Switch flags/targets?

phantom Dec 10, 2015

  1. phantom

    phantom TrainBoard Member

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    I was thinking a bought switch flags / target . On the main, a green flag represents a switch lined straight threw and red represents a switch lined for the deranging rout. In a yard or on sidings we use yellow and whit colors. But my question is how do we mark a switches "normal" position?
     
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I'm a RR modeler, not a 1:1 railroader, but my understanding--for what it's worth--is that:
    typically, green is associated with the normal/closed/main route, and red with the less common/thrown/siding or spur route. Since trains can run through the straight arm of the turnout faster than the curved arm, the straight arm is more frequently used for the main, and the diverging/curved route leads to the siding or spur. The faster and more frequently used arm would be considered the normal route. When a turnout is in its normal position, it is considered to be "closed" (so it is safe to go through it) and is generally marked with a green target. When a turnout is in its less frequently used position, it is considered to be "thrown" (so it is marked in red to show going through it from the other direction would be problematic, and if the train is going onto the diverging route, it should probably be moving slower and with greater caution).

    But if there is not enough space in congested areas between buildings or narrow valley walls for the main route to run straight while the diverging route curves, a RR may decide to make the main go through the curved arm of the turnout and have the straight arm lead to the siding or spur. In such a special case, the straight arm of the turnout leads away from the main to a siding or spur, so the straight arm would be considered the diverging/less commonly used arm, and consequently, the switch stand target or signal associated with the straight arm of the turnout would probably be red and the more frequently used (curved) arm would be the normal position and would probably show a green target or signal light. I suspect RRs would only run the main through the curved arm of a turnout in portions of the main where trains are already moving very slowly.

    Someone better informed than me will have to address the use of yellow or white targets in yards.
    Also, ask them if a target for a turnout set to its diverging route might show red when coming to the frog first and show yellow when coming to the points first...and when set to the main (closed) route, might show green (or white) when entering the turnout from the points (or frog) first.

    The shapes and sizes of targets varied from RR to RR, so it's possible that how a RR used any colors other than red and green might vary, too.
     
  3. phantom

    phantom TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks :)
     
  4. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I use switch thrower levers for my layout when the route is set for the mainline the lever has a green painted end and when for the siding or through the crossover it is red this gives a quick visual indication of the position of the switch
     

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