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atlas track vs peco track vs other ho (code 83)

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 6:12 PM

kasskaboose

I intermix Micro Engineering (ME) code 83 with Atlas turnouts.  WHile more expensive, ME is more user friendly.  It also is easier to curve. You just need to cut some ties from underneath to get rid of the "V" shape made from curved track.  Super easy effort though.

 

Please explain what makes ME more "user friendly"?

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 2:54 PM

I intermix Micro Engineering (ME) code 83 with Atlas turnouts.  WHile more expensive, ME is more user friendly.  It also is easier to curve. You just need to cut some ties from underneath to get rid of the "V" shape made from curved track.  Super easy effort though.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 6:57 AM

IC_Tom
 
trainnut1250

The discussion has drifted from the OP's question a bit. If we are talking best flex track for a beginner I would say Atlas because it is easy to use. I would then suggest picking up a stick of each of the major brands and comparing them. That might be over the top for a 4 X 8 but it does give you first hand experience with all of the major brands so that you can figure out what you prefer in terms of looks, workability and price point.

My choice was based on what I thought looked best after buying a stick of each and ballasting and painting them. Overly fussy? maybe... but my layout has 500-600 feet of track on it so it is a big commitment in terms of track.

The photo below says it all: Micro Engineering looked best and had the most realistic rail profile, so I went with that. Never regretted the choice. I looked at it this way: ME looks better than what I could handlay so if it is a little more difficult to install than Atlas at least it is still way quicker and better looking than handlaid.

 

 
riogrande5761

 

 

as far as Atlas not curving at the ends - never had a problem with that and I have 300 feet of it in hidden staging...

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Guy

 

 

 

Love that photo of the four brands of flex!

I've decided on the new Walthers turnouts.  They're just far and away better made.  Has anyone mated them up with Atlas flex, yet?

I'm certain the Walthers flex would work best, but it doesn't appear to be sold in bulk - only 5-piece boxes.

 

 
Note that the Atlas rail profile in the above photo doesn't compare well at all to real rail profile.  I got some Atlas code 100 a year ago and noticed some major improvements.  I would guess the code 83 is upgraded too, but I haven't bought any for about 6 years.  I'm using Peco code 83 on my currently layout, mostly.  Staging I'm using code 100 Atlas.

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Posted by DerryMaine on Saturday, March 11, 2023 11:12 PM

Today I was making some minor changes to my layout, and picked up a piece of track from my track drawer that was the length I needed. 99% of my track is Atlas 100 but this piece was Peco 100, and it fit in no problem, other than I find the joiners can be a challenge with Atlas if you are not using Atlas joiners, and with Peco, Atlas joiners are too loose, so need a squeeze one end if you are joining Peco to Atlas, as I was.

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 7:35 PM

RR_Mel
You dated your self Wayne with the stapled brass rails to fiber tie strip. Remember the fiber tie strip before brass rails?

I wasn't aware of the fiber tie strips without rails, but I do recall the Atlas brass rails on fiber tie strips...as best I can recall, that was 1956.  That 4'x8'  layout  was sold sometime in the mid-to-late '60s.

I did have a somewhat larger layout in the early-to-mid '80s, but started my current one in 1988, shortly after finishing building the house in which we're still living.

Wayne

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Posted by IC_Tom on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 9:59 AM

trainnut1250

The discussion has drifted from the OP's question a bit. If we are talking best flex track for a beginner I would say Atlas because it is easy to use. I would then suggest picking up a stick of each of the major brands and comparing them. That might be over the top for a 4 X 8 but it does give you first hand experience with all of the major brands so that you can figure out what you prefer in terms of looks, workability and price point.

My choice was based on what I thought looked best after buying a stick of each and ballasting and painting them. Overly fussy? maybe... but my layout has 500-600 feet of track on it so it is a big commitment in terms of track.

The photo below says it all: Micro Engineering looked best and had the most realistic rail profile, so I went with that. Never regretted the choice. I looked at it this way: ME looks better than what I could handlay so if it is a little more difficult to install than Atlas at least it is still way quicker and better looking than handlaid.

 

 
riogrande5761

 

 

as far as Atlas not curving at the ends - never had a problem with that and I have 300 feet of it in hidden staging...

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Guy

 

Love that photo of the four brands of flex!

I've decided on the new Walthers turnouts.  They're just far and away better made.  Has anyone mated them up with Atlas flex, yet?

I'm certain the Walthers flex would work best, but it doesn't appear to be sold in bulk - only 5-piece boxes.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 12:57 PM

 The pieces of Peco I have been playing around with ALWAYS seem to end up with one rail hanging over more than the other - just liek Atlas. It's no big deal to work it back so both ends are even, but none of the Code 83 pieces I have just automatically return to nice even ends if I flex them then unbend it. But neither does any other flex track I tried.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 11:06 AM

Radius has a fair amount to do with how any of this stuff is to work with.

My mainline minimum is 36", but most curves are more in the 40" range.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 10:19 AM

Lastspikemike

 

Peco should not be over-bent in this fashion as it takes a set fairly easily and is a rpita to straighten out. Often we just straightened it back out with a ribbon rail tool and started again.  

 

Mike, agree with your post but this part I find confusing.  I've been straightening the Peco by just lying it on its edge on the table top and pressing down.  It forms to the shape of the table, IOW, straight.  And the rails go back to normal alignment, meaning there isn't one hanging over the ties and another falling way short of the end. 

I think Peco is pretty easy to restraighten, but I've only been doing 36 inch radius and above.  Started with 36 inch radius since I thought it would be fine, then didn't like the look and went to about 42 inch.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 8:38 AM

Lastspikemike

That's exactiy  how we ended up building (still building) our new layout.

I recommend starting out that way. We rediscovered  these points by trying stuff and eliminating techniques that didn't work so well. We ended up with the above.

Atlas flex track  can be made to take a set but you have to over-bend it aggressively to get it to stay at the desired radius when you let go. If you go too far it can be a bit tricky to bend it back. It will take a set though. 

Peco should not be over-bent in this fashion as it takes a set fairly easily and is a rpita to straighten out. Often we just straightened it back out with a ribbon rail tool and started again. Peco stays bent easily. 

I have not yet bent my pieces of Code 70 ME but I really like the look of that track.

 

Like RioGrande said, we all find what works for us, glad you found what works for you.

Personally I don't like laying track by trial and error, never had a need to.

I also don't like soft base materials like cork or foam.

I like the smooth easy flexing of Atlas track.

The pictures I have posted elsewhere on this forum show my results.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 7:48 AM

Just to recap, one of the major differences between Atlas and Peco is that Atlas track wont bend unless its anchored on one end and won't stay bent unless its anchored well along the way.  That reality could conflict with the way many build their layouts.

Personally, I don't build layouts like books tell us to. 

I lay the track on the subroadbed, wire it up and run trains to be sure that I'm satisfied that I like the appearence of the curve and approaching angles.  To do this, curves must stay anchored temporarily or have their bend hold on their own by prebending.

I wire feeders only to joiners and not to the rails.  That way I can take apart the track after I draw a line on the inside edge to guide the placement of the roadbed.  Caulking (or nailing) is way down the road in the process of actually building the layout since I've already built it once without the roadbed.  Laying roadbed is closer to the scenicking process than the planning/track laying process

For me, it beats paralysis by analysis in that I spend minimal time drawing the plan on paper.  I like to work the track rather than the CAD.  My layouts have no grades and minimal verticle scenery so I can plan angles by arranging track on the table top as to see the results before I apply permanent anchors.  Its one reason I build layouts slowly, sort of planning and building at the same time....but I like seeing the choices and results as I go, rather than envisioning them on paper or computer screen.

My new layout is single garaged size, U shaped.  Already completed one big curve and am setting up for the other.  I will bend the track in different radii to see if I like how it lines up at one end and exits onto the long shelf at the proper spot.  Will run trains to see if I like how the long locos and long cars look.  Can't really see how that looks if I start by laying roadbed or commit to a radius before I start building.  

When building this way, track that bends easily and stays bent has a big advantage over track that is hard to bend, then rebend, or wants to snap back straight. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 6:09 AM

Well, from this discussion, we have found a method that works well for each of us.  We tend to repeat ourselves on this - ad nauseum - and it's obvious no one is going to change.  Put a fork in it.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 5:02 AM

trainnut1250

The discussion has drifted from the OP's question a bit. If we are talking best flex track for a beginner I would say Atlas because it is easy to use. I would then suggest picking up a stick of each of the major brands and comparing them. 

Since he first posted the question, the OP has edited his initial post to say that he has found some Peco flextrack and intends to use it. So, that pretty much settles the matter.

Rich

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 12:04 AM

The discussion has drifted from the OP's question a bit. If we are talking best flex track for a beginner I would say Atlas because it is easy to use. I would then suggest picking up a stick of each of the major brands and comparing them. That might be over the top for a 4 X 8 but it does give you first hand experience with all of the major brands so that you can figure out what you prefer in terms of looks, workability and price point.

My choice was based on what I thought looked best after buying a stick of each and ballasting and painting them. Overly fussy? maybe... but my layout has 500-600 feet of track on it so it is a big commitment in terms of track.

The photo below says it all: Micro Engineering looked best and had the most realistic rail profile, so I went with that. Never regretted the choice. I looked at it this way: ME looks better than what I could handlay so if it is a little more difficult to install than Atlas at least it is still way quicker and better looking than handlaid.

riogrande5761

as far as Atlas not curving at the ends - never had a problem with that and I have 300 feet of it in hidden staging...

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Guy

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 10:28 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I have been making perfect curves, perfect easements and lazer perfect straight track with Atlas flex track for the last five decades, it's easy. I have no kinks at my rail joints. Of course I don't waste my time with track nails or cork roadbed. Sheldon

Well, I get similar results, but do use cork roadbed and track nails for most (but not all) track.

However, I don't quite get this....

Lastspikemike
If you just bend Atlas flextrack as you nail it down to hold it in place it will always exert a sideways force and will spring back to some extent if the nails are pulled or work loose....

as it conflicts with this...

Lastspikemike
...I prefer to pre bend the flextrack to the exact required alignment before fixing it down, especially when making connections to turnouts...

If the nailed-down stuff springs back if the nails are removed, why wouldn't your pre-bent track simply do the same thing, as, at the beginning, it wouldn't be fastened down at all.

If you wish to make long curves, simply curve and fasten most of the first piece in place, trim the excess rail and ties as necessary, then solder another length of track to the not-yet-curved portion of the previously laid piece, then carry on with your curve, repeating the same process every time.

When I was ready to end a curve, I simply let the Atlas track form its own suitable easement, then fastened it in place.

All of my mainline curves are superelevated, and all have self-created vertical easements

I was, though, surprised to learn that what I thought to be some of the fairly long curves on my layout, weren't really all that long.  Most of the "bigger" ones were between only 10' and 15' long.

Most of the lower level of my layout is on cut-out 3/4" plywood, with the majority of it on risers of various heights.  I drew centrelines on the sections before cutting them out, which made easy work of adding the cork roadbed, and the split cork strips served as a centreline for the laying of track.
When most of the curves were in place, I used free-form to connect them as needed.  Where straight track was needed, I occasionally used an 8' straightedge, but more often, simply sighted it "by-eye".

Generally, I found tracklaying to be pretty easy and enjoyable, too.

Wayne

 

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 10:08 PM

 Layout before the last one, I used foam roadbed. I drew the outside lines for the foam. But also caulked down the track, no kink here either, just a smooth curve off the turnout (and the curves to the right)

With adhesive, instead of nails, there is something holding the track over the entire length, not just every so many ties where you have a nail driven in. So yet another advantage to caulk over nails, the track is fully supported. Temprarily just use pushpins to keep it from moving until the caulk sets:

As you can see, not many pins needed, when you spread the caulk thin like you are supposed to, it sticks very well from the get go. Takes maybe an hour to dry enough to remove the pushbins and not have it move on its own, maybe less. But I just keep on working if I have more to go.

                                 --Randy

 


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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 9:55 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
Bayfield Transfer Railway

Well, I don't use caulk, I use spikes into Homasote.  And I start at the switch and move on, adjusting as I go.

 

Bingo.  No issue with kinks.  If a joint may be prone to it, a ME spike or two holds things firmly in place.  

I have no issues with curving Atlas flex at the end with the rest straight.  I can provide a few photos in my staging yard where I am laying track presently after work tomorrow.   As Bayfield noted, these things are possible with good old Homasote and spikes.  Perhaps a distinct advage over adhesives on foam.  After building 3 previous layouts this way I'm a believer.

 

I use adhesives, I don't use foam...............

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 9:47 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

Well, I don't use caulk, I use spikes into Homasote.  And I start at the switch and move on, adjusting as I go.

Bingo.  No issue with kinks.  If a joint may be prone to it, a ME spike or two holds things firmly in place.  

I have no issues with curving Atlas flex at the end with the rest straight.  I can provide a few photos in my staging yard where I am laying track presently after work tomorrow.   As Bayfield noted, these things are possible with good old Homasote and spikes.  Perhaps a distinct advage over adhesives on foam.  After building 3 previous layouts this way I'm a believer.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 7:31 PM

Lastspikemike

 

Just BTW, it is physically impossible to bend one section of unconnected flextrack to the same radius for its entire length. You cannot exert the same leverage on the end as you can on the middle of a section of flextrack, a major drawback. It is true the sections are self easing in that way but only in less than 3' sections of curve (you lose a bit of length with every curve).

 

If the curve is limited to one three foot section of track, then the less curved ends act as a natural easement.  Forming a curve longer that three feet would be best to solder the two sections together as straight tracks first , then work the curve and shorten to fit, ....even so there is a little less curve along the joiner (but who cares).

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 7:00 PM

Lastspikemike

If you just bend Atlas flextrack as you nail it down to hold it in place it will always exert a sideways force  and will spring back to some extent if the nails are pulled or work loose.

I prefer to pre bend the flextrack  to the exact required alignment before fixing it down, especially when making connections to turnouts.

If you do not then you will see little "kinks" at joiners, especially if you use those plastic isolating joiners. Those little kinks never go away.

Just BTW, it is physically impossible to bend one section of unconnected flextrack to the same radius for its entire length. You cannot exert the same leverage on the end as you can on the middle of a section of flextrack, a major drawback. It is true the sections are self easing in that way but only in less than 3' sections of curve (you lose a bit of length with every curve).

 

I have been making perfect curves, perfect easements and lazer perfect straight track with Atlas flex track for the last five decades, it's easy. I have no kinks at my rail joints. Of course I don't waste my time with track nails or cork roadbed.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 6:39 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

Well, I don't use caulk, I use spikes into Homasote.  And I start at the switch and move on, adjusting as I go.

 

Yes, that would have to be the way.  Anchor it down as you go.  

Its all good in model railroading.  Different preferences beget different approaches.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 6:34 PM

Lastspikemike

 

 
 

Even so, you are better advised to bend the end of a longer piece of flex track to the shape of the short piece you need and then cut that useable curved piece off. For short radius pieces that are also short in length it is easiest to shape the piece you need some distance in from one end and cut off both of the ends that are too straight.

 

That's exactly what I did on my last layout.  This is the first layout where I'm using Peco, but the previous layout had Atlas...which is fine.

To make an 11 inch long 26.5 inch radius curve, or whatever was needed in the space provided, the preferred method was to prebend the Atlas track, then snip off the part that wasn't 26.5 inch radius.

That left me with a fair amount of scrap track pieces, which I straightend best I could and soldered together to make some wiggly nonuniform industrial spur tracks.

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 6:12 PM

Well, I don't use caulk, I use spikes into Homasote.  And I start at the switch and move on, adjusting as I go.

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 5:56 PM

rrinker

 

 Atlas track kinks at the ends?

 There's no kink between the turnout and the right most track. ANd the joint at the turnout is NOT soldered.

 ANd for putting the track down - yes, I draw the centerlines, not to some super precise level, if I wanted that I would just print full size from my CAD plan. Just fit in the turnouts mostly, so that things fit. Then fill in the track. And once it's down, it's usually done, I'm not constantly ripping up and changing things. Because I've already done a decent amount of planning on 'paper' (well, CAD) so I know what will fit.

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Thanks for the picture of a siding.  Kink is a word I was repeating and wouldn't choose myself. 

That sharp curve you have in the siding requires the track to be curved right at the end where it meets the turnout then straight again as it runs parallel to the main. 

The springy Atlas track wants to curve along its entire length, not just the last six inches.  I always needed some sort of anchor mid curve from which to pivot around to then form the straight section. 

It became easier to just prebend it.  In doing so, the force required sometimes caused the rails to pop up...not slide along...out of the ties.  Shears off the spike heads when it pops out, because the ends want to stay straight.

 

After your siding track has been sitting there for years, I suspect that it has formed a little permanent bend in it if you took it up.  The track would no longer be perfectly straight, and getting it back straight again if you wanted to would be difficult.    Unlike Peco where I just lay it on a table and re form it. 

That's why Atlas makes for great mainlines with sweeping curves, but not so much for making sharp curves and straights with the same piece of track, IMO.  Needs anchoring along the way...or some prebending. 

As far as roadbed.  I use foam roadbed.  Can't use a centerline since it comes in one piece, not two like cork.   

With cork, just run the far half of the roadbed along the centerline, then butt the close half up against the far half.  The centerline is a useful guide, and there is a line down the middle of the roadbed where the two halves butt, acting as a guide for the track.  That's probably why some people prefer using cork roadbed.  Since I don't plan my bedroom sized or single garage sized swiching layouts that precisely, a centerline is pointless. 

And I'm picky about my industrial trackage.  Maybe shift it half an inch one way or the next to fit a structure, or a scenic element; or allow three cars to be spotted instead of just two.  So I take up runarounds and sidings a lot when I build, but hardly ever after its been caulked down.  Takes me a while to get to the caulking stage. 

If I was to build a club style basement layout with hundreds of feet of mainline and staging, I might use Atlas track on cork roadbed and do the centerline thingy.  

 

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 3:23 PM

 This "popping out of the ties" thing seems to be the general effect of curving any flex track, the outer rail pulls back fromt he tie strip. Just start with BOTH rails extended on the end you are connecting first, then bend the track into place, and cut as needed at the opposite end.

 Atlas track kinks at the ends?

 There's no kink between the turnout and the right most track. ANd the joint at the turnout is NOT soldered.

 ANd for putting the track down - yes, I draw the centerlines, not to some super precise level, if I wanted that I would just print full size from my CAD plan. Just fit in the turnouts mostly, so that things fit. Then fill in the track. And once it's down, it's usually done, I'm not constantly ripping up and changing things. Because I've already done a decent amount of planning on 'paper' (well, CAD) so I know what will fit.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 1:18 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

 

i don't pre form curves, I curve the track as I go.  30" min mainline radius, down to as tight as 16" on industrial trackage.

 

Just curious, what do you mean "lay as you go" when it comes to industrial trackage?  Maybe plan the area precisely, draw all of the center lines on the bench work with mathematical precision, then lay once and secure?  

When building switching layouts or industrial areas, I'm always laying, taking it up, adjusting, laying again, repeating several times. In order for flex track to fit into a small area, it needs to be cut, pruned, snipped; and the springy Atlas needs some pre bending in order to fit into a small area.

I can't imagine taking a 14.375 inch of straight Atlas flex and anchoring one end to the fixed track and bending it onsite then anchoring the other end..then being done with that piece of track forever.   

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 12:27 PM

Huh.  I guess it really is a case of "your mileage may vary.". I never had any problem with ME code 83 unweathered.

 

i don't pre form curves, I curve the track as I go.  30" min mainline radius, down to as tight as 16" on industrial trackage.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 12:18 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
 
Doughless
I used Atlas code 83 flex track for years.  Switched to Peco because it mates to the Peco turnouts a bit better.  A few observations: I like the way Peco holds its curve, rather than the springy nature of Atlas.  With the Atlas, the last few inches are harder to bend, and doing so forcfully could result in the track popping out of the ties.

 

I've used both Atlas code 100 and 83 on layouts and the springy nature is what makes it so easy to conform to any center-line I draw.  Just tack it down bit by bit and you have a nice smooth flowing curve with little effort and no wrestling.

Easements are a snap because the Atlas flex track "becomes" the bent stick in the bent stick method in John Armstrongs Track Planning book.

I've never had any trouble with the last few inches being hard to bend.  The whole piece of flex track all bends easily and I've laid lots of curves on 3 good sized layouts so far.  What I do is tack down each end while soldering so the track ends are nearly straight.  After soldering they spring back to form a long even flowing curve.  No kinking issues.  But maybe I just have the Atlas track "gene"?

 

 
 

I doubt much about model railroading has to do with genes.  Wink

Forming sidings can be a problem, since you need a short straight coming off the turnout then a rather severe short curve to get back to parallel.  I've always had to kink the Atlas.  I wouldn't use a strong anchor to form that short sharp curve.

In switching districts or places that have a nest of turnouts, a short piece of flex track is often times needed.  Two feet long, eighteen inches, maybe shorter.  The shorter the track, the easier it is to use track that holds its curve from tip to tip (although Peco is not perfect there either). 

Atlas doesn't flex at the ends...always wants to make an easement...and kinking it is the only way to get a consistent curve in a short distance, then the pop outs. 

I could see where if a person was building 200 feet of sweeping mainline, Atlas would have the advantage, IMO.  

- Douglas

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,850 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 7:21 AM

Overmod
 
SeeYou190
I am not sure if the unpleasentness comes from it being weathered or code 55. Maybe a combination of both. 

Kevin, can you be more specific about all the ways it is 'unpleasant'? 

I also find stiff brands of flex track unpleasant to work with such as MicroEngineering or Walthers/Shinohara.  The why is you have to wrestle with it and massage it over and over, and move the ties around to get it to conform to a center-line.  

I've seen comments elsewhere suggesting that ME flex track is even stiffer than Atlas.

Even stiffer?  ME and Atlas are basically at opposite ends of the stiffness scale.  ME is very stiff where as Atlas bends very easily and conforms very easy to a centerline.  

Doughless
I used Atlas code 83 flex track for years.  Switched to Peco because it mates to the Peco turnouts a bit better.  A few observations: I like the way Peco holds its curve, rather than the springy nature of Atlas.  With the Atlas, the last few inches are harder to bend, and doing so forcfully could result in the track popping out of the ties.

I've used both Atlas code 100 and 83 on layouts and the springy nature is what makes it so easy to conform to any center-line I draw.  Just tack it down bit by bit and you have a nice smooth flowing curve with little effort and no wrestling.

Easements are a snap because the Atlas flex track "becomes" the bent stick in the bent stick method in John Armstrongs Track Planning book.

I've never had any trouble with the last few inches being hard to bend.  The whole piece of flex track all bends easily and I've laid lots of curves on 3 good sized layouts so far.  What I do is tack down each end while soldering so the track ends are nearly straight.  After soldering they spring back to form a long even flowing curve.  No kinking issues.  But maybe I just have the Atlas track "gene"?

Soldering two sections together avoids that, then it also forms a natural easment at each end, but there needs to be a strong anchor at one end as you bend two sections around.  That doesn't work well with the way I lay track.  Haven't had any issues with Peco popping out. Any kink that's formed in the Atlas track makes it almost impossible to return it back to straight.  Since Peco track molds easily, I just lay it on its edge on a table and form it back straight very quickly. Both the ME code 83 joiners and the Atlas N gauge code 80 joiners work well with Peco 83, but are harder to fit onto Atlas 83.  Those joiners both shorter and smaller, so they look better, IMO, then the Atlas code 100/83 joiners which were the standard joiner I used on Atlas 83.  Both tracks are both good products.  Preferences differ.  

Speaking of joiners, back when Atlas discontinued their code 83 joiners, which I like, I bought them whenever I saw any at train shows and stockpiled them.  I still have quite a few and saved them when I dismantled past layouts.  If I run out of them, I'll look into the alternatives.  The old Atlas code83 joiners are very hard to see vs. the "universal" type, and practically disappear after you paint and weather the track.

Track preferences do differ.  That said, I've always felt that Atlas track didn't look very fine from above.  The code 83 track has a wide surface profile and doesn't look any better than the code 100 looking down from above.  I still have a lot of it left over from previous layouts but have bought a bundle of Peco code 83 to start with.

As you can see above, the Atlas code 83 rail is wider, hence it looking less fine than it ought to.  The Peco OTOH, has a rail profile much closer to real rail scaled down.  

BTW, I did buy some Atlas code 100 flex track a few months ago for the first time in years to use in staging and add to what I already had saved from past layouts.  When I went to connect a new piece to the old, I noticed the rail profile was thinner and looked more fine.  In fact I wondered if I had been given code 83 at first instead of code 100.  But when I compared the height to an existing piece of code 83 I had, it was taller and same height as my old code 100, just thinner in provile.  So it appears Atlas has quietly refined their code 100 line.  In addition, the spike detail is finer too - it mimics the code 83 spike detail only a bit thicker.  

I wonder if Atlas has also improved the rail used in it's code 83 line.  I haven't bought any Atlas code 83 for about 6 years, but assuming the rail was still the same, I bought a bundle of 25 Peco code 83 for the current layout build.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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