Seriously Atlas?! SERIOUSLY?? :(

TrainzLuvr Mar 21, 2020

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm with George.

    Look it's never to late to change up to something better. Consider that.

    Do understand we are attempting to help you avoid...well...just think about it.
     
  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I 2nd George's comment unitrack. Take a look at it and everything is slim flat and on the surface. The wiring harness is flat and slim and plugs in the bottom of the turnout. You could the invest in a kato power pack and the controllers simply plug into the power pack and the wires into them. The wire can either run under the layout and are flat enough to run them on top and scenic over them.
     
  3. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's never our place to tell you what to do. However, when you open the door seeking ideas and advice. Then we will feel free to share our best, to you.

    Once you start operating trains you'll understand what you've been warned about. But, even then it won't be to late to change up.

    So Go Have Some fun!
     
  4. sams

    sams TrainBoard Member

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    Can you locate a video like this ? I couldn't find anything with the description your talking about. That sounds like a good plan !
     
  5. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    TrainzLuvr...

    I was in somewhat the same boat. The original THERR was in a travel trailer. It had a yard and several industries. I laid it all with Atlas C80. it had all C80 Atlas switches...with those ungodly Switch machines, I had nothing but problems with most of them.

    [​IMG]

    I read all the posts on here about Unitrack being 'bulletproof'. I even scoofed at the idea. True the tie spacing isnt prototypical of US railroads. BUT...the simplicity and reliabilty of their turnouts and no exposed switch machines intrigued me. Back in 2011 someone on here had some used Unitrack for sale at a decent price. Enough to run a simple double main and a few turnouts. I bought what he had and set up a temporary layout on a HCD. The turnouts reliabilty sold me on Unitrack. The new THERR RV layout is equal to a 38' double main oval...with 25+ #6 turnouts in the yard and industries.

    [​IMG]


    None of it...especially the turnouts have given me any trouble in 8 years ! Well...I do have one turnout that wants to be finiky sometimes. It is under a bridge and replacing it would be a major pita ! I just clean the points now and then and adjust the tension on the points and its good to go for another 6 months. With all my track being Unitrack...THe tie spacing doesnt seem so bad.

    If you just need reliable turnouts in a staging area...hidden or not...I would go with the Unitrack #6's. Nothing worse then a yard or staging that gives you problems. Nothing will drive a guy out of the hobby faster then frustration. This is just my humble opinion and I am in no way associated with Kato or any etailers etc. You can always sell the Atlas turnouts on Swapmeet here on TB or put them up for sale on EckBay and recoup a good portion of your investment in them to pay for the Unitrack ones.

    Nothing beats watching trains running without any problems.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
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  6. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Here's what I came up with:





    Note that the videos include wiring to power the frog. This is not necessary if using Atlas code 80 switches so the installation is relatively simple.
     
  7. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    I use Atlas custom lines and Caboose Industries ground throws...
     
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  8. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    Manual switching wasn't really an option because this is my Staging yard, and all operators would be inside the room, behind the swing gate (doorway on the left in the above photo). I felt it would be impractical to go outside, line up the turnouts for a specific train manually, then go back in and move the train into the layout.

    Instead I was going to make a remote control panel somewhere on the wall inside the room for operators to select their trains from a specific track, in absence of a dispatcher. Then they would simply see their train enter the layout through a west portal opening (the right portal window in the photo) or over the swing gate.

    Overall it's a small operation with 4-6 people and having a hostler for this yard doesn't make sense for the amount of traffic the staging would see. I'd also have to arrange some seating space for that person so they don't stand and wait before the next train is to be made ready. :)
     
  9. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Peco has a new motor to move the points that is a lot less intrusive. It will even work on the Atlas non-powered turnouts. Might be worth a look!
     
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  10. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    You can always go wireless with your throttle. :D
     
  11. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    After using Tortoises on my last layout, on my new one I am using slide switches. First of all, Tortoise are expensive and I only used them because I got 100 of them at an estate sale for about half price. Slide switches (or Caboose Industries Ground Throws if the out of scale appearance doesn't bother you (how could it, if you are okay with the Atlas machines?) are cheaper, easier to install, and almost no maintenance (which isn't true of switch machines)

    Even then, the current ops theory is to pretend you are on the ground and not running trains from a blimp. Some sessions I go to, we simulate the time needed to let the crew jump off the loco/cab/car, walk to the turnout, throw it, wave us back, etc. Basically, slows down the whole operation, which to an extent, is fun, although a few get impatient, LOL.

    BTW, if you use the slide switches, some brands have the pins where you would solder spaced for servos, I guess, and the new Walther's cables to connect their switch machine fit perfectly, saving you some soldering to the slide switches, if that appeals to you. Also, if you have to replace, just disconnect the cable (I have had to replace one on about 50 turnouts).

    As always, just my experience. (60 years, 5 layouts as an adult, each of 6 HO railroads you can build as a kid)
     
  12. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry, just saw they were in limited access staging. I did use the exact same turnouts on a previous layout (current -3) and they worked well for me, despite most folks saying Peco were more reliable tracking.

    That said, most of your problem may be self inflicted. If doing staging again, I would sacrifice some tracks and length since most derailments do occur on complicated trackage, and that arrangement is likely to be less than satisfactory over a simple ladder. Trust me! I also know now to put little spacers (maybe even trimmed re-railing tracks) between turnouts to space the tracks further apart for hand access and far enough to keep a tipped car from hitting one on the track next to it, starting a domino effect of toppled trains. If you run 1.75" high autoracks, high cubes, or stack trains, tracks should be 2" apart, or more. I also tend to put re-railers after the turnout at the beginning of the track, trimming off the plastic of the simulated road crossing if necessary to make it fit.
     
  13. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry to harp on this, but in your layout, every track requires traversing 4 turnouts, and a simple ladder would reduce that to 2 each per route, maybe 3 on some tracks.
     
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  14. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    I absolutely appreciate all comments, ideas and advice. There is always more for me to learn from everyone else here, or even be reminded of things I know of, but aren't in my focus at the moment.

    I do have a set of Unitrack turnouts and track that I've been playing with for years. They are bulletproof I agree, but also costly, and their geometry does not allow for close enough track placement. I would probably have to sacrifice half of the tracks when using Unitrack to empty space, which to me does not seem efficient. :(

    I'm already dealing with a pretty crammed space because the ceiling is low, and it's in the hallway, so this was the best I could do without upsetting my SO (Supreme Overlord).

    Regarding simplifying the ladder, a compound ladder seemed a way to go for quick branching and maximum track length. I tried a standard ladder option, but then all the tracks end up being short(er).

    Trains aren't going to be excessively long, and couple might be through-trains, so those I'd like to be 9-10 ft. long just for the aesthetics, while others will probably be 7-9 ft. on average.
     
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    You could use Unitrack #4's to get tracks closer together...BUT...they take some tweeking to work right...AND...trains arent going to go thru them at the speed a #6 could handle.
     
    MK likes this.
  16. locomcf

    locomcf TrainBoard Member

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    The older of my two 6-track staging yards was built more than 20 years ago using Atlas C80 turnouts, and in that time I've had two fail on me. In both cases one of the frog rails lost its connection to the closure rail. It's an easy problem to fix - just solder a jumper wire while leaving the turnout in place.

    I think you'll be right to use the Atlas turnouts as long as you spike them down, and don't solder the rail joiners. That should make it easier to remove/replace one if it becomes necessary.

    One last recommendation ... with my Atlas and Peco C55 turnouts I have taken to soldering track feeders to the underside of the rails before laying the down. I solder the pre-tinned wire so that it jumpers the stock and closure rails, and then pass the wire down through a hole under the turnout.

    Regards,
    Ron McF
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    I too solder a wire bridge across stock and closure rails on all of my turnouts and drop feeders from there - it just alleviates many headaches in the future.

    Usually, I solder all of my rail joiners, but I'll skip that this time though.
     
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  18. rschaffter

    rschaffter TrainBoard Member

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    Me too with my C55's. The gauge is fine, so I suppose it must be due to residual stress from the molding process...
     

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