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Turnout Quality

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Turnout Quality
Posted by fender777 on Saturday, May 13, 2017 7:15 AM

I have only used Atlas switches or turnouts. I have like 30 of them. They have always work well for me' I mostly used 4 axle Diesel ' I used those hand throw switches you used your hand to throw. I used to use the under table Atlas switches that I could control from my panel but I really like doing it manual'  But my question is are turnouts from Shinohara' peco' ect better than Atlas. When I expand my current layout that will have a double mainline I want to use at least no6 turouts. On my current shelf layout I use no 4 turnouts since I have like 25 of them. Or are Atlas okay. I use Atlas code 100 flex track only so far. Thanks

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, May 13, 2017 8:33 AM

fender,

Atlas makes good turnouts.  That said, I don't like the "noise" of their plastic frogs and prefer "live" frogs because it gives me smoother and more reliable operation electrically.  I use Fast Tracks (FT) turnouts for that reason and Caboose Industries 220S ground throws to switch the polarity of the track.  You can make the FT turnous yourself using their jigs and fixtures, or purchase them individually off places like eBay.  I've been very happy with them - both operationally and visually.

Tom

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2017 8:59 AM

tstage

fender,

Atlas makes good turnouts.  That said, I don't like the "noise" of their plastic frogs and prefer "live" frogs because it gives me smoother and more reliable operation electrically.  I use Fast Tracks (FT) turnouts for that reason and Caboose Industries 220S ground throws to switch the polarity of the track.  You can make the FT turnous yourself using their jigs and fixtures, or purchase them individually off places like eBay.  I've been very happy with them - both operationally and visually.

Tom

 

Tom,

Atlas Custom Line turnouts do not have plastic frogs. For more than 30 years Atlas Custom Line turnouts have had isolated metal frogs that can be powered. I'm looking a 1983 Walthers Catlaog specificly describing the new metal frogs and better solid rail switch points - that was even before the code 83 line. The number 4 and number 6 turnout frogs are "blackened" with a conductive metal blackener, again they are not plastic. The number 8 frogs are left silver.....

The Atlas "Snap Switch", which is a curved from train set track turnout which repalces an 18" piece of sectional track, does have an insolated plastic frog.

I have been using code 83 Atlas turnouts since their introduction, again except for the Snap Switch, they have isolated metal frogs with an electrical tab for a power feed.

Electrically Atlas turnouts are "feed through" with jumpers built in to take power past the frog. So obviously if powered frog are used the polarity must be changed by some sort of switching setup when the turnout is thrown.

I personally prefer this setup to anything that relies of the contact of the rail to conduct power.

I started out in this hobby with TruScale turnouts and hand laid turnouts, from an electrical standpoint, I would not go back.

Very happy with Atlas turnouts........

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:29 AM

Peco's have a spring that allow you to finger flick the turnout.  People seem very satisifed with their quality and they are the most compact turnouts, but they are more expensive than Atlas. 

i prefer code 83 but the Atlas Custom line is also available in code 100.  Some people have had to do some file work on Atlas frogs to get adequate wheel clearance.

You don't mention DC vs DCC.  The later has the option of frog juicer to supply power to your frogs.  Walther code 80 is "DCC friendly"  Shinohara code 100 is not. 

Replacing the turnouts you now have with something else will not be a drop in fit.  I'm not sure that was you plan, but I thought it should be mentioned.

 

Henry

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, May 13, 2017 1:38 PM

I also prefer code 83.  I built the first part of my layout with code 100, and kind of regret it now.  It works fine, though.  I used mostly snap switches and a few custom lines, mostly Atlas, on that section.  I also have a few Peco turnouts there.

I now use mostly Walthers-Shinohara turnouts driven by Tortoise machines.  I think these look the best.

Some turnouts simply are not made by Atlas, notably the curved ones.  Peco makes short curved turnouts and Walthers-Shinohara makes longer ones.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:56 PM

Years ago, I started my layout with Atlas Code 100 flex track and Atlas Custom Line Code 100 turnouts. I had no issues with them. But, I eventually switched to Atlas Code 83 flx track and Atlas Custom Line Code 83 turnouts. So, like Mr. Beasely, I have a mix of the two on my layout.

During the infamous Atlas track shortage a few years back, I started buying Peco Code 83 flex track and turnouts. Peco is more expensive than Atlas, but its turnouts are more compact (shorter) than Atlas and, as someone else mentioned, the spring thrown point rails eliminate the need for a manual ground throw. I really like that where the turnouts are reachable and accessible.

I have no experience with Walthers flex track or turnouts, but I have used Walthers Shinohara Code 83 wyes, 3-way turnouts, curved turnouts, and double crossovers. All are fine and dependable, if not abused.

So, I would have to say that Atlas, Peco, and Walthers Shinohara are all reliable sources of flex track and turnouts.

Rich 

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Posted by Old Fat Robert on Saturday, May 13, 2017 6:56 PM

FWIW I have used the Shinohara (code70) turnouts for years on both DC and, as of about 10 years ago, on a DCC layout. They have performed well and all I do to them for DCC is put insulated joiners on the diverging rails. I have not found it necessary to add any jumpers to the rails. They are somewhat less expensive than the other main stream ones but they may be a little harder to find. Just my two cents worth.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Saturday, May 13, 2017 8:47 PM

Shinohara manufactures the only accurate (for my use) turnouts - they are 1:80 scale, 16.5mm gauge, aka HOj, with tie dimensions that agree with Japanese prototype.  To see what I mean, pur one side-by-side with any other brand.

That said, Atlas, Peco and Shinohara all manufacture quality products.  Peco does have the advantage of the built-in locking spring - which is a disadvantage if you are powering one with anything but fingers or a Peco point motor.

IMHO, anything that comes assembled requires inspection and 'tweaking' before installation.  The NMRA gauge is definitely your friend in these endeavors.

As for me, I'm a happy hand-layer, and won't even consider purchasing specialwork for my own layout.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by fender777 on Sunday, May 14, 2017 7:08 AM
Thanks guys for all the help and info.
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Posted by ScaleInsanity on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 8:52 PM

fender,

I'm afraid its all personal preference.  There are some small differences between the manufacturers most noteably in rail profile.  I have found that the rail profile of micro engineering and peco seem to have a thinner rail profile.  This really only presents the problem of having to ensure your rail joiners fit snuggly.  I currently run atlas code 83 and am in the habbit of running the longest turnout feasable for my space considerations.  I like this because I have found that i have more reliable performance from the longer #6 or #8's and this results in almost no restrictions with regards to engine or car length.  I have found that i appreciate the consistency of atlas turnouts and are therfore are my preference followed closely by micro engineering.  As far as the question of code 100 vs 83, I prefer 83 only because it is  more true to prototype.  I hope this helps.

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Posted by fender777 on Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:21 AM
Thanks scalen for your help. Really good info. Thanks
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:05 AM

richhotrain

I started buying Peco Code 83 flex track and turnouts. Peco is more expensive than Atlas

Rich

Much more expensive.  At MBK Atlas code 83 #6 turn out is $14 while the Peco code 83 #6 is $26.  Ouch.  The Peco code 100 are much more economical and I'm considering using them next time I need to build a staging yard.  Due to cost, I'm still not sure about the Peco code 83 - I'm not made out of money.  I may go with MicroEngineering code 83 which are reportedly good quality and cost wise are inbetween Atlas and Peco.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:57 AM

riogrande5761

 

 
richhotrain

I started buying Peco Code 83 flex track and turnouts. Peco is more expensive than Atlas

Rich

 

Much more expensive.  At MBK Atlas code 83 #6 turn out is $14 while the Peco code 83 #6 is $26.  Ouch.  The Peco code 100 are much more economical and I'm considering using them next time I need to build a staging yard.  Due to cost, I'm still not sure about the Peco code 83 - I'm not made out of money.  I may go with MicroEngineering code 83 which are reportedly good quality and cost wise are inbetween Atlas and Peco.

 

What are you using currently? My vote is still Atlas, for cost, wiring, switch machine installation, and track geometry.

I have had no quality issues. Sure, some of those others have finer detail/appearance, but I always put performance first. Atlas turnouts perform just fine.

And once you paint, ballast and weather track, the appearance differences are hardly noticeable. Unless of course you goal is to just to scrutinize fine details.

I would never use PECO code 100 with their curved frogs and short approach. I know lots of people who have them, and they work, but talk about not looking right...........

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by HO-Velo on Thursday, May 25, 2017 10:52 AM

Having started the track work for my ISL into the face of the "Great Atlas Track Shortage" I chose code 83 M.E. flex track & Fast Tracks M.E. rail turnouts.  I like the looks of this combination and the extremely smooth & realiable operation both mechanically & electrically.  My only nit-pick would be the turnout's lack the spike detail.

Regards,  Peter

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:21 AM

Very nice trackwork Peter. Many years ago I hand laid my track and turnouts, and before that built them from TruScale kits.

I still build "specials" when needed.

On a seperate note, it seems Mico Engineeering no longer hasa web site?

Seems strange?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:26 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 

What are you using currently? My vote is still Atlas, for cost, wiring, switch machine installation, and track geometry.

Except where specialty switches were needed, Atlas code 83:

I haven't operated tons on the new layout but they seem ok.  This layout is coming down this summer because my wife wants to sell and move, but for a future layout, I was considering ME turnouts for appearance and operability.  A number of people I respect speak highly of them.  That said, I have time to mull it over.  I am going to save most of the track from the current layout.

I would never use PECO code 100 with their curved frogs and short approach. I know lots of people who have them, and they work, but talk about not looking right...........

Sheldon

Re: appearance, remember I said staging yard for possible use of more Peco code 100 turnouts.  The large radius turnouts operate well and are fairly close to #6 geometry.  The Atlas code 100 turnouts have major "pothole" effect due to the blunt frogs and the points rivits are kind of sloppy on the ones I have.  The ones I have are not nearly as good as the newer code 83 #6 Atlas turnouts, which I use in visible parts.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Thursday, May 25, 2017 2:26 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
On a seperate note, it seems Mico Engineeering no longer hasa web site? Seems strange?

They have been working on a new site for a while now (according to what I read on their site previously).  From what I read they are adding direct sales.  Maybe they took down the old one before putting up new one?

 

To OP:

I built my most recent HO layout with Peco code 100 turnouts and Atlas Flex track.  I took that layout apart and salvaged most of the track.  I am reusing my code 100 in my new staging yard because it doesnt matter what it looks like as long as it works, the rest of the layout will be handlayed with ME code 83 and code 70 rail.   

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, May 25, 2017 3:24 PM

Jim, I notuce from your pictures it appears you are using the Atlas code 83 "super switch" rather than the "Custom Line". I prefer the Custom Line version which does not require triming for crossovers and yard ladders. 

Also I use a fair amount of #8's, which only come in the custom line, as well as #4's in industial aeas. Their #4 is really a 4-1/2.

I agree about the poings on the code 100 versions.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 25, 2017 8:10 PM

Actually most of the turnouts are custom line although I did have some super switches left over from a previous layout and went ahead and made use of them.  I didn't have a photo handy of the yard in a more completed state.  I prefer the newer custom line over the older super switch.

Btw, the turnouts in the foreground of the second in-progress photo are #8 Walthers code 83 (made by Shinohara) and also code 70.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Saturday, May 27, 2017 10:11 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Mico Engineeering no longer hasa web site

Thanks Sheldon,  I hope that M.E.'s missing website is just some kind of glitch.

Regards,  Peter

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Posted by markie97 on Sunday, May 28, 2017 11:17 AM

I used Peco code 83 insulfrog on  my mainline. Advantage is the frog is smaller than an Atlas and all my locos go through without any problems. Downside is there are some turnouts where the frogs short and the frog has to either be filed or painted with nail polish to insulate the area at the gap where the short occurs. Since I don't need ground throws at the turnout because of the center spring and don't need to power the frogs I figure these in the cost and now we're a little closer to Atlas with less work.

I also use Peco code 100 insulfrog in my staging area. Cost less than the Code 83 with all the advantages. Downside is I had to shim the guide rails as this gap is generally too large and some cars/locos will derail.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 28, 2017 11:27 AM

markie97

I used Peco code 83 insulfrog on  my mainline. Advantage is the frog is smaller than an Atlas and all my locos go through without any problems. Downside is there are some turnouts where the frogs short and the frog has to either be filed or painted with nail polish to insulate the area at the gap where the short occurs. Since I don't need ground throws at the turnout because of the center spring and don't need to power the frogs I figure these in the cost and now we're a little closer to Atlas with less work.

I also use Peco code 100 insulfrog in my staging area. Cost less than the Code 83 with all the advantages. Downside is I had to shim the guide rails as this gap is generally too large and some cars/locos will derail.

 

The advantages of PECO go up if you do not need remote operation or electrical feedback and can just use their built in spring as a manual ground throw.

Since I want/use CTC and signaling on the main, and DC power route control even on branch/industrial trackage, that advantage is lost.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, May 28, 2017 11:39 AM

For decades  I use nothing but Atlas switches and I also got caught up in the Atlas track shortage and went ME flex track and Peco medium switches and haven't look back since.

I will use recycled ME flex track and Peco switches from my old ISL on my new ISL. HO scale long spikes (not track nails) works wonders when salvaging track.

Larry

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 28, 2017 12:13 PM

BRAKIE

For decades  I use nothing but Atlas switches and I also got caught up in the Atlas track shortage and went ME flex track and Peco medium switches and haven't look back since.

I will use recycled ME flex track and Peco switches from my old ISL on my new ISL. HO scale long spikes (not track nails) works wonders when salvaging track.

 

And for an ISL, as I noted above, I can see the advantage, but I still don't care for th curved frogs on the old PECO line.

I glue down my track (not the turnouts) so there is no salvage......

But then again I am building the current layout in modules for a future move......never again will I start over completely.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, May 28, 2017 1:11 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
But then again I am building the current layout in modules for a future move......never again will I start over completely. Sheldon

That's a solid idea.

My ISL can be moved intact all I need to do is remove the buildings,vehicles,freight cars and locomotive.

Larry

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, May 28, 2017 1:45 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

But then again I am building the current layout in modules for a future move......never again will I start over completely.

Makes sense to me. I was this close to tearing down my current layout and building my Dream Layout, but when push came to shove, I couldn't do it.

Rich

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Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, May 28, 2017 2:48 PM

My experience with how the track looks is, they are pretty much all good if you just want to run trains. It is when you take a good camera and let some that knows what they're doing photography-wise, take some pic's of the layout, that is when the different brand (looks) quality can jump out at you.

I bought my wife a Nikon D-5000 a few years ago and took it to a friends house so he could try the camera out on his layout. He knew what he was doing (photography wise) whereas I still don't.Laugh He had a wide yard made up with different brands of track as he had expanded as funds permitted, and one of the things that came out of the photo session was how the different track looked in photo's. If I remember correctly, the Shinohara and Peco really looked great in the pic's. That being said, it still boils down to personal preference.

Brent

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 28, 2017 3:14 PM

BATMAN

My experience with how the track looks is, they are pretty much all good if you just want to run trains. It is when you take a good camera and let some that knows what they're doing photography-wise, take some pic's of the layout, that is when the different brand (looks) quality can jump out at you.

I bought my wife a Nikon D-5000 a few years ago and took it to a friends house so he could try the camera out on his layout. He knew what he was doing (photography wise) whereas I still don't.Laugh He had a wide yard made up with different brands of track as he had expanded as funds permitted, and one of the things that came out of the photo session was how the different track looked in photo's. If I remember correctly, the Shinohara and Peco really looked great in the pic's. That being said, it still boils down to personal preference.

 

My experiance when it comes to appearance, especially "in person", is that rail painting, tie weathering, and ballast methods/choices all play a big role. 

Sure, all the newer track looks better than ATLAS code 100, but after that it has a lot to do with your track "scenery" skills.......even in photos.

Just my experiance, BUT I will conceed, I'm not much of a model photog myself.......

Sheldon.

 

    

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