In my continuing scrub of my Model Railroad magazine collection for useful articles that apply to building my layout, such as specific, prototypical (aka real) scenes or scenic elements that would be great and fun to model (Model Railroad Planning Editor Tony Koester coined the term "Layout Design Elements"), as well as "How To" articles such as planning tips on "Increasing yard capacity" and "Managing S Curves", I've been able to pare down having dozens of open mags laying all over the room and I am coming up with a binder-full of "good gouge" (Navy speak for relevant & useful info that will make your life easier). If there's anyone out there building a layout, get yourself a 2"-3" binder & start culling your collection - it'll pay dividends later as you put your layout together.
Today, I found in the Model Railroad Planning 2007 issue, Paul Dolkos' great article titled, "Will the turnouts fit?", which includes a very detailed table on all the dimensions of a sizeable amount of the currently available turnouts (in N Scale, S Scale, O Scale, and of course HO Scale). It's amazing at how the "standard measurements" in turnouts are so varied amongst the mfrs. Paul also mentions why - NMRA RP-12 isn't a standard, but a Recommended Practice, so "it's followed in only a general way by manufacturers trying to satisfy the needs of scale modelers and train set buyers, so dimensions vary accordingly." I highly recommend you get a copy of the mag, or at least a copy of the article from Kalmbach Publishing (http://www.kalmbachstore.com/modeltrains-railroading-model-railroading-special-issues-model-railroad-planning.html).
For me, I bought a pair of Code 83, #6 Turnouts from Peco (Streamline), Walthers, and Atlas (Super Track) and hope to have them all by mid-next week. I also think when I get some more allowance (and hopefully don't get punished for going over this month's allotment!), that I will buy a pair of Micro Engineering Turnouts, to also try them all out, mix & match if needed (Model Railroader's own Jim Hediger suggest this for specific situations, in a sidebar), and see how they all work together. Hopefully, I'll have a small section of running track, to "play" with before I go back to school... keeep tuned in folks!