There are three groups of devices in Z-Scale that use solenoids for operation; remote track switches, remote uncouplers and relays. The notion of “remote” is one of the great advances in model railroading. With remote control, you can operate devices from a distance, and it is possible to remotely control these devices from two different locations, or more. In short, remote control adds fun to the model railroad hobby.
Track Switches (Turnouts)
Probably the first improvement in model railroading was the creation of the remote turnout. With this remote operation, you could direct a train to go in two different directions without walking around to throw the turnout by hand. (Note that we use the word “turnout” to describe the track switch to avoid confusion with electrical switches, which are also present on model railroads).
The turnout has one moving part, the points; these are the moveable rails which guide trains in one direction or the other. In a manual turnout, you simply move a lever to move the points. With a remote turnout, you can also throw the points with electricity.
Here is a diagram of the wiring connections for a turnout: