Sunday, April 21, 2019

Converting a Peco turnout for Maerklin (3)

Recently, I've been working more seriously on converting Peco StreamLine Code 100 turnouts for use with the Maerklin 3-rail system (previous posts here and here). The main motivation for doing this is availability of turnouts with larger radius and more variety than what I can get from Maerklin's track program. The drawback is the need for extensive modifications of the turnouts.

The photo above shows a converted Peco SL-E98 large radius wye turnout with puko strips from Weichen Walter glued and partially melted to the turnout. The Electrofrog construction looks really nice, but requires that the frog rails are cut and insulated from the outer rails. With a radius of 1824mm and 12 degree angle at the frog, there is no turnout available from Maerklin that allows similarly graceful curvature.

Below is a Peco SL-95 medium radius Insulfrog. With a radius of 914mm and 12 degree angle, this turnout is pretty close to Maerklin's 22716 "slim turnout".

I chose Peco Code 100 Streamline turnouts because they come pretty close to Maerklin's Code 100 K track system, which should allow me to mix-and-match K-track and Peco turnouts. This way I hope to limit building custom turnouts to situations where they are strictly needed.

Converting turnouts in assembly line fashion optimizes work time, since I can apply a set of puko strips as needed and let the glue dry on one turnout, while I work on assembling another turnout. Here are my five test turnouts in various states of completion.

The final step is wiring up the new puko strips, as well as the frog rails that need to be polarized and provide power to the pickup shoe. I chose to individually wire the puko strips on each leg of the turnout, since it avoids installing a wire to bridge the gap and keeps the frog rails accessible from below.

To gain even more experience with the process, I'm planning to build the Untergroeningen station module only with converted Peco track.

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