Atlas CZ 21” cars Issues on O72 switches, on my layout.

I am hoping for feedback on methods of adjusting or modifying these cars so that I can use them on my layout consistently. I would think there should be some approach that would eliminate the issues I am having. So far I have not been able to do so. I would appreciate any advice that OGR members or The Atlas Co. may have. These are the only cars that I own that have an issue with, on my layout. It seems to be an issue with all of them at different times. I have had no problems with the Atlas 89’ flat trailer cars, Lionel Auto Carriers, Lionel Big Boy, Lionel Allegheny, or a MTH Yellowstone. I am trying to run the Atlas CZ's in a 11-12 car consist. The cars are a mix from over 5 years of building the train CZ consist. I have at least one of all the variations of the cars except the coming conductors car. I sold my K-Line CZ 21” cars which were never a problem. The Atlas cars are absolutely beautiful, But!!

I am asking if others are having these issues with O72 switches and the related causes associated with these cars and trucks. It would be very difficult to replace the switches with larger radiuses.


The cars short out and trip the breaker. One cause is the thumbtack for the coupler release arm, which hangs too low or is too loose (sloppy). The tack shorts out on the middle rail or catches on the Ross O72 “ Y Switch or on the Ross 72-96 curved Switch. The temporary fix was to cover the tacks with electrical tape. So far that is working. I have covered all the tacks with tape.


Now the cars still short out because of derailing on two O72  switches. They are not derailing  because of picking the points. In-fact the approach on the curved switch Ross 72/96 doesn’t come into the points, it comes in from the leads. This the only area of the main layout that has O72 switch curves.





It appears to me that the cause is related to the trucks and couplers are not free to rotate freely or far enough. It looks like the leading car's trailing truck does not allow the following car's leading truck to follow and rotate. It wants to go straight instead of curve on the switch. I think one of the problems is the cross bar that connects the simulated steam line pipe and the brake line. It seems that when the truck turns, the connecting bar piece gets hung up on the under side of the door frame protrusion. Temporary solution is to carefully remove the brake hose/steam line trim. But I would like to have them on the cars in the end.





Another cause is the coupler height and hitting the wire footstep on the face between cars that is possibly too low. I have included photos of my attempt to reshape and raise that foot bracket. Only the right side has been modified at this time. The left side does not come into play on right turns.




A third cause may be the position of the adjustable tongue for the coupler. By extending the adjustable coupler it tends to clear the under carriage better but at the same time seems to lower the thumbtack, allowing it to contact the middle rail. I would like to know if others are having these same issues, and if they have a consistent treatment for the problem. It seems that the cars all vary. On some trucks the torsion bar on the side of the truck hits the car frame when rotating the truck.



I have considered replacing all the couplers with Kadees but would like to hear from anyone that has already done this and run the cars on O72 switches.

On the 2 rail cars, how do they replicate the steam line and brake hose?

Is there a prescribed length of the adjustable coupler tongue for O72 radius?

Is there a standard setting on the coupler adjustment screw?

Has anyone modified the truck or the frame to allow further rotation?

Has anyone had the interference of the coupler and the foot bracket?




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