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 Peco or Atlas code 55 track and turnouts?
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Author Previous Topic: new run NE cabeese from Walthers Topic Next Topic: What would make for a good railroad game?
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ljudice

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  10:02:28 AM  Show Profile
I've built two substantial layouts - with a third underway...

I used Peco Code 55 for the first. Atlas Code 55 for the second. In fact, I recall finishing the mainline on my very first layout (first time ever using flex track) - and in 2 years of operation - essentially zero derailments. Layout #2 was a total disaster. Tiny verical alignment issues in the subroadbed that Peco track easily bridged became monumental issues. Almost every turnout had problems and needed to be tediously ground down or fiddled with. One slight mistake and you will rip a foot of rail right off the ties.

And I am back to Peco Code 55 for the third. The Atlas track is awesome looking to be
sure, but is extremely fragile and much more difficult to work with. Peco track
is completely bulletproof. It's also always in gauge - and poses no problems for any equipment. Even modern Kato and Atlas locomotives had numerous problems on the Atlas
track - especially turnouts.

I know people who built layouts professionally for others and they will only use Peco - they simply gave up on the headaches with Atlas Code 55.

ME track is magnificent looking - a cut above Atlas... But availability is spotty - at least around here - and if I had to built my own turnouts or wait for someone on Ebay to custom build them for me, this layout would never, ever get finished.

If you're building a museum piece - use Atlas - it's beautiful. If you have aging
eyes, fumbly fingers and want track that looks great and is rugged, use Peco Code 55.




Edited by - ljudice on 2010 March 29 10:11:17 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 3133 Go to Top of Page

nscaled

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  10:35:19 AM  Show Profile
I dont think there is anything wrong with Lay and Play style layout building. Most people no longer use cookie cutter style construction. Instead most of use use foam as a base for laying our track. Although atlas code 55 doesnt have any pre-drilled holes for temp laying of track, you can always use sewing pins with the flat heads to temporarily hold the track in place while you try different track arrangements. I've found thought that Atlass Cd55 easily looses guage from handling it. You have to be careful and get your NMRA guage out and check it as you lay. So if you want to change a stub here, or move a turnout there, you run the risk of wacking the track out of guage.

Yeah of course we all have track plans, but often what works on the computer screen or drafting table just doesnt in the real world. Change is inevitable.

For that reason, Peco code 55 would be superior. As far as it looking realistic, David Popp's now famous new haven layout was constructed using Peco code 55, and quite frankly it looks great!. Not to mention Peco's power routing and live frogs, should you wish to employ them, make the need (not the want for) a slow motion switch machine or likewise device unnecessary.

Having said that Peco turnouts are EXPENSIVE! As is their Flex track, and to use any other flex track requires major modification of the turnout potentially damaging it. However It is the toughest stuff out there next to Kato unitrack.

Its not for everyone. Its not for me. I will be hand-laying my turnouts and using a combination of snap and flex track from atlas cd55. I like using the snap track to connect to the turnouts. Atlass cd55 is remarkably well engineered with close tolerances. So I use the snap to help ensure smooth even track for the first few inches before and after a turnout. Not to mention it looks fantastic!

My suggestion to you, order a few pieces of atlascd55. Two turnouts(1L 1R), a package of the 30" radius (so you can build a siding), a package or two of straight, and enough curved to make a loop. Then also order two pecocd55 turnouts, and either their snap track package (which is probably not a good choice as its very expensive) or 5 or 6 lengths of their cd55 flex track.

Try them both out and see what you like best! Don't listen to nah-sayers decide for yourself what woks for you.

One last thing to mention, be advised that at some point in the future there will be atlas cd55 flex track and curved turnouts, we just dont know when. Take that into consideration if you want to build a layout tmrw.


-N Scale Ed

Country: USA | Posts: 162 Go to Top of Page

Sharkman

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  11:01:29 AM  Show Profile
Try them both - Yes!

While you are at it, try a little ME flex and see how you like it.


Our Future is what We Make It!!!!!

Country: USA | Posts: 2559 Go to Top of Page

Blazeman

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  3:57:46 PM  Show Profile
Those who endorse the Atlas 55 and have it installed on their layouts, did you have any problems during that process that mirror what other commenters have reported about alignnment matters or fussing with turnouts? If so, how did you deal with them?

It looks good on the photos here and even looks good in the blister pack.



Country: USA | Posts: 34 Go to Top of Page

nscaled

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  7:33:09 PM  Show Profile
The thing is too, for the life of me I cant believe Atlas didnt device a simple unit that could be attached to their turnouts for power routing and point control. That by far that is my biggest complaint.

-N Scale Ed

Country: USA | Posts: 162 Go to Top of Page

auburnrails

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  8:14:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit auburnrails's Homepage
My new layout (as if my old one was ever completed) is Atlas Code 55, because I wanted it to look great. My previous layout used Peco Code 55, and it worked very well. As said by others, it was very sturdy, had a variety of turnouts, and was easy to work with. The biggest plus was the Electrofrog turnouts - just throw the switch (without even needing an added mechanism) and the power was now routed onto a different track. It made building a layout relatively easy.

I switched because I decided to downsize, choose track that looks great, and switch to DCC. There were too many mistakes made on the old layout, and I figured if I was going to go simple, I should do it right from the start. My biggest hangup has been the turnouts. Actually, my biggest hangup has been motivating myself to tackle the wiring of the turnouts. I am not a track and wiring guy, so I get a little overwhelmed and find other things to work on rather than laying switches. That's why the Peco worked great for me.

In the end, Atlas Code 55 won out, but I wouldn't bat an eye to go with Peco Code 55 instead.


Dave Riffle
Modeling the Olympia Southern Railroad in N scale

Country: USA | Posts: 39 Go to Top of Page

wm3798

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  8:53:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit wm3798's Homepage
I've found that if I install the track first, and make sure all the alignments are where they have to be, I can go back and cut the hole for the slide switch later. I use a bent piece of piano wire to connect to the throw bar, so I can fine-tune the operation of the switch by adjusting the bend in the wire.

Works every time. Just like Colt 45!

Lee


Mill Street Studios - Custom N Scale Offerings.

www.wmrywesternlines.net

Country: USA | Posts: 4416 Go to Top of Page

bdennis

Posted - 2010 March 29 :  8:57:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit bdennis's Homepage
My new layout is Atlas code 55 all the way.
I had a large amount of rolling stock that had been converted to MT trucks some time ago so had to swap out the wheels and used Atlas wheels.
I have a reasonably large 70+ loco fleet ranging from Arnold S2 and First generation RS3's and Kato GP38-2's to current models. The only loco requiring wheel mods was the Arnold S2. (new NSWL wheel set)
I have 110+ lengths of Atlas Code 55 flex and 55 #5 / #7 turn outs. All ahve been installed with NO issues. All my track is glued using clear selastic onto cork road bed.
I moved from Peco Code 80 and have not looked back. I wanted to realistic look.
My code 55 layout is modular and is designed to be taken to exhibitions. While it has not been out yet, I find the code 55 to be very reliable.. I use Tortoise machines to throw the turn out and power the frog.
Comes down to personal preference.


http://dh2ndsub.blogspot.com.au/

Country: Australia | Posts: 179 Go to Top of Page

Will_Annand

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  07:05:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Will_Annand's Homepage
One thing I have noticed, most people cannot tell the difference.

We recently completed a display layout for our shop. http://www.muskokacomputes.com/Shop-Layout.html

We used Atlas Code80 Flextrack and painted it with Cinnamon Brown Acrylic Paint.

The result is that when modellers come in to look at it they all say, oh you used Code55 track, doesn't it look more realistic than the Code80. I had two fellows arguing with me that they knew the difference and that we used Code55.



--
Will Annand
Building the Credit Valley Railway in N Scale
www.muskokacomputes.com/CVR-Home.html

Country: | Posts: 211 Go to Top of Page

MichaelWinicki

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  08:53:20 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Will_Annand

One thing I have noticed, most people cannot tell the difference.

We recently completed a display layout for our shop. http://www.muskokacomputes.com/Shop-Layout.html

We used Atlas Code80 Flextrack and painted it with Cinnamon Brown Acrylic Paint.

The result is that when modellers come in to look at it they all say, oh you used Code55 track, doesn't it look more realistic than the Code80. I had two fellows arguing with me that they knew the difference and that we used Code55.



A very solid plug for painting one's track... No matter what type they use.

I was leafing through one of the recent N Scale mags (I forget which one) and there was a very large N scale layout in there where the owner used Atlas code 80 throughout... but either the rails weren't painted or they used a real funky color that brought more even more attention to their over-all size.



Country: USA | Posts: 1773 Go to Top of Page

auburnrails

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  11:01:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit auburnrails's Homepage
Thanks Lee. So you wire it up first, then do final alignment and switch "mechanism of choice" later.

I need to get my butt out of the chair and back into the train room.

quote:
Originally posted by wm3798

I've found that if I install the track first, and make sure all the alignments are where they have to be, I can go back and cut the hole for the slide switch later. I use a bent piece of piano wire to connect to the throw bar, so I can fine-tune the operation of the switch by adjusting the bend in the wire.

Works every time. Just like Colt 45!

Lee



Dave Riffle
Modeling the Olympia Southern Railroad in N scale

Country: USA | Posts: 39 Go to Top of Page

Michigan Central

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  11:15:53 AM  Show Profile
Just to put in my 2 cents

Given a large collection of legacy locos, A1G, Kadee/MT product peco 55 is the right choice for me

It is also a very robust and reliable choice.

And I vehemiently disgagree with Mr Bedard - well weathered and ballasted Peco track (as well as even code 80) is tough to distinguish to all but the most fussy rivet counters. Some very very nice layouts have been built with peco 55

I was excited when Atlas first came out with their 55, rushed out and bought some pieces to try, that excitement quickly turned to major disappointement when a good bit of my equipment, old, new and in between was not usable on it


Obviously someone is buying MT fantasy cars, could it be you?

http://z11.invisionfree.com/N_Scale_Talk

Country: China | Posts: 2998 Go to Top of Page

Denver Road Doug

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  11:52:14 AM  Show Profile
I am currently using Atlas C55 along with some ME C55 concrete tie flex track. I just think that the Atlas track looks an order of magnitude better than the Peco track.

Having said that, I prefer Peco's reliability, and the "out of the box" turnout mechanism for holding the points, and if they released a "North American" line of track as has been rumored for some time, then it would be a pretty significant decision for me. I really haven't had enough exposure to running on the Atlas track to truly endorse it yet, so as time goes by that may sway my opinion.

I think there are a couple of key developments that will impact what I use going forward.
-Atlas C55 performance. If I can make it perform like I've seen Peco track perform, then it's probably a done deal.
-The Atlas curved turnout is huge. If it works as well as the Peco curved turnouts, life is good. If not, current Peco is still not out of the question, and a new line of Peco might slam the door on Atlas.
-Atlas manual turnout control. Yes, there are dozens of ways to secure Atlas points and power the frog, but none are that great in my opinion. I would like to see some "slam dunk" ground throw that looks decent, is electrically sound, and is bulletproof. I do realize that is asking a lot but that's big for me.
-Peco NA? Will Peco capitalize on the success of it's HO NA line and pull the trigger in N? It was reported some time back that they were considering it but it would be at least 5 years before the first piece would become reality, if ever. Well I think that has been 5 years now so I think if we're gonna see it, we should get some feedback from Peco soon.

Finally, I think it also depends on what your layout is geared up for. Are you heavy on ops and switching? I would lean toward Peco. Are you mostly modern mainline railroading...Atlas might fill the bill. Want to photograph your highly detailed scratchbuilt locos and rolling stock? Go Atlas.



Country: USA | Posts: 2370 Go to Top of Page

MichaelWinicki

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  12:00:17 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Denver Road Doug

I am currently using Atlas C55 along with some ME C55 concrete tie flex track. I just think that the Atlas track looks an order of magnitude better than the Peco track.

Having said that, I prefer Peco's reliability, and the "out of the box" turnout mechanism for holding the points, and if they released a "North American" line of track as has been rumored for some time, then it would be a pretty significant decision for me. I really haven't had enough exposure to running on the Atlas track to truly endorse it yet, so as time goes by that may sway my opinion.

I think there are a couple of key developments that will impact what I use going forward.
-Atlas C55 performance. If I can make it perform like I've seen Peco track perform, then it's probably a done deal.
-The Atlas curved turnout is huge. If it works as well as the Peco curved turnouts, life is good. If not, current Peco is still not out of the question, and a new line of Peco might slam the door on Atlas.
-Atlas manual turnout control. Yes, there are dozens of ways to secure Atlas points and power the frog, but none are that great in my opinion. I would like to see some "slam dunk" ground throw that looks decent, is electrically sound, and is bulletproof. I do realize that is asking a lot but that's big for me.
-Peco NA? Will Peco capitalize on the success of it's HO NA line and pull the trigger in N? It was reported some time back that they were considering it but it would be at least 5 years before the first piece would become reality, if ever. Well I think that has been 5 years now so I think if we're gonna see it, we should get some feedback from Peco soon.

Finally, I think it also depends on what your layout is geared up for. Are you heavy on ops and switching? I would lean toward Peco. Are you mostly modern mainline railroading...Atlas might fill the bill. Want to photograph your highly detailed scratchbuilt locos and rolling stock? Go Atlas.



That's a pretty good breakdown DRD.



Country: USA | Posts: 1773 Go to Top of Page

davidmbedard

Posted - 2010 March 30 :  1:24:14 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Will_Annand

One thing I have noticed, most people cannot tell the difference.

We recently completed a display layout for our shop. http://www.muskokacomputes.com/Shop-Layout.html

We used Atlas Code80 Flextrack and painted it with Cinnamon Brown Acrylic Paint.

The result is that when modellers come in to look at it they all say, oh you used Code55 track, doesn't it look more realistic than the Code80. I had two fellows arguing with me that they knew the difference and that we used Code55.





Case and point: (taken from the page linked to above).



That little guy look odd on CD80. He would look much better on 55 or smaller.

I still say that the rail:train ratio is just wrong with CD80. CD55 is much better.

David B



Country: Canada | Posts: 345 Go to Top of Page
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