On my previous layout, I used all ME code 55 and the ME #6 turnouts.
I chose them because ME track has just a few thousandths more clearance above
their molded spikehead details, and this allowed virtually all my older steam
to run without flange grinding.
Now, new layout, I'm using all Atlas code 55.
1. The ME turnouts look great, and they work well IF you tweak and file and you
wire the frog and points with an auxiliary switch (like a microswitch or slide switch
attached to the throwbar, or if you use the aux contacts on something like a Tortoise machine.
The points were even more unreliable than points usually are, at carrying current.
This was not a BIG issue, as you should always bypass the points and frog with a
mechanical switch anyway, or sooner or later, you will have intermittent electrical problems.
But it seemed worse than the behavior with old Peco turnouts.
2. When I started in on this new layout, I saw the new ME turnouts, and they look to be
made exactly the same way as the old ones, meaning that while they are DCC friendly,
they still required filing or grinding to open up more clearance through the point rails
in order to get them out to NMRA width, so that longer wheelbase steam won't climb
up and out of the rails. I was annoyed that they still hadn't corrected this, and annoyed
that I should have to do this on a turnout that cost 14 or 15 bucks.
*** Ironically enough, Atlas turnouts suffer from exactly the same problem, so this was not
a good criteria to distinguish the two brands. But at the time, I ASSUMED that Atlas
turnouts, being much newer tooling, would be in gauge. I was wrong.
As for looks... I considered using ME track and Atlas turnouts, but to me, they look different enough
that the turnouts stand out from the track like sore thumbs, so I had to go with one brand or
The final nail in the coffin was that ME still only makes #6 turnouts, and you have to use FastTracks
or a custom builder (like the guy on eBay) to get anything else.
If you are hand-laying your turnouts, this is a non-issue, obviously.
It's really a shame. ME track looks awesome. But the turnout reliability is no better
than Atlas, and the variety of turnouts is so limiting, that I gave up on it.
Oh... and ME flex is very stiff and holds its shape, unlike Atlas. Some people love this.
Some people hate it. Me, I could take it either way. Doesn't bother me.