Friday, September 10, 2021

Switch Stands for Turnouts

 A basic railway detail often overlooked is switch stands. While ubiquitous in real life because you can't really do on a railway without them, they are scarce on layouts. They used to be costly and truth to be told, they can be quite fragile. I've seen a few made of brass, but it can get quickly onerous.

A few months ago, I purchased a dozen of 3D printed switch stands on Shapeways designed by Steve Hunter and found them well designed. I painted and weathered them, but also took care to add turnout numbers on the target just like you can find on prototypes.

Finally, I had a chance to finally install them on the layout two days ago. Yes, they are fragile and would prefer another alternative if possible. I know Rapido made a few ones in plastic but it seems they have the same flaw: they stand in your way when throwing manually a turnout. It makes me wonder if I shouldn't try to operate more turnouts with rods and knobs.

However, these issues aside, they really make a subtle but welcomed difference on the layout. Giving we made a point to keep the color palette subdued, these yellow targets really pop up and add interest.

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