axe the ATLAS's...

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by NCMRailroad, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    Greetings all...
    Well, it never seems to end!!!! I seem to get one switch properly working then I find another one tossin' the wheels off the rail. Today I had an ATLAS switch that tested my patients more times than I care to mention.It goes like this...After fighting with it, I thought I would remove it off the layout, clean it up some and re-place it to its original spot. After removing it from the rest of the track I quickly found that one of the rails had poped out of the rail ties and was floating. Thus explained the derailing. I replaced that switch with a PECO. What a world of difference. Fixing that switch I happily ran my shay around the track... That is, until it came across the nest switch. Another ATLAS CODE 100 switch. Cringing and crossing my fingers it worked, I became disapointed once again. This time I left the Atlas switch right where it sits and removed the siding it feeds. The Switch seemed to make the shay (3 truck-HO) stop dead in its tracks after the train has derailed attempting to execute the turn onto the mainline somewhere around the frog.
    I don't think for such a small layout (91/2ft. x 7ft - L -shaped) I should be spending so much time on the track work. I started in late september of last year and will probably be going at 'er for another year still.
    Wonder if anyone has a problem with ATLAS Code 100 SWITCHES? The ATLAS flex track I use is good stuff and I rarely have a problem keeping the locomotives on the "mainlines" but I really think Atlas can do alot better with thier code 100 switches.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I suffered through the same problems you're having for years...Since I couldn't replace my switches, I tried the following fix which seemed to help more often than not. What I did was to "thicken" the inner surface of the guard rails in order to pull the flanges away from the frog. I did this by filling the gap between the guard rail and the stock rail with epoxy and let it harden for at least 24 hrs. I then used a broken hacksaw blade to reopen the gap, keeping the blade against the stock rail so I would leave a good amount of filler on the guard rail. This seemed to help a lot.
    On my new layout it's all Pecos for me...Excellent turnouts..!!
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I use Atlas c100 turnouts and don't have a bit of problem with them. My Mantua 2-6-6-2 Clanks and bangs going through a couple of them, but no dead spots or derailments. Are you using snaps or customs? I did have problems with the turn going into the siding until I got rid of the snaps.

  4. diesel

    diesel Member

    Wow, now I'm hearing problems with Atlas and good things about Peco. I've always heard good things about Peco though. I think switches are just very sensitive things and have to be 'in gauge' in all respects. Who knows if one was twisted ect... I'm gonna get some Pecos and compare them to the Atlas myself.
  5. bquinn22

    bquinn22 New Member

    Hi guys I been using peco for 25 yrs and love them , positive throw and power routing to boot don't have to insulate spurs. They more but worth it ( I get a good price from my online supplier )
  6. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I originally had the same problems, but i found the reason was because of nailing the track down to hard, or installing it in a spot that it couldn't fit in. Otherwise they work fine.

    I'm finding now that its usualy the equipment that doesn't work, either its wheels climb up the points, or that its to big/at an odd angle for the car or locomotive to squeeze through.
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I'm using Atlas Custom Line Code 83 turn-outs, and at first, after I bought a bunch of them and started installing them on my layout, I had decided I didn't really like them. But with a few modifications and having run quite a few operating sessions, I'm finding they suit my purposes.


    1. Some of my locos and rolling stock did not run through them very well, they would bounce and buck like crazy. But the problem wasn't the switches... some of the loco wheels were out of gauge, and some of the rollingstock had oversize flanges. Some adjustments and changed out wheelsets solved all that.

    2. I am not impressed with the point hinges and the way the points received power. This may have been more psychological than real. On the bottom of the turn-outs, I soldered small wires from the hinge area to the points.

    3. The little plastic nubbins which attach the "throw mechanism" to the points are pretty weak. Not much can be done about this by the consumer short of drilling out the nubbins and adding some longer replacements. On a couple of my switches, the points have slipped off the nubbins, but they actually still work fine, and if the flanges are hitting the "throw rods", a little exacto knife action will solve that.

    4. The switches aren't all that realistic, especially the "throw bar" (what exactly is this thing called?). Oh well, the price is right, and I am actually fairly happy with them now that I have been running trains for awhile.

    So, if I was going to build a new layout, would I use Atlas again? Don't know, I would certainly take a look at some of the others first.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    After looking at all of the available switch brands, I have decided to save money and scratch build my switches. My LAJ layout will be ho using Micro Engineering code 55 flex track, so I will pick up code 55 rail and build my own. Tony Koester had a very good article on making your own turnouts from scratch a few years ago in Model Railroader. The article was reprinted in a recent book put out by Kalmbach. I figure I can build my own turnouts for less than $5.00 each, and have continuous points that bend rather than the hinged type thay seem to be so delicate.

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