Atlas code 55 Specifics

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by seanm, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. seanm

    seanm Member

    Time has come to start over. I am tearing down my old layout and starting fresh with some new knowlage and desires. (See the old layout and info here)

    I am going to have quite a few questions I am sure... but here is where I want to start as I need to set some rules for my new plans.

    I am interested in using Atlas code 55 rail and turnouts.... but I have read about some desturbing problems with the turnouts. I currently have MOSTLY Kato and Atlas engines produced in the last 10 years and no steam at all. Rollingstock is mostly Microtrain or Microtrain trucks/couplers.

    Since the info on all the FAQs about Atlas code 55 mentiones problems, but nothing specific, I am wondering if I am likey to need to change wheel sets on the above stock? Any other troubles I should be aware of with the Atlas55?


  2. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I've heard that if you use Peco code 55 track, you don't need to run low profile wheels. You might want to give that a try. I'd use Peco turnouts also, they are the best, in code 80 or 55.
  3. Sir_Tainly

    Sir_Tainly Member

    Mike is right re Peco 55 working with "pizza cutters" without problems. The code 55 rail is simply the code 80 rail laid deeper in the ties, which makes it quite stiff, and thus holds curves better.
  4. seanm

    seanm Member

    Don't get me wrong, I DO appreciate the advice... but this is what I mean. Nobody is giving a specific answer.

    Has anyone TESTED Atlas code 55 with kato or Microtrain wheels? Can someone give me a an answer like: "You can't run Bachman rollingstock or Kato steam, but Microtrain standard wheelsets are OK and everything after 1997 from Kato is fine as well as all Atlas since 1985" or "All Microtrain will wheels will need to be replaced with low profile sets" etc...etc..

    Of course the info above is made up in my head, but I am looking for what specifically will and won't run on Atlas code 55. I would have assumed someone would have tested it and has these sort of real world and have some of this info.... so far I have searched the FAQs and they are all and elsewhere.

    Thanks for your time again, and I will keep searching and if I find nothing... I guess I will test and post my results.

  5. nscalesteve

    nscalesteve Member request: "You can't run Bachman rollingstock or Kato steam, but Microtrain standard wheelsets are OK and everything after 1997 from Kato is fine as well as all Atlas since 1985" or "All Microtrain will wheels will need to be replaced with low profile sets" :wave:
  6. seanm

    seanm Member


    U-Da-man! That is exactly the sort of thing I can sink my teeth and budget into. Thanks!!!!!!!

    I guess it was sarcastic eh?? (smile)

  7. colonel_26

    colonel_26 New Member


    Make sure you get an NMRA standards gauge, and make sure the wheels are in correct gauge! The code 55 turnouts especially #5's tend to catch all of my atlas diesels even those released the last couple of months, all of my atlas locomotives are less than 2 years old (turns out the wheels where too close together, just re-gauge them). No problems on the #7s though. Also try to stick with the flextrack otherwise the Katos will hit the tops of the spike heads in the curve pieces.
  8. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Very few places will give you a definitive answer to anything in this hobby, as far as I can see. Too many people have their own opinion, or are financially or emotionally connected to a brand or style. That's what I've found so far, anyway.

    I did a lot of searching and found several sites where people had tried Atlas 55 and discarded it for Peco 55. I found none the other way (so far). The problem with Peco is that it's not similar to the US prototype, I understand (of course, it's UK made). In addition, with the US dollar in its current dire position, it's more expensive than it is in any other country. From here, it's gone down in price about 30% in the last two years, but from the US it's gone up almost as much. That will certainly make a difference, and will also affect stockholding of the track in various stores.

    Other than that, you won't have a problem running almost any train or rolling stock, and the turnouts in particular are (IMHO) far superior to any other track (except of course well-made hand-laid turnouts...) Because it's actually code 80 rail half-buried in the ties you have various advantages: it's tough, it holds smooth curves, it has only tiny internal pins (thus most wheels run on it), and it's compatible with code 80 track (if you have old/second-hand track or want to make modules).

    I understand that with Atlas you're fine with almost any rolling stock if you're prepared to buy a bundle of MT low-pro wheels for a few bucks. And you're fine with new locos from most manufacturers. You won't be fine with older kit, particularly from European manufacturers. And the more strange the loco, the more difficult it will be to get alternative wheelsets to make them work. If you already have such things, then you need to test them on some track. If you intend buying new US-prototype stuff, you should be fine.

    You'll have to try some, in your local friendly HS, and buy a bit of what makes you feel good.

  9. seanm

    seanm Member

    Well there ya go! That is the best info yet. Thank you very much for your reasoned and reasonable response. I have heard many folks have had trouble wit the #5 turnouts but the #7 seem to be fine. I guess I will have to do a little testing on my own.

    Thanks again!


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