Atlas N-Scale code 55

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by RI541, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I was wondering if any one has seen the Atlas code 55 track. Does it compare to Peco?
    Right now theres about a $2 per stick differance in price. None of my guys can get it yet.

    If Atlas is going to give Peco some compitition maybe Peco will lower there price.....Maybe???
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    The ATLAS code 55 looks good but IMHO it ain't no competion for PECO code 55.
  3. RI541

    RI541 Member

    thanks Catt,

    looks like I'll stick to the Peco.

    One question, whats IMHO stand for?
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Catt's not quite like the rest of us :D :D :D :D so I don't know what IMHO means in his case. For most people it means In My Humble Opinion.
  5. RI541

    RI541 Member

    Thanks for clearing that up I thought it stood for I'M HO

    now I feel better
  6. uboat

    uboat New Member

    The atlas 55 has been the source of a considerable amount of controversy since it first came out. It is by far and away the best looking track out there, with the possible exception of ME track. It has more realistic US prototype tie spacing than the Peco which is European prototype. The Atlas had the potential to revolutionize N scale, but unfortunatly a design compromise was made to it because the molds did not fill the spike heads properly and weakened it. The compromise was larger spike heads that unfortunately interfere with Microtrains large flange wheels and older locomotive wheels and cars. It can be corrected with Low profile wheels, but that gets expensive for large fleets. Because of this compromise it is mostly a niche product for finescale modellers.

    Peco on the other hand is durable, does not interfere with MT and older wheels and high quality. The downsides are its price and the European look, which is less noticeable once it is ballasted.

    Depending on what your priorities are, the Atlas will be the best looking, less expensive and more available choice, Peco will be the most reliable, durable and trouble free choice. The good thing is we now have choices - Peco, Atlas 55 and 80, kato unitrack, Micro Engineering 55 and 70.
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

    IMHO (I might have onions) the availability of Peco vs. Atlas Code 55 is TBD (two billion donuts). If the Atlas gains widespread acceptance, spike heads and all, then it will be the more available, but if not it will remain a niche product and will remain hard to find. LHS (large hat sizes) will not stock it, Atlas won't produce a lot of it, etc.

    What kills me, if what I've read is true, is that the spike heads "grew" after pre-production prototypes showed a tendency for the rails to pull free. Atlas made a conscious decision, with eyes wide shut, to make their product incompatible with MT flanges. Was this a "rush to market" decision - who knows?
  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I have not seen the Atlas code 55 yet, but if it's not compatible with M-T, then it's destined for failure I would guess. Can't imagine why anyone would buy something like that.
  9. RI541

    RI541 Member

    the MT low profile wheels are a pain if you dont have your track perfect. I have a set on a car I built and painted and when I bought the wheel sets I just grabbed 2 pks of trucks, one set was in there wrong place. needles to say It sits on the shelf, I geuss I could change the wheels but its a steam era car and just got the steam cleaned up to run. now I need to lay track.

    Hows the prices on the ME track vs Peco? I have some ME switchs that are nice. But haven't even thought about thier track.

    Why can't atlas design like or similar to either of the other two?

    I'm glad I asked, I was going to order some soon. I think I'll wait till the poles are in I guess.

    I have the Kato K1 and K2 sets that I never use ecept the K1 as a test track. I like the Kato but it's something that I can't use on my lay-out. You can't cheat it.
  10. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    We have been selling the new code 55 track since it was introduced and among the N Scale crowd, it has drawn mixed reviews.
    Most prefer the old tried and true Atlas code 80 and we always start our new modelers off with it, as it is pretty hard to go wrong with it.
    Some eventually go to the Peco code 80 and, more reciently, with the Peco code 55, Indeed, it has become the track of choice among our local NTrak and oNeTrak members, myself included, as it is the most sturdy of all available N Scale track:cool:.
    That being said, we have a core group serious modelers, who use the new Atlas code 55 exclusivly for their home layouts and, as such I have difficulty keeping it in stock.
    Personally, I went to low profile wheels, starting in 1989 and have converted my entire (substantial) fleet of rolling stock since.
    I started using code 55 track in 1988 using, first Railcraft followed by Micro Engineering and, when I start my new layout after I move into our new house, I will be using a combination of the old RC/ME track as well as Atlas code 55.
    Now that Microtrains is including the low profile wheels with all new releases, I keep 2 bins of wheels in the store, one each of MT standard and low profile and I encourage the modelers to exchange the low profile for standard and vice-versa accoding to their needs and, in a few months, I will have a good idea as to how many modelers prefer what.
    As for the issue of incompatibility of the low profile wheels, I have a habit of weighting my rolling stock in accordance with the NMRA RP20.1 practice, and, as I body mount the couplers on most of my rolling stock, I have had very few problems with keeping everything on the tracks, Including all of our NTrak and oNeTrak club modules:).
    The Atlas code 55 track is not for everybody, however I beleve that it will increase in popularity and will establish its own following, as all other brands and sizes have in the past.

  11. uboat

    uboat New Member

    Prices of each are roughly equal, with ME maybe being slightly higher. The main issue with ME track is availability. ME is a small outfit, and can only squeeze in some runs in between their more popular HO lines and building kits. ME track quickly sells out when stores get it in. It can be fragile and tough to work with, and because of this generally is only recomended for more experienced modellers. I have found that Rio Grande hobbies ( has about the best prices and stock on ME track. I am considering switching to ME code 70, I think code 70 is the best compromise between good looks and wheel compatibility.

    This question has been posed to atlas on their forum, and IMHO (most definitely NOT HO:) ) without a satisfactory answer from them. It centers around wanting to make something more durable and easier to use than ME track, and patent issues with the Peco design. Atlas has said in their own defense that the code 55 meets (barely) the rail height NMRA recomended practice, and that MT wheels do not.

    A while back Atlas through out for discussion the idea of a revamped code 80 line (perhaps when the tooling is in need of refurbishment) with more realistic ties and spacing. A small but vocal group wanted to see that go a step further and also include a code 70 rail instead of the 80 - this idea drew much fire from the code 55 faithful. A new line of code 70 with US tie spacing in my opinion would be a true breakthrough product in N scale.

    I use the kato Unitrack to set up temporary layouts on the kitchen table to play with my kids and try out new locos and rolling stock - the stuff is great for that purpose and begineers - almost completely fool proof, downside - unrealistic looking and pricey.

    MT has recently started including Low Pro wheels in the box with new cars and started offering bulk packs, a good step in the right direction, as the standard wheels hadf poor appearence. but as has been stated above, LP wheels are problematic unless your track is perfect and you are using body mount couplers. Conversions of large fleets to low pro can get expensive, and therefore can justify the higher cost of Peco or ME track and avoid wheel conversions altogether. Now if you are starting from scratch and have mostly newer equipment Atlas 55 would be a good choice, but for us old timers with lots of older stuff unfortunately is not a practical or economical choice.
  12. RI541

    RI541 Member

    Well I'd say that my mind is made up.Peco seems to be the track of choice.
    I honestly didn't expect the replies I got but all were very informative. Thanks I realy appreciate it.
  13. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    code 55

    Well I finally got a chance to see the new Atlas code 55 track. Everyone is aware I believe if the issues with this track. It does not meet Ntrak standards because of the older flanges and Mt regular wheelsets will hit the spike heads. But after a year I finally got to see it up close and in person. Better yet I got to do a side by side comparison with the Atlas code 80. The code 55 looks far better. So I had to do a cost comparison of using the code 55 on my layout and switching my wheelsets to the low profile or keep the regular wheel sets and go with Peco code 55. I opted for the code 55 track. I am going to try a new idea [for me anyway] of laying this track without joiners and keeping proper alignment between sections.
  14. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge inkaneer ! You said you opted for the code 55, which Atlas or Peco?
  15. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    Atlas code 55

    I'm going with the Atlas code 55 but using Peco switches ang ME since I have a supply of them already.
  16. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Please let us know how it works out.
  17. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Whats all this baloney about the PECO track looking European? We are talking about N scale here are we not? I have PECO code 55 on my new layout and ATLAS code 80 on some bridges and I can't see any differance at normal viewing distances.

    By the way if the ATLAS track had been out when I started this layout I would be using it.
  18. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I don't see any differance between the Peco and Atlas for viewing, even when the Peco ties into the Atlas.

    I did notice however that the Peco ties are a little wider, maybe 1/2 a mm. nothing that you would notice off hand. The only reason I saw it was because I put the Peco on an Atlas bridge.
  19. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    I agree with Catt, as there is very little difference between the tie spacing of the Atlas track and the Peco, regardless of weather it is code 80 or code 55.
    If anyone thinks otherwise, then I invite them to place a section of Atlas flextrack (or sectional track for that matter) alongside a section of either Peco code 80 or 55 and count the number of ties per foot of track.
    Micro Engineering and Atlas code 55 on the other hand have a tie spacing which is much closer to a North American spacing.
    Atlas and Peco code 80 are the recommended standard for NTrak modules, and in all my years of N scale modeling, be it with NTrak, oNeTrak or my personel layouts, I have never received so much as one comment about tie spacing from anyone.
    I have found that once the track is down and ballasted, the scenery is in place and the trains are running that nobody seems to notice such trivial details such as tie spacing.
    BTW, I use ME and Atlas Code 55 on my home layout, a combination of Atlas and Peco code 80 on 2 of my modules and Peco code 55 on the other 4 (soon to be 6) modules.
    In short, use whatever you are happy with, don't worry if some others disaprove, as it is your railroad and above all, Have Fun.:D :D :D

  20. uboat

    uboat New Member

    Catt, my post said that PEco track is European (particularly British) prototype, which it is, and went on to say that once it is ballasted it is less noticeable. You are correct, once it is weathered and ballasted and viewed from a distance it is not noticeable at all. Again - not blasting Peco track here - I find it to be a very high quality product, and my post is in favor of it. And compared to Atlas 80 is much more realistic. It would be nice though if they could make a US version though with ties like ME or Atlas 55.

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