"N" scale turnout selection help needed!

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by johnnybsoaring, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. johnnybsoaring

    johnnybsoaring New Member


    I'm just beginning the construction phase of our first "N" scale layout. Have built several in HO and currently have a nice "O" highrail. The "N" gauge layout will be under glass in a special giant end table in our den. My biggest concern is the reliability of different "N" scale turnouts. It appears that there are many opinions but I'm down a decision between Peco and the Atlass code 55's. My experiences with the cheap line of Atlas HO turnouts was that of great disgust. I ended up replacing them with Shinohara, the best!

    The parameters concerning turnout selection for this "N" scale layout are as follows:

    DCC compatibility
    scale appearance
    Would like to use Tortoise Switch machines but not necessary
    Modifications that need to be made to make them work properly

    My observations

    Atlas 55's win the scale appearance award!

    I do not like the look of Peco but they do have a reputation for quality!

    I have seen Atlas in operation and they do work good on the layout I viewed!

    I am aware that wheel changes will have to be made on some cars to navigate Atlass code 55!

    For the switch machine motors the Tortoise is very bulky and may be impossible to use under the plans elevated track, so what other options do I have here other than hiding them in the bushes?

    I need to get some turnouts to put on my full size template to start roadbed construction so any opinions or suggestions on turnout selection or the code 55 flex track would be greatly appreciated gys!

    Johnny "B"
  2. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    Hi Johnny,

    Given that the layout will be under glass I would definately go with the Peco, they have a selection of Code55 switches in N too. Peco are exceptionally reliable and almost indistructable, I'm still using some that are over 20 years old and on thier 5th layout.

    The only problem people seem to have in N America about Peco is the tie spacing being European, this is something I'm more than happy to live with.

    just as an aside, a member of my club had some Shinohara switches in n scale and I found them nothing but problematic.

    Hope this helps

  3. sams

    sams Member

    tortoises can be used a distance away from the TO.
    it all depends on the linkages.
    also, circuitron has a accessories to do so.
    as far as atlas or peco?
    both are good.
    one question for those who have peco c55 TO's...
    someone mentioned to me that the points were full c80...
    struck me as kinda odd...
    i know that the rail is full c80 (buried)...
    but what about the points?
  4. johnnybsoaring

    johnnybsoaring New Member

    Thanks for the tips but I'm still tied between Peco and Atlas 55. The issues? Prototypical look and operation bot are important. Under glass maybe sacrifice the look??? I did look at the Peco Code 55 and it had the same ties and rail as the 80 but the rail was double flanged and buried in the ties deeper. I would also have to remove the springs I think for Tortoise to work flawlessly. What do do? I am going to buy 4 of each Sat. AM and test them good before I commit to them permantly on the mainline! That would give me first hand info I guess! I'm looking forward to doing this and I'll post my findings here. I still think there are probably 1000's of people out there that can give us more input to this question. Maybe another week will prompt more responses.
  5. johnnybsoaring

    johnnybsoaring New Member

    My layout plan has some elevated turnouts located over lower level track. In those places I would need to use a long wire on the tortoise going through both the lower level and into the upper where the turnout is located. How long of a length of wire do you think I could get away with and not affect the operation of the tortoise or turnout itself? That's the problem with small n-scale layouts like a large coffee table one. Elevated track packs everything in tight to maintain grade restrictions! What I have actually done for a starting point on the plan was to take the Wawbeek and Sunmount railway from a kalmbach book and converted it to 50% size to give me "N" scale. I then made a grid in AutoCad, inserted the plan from a scanned TIFF file and plotted the drawing out at full size. So I have a full size template as a guideline. I'll play with the turnouts and change the plan a little over the weekend here and I might have to move some of the turnouts to get the switchmachine installed! Please give me more info on these linkages, if I understand you correctly? I can offset them to the side a distance? say 12" or less away from the points???? Are you personally using the Atlas 55's?
  6. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Tortoises are easy to locate quite a long way from the track. I use a piece of piano wire with a double-bend in the end (to locate through the hole one side or the other of the peco throwbar), then slip over a brass tube whatever length is required, and then trim and bend the other end of the piano wire into a loop. Locate the Tortoise where this loop is and mount it underneath out of the way. The brass tube can be glued down when everything's working well -- it takes about 10 minutes per turnout. The tube can easily be run underneath neighbouring track (say in a yard), by cutting a slot in the roadbed for it. The alternative (making a longer wire for the Tortoise) reduces your options for adjusting the strength and distance of throw.

    You normally have to remove the peco spring for Tortoises (otherwise they sometimes won't make the throw), and it's not needed anyway when you're not using manual control.

    See the Wiring for DCC site for pictures of a modification I do to Peco turnouts to make them fully DCC-compliant as he recommends...
  7. sams

    sams Member

    since i don't know your layout details...
    i'm going blindly here...
    its called a "remote tortoise mount":
    "...allow you to mount the Tortoise Switch Machine above or below the benchwork and up to 18" from the turnout...."
    includes a mounting bracket and special linkage.
    this may be the perfect solution for you...or it may not...
    also, there is a "cable and actuator" should you need it.
    you can check em out at the following link:
    hope this helps :)
  8. dhutch

    dhutch Member

    I've never used and Atlas, but im more than happy with the code55 peco

    - it looks increadable, compaired to the code 80
    - if never had a probelem with functionablity, even when i melted one when a spotlight fell on it for a bit!! (i still use it now)
    - and its 100% intercompatable with the code 80


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