was hoping that the higher quality was worth the extra $. Thanks for the advice. I keep ballast away from the points, but I will check to see if I inadvertently set up an S curve.
    gjslsffan and Kevin Anderson like this.
  7. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

    I have had derailment issues with Peco myself. Are you using code 100, 83 or other? Small, Med or large radius switches?
    They are good switches I agree. However, there is a modification that can be made, to make them better. You can add a .015 X .060 shim to the inside of the guard rails to help keep the wheels (especially semi-scale wheels) from picking the frog point (on facing, diverging or reversed routing). If you google "adding .015 shims to Peco turnouts" it will take you to a few sites that expand and talk about this modification.
    I only have 20 or so on my outfit, all have this mod, and it cured every derailment issue with them.
  8. ScaleyGuy

    ScaleyGuy New Member

    Hi Tom, Thanks so much for your reply. I followed up on your leads and have some great information concerning a fix for the Peco switches. It looks like I'm not crazy and others have had exactly the same issues that I was experiencing. Now the challenge is to get shims to fit over the Peco switches. But, you certainly led me on a great path for a solution. Thank you very much
  9. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

    No Problem at all. My Peco switches are in staging yards so they dont get real heavy usage, I just went to the local hobby shop and bought some Evergreen Styrene .016 X .060 strips and glued them in place with a solvent glue. Paint to desired color and walla, your in business. You may be able to find some .015X.060 brass material too.
    Please post pictures of your mods here if you can.
  10. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    I have used maybe 20 Peco Code 83 Streamline HO turnouts, all #5 or #6, and have yet to have any troubles. I run everything from Walthers rolling stock (box cars, heavyweights), to IHC, to Round House, to Atlas, to Rapido, Athearn, BLI hoppers, and various types of traction from modern diesels to 1915 steam. Where I have had problems, the three or four times a particular item would derail, I found that the gauge of one axle was off by maybe half a mm. When I twisted it true to the NMRA gauge, the problems would disappear. I have never had to shim a single guard rail for a Peco turnout, nor for one Atlas I found I had, somehow, or for any of my Walther's curved, double-crossover, or double-slips. I am about to construct a rudimentary yard with the Micro Engineering #5 ladder turnouts introduced three or four years back, and fully anticipate no problems.

    I believe it is other things that trip us up...speaking of which, is a low coupler and its trip pin. Or wheels out of gauge, an S curve, a truck that meets flashing or some other problem and it doesn't swing properly or fully, a car in the wrong place in a consist because it's too light, or something else. All my turnouts, including the ones I make myself, work so reliably I have never had to replace one. Not even an EZ-Track #4.5, which I stated out with 15 years back this month.

    One other thing: preparing a proper roadbed, and not allowing the frog area to hump or to sink, is another problem that some miss.

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