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Ryan  Kunkle

Improved Power for Switch Points

By February 7, 2013

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This simple wire jumper can cure a lot of headaches.
©2013 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Do your trains sputter or stall as they go through switches? Aside from cleaning the wheels and rails, there are two simple steps that you can take to improve your trains' operation through turnouts, especially at slow speeds. One is powering the switch frogs which I have covered before. The second is to improve conductivity to the points - the movable rails which change the trains direction.

On many commercial model turnouts, these point rails are hinged. Over time, these hinges loosen, or the gaps become filled with paint, glue, or dust. This can leave the entire movable point section without power.

Fortunately, the solution is an easy to make set of jumpers which can be soldered across the gaps. Best of all, these jumpers can be installed before or after your switch is in place on the railroad. That makes this a much easier, and cheaper, project than replacing the entire switch itself. Learn how!

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