Controlling Turnouts

Premium Video Preview: Log in or become a member to get full access.
Duration: 3:29

Membership Options


Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best model railroad videos and step-by-step instructional projects. Learn new techniques and tips from friendly experts. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $8.00
Annually $69.00


Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium model railroad videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive nine video downloads, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $135.00

Allen Keller continued his discussion with Harold Werthwein about his layout of the Delaware Division of the Erie Railroad. Topics covered in this video include controlling turnouts, accuracy of the locomotives and rolling stock, use of kits, and the two control systems used.


Harold had an unusual method for controlling turnouts on his Erie Railroad layout. He used Armstrong Levers. Why? The main reason was the price. Harold had so many switches in this layout that he couldn’t envision putting motors on them.

He researched it and found Armstrong Levers in a magazine from 1962. He contacted the company that sold them, Trackside Specialties. They still had them because no one wanted them. But after Harold installed them in his Erie Railroad, one of the most common questions he got was “Where did you get those?”

Next, Allen asked if all the locomotives were exact models of the prototypes. Basically yes, with the F3s and F7s, though Harold didn’t get into super detailing of the diesels. He also didn’t do a lot of kitbashing but took the locomotives as they came from the manufacturer and painted them.

He also didn’t do anything special to the locomotives to get them to run better.

As for how accurate the rolling stock was, at the beginning, Harold needed volume, so he wasn’t as concerned with accuracy, but some of his operators were real die-hards. Thanks to them, more accurate cars were gradually incorporated into the layout.


This model uses Dynatrol and Rail Lynx Infrared Command Control System. Why did it need two systems? Harold felt Dynatrol had some limitations because of the number of trains Harold was running — he lost flexibility.

Jerry Bellina, one of Harold’s operators, was developing Rail Lynx, and it was compatible with Dynatrol. Running both systems was the solution.

Watch more from Allen Keller.