About the MFR

The Metaline Falls Railroad (MFR) is a proto-freelanced model railroad based on the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad located in northern Idaho and north eastern Washington State. For the very latest on the layout, please visit my YouTube channel and follow along with my Instagram account.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Installing Switch Machines

I haven't made a ton of progress over the last few months, but I have finally completed building and installing all of my switch machines, and It's been an interesting experience.

After doing some research, I decided to purchase Bullfrog turnouts from Fast Tracks. I liked the simple design of the machines and felt that the assembly process would be a good way to ease myself into the potentially tedious task of building things for the layout.

The Bullfrog turnouts themselves were easy to build thanks largely to a very good tutorial video made available on Youtube by Fast Tracks.

The Control Rod assembly however, was not easy to install. I spent quite a long time installing all eight of the machines and control rods mostly because the instructions provided with the control rods were pretty poor and they do require careful measuring and cutting to ensure that everything fits and works properly. In addition, the little laser cut wood tool provided to help screw the control rods onto the metal connector that attaches to the switch machine stripped every single time. This left me having to slowly and awkwardly twist the rods onto the machine with a pair of pliers while crouched under the layout table.

If I could suggest one thing to the fine folks at Fast Tracks, it would be to please put out a tutorial video showing how to properly install the control rods. I feel this would have likely eliminated any problem I had during the install process. Frankly, looking back on the experience, I'm not sure I installed them correctly, yet I can't think of what I did wrong and why the installation took so much time and effort.

When all is said and done, I still highly recommend the Bullfrog Manual Switch Machine system. The quality is very good, the price is even better, and they seem to perform flawlessly once installed.


  1. Really enjoyed your blog. I see lots of similarities to a MR project I'm starting work on. Like you I like Mindheim's work and am also returning to the hobby after a time away happy to see developments like DCC, highly detailed ready to run rolling stock, etc. Check out my blog here: http://westtorontojunction.blogspot.ca/
    I'm having trouble with the blog layout and do plan to post layout progress pics soon.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I'll be following your stuff for sure!