Our local train club used Atlas O NS track and switches - great looking with a realistic rail cross section, but ...
soon it was apparent that the spring-loaded switches would perform the anti-derail function OK for locos and heavier rolling stock. However, our problem was: lighter-weight cars would not "push" the swivel rail and perform the anti-derail chore reliably -- so we had pesky derailments. We didn't know then that the tension was adjustable; we could have used that feature to advantage!
We noticed that Atlas makes a circuit kit that throws the switch electrically based on contact of the wheels and axle with an insulated rail section -- like the RC Lionel switches. We bought two of those, but we never got around to installing them -- and then the club dissolved.
The Atlas switches had a short (1 inch or so) small rail piece at the entry straight rail. When it came loose, we re-glued it and soldered it in place, but that didn't hold for long. After some fussing with it, we gave up on repairs and replaced the switch with a new one. With 20/20 hindsight, I now believe we caused the breakage of that small rail piece on our modular layout because of regular use: transporting modules from storage to the site, set-up, take-down, and transporting modules from the site back to storage; i.e., club-inflicted wounds to some switches, especially if the switch was near a joint of modules. Very likely a switch with that small rail piece -- once installed on a permanent layout -- would behave as intended forever.
Mike Mottler LCCA 12394