Fixing Model Train Tracks: How to Upgrade a Turnout

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Just because a piece of track is outdated doesn’t mean it’s useless. Model train tracks have evolved greatly over the last few decades, and so have the standards that govern their scale and implementation. Therefore, certain trackage that once worked perfectly on a model railroad can now cause your engine to short circuit when too many rails sap power at the same time. That is unless you upgrade the components of your model train tracks to accommodate modern-day standards. In this lesson, we teach you how to upgrade an outdated turnout to be used on today’s model train tracks.

Upgrading a turnout for modern model train tracks

Turnouts are essential components of model train tracks. Without an operational turnout, you can’t redirect your trains and manipulate their courses. It is especially important for the success of a model railroad that power be run correctly through the rails to keep trains running full-steam and avoid short circuits. And turnouts are perhaps the most complicated pieces of model train tracks to properly configure so as to avoid short circuits, particularly older models. That’s why modeler Tony Koester is going to show you how to upgrade the rails on an old turnout to guarantee it operates correctly without causing a short circuit.

To help you bring your old turnout up to present-day standards for model train tracks, Tony walks you through a step-by-step demonstration on removing parts from an outdated turnout and restructuring the component to make it operational. He teaches you how to safely unsolder the point rails and gap the frog rails so you ensure an appropriate amount of power will run through the model train tracks as your engine rolls through. Be sure to follow each step in the process, as you want to guarantee you make the correct connections and solder the right metals!