Here is a guide I've created for the AtlasO #6059 Uncoupling Track. This guide is to assist modelers with familiarization, installation, operation and planning of the uncoupling track. Updates to this guide will include a video and a circuit to protect against uncoupling track failure due to prolonged activation.

 

 

Overview

 

The AtlasO #6059 Uncoupling Track will come packaged on a card. Contents of the card include the uncoupling track, a momentary push button switch, and 20 gauge wire. The length of the uncoupling track is 1 3/4". 

 

 

Card Front.

 

1_card_front

 

 

Card Back with wiring instructions.

 

2_card_back

 

 

Let's take a look at the uncoupling track out of the package. Here is a photo of the top of the uncoupling track. The center rail and magnet housing of the uncoupling track is constructed of plastic, creating a 1 3/4" Dead Zone. This is important to note when planning the location of the uncoupling track and will be discussed later. I recommend putting a power drop on both sides of the uncoupling track in case a solder connection should become broken. Power for the uncoupling track is supplied to the screw terminal.

 

3_6059_front

 

 

Here is a photo of the bottom of the uncoupling track. The center rail joiners are connected electrically by a copper jumper. The copper jumper is not required for operation of the uncoupling track. We can see the path of the electrical current flows from the screw terminal, through the magnet, and is connected to neutral via the outside rail. This outside rail must be connected to neutral. The opposite outside rail is not connected to the path of current.

 

4_6059_back

 

 

 Wiring the Uncoupling Track

 

The following schematic depicts power supplied by a transformer. The power may come from a fixed or variable output. (A couple of notes on my personal wiring practice that may be useful. First, I attach a #6 ring terminal to each end of wire. This provides a more secure connection than bare stranded wire wrapped around a post. Second, it is useful to have a colored wire scheme for your layout. In my scheme, red sheathed wire denotes power, and I substitute it for the black sheathed wire that comes with the uncoupling track.)

 

5_6059_connected

 

 

Installation

 

Install the uncoupling track using rail joiners compatible with the track system you are using. 

 

 

Planning

 

I cannot stress how important it is to plan the position of the uncoupling track and to take into account dead zones. Below is a picture of an AtlasO O-36 turnout connected to an uncoupling track. A locomotive with pickups spaced between 4 3/8" and 8 1/4" would lose power and stall. On my current layout, I use the magnet of the uncoupling tracks to indicate safe parking zones. If a train is covering the magnet, then it must be moved in order to allow another train safely pass on the turnout.  

 

6_turnout_6059_dz

 

 

In my initial draft of this layout, I placed uncoupling tracks next the turnouts and highlighted them as a reminder to check for dead zones and clearance between routes. I then temporarily laid track and took measurements until I was satisfied with the spacing. In the revision below, the interchange track at the bottom of the track plan has been corrected for a dead zone and passing clearance.

 

7_6059_planning

 

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Original Post

I learned a thing or two as well. Thanks for posting this info.

 

One thing I am not sure I understand:

 

"On my current layout, I use the magnet of the uncoupling tracks to indicate safe parking zones. If a train is covering the magnet, then it must be moved in order to allow another train safely pass on the turnout."

 

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but could you explain a little on this one?

 

Thanks again for the post  

Stewart,

 

I also use my uncoupling track's magnet as the closest point to the switch I can park a car/engine without fouling the other line.  While I use Gargraves/Ross track, I do use the Atlas uncoupling tracks because they are shorter and cheaper than Gargraves and worked well on my last layout.  Because I use #4 and #5 switches, I need a 7" straight section between the switch and uncoupler to get the required clearance, so I shouldn't have this dead spot problem.  But after reading your comments above, I think I'll need to check my engines to be sure.  Thanks for the informative post.

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

Originally Posted by rtr12:

"On my current layout, I use the magnet of the uncoupling tracks to indicate safe parking zones. If a train is covering the magnet, then it must be moved in order to allow another train safely pass on the turnout."

 

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but could you explain a little on this one?

 

The magnets in the uncoupling track make a big bull's-eye and can be seen from a distance. If a train is spotted between two uncoupling tracks, then it won't foul any passing trains. If any part of a train is covering the magnet, it's a visual cue that it needs to be moved. Below is a graphic which should help clear things up.

 

 

clearance

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Ok, got it. I was thinking it was probably visual, but the way I read it, there was a hint that is could possibly have some type of electronic use which I did see as being likely (I thought I was reading too much into it).

 

Anyway thank you for the clarification and the details on the un-coupling track. I have a few of those, but have not yet decided where to put them all. This will help with my locations for them.

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