Articles - Code 83 S-scale Turnout
03/20/2010
This page shows the step-by-step process I go through to hand-lay a turnout in place on my S-scale layout. I use both #4 and #6 turnouts on my small switching layout. The construction steps are virtually identical other than the lengths of the rails. This particular installation is of a #6 turnout. The first photo shows the area where the turnout will be installed. I prefer to place the ties and the ballast for an entire section at a time, since the tools required for tie making and ballasting are different from the ones used to hand-laying ties (and there is only so much space available on the layout). So, this installation shows the ties and ballast already in place.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
As a matter of fact, I have already been laying track in this area. I prefer to use pieces of rail as long as possible. The straight piece of rail "intruding" on to the space of this turnout is from a #4 turnout to its left. That is where we will start. Also, to the right of where this new turnout will be installed is the end of the modeled portion of my layout. I will therefore go ahead and lay that rail as part of this turnout building project.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
External Reference:
One other note. I use Clover House printed circuit board material (part # 1261; N-scale throwbar) for the throwbar of my turnouts. I bought these for when I built my N-scale turnouts, but they are a much better size for S-scale. The material is very thin. This allows me to ballast directly under the throwbar area of the turnout. This is not a practical solution for HO- and N-scale, but with S-scale or larger it is doable. I place a very thin layer of ballast and "tamp" it down. The next photo shows a close-up of this area.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
OK, so let's get started. The first step is to determine the amount of rail I need for the turnout. As I stated above, I plan to also build the track leading to the end of the layout as part of this turnout project, so I need to prepare enough rail for that. I have some painted pieces of rail left over from the last turnout I built, but it looks like I need three new pieces of rail. All rail is Micro Engineering code 83 unweathered. I need enough for the two very long stock rails, two point rails, the two frog rails, and the two guard rails (each progressively shorter).
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next step is to paint those new rails. I use Floquil "Rail Brown" to paint both sides of the rail. This paint dries very quickly, but usually I do this as a last project of the day so that the paint has time to cure overnight. I can now lay out one of the stock rails (the long main, straight rail through the turnout). Since this one is fitted between an existing piece of rail and the end of the layout, I have to carefully measure and fit it. Also, since this rail curves as soon as it reaches the end of the turnout I am building here, I have to account for the curvature of the rail. I use metal weights to have the rail fit the desired curvature.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I then mark on the rail where to cut it. I use a pair of rail nippers to trim the rail to length and a file to clean up the cut edge.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I once again lay the rail in position. This time I use the track gauge to make sure the rail is the proper distance from the back edge of the ties. That way both rails will be centered across the ties.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
With the rail in the desired position, I can now mark off where the stock rail needs to be filed to take one of the point rails. I place a mark about in the center of the right-most (in this case) throwbar ties (one of the long ties).
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
It is kind of hard to see, but I have taken a spare piece of rail, and I am pressing it against the stock rail mimicking the divergent point rail. That gives me an idea of how much material needs to be removed from the stock rail. I decided on 9 ties worth of material needing to be removed. This entirely depends on your tie spacing and turnout's frog number.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I used to file the rail down using a hand file, but I recently "discovered" my little bench-grinder in the garage. It makes very quick work of grinding. You actually have to be careful to not remove too much. For stock rails I only remove the base of the rail in between the marks I made above. The majority of the rail remains intact. I file the base down to the web of the rail.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
After the bench-grinder has removed most of it, I use a hand file to do the final shaping and to make the rail surface smooth. I gradually remove less and less rail base toward the inside of the turnout (the front in this picture).
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next photo shows the final shape.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
With the rail's shaping done, I can now start to install it. I place the rail back into position, and mark on the rail and in the ballast where the feeder wire is to go. I solder the feeder wire to the bottom of the rail, and drill a hole through the entire roadbed. The feeder wire is inserted into the hole and it is soldered to the DCC bus wires running under the roadbed.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
When you shape the rail as described above, the rail will always start to curve. The next photo shows how I use a ruler and some weights to make sure the rail stays straight through the turnout.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
External Reference:
The final step for the first stock rail is to place tie plates under the rail and spike it down. I spike every other tie. I do not put any tie plates or any spikes on the ties where I filed down the rail base. The reason why is because I use the Tomalco Track switch detailing kit (see second photo below), which includes rail braces. These rail braces actually go into the tie and therefore provide support for that part of the rail. They do not, however, assume that the rail is on tie plates, so I do put one piece of trimmed-down tie plate under the rail to keep is horizontally level.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
These are the kit parts.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Now that the first stock rail is in place, you can either install the other stock rail, or work on the frog point rails first. Which one I do next depends on the situation of what kind of existing track I already have. For this installation I chose to do the other stock rail next. It really doesn't matter which way you go; the important thing to keep in mind is that the point of the frog needs to be at the track gauge distance from both of the stock rails. If you lay the second stock rail first, then the frog's point needs to be at such a point that it is equidistant from both stock rails. If you lay the frog rails first, then the second stock needs to be placed such that it is based off of the frog rails.

The next photo shows the second stock rail (the one for the divergent route) in place using some weights and track gages. The 12-inch ruler represents the inside of the rail of the straight line through the turnout. For a #6 or smaller turnout it is just the right size, but for a larger turnout a longer ruler will be needed. The purpose of the ruler is to determine where the straight point rail will later hit the second stock rail. Wherever it may hit, the base of the stock rail needs to be filed off, just like I did above for the first stock rail. I use the permanent marker to identify, on the top of the rail, from where to where the rail base needs to be filed away (or at least filed flush with the rail's web). The curvature of the diverging stock rail has a big impact on that, so make sure that it is as accurate as possible at this stage. I always file away at least one more tie's distance from the base rail, just to be safe. Later on, when the stock rail is in place, it is very difficult to try to change this. After that I mark and drill the hole for the feeder wire of this stock, and start to install it.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
This complex gathering of tools and weights in the photo below is just to determine where the point of the two frog rails will meet. The point of the awl points directly at the location of the frog's point. The reason for doing this is to accurately position the stock rail, whose base rail has been filed down at this point. The portion of the stock rail to the right of the turnout (outside of this picture) has already been spiked down, so all I am worried about here is the curvature of the stock rail. Some final tweaking of the frog rails is always possible later on, so absolute accuracy is not required here. The location of the awl is then checked using the track gauge to make sure that its point is the same distance away from either stock rails. I then carefully spike the remainder of the diverging stock rail through its curve.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The rail braces are next. They are a compromised fit. This is due to the fact that I use tie plates and the rail braces don't account for the thickness of the those tie plates. The ones that are visible from the front of the layout (on the right in the photo below) are placed so that they appear to be resting on the ties. The other ones are actually placed against the rail. To install these rail braces, I pre-drill a small hole just a bit away from the edge of the bottom of the rail. I then drill the final hole using a #54 drill bit. To fasten them to the track and ties, I use superglue.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
This is the side view from the front of the layout. Again, the reason why they don't quite fit is because of the tie plates under the ties. There is a bit of flash visible in the center of the front edge of the brace. This is very hard to remove when handling this tiny part. I wait for the glue to dry, and some time before I paint these, I use a knife to snip them off.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next step is to place the two rails that make up the frog. I grabbed two pieces of rail that are longer than required. I then placed a piece of rail in the turnout that represents the straight path through the turnout. I used two rail gages to properly position this rail. Next, I used another rail gauge to position the other frog rail. This one is placed at the right distance from the second stock rail. It is placed on top of the first frog rail so that it is clear where the two intersect and how the material to be removed from both pieces of rail is to be shaped.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I used the bench-grinder to file one end of each point rail to a sharp point. The angle is not critical, as long as the bases of the two rails don't interfere with each other. The point extends to the other side of the top of the rail. The objective is to make the vertical surface the rolling stock's wheels as skinny as possible. By filing both rails to a sharp point you avoid the wheels bumping up against the frog point.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Although not absolutely necessary, I also file the top of the rail on the other side of the rail to a sharp point. Just a couple of passes of the file is all that is necessary here. If you go overboard, you could severely weaken the frog point.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I then trim the length of the rail to fit and place it in its position. The next photo shows two marks on the top of that rail to indicate where the rail feeders are to go.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I soldered the feeders to the rail and, in the next photo, I am getting ready to install the rail. The reason for the two feeders on this rail is as follows. The left-most feeder is the standard feeder for the rail, i.e. the one that always feeds that rail's polarity. The right-most feeder serves as the one feeder for the frog point. The frog point will eventually be insulated from the rest of this rail and be fed by the output of the Tortoise. The Tortoise provides polarity switching as the turnout's points are flipped. I use to just have one feeder wire going in between the two rails that make up the frog point, but I have found that difficult and unsightly to solder to the frog's point.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I then spiked that rail down, as shown below.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Similarly, I placed a single mark on the other rail that makes up the frog, drilled the feeder wire hole in the sub-roadbed, and soldered the feeder wire to the rail. I am getting ready to install that one next.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
And with that done, I spiked the rail down. The frog point is now built, but not yet done.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Using the track gauge I verified both sides of the frog to make sure that they are at the correct spacing. The further along you get, the harder it is to fix these kinds of problems.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Next, I flood the intersection point of the frog with solder. This guarantees that the two rails that make up the frog are going to stay together and that they support each other as the train's wheels hit the point. Also, since the next step is to isolate these rails, the solder keeps the assembly together and in place.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I use a 230/150-watt Radio Shack soldering gun to flood solder in between the rails. Sometimes solder goes where I didn't intend for it to go, but that can be cleaned up with a file.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Now that the frog point is done, I need to cut the gaps to electrically insulate it from the rest of the rails. I use a Dremel hand tool with a cutting blade.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
To prevent any future movement in the rails to where the gap is compromised, I superglue a piece of 0.020" thick styrene in the gap. These will be trimmed to the shape of the rail later on using a sharp hobby blade.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
With the stock and frog rails in place, it is now time to start working on the point rails. These are the ones that actually divert the train. I have always found them to be the most difficult to make and the most critical to have right to have a smooth flowing turnout. The next photo shows a piece of rail that is longer than required to be used for the straight rail. I usually do the straight rail first, because it is the easiest.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I mark off on the rail where it is to butt up against the divergent stock rail. The point rail will need to be filed down from this point to the end of the rail on the right.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Removing this material is easiest to do using the bench-grinder, but I have done it with hand files as well; it just takes longer. The very end of the rail needs to be filed down such that the rail web is still maintained but very thin. From there, I gradually allow the rail to be thicker and thicker. You want the point of the rail to be as thin as possible without weakening it. The thinner the rail, the less changes there are for the wheels to pick the point and derail. I think the next photo shows this quite well. The base of the rail is toward the front of the camera.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Since material is being removed from one side of the rail, but that side of the rail needs to be flush up against the stock rail, it is important to bend the rail so that the filed side is straight with the rest of the rail that wasn't filed. This takes some careful bending and it can easily be overdone. The best method I have found is to place the rail between three fingers and use the thumb to put bending pressure on the rail along several points on the rail. The three fingers prevent the rail from being bent too much. Keeping bending and checking. It takes a bit of time, but eventually the rail will be nice and straight, flush with the rest of the rail. You can also check the fit by placing it against the stock rail on the layout.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I then use a small file to file the inside top of the rail to a sharp point also. Again, this will help divert the wheel away from picking the point.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next photo shows the point rail against the stock rail. The surface seen at the right most long tie (the one with the first rail brace) is what the wheel sees first, so that needs to be as thin as possible (most of what you are seeing in the photo is the base of the rail). I like this one, so this rail is ready to be installed.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Now comes a critical point; where to bend the rail so that it makes the inside guard rail at the frog point? I actually did this construction slightly backwards. I should have made this bend first, and then made the sharp point at the other side of the rail (I wound up having to redo that point for this particular rail). The next photo shows a mark I made on the rail where the rail is to be bent.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next photo shows the bend. It needs to be parallel to the frog rail. I use a pair of pliers and put a slight bent where I made the mark. Some tweaking is always necessary to get it to line up. Once the bent has been made, I can then determine where to cut off the rail. I usually make this guard rail about three or four ties long. Make sure that this guard rail (which is powered) doesn't extend past the gap cut in the frog rail, or otherwise a short is possible if the wheels connect to both of those at the same time. Finally, I put a slight bent at the end of the guard rail portion of the rail, which I do with a pair of pliers also. A slight bent is all that is needed. This is mostly for cosmetic reasons (mimicking the prototype), because if a wheel is this far out of gauge, you're going to have other problems. :-)
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Before I can attach the feeder wires, I need to get the rail in the correct position. The next photo shows the set up. I use the test car to see if the wheels can clear the guard rail portion. The real key to the correct alignment is using the small ruler shown in the photo. It makes sure that the straight point rail is in alignment with the straight frog rail. I press the ruler up against the rail webs while I do this check. My experience has shown that making the guard rail's base press up against the base of the matching frog rail provides just the right amount of clearance for the wheels.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next photo shows the side profile of the straight point rail, which shows where the feeder wires are installed. I have a feeder wire under every piece of rail on my layout. So, the left most wire is to be connected to the polarity switch from the Tortoise and the right most wire is the standard polarity of this rail. The left side of this rail will eventually be isolated from the rest of the rail, which is why I need the two feeder wires.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The rail is now ready to be installed. I use the three track gages to line up the rail and double-check everything before I spike it down.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next photo shows how I start placing the tie plates and spiking the rail down. I start near the frog. Eventually the ties near the frog are all spiked. As I get farther away from the frog I go back to my standard of spiking every other tie.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The rail has been spiked. I don't spike the last 8 or 9 ties of the rail. I don't use the method of placing a separate rail in a rail joiner. My approach mimics the prototype by having the rail itself move. So the last 8 or 9 ties worth of rail moves along with the throwbar.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The curved point rail is next. This time I am doing it the correct way, which is to decide where the guard rail bend is supposed to be before shaping the other end of the rail. I am marking off where the bent is to be located.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
After making the bend, I double-check the rail's alignment with the appropriate frog rail. The objective is to have the point of the frog rail line up with the bend in the curved point rail.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next step is to mark off where the rail is to be filed down, similar to the way I did it above.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
After that is it just a matter of doing the same thing as I did with the first point rail, i.e. shape it, test fit it, solder feeder wires, and spike the rail down.

Before I go on, I want to solder the three wires for the feeders to the three rails that make up the frog. I make one wire the long one, which will eventually be soldered to the polarity output of the Tortoise switch machine. The other two wires are shorter, and are soldered somewhere in the middle of the longer wire. I carefully remove the insulation of some section of the longer wire and solder the other ones to it. Now the entire isolated frog point rails are wired together.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Before soldering the wires I had already installed the styrene filler pieces in the gaps I cut in the point rails using the Dremel tool. These are now ready to be trimmed to the profile of the rail using a hobby knife.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
This completes the core trackwork for the turnout. It is now time to install the throwbar. As mentioned above, I use Clover House printed circuit board material for my throwbars. I cut a piece a scale 14 feet long (note that my long ties at the throwbar are 16 feet in length).
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Using one of the corners of the triangular file shown in the next photo, I file a groove in the throwbar at about 5 scale feet from one end. This is to electrically insulate one point rail from the other. The photo shows me testing the throwbar to make sure that I removed all the copper cladding in the groove. Be careful not to file too deeply into the PC board, or else it might become too weak. I just file away the copper cladding and then stop.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
If the throwbar will be positioned over solid sub-roadbed, I drill a hole in the "foundation" to allow the future Tortoise actuator rod to connect to the throwbar. For this particular installation there is no sub-roadbed under the long end of the throwbar, so there is no need to drill a hole. If a hole is required I drill one about the same size as the distance between the two long ties. I stated above that I ballast under the throwbar area. However, that should be low enough to not interfere with the throwbar's movement. Now, though, I need to solder the point rails to the throwbar and I need something to press the throwbar to the bottom of the rails. I need to hold the solder and soldering iron, so a third hand is needed. I use a piece of aluminum foil that I fold several times, just enough to be able to slide in and press the throwbar up.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I can then use a pair of tweezers to slide the throwbar in position. I center it in the middle between the two long ties.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I always had problems with my N-scale turnouts where the solder would flow under the point rail and to the stock rail, thereby welding the two together. I discovered that a simple line, cut across the throwbar right behind the point rail using a knife, is sufficient to prevent the solder from flowing under the rail and out the back. Having done that, I can now solder one point rail to the throwbar. I use a 30 watt Radio Shack soldering iron for this. The copper cladding will break away from the board if too much heat is used.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
I then do the same thing for the other point rail and solder it to the throwbar. I place a piece of rail between the point and the stock rail, which is just about the right width to keep the points away from the stock rail. This allows the wheels to clear the points and not make contact with the opposite-polarity rail as it travels through the turnout. I, then, use a pair of tweezers to verify that the throwbar moves freely and that the point rails make smooth contact with each of the stock rail. Some adjustments are always necessary, such as filing away any solder that might get in the way of the wheels, or the very point of the point rail needing some tweaking. Occasionally, I have to reposition one of the point rails to make better contact with the stock rail.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next step is to make a hole in the throwbar for the Tortoise actuator rod. I use a very small drill bit to pre-drill a hole in the throwbar. As can be seen in the next photo, I stabilize the throwbar by positioning a thin metal ruler across the two long ties while I am hand drilling the hole. I prefer to pre-drill the hole, because the large drill bits tend to wander around and then you might not wind up with a properly centered hole in the throwbar.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The final size of the hole in the throwbar is determined by the thickness of the actuator rod to be used with the Tortoise installation later on.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The next photo shows me marking off two pieces of rail for the length of the two guard rails. The purpose of the guard rail is to prevent the wheels from taking the wrong route through the turnout. Their length is determined by the distance from before the wheels hit the frog's point, and the other side of the guard rails that were formed from the point rails.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
After the two guard rails have been trimmed to length, I put a slight bend into each of their ends using a pair of pliers. It doesn't have to be much. I double-check their position with my test car, but most of the time I can simply place the guard rail's base right up against the stock rail's base and they are positioned correctly. I put one tie plate on a tie near the middle of the guard rail and spike it down. I then put a tie plate under each end to stabilize the guard rail. After spiking those I like to put a drop of superglue on the center tie plate and the guard rail to prevent it from moving. The next photo shows me testing the position of the guard rail. What I do is I run the car through the turnout, but I push the wheels as far into the frog point as possible. If the guard rail is in the correct position, the wheel should not snag on the frog point at all. It should not ride up on the frog, nor take the other route. My experience has been that if the rails have been positioned according to the track gages, then all the rails should line up correctly and the wheels should not snag the frog at all. However, it is possible to do some tweaking here, especially if the gauge of the stock rail is a bit too wide.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Here is a close-up photo of the two guard rails installed.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The Tomalco Track switch detailing kit mentioned above includes rail brackets for the guard rails (one bracket for each guard rail, i.e. two per turnout). One of them is shown in the next photo. Since I ballast my track before installing the rail, I have to cut a part of one of the brackets off before installation. This is the section that would normally go under the rail.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
After clearing away some of the ballast, I superglue each half in between two ties approximately in the center of the guard rail. This next photo shows both of them installed on this turnout. They are purely cosmetic for my turnouts.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
The last step toward completing the turnout is to paint all the tie plates, spike heads, guard rails, guard rail brackets, and the throwbar with Floquil "Rail Brown" to give them that aged look. I paint any part of the rail that is not normally touched by rolling stock wheels. I paint the tops of the styrene gap filler pieces with either Polly Scale "Aluminum" or "Stainless Steel", so that those parts match the shiny tops of the rails. Finally, I make sure that all rail tops are clean and clear of paint, except the styrene filler pieces.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
A close-up photo of the painted throwbar.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout
Now that I have been living with my track work for a while, I have discovered some problems. Several are due to not filing enough material off of the inside of the tops of the rails of the points. It forces the wheels to jump to when the points are hit. On some it actually narrowed the gauge too much to cause the wheels to jump up. Only occasionally this led to a derailment; most of the time it was just a visible bump of the car or engine. Using an thin, somewhat flexible file, I was able to file those points down enough to completely eliminate the problem.

For some turnouts I used too much resistance when driving the Tortoise with the stationary decoder. The Tortoise didn't move the points over all the way. Removing the resistors solved that problem. The downside is that the Tortoise is a bit louder.

Another problem I had was that a couple of the guard rails weren't in the correct position. I use super glue to hold them in place, so they become almost impossible to adjust. For one of them, it allowed the cars' wheels to ride up on the frog point. Again, no derailment, but still an annoying, visible bump of the car. The solution, shown in the photograph below, was to cut a very thin (maybe 0.010" thick) clear styrene (used for structure windows) in a strip, filing the ends down to a chisel-like shape, and supergluing it to the inside of the guardrail. This completely solved the problem, without having to break the guardrail off, and it is not visible unless you know what to look for.
Code 83 S-scale Turnout

Turnout Construction Checklist

  1. Form the first stock rail by trimming away only enough of the base to support the point rail.
  2. Solder one feeder wire.
  3. Lay it against existing rail.
  4. Form the frog rails, full length.
  5. Solder a wire near *each* end of one of the frog rails.
  6. Spike the rail down.
  7. Solder a wire to the other rail away from the frog point.
  8. Spike the second frog rail.
  9. Flood solder between the frog rails where they meet.
  10. Use the Dremel tool with a cutoff disc to cut a gap in the rails between the frog point and the feeder wires on the other end.
  11. Cut small 0.030/0.020" thick styrene shims and superglue them in the gap.
  12. Trim the styrene shims once they are dry.
  13. Form the other stock rail by trimming away only enough of the base to support the point rail.
  14. Solder one feeder wire.
  15. Lay the stock rail so that it is correctly spaced from the frog and from the other end of the turnout.
  16. Install 7 rail braces against each of the two stock rails.
  17. Form one of the point rails. Note that the frog guard rail piece needs to not project past the point where the frog has been cut, so as to not cause a short.
  18. Solder two wires to the point rail, one near the frog and one about halfway down the rail.
  19. Spike the rail in place, leaving the points end to move freely (usually about 8 ties).
  20. Form the other point rail.
  21. Solder two wires to the point rail, one near the frog and one about halfway down the rail.
  22. Spike the rail in place, leaving the points to flow freely.
  23. Solder the black-striped wires from the frog wings rails to the frog wire.
  24. Cut a gap in the the point rails just away from where the frog wires are.
  25. Cut and glue styrene filler pieces.
  26. After glue is dry, trim filler pieces.
  27. Cut the throwbar out of the wide PC board about 14 scale feet long.
  28. File a groove in the throwbar, about 4 feet away from the short edge of the turnout.
  29. Drill a hole in the sub-roadbed, if required.
  30. Fold a piece of aluminum foil over several times to provide something to prop up the throwbar, so that it butts up against the bottom of the point rails.
  31. Insert aluminum foil and then the throwbar under the rail.
  32. Position the throwbar.
  33. Make a slight cut on the PC copper cladding between the first point rail to be soldered and the stock rail. This cuts down on solder running under the point rail.
  34. Use the 30 watt soldering iron and solder one rail to the throwbar, avoiding solder from escaping out behind the rail.
  35. Make a slight cut on the PC copper cladding between the other point rail to be soldered and the stock rail.
  36. Place something a scale 2-3 inches (a small piece of rail is good) between the stock rail and the other point rail.
  37. Solder that point rail to the throwbar.
  38. File away any solder that interferes with the points closing to the stock rails and the wheels running against the solder.
  39. Drill a hole in the long side of the throwbar for the actuator rod.
  40. Cut the guard rails.
  41. Spike the guard rails.
  42. Install the guard rail clamps.
  43. Determine where and how to install the Tortoise.
  44. Attach the Tortoise to its base.
  45. Install the Tortoise in the layout.
  46. Prepare the actuator rod.
  47. Attach the actuator rod.
  48. Install the DS44, if applicable.
  49. Solder the wires from the DS44 to the Tortoise's two outer slots.
  50. Solder wires from the DCC bus wires to the Tortoise.
  51. Program the IDs of the DS44.
  52. Solder the wire from the turnout's frog to the Tortoise.
  53. Test the turnout.
  54. Paint the tie plates, rail braces, spikes, throw bar, new lengths of rail, and the styrene gap shims.