Monday, December 26, 2016

Maerklin turnouts and Weinert wire ducts

Maerklin K-track turnouts have an unusual mechanism to move the points. The mechanism is located halfway up the turnout and moves the points using a flexible lever. The advantage of this approach is that the points will snap back into place if a train fouls the turnout. The disadvantage is that turnout throw and lights are at the completely wrong place. Thus, detailing Maerklin turnouts with fine Weinert parts for mechanical interlockings (Nr. 7208) is somewhat an oxymoron.

Nevertheless, I'd like to try. The wire loop from the tower arrives through ducts from the right entering the main mechanism.  I'm adding a turnout throw closer to the tip of the points and "drive" it from the main mechanism, i.e. the main mechanism is where certain turnouts on the prototype might have a center lock ("Klammermittelverschluss") and the look is reverse from what it normally should be. A workable compromise for now.

I built enough of the remote throws in assembly line fashion, and tried the arrangement on the layout.

Building a bunch of remote turnout throws from styrene. The prototype is on the left.

Maintenance facility turnout at track 1 in Emsingen
Remote turnout throws installed at the south end of Emsingen

Next I built up the wire ducts towards the tower. After some contemplation I figured the prototype would not have bothered with a full blown wire group diversion ("Grupperablenkung") at this tower. I removed the building for better access.
While the arrangement looked ok'ish with the first couple turnouts connected, ...

... it became quite messy and didn't at all look like what you would expect from a major German government agency as it progressed. I'm not happy with this spaghetti bowl. The rather tight turnouts, sharp angles, and limited space are not helping, but that's the track geometry I have to live with.

As remedy, I'm going to build a Gruppenablenkung and attempt to keep the routing of the ducts as straight and rectangular as I can make it. The longer run to the turnout on the left (and the south entry signal, too) would likely be open-air. Let's see whether that works out better.

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