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

Very good and helpful.  I learned something new.  I had no clue that the center rail was plastic.  I knew there was plastic around the magnate, but thought the rest of the center rail was metal.

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  

Last edited by rtr12

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.

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.

Nice tutorial, we have started a new layout and are using Atlas track for it. I have 5 to put in. At 1st I was not going to use them but after reading this I will.  Thanks,  Nick

So if I understand this correctly, I can use an uncoupling track on my main line as long as it is not right up against a switch, due to dead spots? In terms of engines, I have a lion Chief Plus Pacific, Mikado, and ft diesel.

Chessiefan72, excellent review, Atlas O uncoupling magnets are so cool, they can even work via the Lionel Cab 1-/Cab 2 remotes, connected through either Lionels ASC, or SC2, for walk around on the spot control. It’s a small magnet, blends with Atlas O track, can be fitted to Ross Custom track as well as Gargraves track, and even Lionels Super O track from years past.  My layout is 85 per cent Atlas O trackage. Great thread, Happy Railroading 4FE682A6-8D6D-4147-9671-A7BDB393D480BE757A4A-AD2A-413D-90BB-27D4A8E4B770

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Alexander posted:

So if I understand this correctly, I can use an uncoupling track on my main line as long as it is not right up against a switch, due to dead spots? In terms of engines, I have a lion Chief Plus Pacific, Mikado, and ft diesel.

I think Stewart is incorrect with the dead zone. The black center rail is indeed hot. Over the plastic magnet portion is a very thin round insulating layer of plastic that fits under the copper jumper preventing a short. The copper jumper keeps the center rail hot. Only one accessory hot wire is attached on the screw. It goes from the accessory hot through the push button to the screw. It’s a momentary push button. No other wiring is needed. 

romiller49 posted:
Alexander posted:

So if I understand this correctly, I can use an uncoupling track on my main line as long as it is not right up against a switch, due to dead spots? In terms of engines, I have a lion Chief Plus Pacific, Mikado, and ft diesel.

I think Stewart is incorrect with the dead zone. The black center rail is indeed hot. Over the plastic magnet portion is a very thin round insulating layer of plastic that fits under the copper jumper preventing a short. The copper jumper keeps the center rail hot. Only one accessory hot wire is attached on the screw. It goes from the accessory hot through the push button to the screw. It’s a momentary push button. No other wiring is needed. 

Can you post a photo of the one you are looking at?  I have one that's only a year old and it's just like pictured at top, the center rail is plastic.  Yes, it has metal center rail joiners that are tied together so it can provide center rail power to both sides of it, but the center rail is plastic on these.

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