Author Topic: Atlas code 55 question  (Read 2916 times)

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bman

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Atlas code 55 question
« on: October 08, 2010, 10:32:36 AM »
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You all have convinced me in reading posts here to make the jump to code 55 from code 80 since I am starting a new layout based on the Panhandle Line in Ohio.  I noticed that Atlas code 55 comes in sectional curve radius close to what I will be having on the 2 end loops.
and I was wondering the pros and cons of using the sectional over code55 flex. 
thanks

Brian

JSL

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2010, 10:49:51 AM »
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Personally, I would use flex track. Less joints = less soldering of feeder wires etc etc.

JSL

ednadolski

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2010, 11:40:48 AM »
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I was wondering the pros and cons of using the sectional over code55 flex. 

Sectional will go down quicker, but having more joints is a big drawback electrically and operationally, plus more opportunity to introduce kinks.   Sectional is best for 'temporary' setups where you expect to rearrange the track relatively often.

With flextrack you still have to be careful to avoid kinks at the joints, but it's not hard if you just sight down the length of the rail.  It's also a good idea to draw out the track centerline first to make sure you don't inadvertently introduce any curve sections that are sharper than you intend.  A big advantage of flextrack is that you can easily create easements.

I always glue flextrack with adhesive caulk rather than nail it.  I do use nails in staging areas or for temporary track.  Atlas flextrack has nail holes on the bottom side that do not come drilled all the way thru the ties, so you will need a small bit in a pin vice if you want to open those up for nails.

Tool wise, a Xuron rail nippers and a set of flat needle files is highly recommended.

I don't have the titles in mind offhand, but some of the entry-level Kalmbach books have sections on how to lay sectional and flex track.

HTH,
Ed

davefoxx

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2010, 02:13:44 PM »
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Like Ed, I am pro-flextrack.  In my case, I glue the track (and the cork roadbed) down with yellow carpenter's glue.  Since I use 2" foam as the subroadbed, it's easy to pin the track into alignment until the glue sets.  I prefer yellow glue over white glue for the track and cork roadbed as a preventative measure, because yellow glue is probably less likely to release, allowing the track or cork to shift, when soaking and bonding the ballast.

Additionally, I believe that flextrack is very forgiving.  Once you work with it a while, you will become a pro.  It is not difficult to learn how to solder rail joiners to keep your track flowing smoothly through curves.  I would recommend only soldering the rails in the curves.  Although this requires more feeders to guarantee conductivity, this allows the track to expand and contract better without going out of alignment.  And, more feeders is a good idea anyway, because of the voltage drop in long lengths of rail.

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DKS

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 02:47:53 PM »
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Flex provides mechanical, electrical and cosmetic advantages over sectional track--don't forget that all of those joints will be visible as well. For the smoothest possible curve that involves multiple lengths of flex, solder the flex pieces together while they're straight, before laying the track, as it's somewhat difficult to make joints with perfect geometry on curves as you're laying them. Then, start bending the flex pieces at the joint, working in both directions toward the free ends.

As others have noted, allow the track to expand and contract by leaving some joints unsoldered, and just install additional feeders. Myself, I don't solder any rail joints, and I attach electrical feeders to each individual piece of track.
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eric220

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2010, 05:07:43 PM »
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I'll also chime in that I'd take flex over sectional, and most of the reasons have already been stated, so I won't go into them.  The one time where you might want to consider sectional is where you have a very sharp curve.  If you get a minor kink in a 22-inch radius curve, most of your equipment will probably roll right over it.  The smallest kink in an 11-inch radius curve will cause consistent derailments, so using the rigid sectional track might work better.  Of course, if you use sectional, you have all the problems already mentioned (aesthetics, more joints, more feeders, etc.) so there is always a tradeoff.
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DKS

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2010, 06:58:39 PM »
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The one time where you might want to consider sectional is where you have a very sharp curve.

I will note that I make an exception on using flex over sectional, and that's for hidden curves, especially sharp ones. In these circumstances, I have found sectional track can offer some advantages. When making sharp hidden curves, I will assemble and solder all of the sectional track pieces together, and ensure that every joint is mechanically perfect. Then I'll lay the curved section on the layout and connect the rest of the track to it.
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bman

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2010, 12:22:23 AM »
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thanks everyone.  So looks like I'll be staying with flex then.  I was just looking at all the radius options in code 55 flex and did think it would be easier to build the loops and their transition curves and was curious to see if anyone had been using the sectional. A lot more options than their code 80 offerings which almost dictated the use of flex track for me in the past. Guess I better get started on the bench work and I'll have to post some pics as I go.

ednadolski

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 12:48:54 AM »
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For the smoothest possible curve that involves multiple lengths of flex, solder the flex pieces together while they're straight, before laying the track, as it's somewhat difficult to make joints with perfect geometry on curves as you're laying them. Then, start bending the flex pieces at the joint, working in both directions toward the free ends.

Note, it can be tricky to do more than about 2 or 3 sections at once in this way, since the inside rail needs to slide along the ties as the track is bent into the curve.  The joints need to slide too, and will bump up against the ties if there isn't enough room.

Some guys will stagger the joints on a curve to help prevent kinking.  It's not that much more work but it does take a bit of pre-planning.

Ed

ednadolski

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 12:51:32 AM »
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A lot more options than their code 80 offerings

One thing I've noticed about the Atlas C55 is that the fit of the rail joiners is much better than with their C80.

Just curious: has anyone mixed the Atlas C55 turnouts with the Micro Engineering C55 flextrack?  How well do they fit together?

Ed

DKS

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2010, 07:39:17 AM »
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Note, it can be tricky to do more than about 2 or 3 sections at once in this way, since the inside rail needs to slide along the ties as the track is bent into the curve.  The joints need to slide too, and will bump up against the ties if there isn't enough room.

Agreed. Its more suited for sharper curves, where you only need two lengths at most of flex to make the curve. And it does take a fair bit of planning to get joints to fall in the most desirable spots.
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bbussey

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 09:09:40 AM »
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Just curious: has anyone mixed the Atlas C55 turnouts with the Micro Engineering C55 flextrack?  How well do they fit together?

And to hijack the thread slightly further: how well does the Atlas C55 mate with FastTrack turnouts made with their supplied rail, and can the turnouts be built with Atlas C55 rail?
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John

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2010, 09:27:47 AM »
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And to hijack the thread slightly further: how well does the Atlas C55 mate with FastTrack turnouts made with their supplied rail, and can the turnouts be built with Atlas C55 rail?

1. I have used ME Flex with Atlas turnouts - no problems ..

2. I don't use the FT jugs, but use the Atlas rail all the time to scratch build turnouts .. no problem ..

davefoxx

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2010, 09:47:37 AM »
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One thing I've noticed about the Atlas C55 is that the fit of the rail joiners is much better than with their C80.

Just curious: has anyone mixed the Atlas C55 turnouts with the Micro Engineering C55 flextrack?  How well do they fit together?

Ed

I'm not sure about ME's flextrack, but I can confirm that ME's code 55 bridge track connects to Atlas track, using Atlas code 55 joiners, with little or no modification.


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inkaneer

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Re: Atlas code 55 question
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2010, 10:51:39 AM »
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1. I have used ME Flex with Atlas turnouts - no problems ..

2. I don't use the FT jugs, but use the Atlas rail all the time to scratch build turnouts .. no problem ..

Does Atlas make their rail available as is or are you sacrificing a piece of flex track to get the rail for the turnouts?