Converting LGB 1600 Turnouts to Tenmille Ground Throws

PG. 1 - Purpose  

PG. 2 - The Jig

PG. 3 - Parts & Tools

PG. 4 - The Tie Extensions

PG. 5 - The Linkage

PG. 6 - Bending the Linkage

PG. 7 - Tie Assembly

PG. 8 - Linkage Assembly

PG 9. Completion 

The purpose of this article is to document my conversion of LGB 1600 turnouts from the LGB standard turnout controls

 to Tenmille Ground Throws.   

The reason for this change, improvement or upgrade is to more closely simulate the operations of a small railroad, have turnouts that work in the hostile outside environment not friendly to minature replicated equipment, and hold the points firmly to eliminate derailments.  

The idea for this upgrade has come after many years of searching and observing what other model railroaders have been successful at using.  Many conversations have been devoted to this subject, and though I don't feel there is a right or wrong way of resolving how this subject should be approached, I find that this is a solution that will work for the Kaskaskia Valley Railway.

My first exposure to ground throws like the Tenmille came from the HO size ground throws from Caboose Industries.  They are manually operated and at the location of where the turnout should be switched manually by a train crew to change the points.

Fred Mills of the Ironwood, Peter's Pond and Western in Ottawa, Canada has developed a simular ground throw using a common hardware barrel bolt.  You can see one of Fred's ground throws at the bottom of this picture.  For installation on the KVRwy there were a number of concerns.  Number one was it needed a very strong base like the IPP&WRR has.  The KVRwy is only supported by ballast.  Number two in the concerns was the length,  There are many places on the KVRwy where space is somewhat tight and though I wanted the entire turnout and groundthrow to be capable of being used with 1:20.3 equipment, it could only be so wide.  The third concern was positive linkage.  With the ground throw being in ballast, I did not want any "spring action".  I wanted a positive position against one rail or the other.  (Note - Since installing a test ground throw on the KVRwy, the points have not fowled possibly because of a larger path for ballast to be flushed through, instead of being held to neither rail and suspended on both sides in ballast.)        

Marty Cozad of the North Table Creek Garden Railroad in Nebraska City, Nebraska has been using the Tenmille ground throws, but on custom built turnouts and Aristo turnouts.  This was close and gave me the final ideas, but I still had to modify for LGB 1600's.

Applying Tenmilles to Aristo turnouts is fairly straight forward, because the throw of the Tenmille and the throw of an Aristo turnout is the same.  Also, there is a support bar under the Aristo turnout control that just needs to be extended out to work with the Tenmille ground throw.  It is ultra-violet protected and makes for an easy install.  To install on LGB 1600's, I had to create the support rods and then also protect them from the elements.

For the outside portion of the KVRwy, over 50 turnouts need to be custom fit.  To do this a number of additional turnouts were aquired and turnouts in position are replaced with turnouts that have been modified.  The replaced pieces are then being used to carry on the program as we move down the line. With task in front of me, I decided the solution should be broken up into stages of production.  A "jig" has been created to hold all parts stable during modification and also to create mass produced custom parts, unique to the needs of the LGB 1600 turnouts.






PG. 2 - The Jig

I started out with a reasonable piece of plywood with no exact dimension to hold the parts together while assembling and also the dimensions of what parts are needed.  It just kind of keeps every critical part of information together.

The writing at the top basically tells what it is for.  Right now I am using it quite often, but once this project is complete it will be put with other jigs and its original purpose will probably be forgotten.  The writing states "Tenmille Turnout Jig for LGB 1600's".  Other writing on the jig pertains to particular parts of the assembly.  The first thing I want to do is remove the railjoiners because I plan to installall of the turnouts with rail clamps.  So I write this right on the jig. "Remove railjoiners before starting". 

The sketch at the bottom left hand corner is a profile of how the tubing needs to be bent for the linkage.  Information is also right there as to what the length of the copper tubing should be for each piece of linkage.  Each piece, as it is bent, can be compared against the profile. 

The wooden battens are used to hold the the turnout and tie extension in place as they are modified and joined.  It will work for both a left or right hand turnout.

(Note -The routed out area running through the middle of the jig, was originally used to hold the 1/4 inch plastic rods while they were being drilled on the drill press.  There are also battens underneath the jig to hold it in place of the drill press table.  This proved to be not necessary, as a battery operated hand drill can make those holes accurate enough while the turnout and parts are held in the jig.  Those battens underneath were not removed, but left for possible future use and 3/4 inch removable legs were attached to keep those batten legs out of the way.  The routed area is still used to measure where the cut needs to be made for the plastic support rods.)

The white shiming material between the battens is used to raise the support rods tight against the bottom of the turnout as the are fastened.

Notice, once again, the use of the jig to hold information needed to make the parts. 

The battens have also become a a mini miter box to cut the plastic support rods.  You can see the cut line through the battens and shiming material on the right side of the above picture. 





PG. 3 - Parts & Tools

Parts for the assembly are -

A Tenmille ground throw -

Tie Extensions made from LGB UV protected tie strips.

The Linkage made from a piece of  2 3/4 inch smashed and bent piece of 1/4 inch O.D. copper tubing.

2 - 5 13/16 inch long .250 x .250 Strip Styrene from Evergreen Scale Models.

10 - #4 x 3/8 Phillips pan head stainless steel screws obtained from McMaster-Carr.

3 - #2 x 56 Phillips pan head stainless steel screws taken out of the bottom of Aristo flex track when it is bent.

Scrap plastic taken from the LGB UV tie strip that holds the ties together.

Tools -

These are most of the tools I am using besides a small band saw to cut the ties apart and a drill press to remove the rail connectors.

PG. 4 - The Tie Extensions

The Tie Extensions are made from LGB UV protected ties of a bunch of unused parts or small 1200 curves.  I seem to have a bunch of these around from custom cutting and bending track to fit the railroad.

First cut two ties from the strip using a band saw.

Trim up the edges and tie plates, keeping the scrap plastic because some of that will be used.

Cutting right along the tie plate and opening, so you can get the maximum length with a minimal number of holes.

The final piece with tie plates trimmed off looks like this.




PG. 5 - The Linkage

The Linkage from teh 1600 LGB turnout to the Tenmille Ground Throw is made from 1/4 inch outside diameter copper tubing.  This is not an original idea.  It comes from Marty Cozad on the North Tab;e Creek.

The copper tubing was bought at Home Depot in an 11 foot roll and was chosen because the inside demension is just a little bigger than the Tenmille adjustment screw.

The tubing is cut into a 2 3/4 inch lengths, that was determined through trial and error to be the size needed to make the ground throws clear 1:20.3 equipment.  This doesn't mean that the KVRwy strictley sticks to that scale.  In fact, our scale of choice is 1:21.4.  That's halfway between 1:22.5 and 1:20.3.  We don't even stick totally to that.  But we try.


The tubing is marked at 3/8 of an inch and then put into a large shop vice at that mark.  Squeeze it tight in two or three places to get it smashed real flat, except for that 3/8's of an inch.

When it has a real nice pattern on it from the gripping jaws of the vice, you can reround the hole with a proper size nut driver and file the other smooth, so it doesn't snag on anything.


PG. 6 - Bending the Linkage

Using Marty Cozad's basic idea and through trial and error, I was able to come up with a linkage shape that would clear 1:20.3 counter weights and geared engine drive trains.  The shape is shown on the jig and the shapes are bent in a small hobby vice.

The nut driver mentioned earlier helps to bend the receiver end of the linkage.


Compare that to our drawing for proper angle.


Perform the next bend


And the finished product is ready to be installed.


PG. 7 - Tie Assembly

The Tie Assembly is held to the LGB 1600 turnout by 2 - 1/4 x 1/4 strips of plastic.  These are cut 5 and 13/16 inches long.

They are cut using the jig and a hobby saw.

The plastic strips are put under the two ties on the turnout, as teh turnout is held in place with the jig, and slid all the way to the side opposite where the ground throw is going ot be placed.  Some plastic has to be trimmed out on the underside of the turnout ties moulding to get a nice tight fit.  So when the tie extension is installed the 2 strips of plastic are entirely hidden and protected from the UV by the LGB UV resistance ties.  

The first #4 screw is put in the hole in the original turnout tie mounting hole and going through a predrilled hole in the plastic strip.

Other holes are drilled across from holes already in the turnout and on the Tie assembly right across from the established hole of the turnout.  All together there are 10 #4 screws used to hold the Tie Assmbly and the Tenmille ground throw together.  Though it was done at the start of this process, the drag plate that comes with an LGB 1600 turnout is disgarded at the beginning of this process and those holes are filled with #4 screws and count as two of the 10.

PG. 8 - Linkage Assembly and Completion 

The Tenmille ground throw is attached at the very end of the tie assembly.

This is what the complete assembly looks like before the linkage is attaced.  Note the adjustment barrel is removed on the end of teh Tenmille barrel tha tis not used.  I felt there was no reason to expose it to the outside elements, but keep it as a spare.

The linkage is put in place and the copper tubing is tapped along with the adjustment barrel.

A straight screw driver is shoved under the turnout linkage and copper tubing linkage to put pressure on them together while drilling the location for the attachment screw for the location of the points, when pulled toward the Tenmille ground throw.

After you have established where the points will sit when being pulled toward the ground throw, on an LGB 1600 turnout, you will find the throw of the Tenmille is not far enough to make good contact when the points are pushed away from the Tenmille ground throw.  The solution to this was given to me by Ken Brunt, drill out the rivet that holds the points to the throw bar.


PG. 9 - Completion 

Once you have drilled the rivet out, move the ground throw to the position to push the points away from the ground throw.  Hold the points against the outside rail with a small clamp.  I found the rail sits just beyond the rivet.

With the same screwdriver that was used on the other side, hold the linkage against the rail.  Drill and tap a 2-56 screw into the linkage.

ITS DONE, except to close up the holes in the tie extensions.  I used some "GOOP" glue to hold pieces of LGB tie, that were cut off, to cover over the holes.

As of 12 December, 2006, I've got 16 out of 52 converted on the outside portion of the layout.  It now takes me about 30 minutes to convert to the new ground throw.  This first ones were slower and your results may vary.  Please contact me, if you've got any questions.