Turnouts: Peco vs. Atlas vs. ? ; Need update

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by dwight77, May 31, 2005.

  1. dwight77

    dwight77 Member

    Hi: After 15 -20 years of being out of N Gauge modeling I am getting back into it. I thought I would be able to dust off my old layout, update it, and with the exception of switching over to dcc be ready to roll. I can only tell you that after sitting for 15+ years, acctually hanging in the garage, the track and ties are so brittle that they just about crumble at the touch of a hand, the cork road bed just flakes off, and even some wireing for the turnouts just falls out at the touch of a finger.
    So the decision was made, lets start over. New layout design, slightly bigger board (going to 10 1/2' x 5' - old board was 4' x 8'), and wiring from the getgo for dcc.
    My question is about turnouts. I want to get an idea of the current feelings toward Peco turnouts vs Atlas??. I was told that the Peco N gauge turnouts are a fairly new product for them (HO gauge has been around along time) so I am wondering what the concensus is on the quality of the Peco N gauge turnouts vs Atlas.
    I also was interested in feedback on their switch machine that plugs into the bottom of the turnout. I want to have mostly automated turnouts. My club uses tortoise switch machines and while they seem to work very well, can be a challenge to mount, especially when you have a support in the way. The Peco switch machines are much less expensive and from the pics in the literature look to be a lot easier to install.
    Lastly on the Peco turnouts, they have "Insulfrog" and "Electro-frog" style turnouts. The literature seems to indicate that the insulfrog are easier to install but that the electo-frog might be better in dcc but required more involved wiring. I would like to know what some of you may have found in using these two styles in a dcc layout.
  2. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Electrofrog is the way to go, if you're ok with the (slightly) more complex wiring. See the www.wiringfordcc.com website for the last word on getting your wiring bomb-proof.

    After reviewing others' experience, I chose the code 55 Peco turnouts and have found them excellent -- the consensus seems to be that they are amongst the most reliable and tough turnouts, and I particularly chose them because of the range of turnouts available. The one and only big downside is that the tie spacing is UK-standard, like Atlas code 80, whereas Atlas code 55 and M-E track is US-standard spacing. If this bothers you significantly, you may have to choose one over the other on this alone (and many do). If this weren't the case, there would be very little reason to choose anything else over Peco.

    On the other hand, I probably wouldn't go for the Peco switch machines -- Tortoises are so much nicer. They are tricky to mount if you have a support in the way, but not too bad (you can use piano wire mounted in brass tube to redirect the linkage to somewhere easier to mount). On the other hand, if you've done your planning in CAD you shouldn't have a support in the way where you need a switch machine! Tortoises can be bought in sixes and twelves at good prices...

  3. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    I use Peco electrofrog switches with Peco switching motors (because of the price).
    I like the fact that Peco switches are spring loaded and there is no way that the switch is stuck half way. It does not work with tortoise switch machines but you can make it work by removing the spring. I use electrofrog since there is no spot on the switch that is not powered compared to the insulfrog that has a plastic piece where shorter engines could stall.
    With DCC you just have to use insulated joiners and add additional feeders. But I don't think that is a big deal. Some suggest to modify the electrofrog switches but I never had problems with my DCC and unmodified electrofrogs.
  4. Trains

    Trains New Member

    We use Peco Electrofrog, with Atlas flex track. The wiring is not that hard, just a couple of extra wires here and there. Peco have been making N scale switches
    for quite awhile.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I had peco N gauge track in the early 1960s (Called OOO then.) I had turnouts about 1970. This was the code 70 track. The code 55 track is newer, sometime in the last 10 years? Code "55" is a code 70 rail, sunk into the ties, so it mates with code 70 but not real code 55!
    As a British modeller, I find that Peco track looks too American, with the ties too close together.
  6. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Well that's a new one! It would be interesting if you could measure out some real ties and see what should be what in the UK... got a tape measure handy?
  7. Zman

    Zman Member

    I use Peco code 55 turnouts and motors. Very easy to assemble, lay, and wire.

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