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A Double Crossover or a Double Crossover Switch?

Liam sent in this question:

“My question is similar to one Anthony asked. My confusion is between a double crossover and a double slip switch. What’s the actual difference between them, and where would I use each of them?”

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8 Responses to A Double Crossover or a Double Crossover Switch?

  • Richard B. Waltersays:

    Think of a double crossover as two pair of turnouts with a crossover in the center. A double slip takes up much less real estate which is why it’s used often in prototype yards. While a double crossover can be assembled with two right hand, two left hand turnouts and an appropriate crossover, a double slip is a single, self contained unit.

  • Jeffsays:

    Using the “picture is worth a thousand words” method.
    Here’s a double crossover switch:

    And here’s a double slip switch:

    These are both Rokuhan in Z scale.

    The double crossover is ideal for a two-track mainline where you can start on either track going either direction and end up either on the same track or the other track.

    The double slip switch is good for a three track mainline where the outer tracks have a regular switch each pointed at the other and the middle track has the double slip, with two legs aligned on the middle track and the other two legs aligned with the switches from the outer tracks. The attached image file shows this using left hand switches. Repeating with right hand switches and another double slip gives you the same flexibility with three tracks as a double crossover does with two.

  • Jeffsays:

    Additionally, I agree with Walter that the double slip is also often used in yards for space-saving reasons. It can also be used where one single track route crosses another in an X and you want the option to change routes.

  • Robert J. Wintzingersays:

    Hello Liam…

    Walther and Jeff are both right on target with their explanation…so there is no need for me to add to any confusion. Have a great day and happy railroading.

    Robert Wintzinger

  • phil johnsonsays:

    there are 2 types of slip switches. double slip has points to allow you to go across the diamond on a straight route or take the diverging route. to the R if going north and L if going south. a single slip allows only one diverging route.

  • David Stokessays:

    Well done guys – all good answers. Bear in mind that the slip switches sometime cause derailment issues, so if you go down that route (pun intended), fine tune it and your wheel back to back and gauge on anything likely to run through them

  • Jimsays:

    Howdy, I’ve been playing with trains for 80 years. At one time I used a double crossover using 2 rh switches and 2lh switches and a crossover. It worked well as two trains could pass each other on two loops. I had lots of fun trying to switch 2 trains while they were running around. It became a “Malfunction Junction” according to a friend. At that time I had just 2 loops and at times ran trains in opposite directions. BUT—– If you use a double slip switch, two trains cannot pass at the location as there are parts of the double slip switch used on both loops. Oh, I’ve tried it and it’s also fun but it didn’t suit as a substitute for the double crossover.
    I play with all gauges (except Z) and started when I was 5 in 1938 with an Ives 1100 train set. I’ve tried so many things over the years and still have fun with different track arrangements. I must say that the double crossover was about the most fun of them all and that was in HO gauge. I have not gotten into DCC or anything like that as I’m strictly DC or AC driven. The only thing that I’d like to master would be the return loop in HO and I haven’t figured that out yet so that it would be automatic like it is with O gauge AC. I’ve tried all kinds of relays and solenoids but nothing has been dependable so far. I’ll keep trying though. By the way, I still have that original Ives 1100 set and it still runs, though not so spry or often anymore. The engine still has isinglass snowflakes on it from before WWII. I won’t clean that off. I LOVE MY TRAINS!!!!!

  • Genesays:

    I am interested in how you would wire a double crossover using DCC (N-Scale).

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