This article is about some slight modifications of the 202S Caboose Ground Throw. This is used by many model railroaders as it is reliable, sturdy and looks .. well .. ok.

In HO it is oversize. In O scale not so much. Interestingly .. there appears to me to be a prototype for the ground throw.

The Stoney drum switch stand, designed by Chief Engineer E.W. Stoney, of the Madras Ry. (India), and extensively used on that road, is shown as Fig. 132. This device comprises a cast-iron cylinder or barrel which turns on an axle fixed in a suitable casting, being actuated by a weighted lever handle centered on the same axle, and passing through a short slot in the drum. The switch is moved direct by a roller on a pin fixed to the connecting rod. This roller fits in, and is driven by, a spiral slot S in the drum. The handle requires only a light weight to hold the points and works easily. It is made either trailable, or, by simply turning the lever over, to lock the switch dead to one or both sides, or so that it shall be locked for one side and trailable for the other. This arrangement is affected by simply altering the shape of the slot in the drum which actuates the connecting rod, as explained by the line engravings in the figure and the accompanying legends. The drum may be further locked, so as not to be moved, by a simple sliding locking bar secured by a padlock, as shown.
Source: notes on Track: Construction and Maintenance, Volume 1 pg. 351 pub. 1904.. other then that the drum on the Caboose has a raised ridge that moves the throw-rod via a slot – and the Stoney drum had a pin in the throw-rod that followed a slot in the drum  they are much the same in the way they operate. I assume the Caboose is designed this way for reliability – it would be stronger at model scale.

Location .. Location

My modeling tends to wander about .. evidently without any plans since I am often surprised at the results. That means situations like the following turns up where I have to ‘make it work’.
On the backside of the switch is a drop-off to a road. To the front a drop-off to the harbor. So the fun thing is to fit a switch stand into what area I have.

One of the problems I found in the past with using the Caboose 202S HO Ground Throw is that just connecting the ground throw to the Peco On30 throw bar works .. until you find that some On30 engines will hit the ground throw with the footboards. The fix for that is to move the ground throw out on extended ties. Heck .. it looks better too.


Most of my layout is constructed on Styrene foam insulation board. This is great for making modifications but it leaves something to be desired when attempting to do something like securing the switch stand.

To do that I took a piece of 3/4″ square dowel (purchased at Lowes) cut to approximately 1-1/4″ long. This will be glued firmly into the foam and the ground throw secured to it in turn.

Modify Peco Ties

I finally made use of one of the little saw blades that fit an X-Acto knife handle. I sawed off the ends of the two ties flanking the throw-bar – just to the outside of the cast detail. This will allow adding extended ties to support the switch stand. I also cut off the little nub on the throw-bar.

Gluing Dowel

I cut out a slot out from the foam so the wooden dowel can be inserted. I went a bit ‘overboard’ a bit .. this was the second try and it was a little wider so I had to fill in the bit on the right with some foam. I like using Aleen’s Tacky Glue using enough to secure it well .. and let it set up (one of the parts of the hobby I dislike .. waiting for the glue to dry!). On a side note while I would not use white glue to glue styrofoam sheets together (needs air to set up) – but works fine for this since it DOES have access to air.


I used additional pieces of foam to blend the old surface into the wooden dowel. I want it to look as if it has been there for years and make it look like the ties were actually supported!

Paint, stains and rubble

I have a yellowish/beige latex that I got at Lowes which I use as a base for all my coloring. Once that dries I use powdered brown tempera sifted over the area and then washed into cracks and crevices with water from a spray bottle. A little AI wash here and there. Gravel, sand, dirt and derbies is a mix of sand and decomposed granite. Black RIT dye colors the ties with a few drops around everything to add shadow .. and finally cemented everything down with CAG (Concrete Acrylic Fortifier. I like using this much better than white glue and water)

Once the CAG set, I came back with a little dry-brushing across the rocks with a red/yellow mix of acrylics to tone the dark/shadow down. The various washes of AI, RIT black and such darken everything. By dry-brushing back the base colors you create shadows. Cool.


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