Author Topic: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout  (Read 2063 times)

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bman

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Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« on: March 12, 2021, 12:48:21 PM »
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Starting over and wondering if I am tempting fate by putting one of these on my proposed new and improved layout to take the main line from single track to double track. Has anyone experience with these? I have used #10's on my mains and #5's for industrial sidings with little to no issues. I have never used a curved turnout in any layout I have built. Using this would give my behind the scene staging about a foot and a half or more length depending on placement for mainline train staging. It'll likely wind up a spring switch as I've done this in the past with Atlas code 80 #6's for behind the scenes staging on the old plywood central. The little bit extra length is good as I am lengthinging the run on the mains and can run longer trains. Thanks

mmagliaro

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2021, 01:08:21 PM »
+1
I have no philosophical qualms about curved turnouts in general, on a main or in a yard.  They save space, and honestly, they look cool in the trackwork.  But... I have exactly ONE Atlas C55 curved turnout in my layout, on my main, and it's always been on my short list to replace.  If ever I was going to make a Fast Tracks home-made turnout to improve my trackwork, that turnout is my number one target.  I had to:
- file the point rails to get them to be the correct gauge width all the way through their length, otherwise, longer wheelbase steam locos would climb up and out of them because the gauge was too narrow. 
- The throwbar had all the same problems I've seen on other Atlas throwbars: too floppy, lets the point rails droop or climb over the stock rails, lets the point rails wiggle left or right causing derailments.  I reenforced mine with a strip glued underneath it.
- Bronze contact bars underneath losing contact - I soldered all my own jumpers in place to bypass the bronze strips

It now works, but it's been a pain.  I wouldn't use one again.

davefoxx

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2021, 01:19:13 PM »
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That Atlas curved turnout is what led me to learn how to build my own N scale turnouts and do some handlaid track.  I love Atlas and had much success with other Code 55 track components.  But, I cannot give a good review of that curved turnout.

DFF

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nickelplate759

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2021, 01:29:26 PM »
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I've used them, and would again, with some caveats.

First, they are definitely more troublesome than the straight turnouts - so expect to have to tinker with each one and plan accordingly.  Tinker means not just add feeders (but definitely do that), but also expect to do judicious filing around where the points meet the rails.   I've had to adjust for wheels picking the points, and also picking the notch in the stock rail behind the point on the outside of the curve.

Second, try and install them in such a way if they fail catastrophically  you can replace them without too much drama.   Actually, that's a good idea for turnouts in general.

For all the grumbling about the reliability of Atlas turnouts, I have found them to be roughly equal to  Micro-Engineering in that regard, and in fact better than Micro-Engineering with respect to gauge consistency and overall robustness (not that either is all that robust).   
George
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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

bman

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2021, 01:41:26 PM »
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Good info thanks. I would be using a right hand and the west trains would be entering with the points thrown for the larger radius side as this section of the ex PRR/PC/CR between London, OH and Alton(basically the south side of Buckeye Yard)was signaled for left hand running after 1970 after Buckeye Yard opened. I would think that would help with any points licking hopefully.

signalmaintainer

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2021, 03:29:47 PM »
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I have no philosophical qualms about curved turnouts in general, on a main or in a yard.  They save space, and honestly, they look cool in the trackwork.  But... I have exactly ONE Atlas C55 curved turnout in my layout, on my main, and it's always been on my short list to replace.  If ever I was going to make a Fast Tracks home-made turnout to improve my trackwork, that turnout is my number one target.  I had to:
- file the point rails to get them to be the correct gauge width all the way through their length, otherwise, longer wheelbase steam locos would climb up and out of them because the gauge was too narrow. 
- The throwbar had all the same problems I've seen on other Atlas throwbars: too floppy, lets the point rails droop or climb over the stock rails, lets the point rails wiggle left or right causing derailments.  I reenforced mine with a strip glued underneath it.
- Bronze contact bars underneath losing contact - I soldered all my own jumpers in place to bypass the bronze strips

It now works, but it's been a pain.  I wouldn't use one again.

My experience, mitigation, and sentiment too. I have three Atlas curved code 55s, and if FastTracks offered a template, I'd replace them.
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mmagliaro

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2021, 04:07:38 PM »
+1
My experience, mitigation, and sentiment too. I have three Atlas curved code 55s, and if FastTracks offered a template, I'd replace them.

They do!  They have a lot of curved turnout templates.   I spent some time overlaying their paper templates on my Atlas c55
curved, and I believe the #10 20/16 would be a drop-in replacement (20" outside, 16" inside radius, #10)

EDIT:
The 22/18 may be a better match than the 20/16.  I suggest you print out the templates and overlay them to see what's best for you.  The FastTracks turnouts are a little shorter than the Atlas, and the fit depends on where you lay down the replacement.  If I align the rail ends at the entrance to the turnout, the 20/16 matches better.  But if I align the throwbars, the 22/18 is better. It's because the Atlas turnouts have funky straight areas in them instead of being one continuous arc, I think.  So I bought a jig and went with the 22/18 because I'd rather have the throwbar end up in the original location.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 03:47:29 PM by mmagliaro »

SAH

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2021, 04:11:22 PM »
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I have five of them currently in service.  All of them are reused from another layout.  No troubles at all so far.  I think if you make sure the roadbed upon which they are laid is dead flat the chance of success increases.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2021, 04:41:32 PM by SAH »

signalmaintainer

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2021, 05:29:16 PM »
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I have five of them currently in service.  All of them are reused from another layout.  No troubles at all so far.  I think if you make sure the roadbed upon which they are laid is dead the chance of success increases.

I'm a big believer in dead roadbed; I don't like mine wriggling around.

But to the point, the turnout is level and not on a grade. It just required a lot of fussing with to reach my standard of reliability.
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signalmaintainer

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2021, 05:31:58 PM »
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They do!  They have a lot of curved turnout templates.   I spent some time overlaying their paper templates on my Atlas c55
curved, and I believe the #10 20/16 would be a drop-in replacement (20" outside, 16" inside radius, #10)

Cool! Thank you. I know I looked at those FastTracks template on line but didn't figure that particular one would work. I'll print it out and check.
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glakedylan

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2021, 05:47:58 PM »
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i have a fasttracks curved TO, have not used it as plans got changed by life circumstances.
anyone needs/wants it...it's yours at a very good price.

---------------------------------------------
TO BE CLEAR: I have a bunch of fasttracks turnouts i purchased some time ago from a
guy who makes them professionally. Many I will not get to use 'cuz radius too big for
current space.

I DO NOT have any jigs. I only have "already made"turnouts.
----------------------------------------------

PM me if interested.

sincerely
Gary


« Last Edit: March 14, 2021, 08:30:58 PM by glakedylan »
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ednadolski

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 06:24:36 PM »
+1
the turnout is level and not on a grade.

A turnout on a steady grade should be fine.  A turnout on a grade transition is a potential trouble spot; if for example the transition is abrupt enough then that can have issues with long-wheelbase rolling stock, or couplers with low trip pins.

Ed

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2021, 12:12:03 AM »
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I only have one, a trailing point in a one way situation, no problems so far.
Reading this, I may need to rethink my plan to install two more facing point curved turnouts in a new yard...
Otto K.

NtheBasement

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2021, 07:19:58 AM »
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I have Peco c55s on my layout and tried an Atlas curved.  Beautiful turnout but way too delicate for me.  Out of the package a point rail came off, and continued to do so after install.  I figured out a way to go with straight and went back to Peco.

mmagliaro

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Re: Atlas Code 55 Curved Turnout
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2021, 06:37:31 PM »
+1
I forgot to mention that another flaw of the Atlas curved turnout, at least on mine, is that over time,
the curved rails push the little molded spike heads inward or outward, which widens or narrows the rail gauge.  I nudged the rail either in or out back to its correct position and held it there with pins into the benchwork while I put some 2-part epoxy into the spikehead/rail areas to keep it from moving again.  Just another thing you wouldn't have to worry about with a Fast Tracks or other hand-made turnout, because there are soldered ties all through it (say, every 5th tie or so).  Unless you have expansion problems so bad that you start breaking those solder joints, it is not going to lose its gauge.  The plastic that the Atlas turnouts are made from, both in the ties and in the throwbar, is far too soft.  Using it on flex or sectional track is one thing, where it doesn't have to
move and is only a simple pair of rails.  But on a turnout, where there are so many points that have to be perfect for trains to go through without incident, it isn't strong enough.