Harold Werthwein

Controlling Turnouts

Harold Werthwein
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Duration:   3  mins

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

He researched and found Armstrong Levers in a magazine from 1962, then 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 asks if all the locomotives are 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 instead 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 does 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.

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