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Turnout Configuration Question

Started by billygg430, July 13, 2023, 08:01:14 AM

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Hey All, Just joining for the first time.

I am working on building a basic HO circle (oval) setup for under the Christmas tree this coming holiday season.

I am using 26 radius ez track with the gray bed. It will be 2 half circles with 2 9 inch straight sections on each side, to make an oval.

I would like to add a turnout on one side so one half circle has another track on the inside. So it would turn out and come back in with another turnout on the other side. Oval with inner turn on one side.

My question, is, what turnout number do I use #4, #5 or #6? I would like the inner track to be fairly close to the outer track to conserve space, yet have enough clearance to not contact the out loop cars. Would a #6 work then?

And, do I also use the same 26 radius on the inner turn then?



The 26" radius curves have an 18deg arc. The #4 turnout diverges at a 15deg angle, the #5 at a 12deg angle and the #6 at a 10# angle. There are no standard EZ-Track pieces that will combine with the #4 or #6 turnout to give an 18deg diverging route to match the 18deg arc of the 26" raius curve.

There is a 33.5" radius curve section, item #44508, with a 6deg arc. This can be combined with the 12deg diverging leg of the #5 turnout to get the 18degs need to match the 26" radius curves. You can use 26" radius curves for both the inner and outer loops, but there will be a 2-1/4" inch gap at the midpoint of both ends of the outer loop. This can be filled with a couple of 2-1/4" straight sections, item #44513.

The distance between the inner loop and outer loop will be roughly 14" if the turnouts are connected directly to the outer loop. The #5 turnouts themselves are a bit over 11" long on the straight section.

If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.

Terry Toenges

The pics look like that's a standard turnout. #4's have no curve like that.

Feel like a Mogul.


And the #4 turnoug diverging leg is at a 15deg angle to the through leg, not 30deg. That's definately a standard #44562, 9" straight, 18" radius diverging, right hand turnout in the foreground of the Christmas layout pics.

It would not workd very well with the 26" radius curves the OP already has.

If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.


Using standard turnouts with the 18" radius curved diverging leg for a Chistmas layout isn't the issue. The OP wanted to add an inner loop using 26" radius curves to match the outer loop he alread has. The only EZ-Track turnout that works for that, without cutting and fitting special sized pieces, is the #5 turnout as described above.

If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.


Wow, thanks guys! That seems extremely complicated to get an inner loop.

So I'll say this, I have not bought any of the 26 degree yet. I'm still formulating this in my head. Our typical tree skirt is 50 - 56 inches. I figured instead of going with a 48 inch wide circle, which seems more standard for like 4x8 sheets, I would kick it out a bit more to the 26 to give a less sharp circle. (oval). I believe that puts me at 52 inches wide, which sounds like it would work nice under the tree.

I wanted to add a turnout for parking some cars and then that inner circle section to add a little bit more to this setup than a simple circle. Maybe I should re-think the setup a bit based on all your feedback here. I'm not looking to make it really complicated, but, wanted to make something a bit more unique than a simple circle.

I have my older HO cars and Burlington engine from when I was a kid (90's). I'm looking forward to getting everything back out for the kids (And myself :)).


Don't be surprised if that engine doesn't run after 30 years of storage.  Every point of electrical contact including the wheels is thoroughly oxidized.  The track too.  Don't wait till the last minute to test it, and have crying kids to deal with.  Set it up at some other location and try it out.  And report back here. If it doesn't work, we'll see what we can do to get you going.


o she works. I had it out last year and was running it on some straight nickel silver i had. It does need a little steel wool, but it definitely ran!


NO! NO! NO!!!!!   NOT STEEL WOOL!!!!

It will shed thousands of little particles that will get all up in your motor and ruin it!!!


whats the best recommendation then? That's what i used for years as a kid working on my tains. never really had an issue


What are you using steel wool for? 

It only takes one tiny partiscule in the wrong place in the motor to internally short it out and destroy it.  All I can say is that you've been lucky so far.

Cleaning the track, your steel wool makes even more of these molecular hazards.  They will lay on the track and the motor magnet will pick them up and draw them into the engine.  You've been dodging bullets with the steel wool and are lucky you haven't been hit yet.

There are 1000 better ways to clean track, but in your case I'd get one of the abrasive blocks like a Bright Boy or better, a non abrasive one like Cratex, which I've used for the last hundred years or so.  Or, you can moisten a paper towel with denatured alcohol and drag it along the rail.  You won't believe the amount of nastiness that that will come off on the towel.

The best way I think to clean locomotive wheels is to put the engine on the track and roll one truck up on a paper towel laid over both rails, and spin the drivers with feather touch pressure down on wheels. You'll be astounded at the black crud that comes off.  Do that until nothing comes off and then do the other truck likewise.  If it's an extreme case, denatured alcohol on the paper will help but be careful, it can spot your finish.

I have locomotives by several manufacturers, and the metal alloy used for the Bachmann wheels seems to oxidize just like the others.  It's an ongoing problem over time with all engines that needs constant attention.


Like I said, there's 1000 ways or more to clean track and wheels. Everyone has their own way. Try them all to find the one that suits you best. Anything except steel wool.

One thing, though. In my experience, I've never found a track cleaning car that really cleans the track very well. They just can't put enough downward pressure on the rail compared to your hand.


Thanks for all the help so far guys. I ended up getting enough ez. Track to get the oval rolling so far

She still purrs after 30 years.

Changing up my thought on the inner track turn in. Because this will be going under the xmas tree, is it possible to do an inner track on the front side of the oval so we can manually control the turnouts? I'm not going to use automated turn outs. It gets to complicated under a tree and you won't be able to reach the rear turn out. So think of the longer run sections being in the front and back of the tree. So an inner run would go in the front, with turn ins and outs on the front side. Do they make curved turnouts? A turnout within the 26 curve?


Thanks for this. looks like a great setup. So is there no manual gray bed turnouts? Are they all electronic? Can they be operated manually do you know? My old school turnouts have a slider on the side.