Poor atlas track.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by prodigy2k7, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Unfortunately I learned of this after my layout is already together.
    I guess you should have ONE of these two features on either your track or train wheels...
    Turnouts: The triangle point in the middle, basically where the two tracks split down the middle... Needs to be long and sharp in order for the wheels to catch it before falling into the ditch.

    I dont have long pointy tips on my atlas turnouts.

    Another way is to have a bigger radius of the inner part of the wheel (inside the track, not ontop part) so that it rides the bottom of the turnout and not falls down.

    Unfortunately, I dont have either so everything I go across the switchtracks my trains clink...

    Anyways back to my question... Are there any good brands of rollingstock/DCC equipped locos that have bigger radius wheels to ride the bottom?

    I was too lazy to post a picture, if you dont understand ask and ill show you.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    If you have a picture that would be great... I am not entirely sure what you are advocating.

    The best tip I have received when it comes to properly functioning turnouts is to get an NMRA gauge. You can use it to check the wheels on your rolling stock, as well as flangeways, track gauge, and other important dimensions on the turnout itself.

    Having large flanges on the wheels (the inside part) is becoming a thing of the past, thanks in part to the "RP-25" profile wheels. While not entirely to scale, they beat the "pizza cutters" that used to pass for wheels on older models.

    Note that every Athearn passenger car I have encountered came with wheelsets that were out of gauge (too narrow). I have had to replace all of them... :rolleyes:

    Properly "tuning" your turnouts may also be necessary to make sure that the wheels follow the intended path.

    Post a picture, and let's discuss some more. I am sure this is of interest to many...

  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Quick comment here ... I also learned (the hard way) that Atlas points are not great. I had several on my layout and was having derailment problems. When I took them to a very knowledgeable guy at an LHS, he checked them and immediately told me that their gauge was way off! He said Atlas points were so bad that he didn't sell them!

    I've found that Peco makes the best points by far, while Hornby ones aren't bad. I do have some sections of Atlas track on my layout but stay away from points. I gradually replaced them because Peco points are expensive.

  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Prodigy, I know exactly what your talking about. I had a couple Atlas turnouts that did that. #4 snaps. Your talking about the wheels dropping into the frog and glunking when they come back out, right? I have seen people fill that with bondo(autobody filler) then run trucks over it to cut grooves for the wheels. What works for me is putting a thim shim under the turnout at the frog. Somehow, raising it up a little bit seems to fix the problem.

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Peco switches are the best in code 100. Shinohara/Walthers are next in line. If you want code 70 or code 83, Central Valley are the best of any switches on the market. Atlas uses thin sheet metal points which are just not strong enough to keep from coming loose and laying over. The other thing to watch out for on switches is how "flush" are the points to the closure rail? You sometimes need to file the points flush with the closure rail in both the straight and diverging position. If there is any sort of bump out where the points meet the closure rail, the flanges may "pick" the points and cause a derail. You also want to file a slight radius on the top of the points to keep the flanges from picking points.
  6. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    grewsome, sounds like an idea. :)
  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    If all was well in the world of turnouts and wheels you'd never fall into the frog. Bigger flanges is not the solution you want. A longer point, properly gauged would be nice, but you are stuck with what you have there, without replacing the turnouts, So your choices are to fill the frogs so you run on the flanges, or live with the clicks. If you have reliable operation, no derailments, going on, I'd be tempted to live with the clicks. If you fill the frogs, and then run something with a deeper flange through, you might get trouble you aren't expecting. I haven't done this, so I don't know for sure.

  8. phoneguy

    phoneguy member

    I had trouble with some #6 atlas turnouts. Many years ago they used to run articles on how to fix atlas turnouts in Modelrailroder. Frist fill the frog area with bondo or other type of epoxy. After its hard cut the grooves with a hacksaw blade, the one I use is about 2inches long. After the grooves are made the wheels will hit the point in the middle of the frog area. To correct this you have to shim the guard rails. I use .015 x .030 strips of styrene from evergreen. It's a bit of work to fix but it beats replacing all of your turnouts.

  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    We are in the process of changing our club layout from Atlas to PECO turnouts. I can't blame all of the problems on Atlas since we have some really bad trackwork and the standard that was set was to use #4 snap switches due to their availability at the LHS.
    PECO's are definitely a better constructed switch. Sorry prodigy, nobody seems to tell you some of this stuff until you find it out the hard way.
  11. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    I have no problems with derailing but the noise is horrible... What is the fix for that?
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Same thing. Fill in the frog area so the wheels do not drop down.

  13. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Yes I find it annoying. I havent gotten any derailments so I plan to fill it in with something not permanent, like super fine dirt lol... and somehow pack it in :p ill play around with it lol
  14. sidetracked

    sidetracked Member

    I guess I got lucky,,, I have around twenty four atlas turnouts and no problems with any of them yet. I have been running trains on them for several months but am now in the process of laying the cork. Sure hope it works as good when done as it did in the trial period. Let us know how you come out prodigy,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,, st
  15. eric halpin

    eric halpin Eric Halpin

    My experience with Atlas turnouts, is that the frogs are a bit too high versus the ajoining rails. Thus in order to eliminate the rocking of cars through the frogs and the clunk, we file the top of the complete frog until it is level with the tracks. That fixes the problem. However, it is a major disappointment that Atlas quality control does not catch this common problem. There are better turnouts readily available but they sure cost a bit more also.

  16. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Atlas switches suck. I will never buy another one. I probably have close to 100 of them and the electrical contacts are failing on all of them one at a time. I have about 10 Peco and they are flawless. I am a believer in Peco now. The clunk never bothered me that much and I have never had trouble with derailing on atlas but when you have them in place ballasted and scenery around then the fail electrically it is a problem.
  17. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Next time I make another layout whenever I will use peco thanks :)
  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    As I lay my track, what I am finding about the Atlas #4 turn-outs is that alot of them are warped. To explain, consider a right hand turn-out. The left-most rail of the turn-out should be straight along it's entire length. But I am finding that many of the straight rails are slightly warped = not straight. I'm glueing my track down, so I warp them back straight and use pins to hold them down until dry. So far, the turn-outs are working okay, very few derailments, but I do notice the "rough running" mentioned in this thread.
  19. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I got about 25 atlas mark 3 switches. I allso have 4 of the peco switches. The pecos fell so much better, they have a nice positive click when they move. I havent put any track down as of yet but would I be better off using all peco switches to start with or should I use the atlas?
  20. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Hi Roger. Save yourself the grief and go with the Peco ones!, especially if you haven't put down any track yet. I bet you'd either have to fix or replace the Atlas ones if you used those. Rob

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