By far, I love the look of Atlas-O track.  However I had a few challenges along the way.  The plastic ties are problematic in that they are fragile, and the tiny plastic tabs used to hold the rail in place are very fragile, as I learned the hard way.

1 Question: I have an an Atlas 72 degree turn out that was damaged while deconstructing the last layout.  The center rail came completely loose.  I want to reattach it but most of the tiny plastic tabs are torn off.   I'm thinking a few drops of hot glue where the tabs were will hold it in place long term... thoughts?  Other solutions??

1 Solution:  While attempting to solder power feeds directly to the rails, I could not get the timing right (how long to hold the iron to the rail/solder).  The result was a coupe of "test" rails melting the plastic ties.  I know Atlas sells pre-wired rail-joiners, but I already have rail joiners, so the additional expense seems frivolous.   My solution was to take some scrap plywood and cut a bunch of shallow grooves in it, then pressed the joiners upside down into the wood.  I cleaned the bottoms with the Dremel wire brush and went to work wiring up each joiner by soldering some 18 ga wire to the bottoms.

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Picture shows how I repair Atlas O rails when the small plastic retainer nub breaks. This can happen due to excessive stress when inserting rail joiners or sometimes just from forceful track cleaning. I cut small pieces of basswood, apply brown stain, and use epoxy to cement the basswood to the plastic tie. The edge of the basswood holds the rail down and in firm contact with the plastic tie. Seems to prevent separation of rail from tie. This repair is at least ten years old. You can see several such fixes in the picture.

MELGAR

MELGAR_2020_0601_ATLAS_TRACK_REPAIR

 

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Last edited by MELGAR

Another repair, center picture, two Atlas track screws to hold a broken/dislodged rail in place.  CA was also used. 

Last edited by Mike CT

I've repaired broken rails by respiking them with HO scale spikes: drill a hole into the tie and insert the spike with a drop of CA.

@Scottyq posted:

By far, I love the look of Atlas-O track.  However I had a few challenges along the way.  The plastic ties are problematic in that they are fragile, and the tiny plastic tabs used to hold the rail in place are very fragile, as I learned the hard way.

1 Question: I have an an Atlas 72 degree turn out that was damaged while deconstructing the last layout.  The center rail came completely loose.  I want to reattach it but most of the tiny plastic tabs are torn off.   I'm thinking a few drops of hot glue where the tabs were will hold it in place long term... thoughts?  Other solutions??

1 Solution:  While attempting to solder power feeds directly to the rails, I could not get the timing right (how long to hold the iron to the rail/solder).  The result was a coupe of "test" rails melting the plastic ties.  I know Atlas sells pre-wired rail-joiners, but I already have rail joiners, so the additional expense seems frivolous.   My solution was to take some scrap plywood and cut a bunch of shallow grooves in it, then pressed the joiners upside down into the wood.  I cleaned the bottoms with the Dremel wire brush and went to work wiring up each joiner by soldering some 18 ga wire to the bottoms.

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For reattaching rails, Slugger has the the solution I would prefer.  HO or O-scale spikes tapped down thru slightly under-sized drilled holes.  Just like the real thing!

For soldering to rails, you might try a trick that's widely employed by HO and N-scalers.  Remove a few plastic ties from where you want to solder.  You shouldn't have to remove more than 2 or three ties at the most.  Do your soldering and cool down each soldered joint immediately with a damp sponge.  Or make use of heat sinks (basically little metal clamps clipped on the rail that help absorb excess heat radiating out on either side of your soldering joint).  After the track sections are mounted on the layout, you can slip the cut ties back under the rails.  Slice the spikes and tie plates off if you have to in order to slide them under the rails.  A little glue to the roadbed will hold them in place if necessary.

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