points from batter. Switch slide plates placed under the stock rails act as their tie plates and provide a smooth
surface for the points to move on. The turnout is supported on switch ties varying in length from 8 1/2 to 15 1/2
The switch-throwing mechanism, or switch stand, enables an operator, either by hand or by remote
control, to move the switch points for either main-line or turnout movement. Painted panels show the direction
or the track for which the switch is lined--green for normal, red for reversed. The switch rod connects with the
movable rails to enable them to be thrown. A latch with a lock through it prevents the switch from being thrown
accidentally or by unauthorized persons.
Section II. Location
Turnouts are used to divert traffic from main track, branches or sidings, crossovers, and ladders
(switching leads). The location of a turnout is affected by space limitations, speed requirements, volume and
distribution of traffic, direction of traffic, and type of installation, and whether both freight and passenger
equipment are to operate over them.
The track supervisor plans to brief his foreman and men on these points: turnouts in yards, crossovers
and sidings, and permissible speeds through turnouts. His notes follow in the remaining paragraphs of section II.
In most yards, turnouts are usually sharp and switches are manually operated. The restricted space in
yards requires the sharp turnouts; the low speed limits found there permit them. Figure 2.16 illustrates typical
yard turnouts. To control track routing, terminals often have interlocking plants that require a common operating
point and remote control of switches. Interlocking is a system in which turnouts and signals are so connected and
controlled that conflicting or incorrect routes cannot be set up by a tower operator. Yard turnouts and turnouts to
sidings and running tracks have the same characteristics.