Atlas Switches and C Trucks

Donstaff Feb 16, 2021

  1. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    I have noticed that my older six-axel diesel los tend to pick points with my newly installed Atlas Switches, both manual and remote. These same locos have no problems with the 20-year-old sections of my layout. The switch points on the new switches don't seem to close tightly. Has something changed with the new Atlas Switches?
     
  2. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Got the NMRA Gauge? You will be able to check the locos as well as the points on the new switches. And by older... how much older? Pizza cutter wheel older or ...
     
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  3. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    No, the old switches are 20-20+ years old, not the locomotives. The locos are all modern era models with modern wheels that work fine on code 55 track, although the layout is all code 80. The problem, as stated above, is with the switches. The old Atlas Switches present no problem with the 6-axel locos. Only problem is with new switches purchased in the last couple of years. All of the wheels spec out ok on the NMRA gauge.

    Don
     
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  4. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    then in that case, do the switches spec out? The gauge also helps with switch settings too.
     
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  5. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Atlas did have an issue with some of the China-made switches with gauge in the point rail area. The point rails were much too thick and caused tight gauge. The USA-made ones were always OK and they did get the China-made ones corrected, eventually but some are still on the market on eBay and such.. Check the gauge in that area.

    Do your packages say "Made in USA" on them or China?

    Whenever i bought any off eBay, I always looked for the "Made in USA" in the black background box on the front of the package.

    Doug
     
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  6. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Looking at the switches again, I noticed that these switches do not have the notch for the blade to drop into on the diverging rail like the old switches do.
     
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  7. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Can you post as picture of one of the switches so we can see? I don't doubt you but I am a very visual person.

    :D

    Doug
     
  8. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Doug,

    This is a shot of the "notch" area in an old Atlas switch. My friend's new Atlas switches are smooth in this area with no notch for the blade to drop into. His problem is only with 6 axel locomotives. In the picture, the switch is closed. When his switch is thrown, the blade swings over, but it's thickness is just enough to catch the flange of the first wheel on the leading truck. Looks like the only fix would be to either file a notch into the side of the through rail or to file the movable blade down to a knife edge.

    Don
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    The switch you show is a USA-made one (the slot headed screws are the clue - Chinese ones have cross slotted or Phillips head) and they have always been made with nice, blade type point rails and work great. There were a few that didn't have the blade ends but worked equally as well and fit right into the notch. The Chinese ones vary as to the configuration, depending on the iteration.

    Some of them have solid point rails instead of an "L" profile and these are the ones most troublesome as the gauge in the point area is too narrow, etc. That doesn't appear to be your problem. I don't know if the lack of a notch was a design "feature" or a manufacturing error but yes, it can cause problems, especially in N scale, although I have some old, Austrian-made ones from the seventies made without notches and they are fine. The point rails must be very sharp on those, however, and must rest right against the stock rails.

    If you have a motor tool like a Dremel, you can grind notches into the stock rails for the point rails to rest in.

    I wonder how old your switches you bought actually are. Some have been in stock at various places for years. I know some of them on eBay are still from the nineties and Atlas actually had the bugs worked out of the Chinese ones years ago and they were made just like the USA version, unless problems have cropped up again

    Doug
     
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  10. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Doug.
    Sorry you had to repeat some of your previous explanation, and the additional information about the screw heads is appreciated and valuable.
    Don
     
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  11. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Don't worry about the repetition. I do that anyway. :D

    And, the slotted screw vs, Phillips head, that might not always be true either, although it was earlier on as Atlas transferred production to China. The USA switches had the slot head screws and the Chinese had Phillips. Of course, the sure way is to look on the bottom for country of origin.

    Doug
     

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