Tips for Making a Model Railroad Manual Turnout Control

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Turnouts are an essential component of a well functioning model railroad. Also known as switches or points, turnouts help guide your trains to a different set of tracks, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations. The way you control a turnout can also vary, depending on whether you want to turn over a switch automatically or manually, and by direct contact or remote.

Many modelers opt to make their own turnout control, as it allows them to personalize the appearance of their ballast and customize the type of control they use. In this lesson, we teach you how to create a model railroad manual turnout control that can be utilized on a wide variety of turnouts.

How to install a model railroad manual turnout control

Making a model railroad manual turnout control is a relatively simple process; all you’ll need to create your own control is an afternoon and a steady hand. To help you put together a model railroad manual turnout control for your next layout, modeler Mary Miller walks you through a step-by-step demonstration for building a control from scratch. She introduces each of the materials you’ll require, then shows you how to make the cuts, drills and taps to assemble a functional model railroad manual turnout control.

After putting together each of the components of her model railroad manual turnout control, Mary teaches you how to mount the switch and pivotal turnout linkage (PTL) onto a dowel rod, which is then attached through the ballast to a dowel knob. By measuring, Mary determines where to cut the rod so as to make the knob flush with the ballast and fully operational. With Mary’s walkthrough, you’ll be able to create a model railroad manual turnout control for your next layout with no trouble at all!