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Micro-Trains Z scale turnouts

Reviewed in the May 2007 issue
Micro-Trains Z scale turnouts
Micro-Trains Z scale turnouts
Turnouts with North American tie-spacing, a 490mm (19.3") radius diverging route, and built-in road-bed are now available for those who model in Z. Available in left- and right-hand versions, these new manual turnouts give Z scalers an easy way to add to their layouts.

A versatile track system. Like other components of the firm's Micro-Track line, the turnouts are constructed of code 55 nickel-silver rails and plastic guardrails mounted on plastic roadbed. The roadbed features molded-in detail, including ballast and brown-painted ties with wood-grain detail. The ties are a scale 9" wide and are spaced a scale 21" between the centerline of each tie, which is typical for North American railroads. The ballast detail is oversized. Some of the ballast pieces are wider than the ties.

Each Micro-Track turnout is 110mm long with a 13-degree diverging route and includes a 110mm straight section and a 490mm 13-degree curved section. The curved track can be configured to diverge from the main line or run a parallel route next to the main line, as for a siding.

The turnouts have the same separate metal code 55 rail joiners and plastic roadbed joiners as other components of the Micro-Track system. All the joiners are separate pieces, so should one become damaged you don't have to replace the entire track section. Micro-Trains sells both replacement rail and roadbed joiners.

Micro-Track components are easy to connect and disconnect, although I found a small pair of needlenose pliers useful for guiding the rails into the joiners. When I attached the turnouts to other Micro-Track pieces the dual joining system provided a secure, properly aligned joint between rail sections. Because the rail joiners are separate from the roadbed joiners, these turnouts will also work with Z scale code 55 flextrack or sectional track.
The Micro-Trains turnouts are all-live, featuring insulated metal frogs and black plastic guardrails.
Turnout performance. Using digital calipers, I measured each of the turnout's dimensions as specified in National Model Railroad Association standard S-3.2, including the track gauge, flangeway width, switch point spread, and check gauge (the spacing between the inside guardrail and the frog). All of the dimensions complied with S-3.2.

The turnouts are all-live, meaning that each leg of the turnout is powered regardless of the position of the point rails. The all-metal frog is insulated from the frog rails by thin pieces of black plastic. The points fit into notches in the stock rails. To select a route you slide a plastic tab on the side of the roadbed. The tab is attached to a magnet that moves the point rails.

I tested the turnouts with a short Z scale train consisting of a Micro-Trains GP35 diesel, 50-foot boxcar, two-bay hopper, and a 40-foot boxcar. The locomotive and cars rolled smoothly through each route without excessive noise or noticeable bouncing over the points or through the frog. I ran my test train forward and backward two dozen times through each route without a single derailment.

These new turnouts make the Micro-Track line more complete and give Z scalers more options for their layouts.
Z scale turnouts
Price: $24.95 each

Micro-Trains Line Co.
P.O. Box 1200
Talent, OR 97540
All-live left- and right-hand Z scale manual turnouts with code 55 nickel-silver rails and built-in plastic roadbed

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