How To tweak the standard Kato No. 4 turnout for reliable performance

I used the technique posted by N scale modeler, John Sing, to perform some small 'tweak's to the Kato No. 4 turnout, used on many T-Trak modules, to ensure reliable and trouble-free performance for any type of N scale loco and rolling stock that may end up running on our T-Trak modules.

The slight problems with the turnout are two-fold:

  1. The point rails (the part of the rails that move to alter the route) just lay against the stock rails (the rail that is spiked and doesn't move) when the switch is 'thrown' for either route. This works fine in the real world, but, unless the point rail is VERY thin and fine, it can cause problems for our N scale wheels.
  2. The tips of the same point rails end in a very square and sharp end; again, satisfactory for the real world, but add the two together- a sharp, square end of a point just laying next to the stock rail, and the problem is compounded for a small N scale wheel; many times the wheel will hit the squared 'off' end of the point, jump up, and assist in derailing the loco and/or cars that follow.

With some careful filing, using a jeweler's file, a notch can be made for the point rails to sit within, forming a smooth rail with no 'bump' for the wheel to catch. Using the same jeweler's file to take the sharp square off the top of the point rail, making the top of it 'round', also helps to reduce the possibility of a wheelset catching the tip of the point rail and causing a derailment.

I made a short video clip of the changes made, and the resulting, improved performance.
Hope this helps!

~Bruce Arbo

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