Atlas track & Ross Switches

On my new layout I plan on using Atlas track & Ross Switches.  Do the Ross Switches line up at the same height as the Atlas Track or will I need Transition pieces to go from Atlas to Ross?

Can some one tell me what is the real knock is on the Atlas Switches?  Why is it that so many people don't like them?

Thanks

Living in the Land of Sunshine and no Basements

SEMPER FI

Era of the M1 Garrand

Original Post

Ross switches tend to be more durable see the thread on switch points shorting out... But the closer in scale look of the atlas switch ties are hard to beat.

 

I have had the throw bars split as well and they are not fun to repair.

 

 

TCA Number 16-71884

Another problem has been availability. I believe I read where someone waited 2 years for some #'d switches. They are too expensive to have to deal with problems like that. RCS switches aren't cheap either, but AFAIK you can get them when you need them, the same with GarGraves track. I'm still vacillating between Atlas and GG/RCS and probably won't decide until I get the benchwork ready.

Hey Jerry...to answer your question...

Yes, Gargraves track lines up perfectly with Atlas track. No need for a transition piece. Atlas makes rail joiners that mate Atlas to Gargraves but I find them to be too tedious to use and often bend or break them.

What I do is just cut a slit in the bottom of the Gargraves rail with my Dremel and the regular Atlas track joiner slips right on. In the rare event the joint is not tight, I apply a little solder to the joiner.

Regardless, for me...it is Gargraves and ROSS. I use both of the ROSS switches and curves. I also like their preformed foam roadbed.

I only use Atlas track at my bridges and transfer table.

Donald

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

*Speaking up.    Yup,  I'm the guy who has been having a real hard time finding switches in stock.  

See my post from ~3 years ago..

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...19#44510798196873419

Atlas had some production issues way back then, when basically.  They stopped production of 054 switches.  Which was a huge bummer because I was right in the middle of laying track work.   Secondary Market was overpriced ($120+ for ONE switch,  where are my local LHS  I could get them for ~$75.)  I wasn't willing to pay that. 

 

Here we are 3 years later, and "still"  they come in "batches"  then go out of stock for ~3-6months.  

Lucky, my very last switch is arriving tomorrow ( abit from E**y / used) but for the price I paid for it.  I don't mind at all. 

 

I have Atlas Switches and Atlas track. I've had no problems with any new switches other than maybe finding them? I have not looked for them for a while as I have what I need for now. I know my LHS still had some a few weeks before Christmas, not sure what sizes they had. Have not been there since then.

I have had some problems with used switches, some were quite well used. I was able to get parts from Atlas and repair almost all of them. Atlas was very good in helping me get the right parts. Mainly throw bars and linkage as I recall. I think I ended up with one that had a missing rail piece, it's the only I didn't try to repair, but kept for possible future parts use. Once repaired they have been just fine so far for about 3-4 years now.

Personally, I think the switch problems were a bit over blown and go back to their original release which did have some problems. As I understand it Atlas made some changes and repaired the problem fairly quickly and they have been pretty good since then. The newest (last couple of years) production runs, I believe, have even more improvements.

Jerry:

I use Atlas O track and Ross turnouts. To answer your questions -

1. They line up just fine. As mentioned above you could use the transition joiners but like it was mentioned they are very fragile, hard to install without breaking and will break if you try to remove. You can shave off a piece of the Ross track tie and use the Atlas joiners as mentioned also. A third option is to simply butt the track together (you will need to cut off the Atlas O connector pin) and wire power/ground to both sides. I have not tried this method as yet so do not know if the wheels will spark transitioning from one track to the next but if so a small wire can be soldered from rail to rail to solve this.

2. The 'knock' on Atlas O turnouts was with their switch motors. The motors, electro-mechanical, were prone to burning out if power was applied too long. The culprit was the button controls that shipped with the turnouts. The buttons tended to stick.  When power was applied too long the wire coil would heat up and basically melt the plastic surrounding the rod that moved back and forth freezing the motor. A new heavy duty control was designed but last I heard all were recalled for I think the same issue. A lot workarounds have basically 'solved ' this issue. One was to use momentary toggle switches of higher quality than the push buttons. Another approach was to install a diode 'rectifier' in line from the toggle switch to the motor to cut the AC waveform in half (basically make it a DC waveform) to limit current to the switch motors or simply use DC to power the switch motors. Because I use both Ross and Atlas O turnouts I opted to install AC, use heavy duty 1 amp toggle switches (overkill) and add the diodes for the Atlas O turnouts. The Ross motors don't need them and will not work with the diodes connected (this is because the internal circuitry of the motor already contains a diode).

The Atlas turnout itself is fine. In fact as motors burn out (not any since the diode / toggle switch circuit was added) I would take the diode out of the circuit and replace the Atlas motor with a Z-1000 motor that is used on the Ross switches. Although I would prefer to, this is cheaper than replacing with a Ross turnout.

Hope this helps

Joe

"Personally, I think the switch problems were a bit over blown and go back to their original release which did have some problems. As I understand it Atlas made some changes and repaired the problem fairly quickly and they have been pretty good since then. The newest (last couple of years) production runs, I believe, have even more improvements."

I wholeheartedly agree with RTR12.  I've used Atlas since the very early 2000s and the track is excellent.  The early turnouts had some problems - since fixed as RTR says. 

My new layout - in progress - is using Atlas from the previous one (including older switches) plus some new additions of Atlas.

My layout is comparatively small so I really prize consistency in the track and track work.  

 

 

RT   

Thanks RT I really felt they can't be all that bad as the NJ Highrailers use all Atlas Track Sw's & Motors with out much problems & that dam Layout is the size of a football field.

 

Living in the Land of Sunshine and no Basements

SEMPER FI

Era of the M1 Garrand

Ross switches and Gargraves track are a very good match. I did this Atlas/Gargraves match-up with Atlas track connectors.  I had to dremeled the lower profile of gargraves off, to make it work.  There is a slight tie base difference. Using Atlas track connectors on Ross switches may be difficult. The track is very close to the end tie of the switch.

Atlas transition connectors to Gargraves.  part 6096.  I found these parts to be flimsy, but they do work.

 

Jerry Del posted:

Thanks RT I really felt they can't be all that bad as the NJ Highrailers use all Atlas Track Sw's & Motors with out much problems & that dam Layout is the size of a football field.

As Rthomps says above, "I really prize consistency in the track and track work.", I think track work is the most important thing for any track system. And personally, I like the consistency of everything being the same as well. I also think all the track systems are good and with some tweaking here and there can all be made to work well. IMO, it's a personal choice of what one likes as far as track system type used.

I think Atlas track, switches and switch machines are just fine and would make the same choice of using Atlas if I was starting over. I have been very happy with it. I have not had any problems with any of my switch machines either. I did have some bad ones that I got with some of the used switches, but I replaced them with new ones and they work fine now.

Some of the used ones were quite weak for some reason? Never did figure out why, bit the new ones were only about $14 I think, so I just replaced them. The DZ-1000 switch machines are very nice as well, but are now somewhere around $25 or so each, I think. I used one where I couldn't get an Atlas to fit. I really do like them also. 

Yes, the NJ HiRailers have an excellent layout!! I imagine they have experienced every problem you could think of and more with a layout that large. Keeping all that going has to be a real challenge. Maybe someday I can make a trip to see it, that would be a neat experience. 

What a great looking layout Steve, I'm  jealous.  Your weathering & scenery skills are as good as I have ever seen. I think I have seen  1 or 2 of the LIRR RS3's in the Oyster Bay Yards. And the Dashing dan Passenger cars brings me back 50 years .

So tell me what don't you like about the Atlas Track & what changers would you like to see?  

Living in the Land of Sunshine and no Basements

SEMPER FI

Era of the M1 Garrand

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