Route of the Broadway LION
Route of the Broadway Lion, The largest Subway Layout in North Dakota at Assumption Abbey, Richardton North Dakota
The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota
The Lion and the Tortoise….
Tortoise Switch Machines are the new ‘standard’ for turnout control. Unlike twin coil machines which require a momentary pulse of power, these are powered by motors which draw a constant current and simply  stall out at when the switch is thrown, keeping a snug fit between the switch rails and the stock rails. They are easy to install, and even easier to wire. 1) The LION throws away the instructions and mounting templates. LION drills a ⅜” or even a ½” hole under the throw-bar before the switch is mounted. 2) The LION manually centers the actuator on the Tortoise, and then applies a glob of silicone caulk to the flat mounting face of the Tortoise. Keep the caulk away from the hole and the actuator wire. 3) Him then inserts the rod up through the hole in the table, and the hole in the throw-bar. 4) LION moves the Tortoise gently until the switch points are also centered, the Tortoise is perpendicular to the tracks and there is no north or south stress on the actuator rod. 5) Hold it in place for a moment, or use a stick to prop it in place until the caulk dries. This is usually not necessary unless you have already soldered wires to the contacts, which is advised if you are mounting the Tortoise in a place where soldering might be a problem. Mounting a Tortoise someplace else… Here the Tortoise switch machines are mounted on the back wall, the tracks are on the elevated structure above the highway. The Tortoise machines will be hidden by the facade of some buildings to be placed along the road. Motion is transmitted between the Tortoise and the switch points by a length of 1/16” steel welding wire.
These are the contacts that operate the Tortoise. LION attaches one of these to the common GROUND bus wire serving the layout. The other one is connected to the control panel. If, with the control in the normal position the switch is not aligned for the main line, then reverse these two connectors. The remaining contacts are a DPDT switch that can be used to power the frog, control track power to diverging routes, or operate signals. Pins 4 and 5 are common. If you really want the Tortoise instruction sheet, you may download it here.
Below there is an array of yard tracks without any access to the area directly below them.
Here I used a motor tool to mortise a ditch between the turnout and the Tortoise. I pre-wired the Tortoise, glued it to the rear fascia with Silicone caulk, and centered the actuator by hand. I next fashioned the copper wire shown below. I wrapped it around a fine rod and then  placing it on  the Tortoise, I also centered the switch points. I taped them in place so that they would not move, and then I soldered the wire to the steel throw rod that connects the movement to the throw-bar