Track - Atlas versus Peco or Micro Engineering

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Rusty Lugnut, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Rusty Lugnut

    Rusty Lugnut Turbo-Geek

    Howdy All. I'm a newbie here. I recently got back into model railroading as I'm transitioning into my second childhood. My son is obsessed with all things train. So after a few decades, I dusted off my trains and tools, and got back into it.

    I have gotten into N scale because of space limitations...or...more truthfully because I wanted a big ol' layout in the same space I could only do something modest in with HO.

    My question is about what track to use. I just finished a Timesaver switching layout using Atlas code 80. It runs pretty smooth. I had to do some work on the switches, and got a little momentarily frustrated here and there with the quality of them, but at the end of the day the trains run fine. My goal was to make something my boy could play with while I'm working on my big layout, and also something to take to my club's train shows. Oh...and re-sharpen my skills at the same time.

    I had started acquiring Atlas code 55 for my big layout. The guys at the hobby shop had talked me into it. I'll say it looks great. And they offer everything I need to build the layout I've designed. But a couple of guys at my club have given stern warning about Atlas track, claiming it's pretty much junk, and since we're getting ready to build an N scale layout there, it's a pretty hot topic of discussion.

    My dilemma is - I've already bought a fair amount of Atlas 55 track to get started. Sure, I can unload it on eBay, or at a show, but I won't get back what I paid for it. I also know that Peco of Micro Engineering is just about twice as expensive as the Atlas.

    So...I figured it'd be a good first thread for me here to open the floor for discussion on this and see what everyone else's experience and opinion is.

  2. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

    I've just started back into the hobby myself and I'm going with Kato. I realize it's a bid more expensive, but it works flawlessly. I'd rather wait a bit to build up my supply and then do the layout. I have the same issue with space. so what I am able to do I want it to work right the first time. I just found out today that Kato makes a transition track for Atlas. The last time I did an "n" layout I used Atlas and never had a problem.

    My 2 cents......
  3. seanm

    seanm Member


    Any track you use will have some challenge or another. The down sides I hear most about Atlas track is that that older large flange wheels will bump on the molded spike heads and that there have been some quality control issues with some of the switches. I hear Peco has switch issues as well (some require shimming of the guard rails). Micro E flex takes some skill to bend into a nice curve. Kato has no flex and thus limits layout planning. A club I used to belong to used Micro E turnouts for a while and then went with hand layed because of issues.

    I am using Atlas C55 and really like it. I am using all recently produced engines and lo profile wheels. I have only had a couple of switches (I have over 100) give me trouble and they were easily fixed. I would say it is a bit more "delicate" that c80 atlas, but I find the quality totally exceptable.

    What you choose to use should be some thing you are comfortable with. Buy a few pieces of other brands and see how they work FOR YOU. If you are patient and take your time, any track system can work well.... Well, maybe not Bachmann EZ Track. (grin)
  4. Rusty Lugnut

    Rusty Lugnut Turbo-Geek

    No kidding! I put a small loop together on a tabletop for my son to use. I gave up after I'd bought three or four turnouts and NONE of them worked...they either derailed trains, had electrical problems, or both.

    I'm not worried about problems with wheels on the C55, as all of my rolling stock is new, and I don't have any issues changing out wheels when necessary.

    Thanks for the input.

Share This Page