Atlas Turnout Alternative

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Stephenr216, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Stephenr216

    Stephenr216 New Member

    Hello all,
    I am about to order a massive (to me) amount of atlas track, but the price of the remote switch tracks (23 of them!) is making me think twice. Are there any alternative brands that would fit right in with other code 80 atlas N scale track?
  2. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    The only alternative I use on my N scale layout is Peco, which will only add to your cost. I know this doesn't help, but you certainly want to be careful to not lower the quality standard. Nothing kills a layout and enthusiasm faster than poorly operating switches.

    I'm building my layout in sections, so avoiding making a big investment in switches all at once. As it is, the sawmill's track alone has 9 switches, all purchased on Ebay.

  3. billk

    billk Active Member

    You could consider getting manual, vs. remote, switches for at least the more accessible locations - from a quick check it looks like the cost of a remote is approx 50% more than the equivalent manual. There are some neat ways out there to control manual switches.
  4. Stephenr216

    Stephenr216 New Member

    Thank you Muddy Creek and billk. Yeah, that's a good point about low quality track, and I might use manual ones for the engine house. I'll go ahead and stick with atlas, thank you again for your help.
  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    The Atlas turnouts are OK but I find the Peco ones the best. They have a spring that holds the points tight to the setting. Well worth the money.
  6. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I'd go with Peco switches too, I know they are more expensive, but like Wayne said, you don't want to have to go and relace the Atlas ones after you realize that they don't work as reliably as you had wanted. I keep ordering Peco switches from BLW, usually 20 at a time. With the exchange rate what it is now, you can get the Long radius Peco switches for about $15.00 CDN each! The med radius are only about $13.00 CDN. I think they are the best and most reliable switches you can get.
    -I have backed a 40 car train over 8 of them without having any derailments! His web site is,
  7. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Mike, that is an excellent price for Peco switches. Where are you ordering them from?
  8. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I get them for Brooklyn Locomotive Works, Pete is a great guy to deal with. The only problem is that he doesn't ship to Canada, but my dad has a US address, so I just get stuff shipped to him, and he sends it to me. The web site is,

    Here is the link to the Peco Insulfrog page, Insulfrog.htm
  9. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Thanks Mike
  10. LIRR

    LIRR Member

    Peco with tortoise switch machines are the way to go, altas turnouts and their big ugly machines look like a train set switch once you start using Peco.

    Now if only i had the money to buy more Peco stuff.
  11. GRSJr

    GRSJr Member

    Since you're going with code 80, I'd bite the bullet and go for UniTrack turnouts. They're easily mated with flex track and they're bullet proof! A joy to install and operate compared to other makes.

    They also have a built in spring and will even operate as spring-switches.

    They can be easily controlled manually with no additional equipment. And, they can be operated electrically with a SPDT toggle and a capacitor.

    Best turnouts I ever used.
  12. garyn

    garyn Member

    mix manual and remote


    As has been mention you might try a mix of turnouts.

    I use Atlas MANUAL turnouts where I can reach them, and use Caboose Hobbies, ground throws to control the turnout.

    I use Atlas REMOTE turnouts where I cannot easily reach them.

    This mix of manual and remote turnouts helps to keep the cost down.

    The manual turnouts also give me more feeling of working the railroad as a brakeman, vs pushing a button to operate the turnout as with CTC.

    A further comment on the Atlas turnouts (and Peco as well). The spacing of the guardrail from the running rail is too large. Shim the guard rail to reduce the spacing to the NMRA recommended spacing and the turnouts works MUCH better. The only thing is, this will expose another "problem." Many wheels (on metal axles) are undergauge, and will have to be brought into gauge.

    Gud Luk
  13. GRSJr

    GRSJr Member

    As I mentioned, UniTrack turnouts are set up for manual control - no extra parts required. So you can be a brakeman.

    They're also easy to control electrically. So you can be a towerman.

    They don't require any fussing with the frogs, etc. So you can run trains instead of messing with the track.

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