Spring Switches ~ Sunday, July 09, 2006
I'm using spring switches to automatically route trolleys to the right as they enter the double track section. This both allows cars going opposite directions to pass each other wihout anyone having to throw a switch, it also keeps them on the legal side of the street to avoid head on collisions with imaginary auto traffic.
To make this work, the first step is to modify your switches so that they can move freely. I used Peco Insulfrog small radius switches, and there's a little spring that normally makes the switch "snap" to one side or the other, and stick ther unless you apply quite a lot of force to push it the other way. I took these out.
The spring action is actually done with weights on strings instead of springs. Since there will be times when I'll want to run cars or trains the "wrong" way, I routed the strings to front of the layout where they can be pulled to temporarily pull the switch the opposite-than-usual direction. I had trouble finding anything to use as a handle on this end of the strings that was light enough not to interfere with the spring action; eventually I raided some of my daughter's "hair scrunchies".