atlas track question

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by belg, May 30, 2003.

  1. belg

    belg Member

    Guys I'm going to be using Atlas track to make my yard and am a little daunted by all the different codes. First will they all work together or are they different height? What's the difference between #5 and #7 turnouts? What would you use a 11.25 degree crossover for? I'm using code 55 I think and am wondering if this is going to be compatible with the articulated steam engines like the proto 2000 and the kato big boy?
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The code is the height of the rail in thousands of an inch. Code 55 is 55/1000 high, etc. The different codes can be used together with transition joiners, usually available from the LHS. You can also come up with your own solution, such as shimming the lower track up to match the height of the higher track.

    The lower the turnout number, the sharper the "curve". A #4 diverges twice as quickly as a #8. That is the diverging route of the #4 takes 4 feet to diverge 1 foot, whereas the #8 takes 8 feet to diverge 1 foot.

    In the yard, depending on how much room you have, you will want to use anything from #4 to #6, and use #6 to #8 for the "mainline". If you have lots of room, you can get #10 or handlay as big as you want.

    As far as the appropriateness and compatibility of the rail with the Kato engine, I don't know.

    I hope that helps.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You would want to have some locomotive tracks with wide radius curves for the big boy to use to hook up to the train. You would not want to use a big boy for switching anyway. Another trick to use to maximize your yard space is to use "wye" switches. I think a #3 wye is the same radius as a #6 switch, but only takes up the space of a #4. In other words, make your yard as tight as needed to make it work for you. 0-6-0, or 0-8-0 switchers, or even an Alco S1 or Nw 1 will handle 18" radius easily. and the diesel switchers will probably handle 15" without problems. The only yard needing wide radius turns would be a coach yard if you are using scale 85' passenger cars. Then put in some arrival and departure tracks adjacent to the yard with wide radius to handle your mainline power. Another idea to hold down costs is to remember that scenery is relatively cheap. If you emulate some of the modelers on this site, and build structures from cardboard.
    Then build a layout with a high scenery to track ratio, you can probably build it for a lot less than you think. Regarding code 55 rail, I think anything with rp25 wheel flanges will work fine. It might look good to use code 55 in the yards and industrial sidings, with code 70 or 85 on the mainlines. You might also reduce costs for a big layout by getting enough track down to get trains running, and then try handlaying turnouts. Generally the turnouts are the most expensive part of track laying, if you can hand lay them, you exchange "sweat equity" for turnouts that would otherwise cost $$$.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    for appropriateness, code 55 in N should handle anything going. It models out to a pretty heavy rail.
    for actually running the loco, that depends on how big the flanges are. Some mfrs make the flanges big so kids can get them on the track, but they bump down the track. best bet is to get a piece of track and try the loco. And it may not be the BIG locos that give problems.
  5. stary

    stary Member

    another method of joining 2 sizes, or Codes, of rail, is to put a rail joiner on the bigger rail-in other words, if you're joining Code 80 to Code 55 (in N scale) or Code 100 to Code 70 (in HO scale) the Code 80 is the bigger one in N, and 100 is the bigger one in HO. Then, flatten the end that's not on the rail, put the other rail (Code 55 or Code 70) on the joiner, and solder it in place. If it leaves a little bump, file it down (after the solder dries)

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