HomeThoughts and MusingsThomas M. Tuerke on Model Railroading • Prototypical Manual Switch Stands

Prototypical Manual Switch Stands

Table of Contents [show/hide]
Prototypical Manual Switch Stands

Those stubby Caboose Industries manual ground throws may have a prototypical precedent, after all...

You probably know what I'm talking about. Caboose Industries makes those lever-activated ground throws seen on many layouts. They look a little over-sized, but the lever-action throw is in fact prototypical. And they may not be all that over-sized, either... if you're willing to look farther afield than North America.

Turns out that a while back, I had the opportunity to ride the Alishan Scenic Railway in Taiwan. It was while there that I discovered these interesting switch stands.

Looking a bit closer, we see that they're mechanically operated exactly like the Caboose Industries ground throw. Physically, they differ in that they have a large "bell" which acts as a weight to keep the throw set in one position or another. The bell also seems to serve as an indicator of how the switch is thrown: each is painted such that when aligned for the mainline, the white "aspect" is on top.

These switch stands are not isolated to just one or two locations, but seem to be used all along the line. Here's an intermediate stop, where we see several instances.

Hopefully, this quiets some apprehensions about using those little delrin ground throws, and might even offer suggestions on how to indicate how the switch is thrown. A styrene disk put near the top end of the lever, painted half black (to match the ground throw) half another color (white, red, whatever) you can see at a glance whether the switch is thrown to the desired direction.