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Atlas Layout Packages

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  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 2,361 posts
Posted by snjroy on Sunday, October 23, 2022 1:17 PM

IC_Tom

I agree that Rich's plan is probably best to start, assuming you want turntable, yard, etc.

I'm not surprised that "Mom" gave up. Wink

What this thread reveals is something that is missing in the hobby.  I just got back into the hobby a couple of years ago and have spent all that time studying DCC and trying to come up with a track plan (along with purchasing a lot of DCC locos in the meantime).

The problem is that Atlas, their track, and their layout books are all woefully out of date for DCC and modern track plans.  I built the Apex and Hypotenuse back in the 70's.  While Atlas's products and track plans also encouraged their switch systems (electric, not turnouts), it was fairly easy to convert to a classic toggle-switch block control and push-button turnouts.  Mounted on a track plan schematic, it makes the control panel much more intuitive than Atlas's examples.

When I got back into the hobby, I knew enough to know that I wanted to pursue DCC.  However, as soon as I found out about multi-level track plans, I was hooked.  The problem is that there is absolutely nothing that compares to the scale and coverage of Atlas track plans that are really optimized for DCC and multi-level layouts.  Benchwork, track-laying, electrical design, and track design - all of these are rolled up into any of several Atlas track plan books that are available nowhere for DCC.  Yeah, you can "convert" any Atlas track plan to DCC, but is it even remotely optimized for DCC running and hand-held throttles?  NO.

That's a problem.  Someone needs to redo the entire Atlas line of layout books and references.  Kalmbach used to have pretty good very early track plan and guide books - the kind written by Lynn Westcott, but those are woefully inadequate for DCC, too.

Kato comes close with their products, but their track plans in HO are very small and very limited.  They also don't offer full reference books.

The rest of us are left with "Mom's" conundrum or a heck of a lot of work to try and catch up (what I've been going on 3 years, now).

 

Using an Atlas plan for a DCC system should be easy. Unless there is a return loop or an Atlas turntable, it  should be as easy as soldering two wires to the track, and adding a few extra feeders, and it's done. No blocks or power reversers are required. If there is a return loop, it's easy enough to remove it from the plan or install a DCC reverse module.

Simon

  • Member since
    August 2022
  • From: New England (Cape Cod)
  • 54 posts
Posted by DonRicardo on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 8:49 AM

How are you doing with your layout? What have you decided?

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