The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mantua OO Turnouts

Dick G. recently sent this photo of a mint pair of pre-war Mantua OO turnouts.

I have a bunch of these but they came to me in a lot purchase and are not in great shape, they all saw layout use and have warped ties. These from Dick on the other hand look great. Click on the photo for a larger version.

The ties are an interesting material that looks like plastic if it is in good shape but is not. In the Mantua catalog they called the material "heavy black fibre." It is a thin, pressed fiberboard that appears to have been coated with a clear or perhaps tinted black lacquer. The rails are attached with clips and glue to the fiber tie stock.

In this photo the fiber strip is easier to see, as it is in a turnout that has deteriorated a bit. Also very visible is the code 100 brass HO rail. It is a no. 6 turnout.

My layout was built with code 100 rail and number 4 frogs but I worked up my own tie template and did not really hit it right, the turnouts never worked that well (I should have Xeroxed a HO turnout and blew it up to OO gauge for a template, but did not think of that at the time). After getting these Mantua turnouts I realized that I could use the rails and re-lay my turnouts into a better geometry. Due to a quirk of the design of the Mantua turnout the throw arm for the points fit perfectly the way I had laid my ties. This turnout is actually re-laid on one of my very first turnouts that dates back to 1978! Finally I have reliable turnouts! The brass rail requires more cleaning but these are good turnouts worthy of re-use all these years later.

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