News & Reviews Product Reviews Piko manual left and right switches

Piko manual left and right switches

By Terry Thompson | December 27, 2008

| Last updated on November 3, 2020

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Manual left and right gauge-1 switches
Piko, Germany
Distributed in the US by
Silvergate Distributors
9755 Birch Canyon Place
San Diego CA 92126
Price: $59.99 ea.
Web site:

Manual gauge-1 switches; R1 and L1; 30 degrees; plastic ties; brass rails

Pros: High-quality materials; solid construction; compatibility
Cons: None

Piko’s line of G-scale track for outdoor or indoor use is relatively new to the market, but it will feel familiar to fans of large-scale trains. While the components are all new, they’re similar to those formerly available in Lehmann’s LGB line. These similarities include high quality, code-332 brass rails made by the same supplier that Lehmann used, ties made from the same UV-resistant HDPE plastic and, in some cases, even identical geometry. The main differences you’ll see are that the ties have a slightly finer simulated wood grain and sharper corners. Piko’s G track is made at the firm’s Sonneberg, Germany, factory.

The geometry of the Piko G system is simple and similar to that used by Piko and others in smaller scales. In the G system, the basic track unit is 600mm (about 24″). Straight sections are offered in 1200, 600, and both 320 and 280mm, plus some half sections (160 and 140mm) and one “fitter” piece of 95mm to allow double crossovers. (LGB used 1200, 600, and 300 plus a larger number of short sections.) The smallest Piko curve radius is also 600mm (again, the same as LGB), with 921 (R3) and 1243mm (R5) curves also in the program. By dividing the basic unit of 600mm into sections of different lengths, it’s easy to combine straight sections, curved sections, and turnouts into complex junctions without the need for fitter sections. Piko offers a brochure that explains all this, but rest assured that the system is very straightforward. The information is also on the
English version of the web site.

Track gauge on our sample pieces is right on the money at 45mm, except at switch frogs, where it widens slightly to prevent wheels from picking the frog. Guard rails are spaced at 5mm from the running rails-again, the same as LGB. R1 switches have straight sections of 320mm and spring-loaded points that stay in place until moved via a small lever (included). The lever fits on either side of the switch. Rail joiners are sturdy brass, with tabs to keep them locked to the tie strip, and the code-332 rail mates precisely with LGB rail. Points are neatly ground and fit into small reliefs cut into the stock rails. Locomotives and cars passed through the switches smoothly and reliably, even when I laid the track in the worst possible configurations, including S curves.

I’m impressed with the Piko G track line. It’s sturdy, good-looking, well made, and the geometry is simple. Well done, Piko!

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