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Summary: Shinohara was a Japanese manufacturer of track components, including turnouts. The company wound down operations in 2018 when the owners retired. Walthers distributed Shinohara track under the name Walthers/Shinohara for years.
Walthers and Shinohara Track
Walthers has taken over the Shinohara tooling, unfortunately, much of the tooling is worn out. Walthers is promising a new line of track, including turnouts. With new tooling, they should be compatible with Digital Command Control and the NMRA Standards.
Pre-Digital Command Control Era
Prior to Digital Command Control, Shinohara made a non-isolated type of turnout.
They can be identified easily: Metal bars connect the switch rails, no gap before the frog, and the point rails have no gaps at the frog either. On the underside, it will have the Shinohara name cast into the tie, code, and size of switch. There will be no wires bonding the closure and point rails to the stock rails.
For DCC operation, the point rails will need insulated joiners to prevent a short at the heel of the frog. Check wheel gauge too, as out of gauge wheel sets may cause a short between the stock and switch rails.
Later DCC Compatible Shinohara Turnouts
As shown in the picture above, the early turnouts have no gaps at the frog. Later production turnouts have gaps separating the frog from the closure rails at the toe and the point rails at the heel. Also, note is how the switch rails are fastened to the throwbar. Early designs often had both rails connected electrically and mechanically by a metal strip between them, with a rivet fastening the strip to the throwbar beneath.
The DCC Compatible ones will say that on the box. If you are not sure, look for the bonding wires under the turnout, the switch rails are not electrically connected, and gaps at the toe and heel of the frog.
Newly tooled turnouts under the Walthers brand have begun appearing in hobby shops.
Mechanically they are very similar to the Shinohara products, with a dead frog. Differences are the switch rails are one piece, not hinged, and the addition of a small ringlet to one side which connects to the frog. A wire can be soldered here to power the frog. The frog itself is very similar to the older Shinohara design.
The Walthers turnouts also feature a spring to lock the switch rails in position, which can be removed if necessary.
- General Wiring Topics for DCC
- Types of Turnouts
- Methods of Operating Turnouts
- DCC Friendly Turnout
- Wiring Diamond Crossings, Slips, Scissor Crossings, etc.