Coming back to N guage. Help please?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Bob Morris, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Bob Morris

    Bob Morris Member

    After a few years with N, a decade with HO, and then another 12 years away from the hobby, I'm ready to plunge into N guage again. I'll be modeling the E-L Tioga Division in the 60's/70's.

    I've discovered some wonderful new changes to the guage such as Atlas code 55 track, micro couplers, and much more detailed cars/locos. I bought a bunch of the code 55 flex track and some turnouts at my "local" (1 hr. away) HS. Unfortunately I failed to ask some important questions. I wanted to convert my freight cars from the Rapido style couplers and bought a box of truck/couplers (MicroTrains). Unfortunately it turns out (you probably already knew this) they won't run on the Atlas track. Interestingly my old Con Cor PA1 does fine, and the new lightweight Con Cor passenger cars run fine!

    My question is this, does anyone manufacture truck/coupler combo's that will run on the new Atlas track or will I need to buy replacement axle/wheels for the brand new trucks/couplers?

    Also, how can you know when you buy a loco (I REALLY like the Atlas GP7 E-L torpedo's!) or cars, if they'll run on the new track? Even the Manufacturer's sites seem to be pretty mum on the subject. Most of my purchases will be made at the HS, but they don't always have what I need in stock.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    I know Micro-Trains offers "lower profile" wheels that should work fine on code 55.

    They add these wheels in all of their new releases so you switch out the regular flange wheels with the lower profile wheels.

    I don't have this problem since I made my N-scale layout without code 55.

    Also, I money isn't an issue Kato Uni-track is good stuff, especially the power routing switches which isolates a track from power when the switch is lined the other way.

    No aggravating wiring needed when using Uni-Track
  3. Bob Morris

    Bob Morris Member

    Thanks Hh. Looks like I'll be needing to buy the new wheels in addition to the coupler conversions:-( Does anyone know if MT makes the truck/coupler conversion sets with the newer wheels already included?

    The Unitrack system is nice indeed. I just really like the looks of the Atlas #7 switches with their track. I'm still pondering the whole DCC thing, but will probably stick with the old wiring/toggle switch system I'm used to. At least I know how to install/trouble shoot them! :)

    I've also got an old Atlas FA1 (E-L) that won't run on the new track. It's such a great runner I kind of hate to shelve it. Does anyone have any info on whether or not any NWSL wheels will work on this, and if so is the conversion within the realm of a bi-focaled modeler? :)

  4. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

  5. Bob Morris

    Bob Morris Member

    Apparently MT doesn't make their truck/coupler combo's with the low profile wheels. Their wheel sets apparently are also plastic and not metal. Based on some archival searching here metal wheels seem to have support from a "cleaner rails" perspective. Given that I can take the time to do this to a limited number of cars (I DID learn something about acquiring rolling stock in the past :), I'm leaning towards the metal wheels/less track cleaning side of the argument.

    I've found the NWSL web catalogue for their metal wheels and axles. Are they the only source folks are now using, or are there others?

    Thanks again for the help.

  6. seanm

    seanm Member

    As far as I can tell Microtrain does NOT sell truck in bulk pack with low profile wheels. I wish they would!!

    I have been experimenting with Atlas Lo-Pro metal wheels for Microtrain trucks and they work very well for me.
  7. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Micro Trains 1008-B-48 = 48 low profile wheel sets, brown
    Atlas #22036 = 12, 36" metal wheel sets/package.
    Atlas #22133 = 12, 33" metal wheel sets/package.
    Some of the microtrains truck/coupler sets have low profile plastic wheels.
  8. Bob Morris

    Bob Morris Member

    Thanks folks! I was hoping there might be other options but couldn't find them anywhere. I really appreciate the info.

  9. grglmn

    grglmn New Member

    Bob, just so you know for future purchases, most newer rolling stock and locos are compatible with Atlas Code 55 track, the exceptions being Micro-Trains (although I beleive in the last couple of years they offer low profile wheels on their rolling stock, but not their truck/coupler packages) certain Life Like locos (many of which may fit your era) and the first run Kato Mikados. If you go back to stuff made in the 80s and maybe even early 90s and before most will not run on the code 55 track (with the exception of con-cor, which has used low profile wheels for some time)

    As someone starting out in N you can be aware and pick and choose what is compatible or worth converting
  10. Bob Morris

    Bob Morris Member


    I ordered a new Atlas GP7 (torpedo tube) that will be my first freight engine. Hopefully it will be compatible (doesn't say in the manufacturers ads--wonder why they don't say this?). I've got some photos that show them being used on the Tioga Division. Finding an E-L prototype caboose that will run on c55, or converting one, will be the next step.

    The NYC shared trackage rights with the E-L from Corning, N.Y. down to Williamsport, Pa., and also ran a freight spur into Wellsboro, Pa. Next engine will probably be an Atlas NYC RS3 and suitable caboose. I would love to have some mainline freight engines from either road eventually, but until I can get the layout operational, for once I'm going to try to discipline myself! :)

    I'm going to try to find the Atlas lo-pro metal wheels to convert my already purchased Micro Trains trucks/couplers. Then, finding E-L box cars and coal hoppers and NYC box cars and covered hoppers will be on the agenda.

    I enjoy the research and planning, but hope to finalize the track plan in the next couple of weeks. Always the optimist....:)

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