Atlas Code 55 track

Stuart Mitchell Aug 31, 2005

  1. Stuart Mitchell

    Stuart Mitchell E-Mail Bounces


    I need everyone opion on this but I don't wish a war.

    I'm looking to start buy flex track and point for my new layout. I was thinking of using the atlas code 55 flex and points. I know about ME code 55.

    OK, what does everyone think??

  2. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

    Hmmmm.... ok, let me approach this a little different than past attempts. I am a happy atlas code 55 user but first the negatives -

    Pizza Cutters or 10 year plus locos that have large flanges will hit the spikeheads on the track. All of my 10+ year KATO do not have any problems. Older #5 switches did have a clearance problem with the guards.

    Positives - looks the best, or at least to me. It is very easy to lay as it is quite flexible and is very durable. DCC ready, you need to power the frog if you want reliable slow, crawling, speed if doing a lot of switching. (I have only done 1 of mine out of 60+ as I still haven't decided the best method yet - it's been 2 yrs, need to think about it some more) I use almost all #7 switches with no problems at all. Recently I spoke with Paul at Atlas and he stated that the #5s have been re-worked to resolve earlier problems. How you find the new vs. the old switches is a good question - you will find out when you wedge a loco thru the old ones. I use caboose Industry ground throws and am happy with these.

    Most important if using Atlas code 55 switches - make sure that you gauge all of your locos as the tolerances are smaller than other switches. This also goes for metal atlas wheels for MT trucks as I found out that 99% of mine were to narrow.

    I hope that this helps. I have used most everything out there and I have had good success with the Atlas code 55.

  3. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    I like the Atlas code 55 and equipped all my MT cars with Low Pros to operate on it. That being said I do run Ntrak which uses code Atlas 80. The best thing in my opinion about the Atlas code 55 is that it has focused attention on track and wheelsets. The line needs to be expanded with maybe a #9 [ since Atlas uses odd or a curved switch. Those Peco curved switches save alot of room in a yard.
  4. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    I have not used ME c55 or peco c55. My main reason for going with the Atlas was the fact that tie spacing is more accurate for american railroads. Peco N scale track, atleast the C80 I had before, was spaced for a european look. It was very tall and chunky.

    There are alot of N scale layouts in the railimages that were made with C80 that are just beautiful. So really it is just a personal choice what you use.

    As to legacy engines and cars. Years ago I spotted a new product called low profile wheelsets made from delrin. I thought these looked cool and just replaced all my train wheels with those. I have no idea why. I converted my fleet probably twelve years ago.

    Engines are a different story. I own some legacy engines, and honestly they do not run as well as my newer Atlas and kato and life like stuff. I am simply retiring the legacy stuff.

    Atlas C55 powered frog. I did some testing with engines and my engines could run over the switch frogs without power being applied to them so I will probably not be using powered frogs on my layout.

    I'm hearing good things from everyone who uses caboose ground throws for manual control.
  5. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm pretty statisfied with the Atlas C55. I started anew about three years ago, and knew I had a fairly substantial decision to make, as I would need about 900 feet of track and 80 switches.

    That's about $1400 for Atlas C55. I spent some time with Atlas, ME, and Peco C55 track. ME was more expensive and, at the time, too stiff for me. It reminded me of early code 80 track from the 1970s. The supply, especially of switches, seemed spotty. Peco was also more expensive, though pretty bullet-proof in my experience. I didn't like the look of the track, plain and simple. Since I had 30 Peco switches, I thought about using Atlas track with Peco switches. That didn't look very good either.

    I had to look very hard at my loco and car rosters, much of it bought from 1972 through 1991. I decided I could swap out the cars easily enough, at a reasonable expense. Which left the legacy locos. How many did I really have that I wanted to fiddle with? How many did I really use on the C80 layout?

    The green (OK)--yellow (maybe a conversion)--red (probably not) triage went quickly.
    - 12 Kato engines: green
    - Two Big-Boys and a Y6 mallet: green
    - 20 Life-like diesels: probably green, sporadic drumming
    - Two Minitrix K4 Pacifics: yellow
    - Mintrix 2-10-0: yellow
    - Minitrix 0-6-0: yellow
    - Atlas 0-4-0: yellow
    - Six Con-Cor PAs: yellow
    - Six Bachmann F-7s: red

    And everything else was red without much evaluation, because it was junk.

    When I really got down to it, I was looking at eleven locos that I might want to convert to Atlas C55. With the Kato PAs, and my move to DCC, that number has shrunk even more.

    I realize others have much larger engine and car rosters, or are in a club situation. That changes the whole equation.
  6. csx31

    csx31 TrainBoard Member

    I'm making a track change soon, and definitely prefer the look of Atlas and ME code 55, with the ties that look much more like American prototype.

    Everyone has their own preferences and needs. I actually prefer sectional track to flex, and Atlas sectional C55 looks great. The issues with pizza cutters and engines with large flanges are not a problem for me, except that LifeLike GP-60 wheels hit Atlas spike heads.

    I like ME switches with their locking snap-springs, which allows me to use them without switch machines or ground throws. I prefer truly manual operation of my switches.

    I'm thinking of using Atlas C55 sectional track with ME switches. Has anyone else used this combination, and is there anything that might make this a less than good decision? I run DC, and do not expect to move to DCC.

    Thanks for whatever feedback. This may also give the original post some alternate choices to consider. Al
  7. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

    I use ME flex track with Atlas turnouts.

    Some LL locomotives just barely hit the Atlas spikes, when it's just over a turnout, it isn't as bad.
  8. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    I have that problem with a switcher I just bought. Since I don't want to toss it out, is there somewhere or some way I can swap out the wheels to lo-pro? The locomotive in question is a LifeLike SW900, metal chassis, BN paint with some modification (removal of the BN logo) to be used as a paper mill switcher, running on all C55.
  9. notenuftoys

    notenuftoys E-Mail Bounces

    I really like Atlas c55. The lower profile looks better (IMO) than Peco or the code 80. I didn't go ME only because they didn't have #5 turnouts.

    I am getting back into the hobby, and only had 6-8 freight cars from the early '90s. So the cost of changing them to low-pro wheels wasn't an issue.

    It just takes extra care when laying it. You can't just slap it down, and hope there's no problems. Paint it, ballast it, and you'll be happy with your choice.
  10. beast5420

    beast5420 TrainBoard Member

    if you have a buddy with a small lathe, you might be able to turn the flanges down on that thing. but somewhere i thought i read about a company that made replacement wheels, freight and locos...... i'll to try and remember on that one.

  11. Mike Kmetz

    Mike Kmetz TrainBoard Member

    Northwest Short Line (NWSL) has just what you
    Order part number 2675-6 for $11.95 - that gets you 8 replacement wheels for your switcher.
    These should be available through your dealer, from Walthers, or even direct from NWSL. Give them a call.
  12. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter


    SOO MILW CNW TrainBoard Supporter

    I plan to use CD55 on the new layout, and CD80 for the staging, which of course will not be seen.

    Chris, do the switchers run any better?, with the new wheels. Everytime, I go to a dern shop, they don't have NWSL, or have no idea what I talking about. I even give them part numbers.

    I noticed by the pic, the loco sits that much lower.

    Beast, the company you are thinking , might be, Trainworx, they have a CD40 track line, and also provide a turning service to reduce the flanges for such said track.

    Adios Wyatt
  14. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

    It looks a little lower. (don't forget the stock LL wheels are too big) It runs great to me, but I also altered the tabs under the walkways. Plus it is filled with tungsten for weight.

    If you look here you can see the new brass tabs I made to transfer power. Somewhere on the web they should you how to do the same thing. I got the idea from there.

    I have ordered 4 times from NWSL, direct through E-mails. Parts show up about a week later.
  15. beast5420

    beast5420 TrainBoard Member

    Trainworx, that's it!!! I hadn't found that yet, but I did find the NWSL in an ad, but somebody beat me to the post!! :D

    have a great labor day weekend and let our thoughts and prayers be with those in the gulf

  16. marc93

    marc93 TrainBoard Member

    someone mentionned problems with #5 turnouts
    Is there a solution to tell old from newer (better) ones ?

    I have half a dozen of them stored in the basement (mint in box, bougth 3 years ago) and I'd like to know if I'd better replace them in case I'd begin to lay track someday :rolleyes:

    IMHO Atlas did a great job with this track system (I used Peco c55 for a small layout many moons ago) though I found their head block ties too far away spaced and it ruined somehow an otherwise very nice looking range

    my two cents,


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