Looking for some advice and input. Finally going to be setting up a permanent layout in it's own room once we move into the new house. I am debating track, as I grew up and have a nice little stash of Atlas O Nickel Silver Rail. Lately, Ross Custom Switches variety in switches and reviews have really gotten me intrigued to their switches, but I am not sure I wan't to combine the Atlas track with their switches for aesthetic reasons. Has anyone done a full layout in Ross Track? (Could save on shipping possibly as Ross Custom Switches is 30 minutes from my house.) Thanks everyone!

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Ross makes the best switches, period...I use Gargraves Track because it matches up so well. Ross switches are made with Gargraves rail I believe. The other thing I love about the track is you make your own curves. Your not limitednew tunnel. When I was building my short line I needed really tight curves in a couple of places. The short line only ran small steeple cab electrics. I used Ross curved track for that as it's hard to bend Gargraves really tight. My mainline is larger than 072. Don

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Ross switches and gargraves track. It’s more work to bend your curves and cut rail but as Scale rail said your options are unlimited and I think it’s totally worth it. Ross switches are fantastic. I think Ross track is also a good choice but more expensive and curves are solid.

Originally screwed track down directly on plywood. Don’t do that. It was way too loud. I put down homosote and used woodland scenic roadbed.  Use short screws that don’t go into plywood. Now I only hear wheels click on on rail joints and engine sounds. No derailments unless I do something stupid. 

Jim J

I use Ross switches and mostly Ross/Gargraves track.  I went with Ross because many seem to think their switches are more reliable.  Well, I can't speak for AtlasO switches but the Ross switches have been very good performers once I got the spring tension right (I use DZ-2500 switch machines).

For my double track mainline I use AtlasO sectional curves to get a consistent and nice looking 4 1/2 inch center rail to center rail clearance (Ross is 4" although they now have some new stuff out).  I use AtlasO straights between the AtlasO curves as needed for easy connections, although AtlasO to Ross is pretty easy and once painted and ballasted looks good.  I do use Ross/Gargraves and AtlasO flextrack where I can to limit the number of rail joints since I use DCS.

I am also going to incorporate a couple of AtlasO double slip switches because they are #5s and not #4s like Ross'.  AtlasO's double slip switches mate up pretty well with Ross' regular switch, although I am thinking of going to AtlasO #5s so I don't have the little kink.

I lay my track on rubber roadbed on top of homasote board on top of 1/2 inch plywood.  I make sure the track nails don't touch the plywood, and remove them where I can.  Maybe the AtlasO is slightly quieter but since I always run sound I don't notice it.

Both Ross and AtlasO track look good once painted and ballasted, Gargraves less so since it is not spiked down.

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

I initially bought all FasTrack for my layout and ended up selling it all before laying the first piece (noise). NIB it sold $0.50 on the $1.00. I sincerely wish I had listened to everyone recommending GarGraves/Ross on this forum. GarGraves flex track IMHO is the best to be had. Buy one piece and compare it to the Atlas flex track. I believe you will see what I am taking about.

As an FYI, Ross and GarGraves use identical track pins. The only downside is Rossbed. I love the stuff. You can buy it for Atlas or Ross track. Not available for GarGraves. Our modular club's large layout uses Atlas track with Ross switches. All mounted with Rossbed.

Gilly@N&W posted:

I initially bought all FasTrack for my layout and ended up selling it all before laying the first piece (noise). NIB it sold $0.50 on the $1.00.

FasTrack goes for over retail on eBay. I always sell my set break-up track sets at auction.

Rob

My advice is to let the answers to these questions guide you:

1) What is your track plan?  Which track system will work in the allotted space for what you wish to accomplish with your railroad? The answer is not always both.

2) Which system do you think looks better?

3) What can you afford?

Ross is a better quality product but Atlas is a quality product as well.  While Ross advertises as being more cost effective when purchased new (which is true), Atlas is cheaper on the secondary market and you already have a supply of Atlas track.

Only you can make the choice.   Take all factors into consideration and make the decision on which is the better fit for you.

-Greg

Member of the Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 

Please check out the NJ HiRailers website for information about our club.  Our What's New page shows what we've been working on. While visiting the website check our Show Dates for a listing of all our public shows and be sure to visit our Club Store for unique items available for purchase to support our club and worthwhile charities!!

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Gilly@N&W posted:

I initially bought all FasTrack for my layout and ended up selling it all before laying the first piece (noise). NIB it sold $0.50 on the $1.00. I sincerely wish I had listened to everyone recommending GarGraves/Ross on this forum. GarGraves flex track IMHO is the best to be had. Buy one piece and compare it to the Atlas flex track. I believe you will see what I am taking about.

As an FYI, Ross and GarGraves use identical track pins. The only downside is Rossbed. I love the stuff. You can buy it for Atlas or Ross track. Not available for GarGraves. Our modular club's large layout uses Atlas track with Ross switches. All mounted with Rossbed.

Great info I was contemplating fast track for a new layout but it makes sense the hollow plastic base amplifies noise.  For your club layout is the track anchored thru the Rossbed to the top?  GarGraves flex seems to be the best option, never have heard a bad thing about that or Ross switches.  The old saying you get what you pay for applies here.  Thanks for the fantastic information.

Ross switches and curves. Gargraves straight sections. Everything gets a coat of spray paint with some minor weathering.

Atlas may look more prototypical but for the money, I think my combination looks good too!

Donald

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"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."

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3rail 2 posted:

Ross switches and curves. Gargraves straight sections. Everything gets a coat of spray paint with some minor weathering.

Atlas may look more prototypical but for the money, I think my combination looks good too!

Donald

 

It looks great!

-Greg

Member of the Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 

Please check out the NJ HiRailers website for information about our club.  Our What's New page shows what we've been working on. While visiting the website check our Show Dates for a listing of all our public shows and be sure to visit our Club Store for unique items available for purchase to support our club and worthwhile charities!!

Image result for nj hirailers logo

 

My layout is 100% Ross sectional track and turnouts. Turnouts work flawlessly and the curved sections are offered in a large variety of radii which can be mixed and matched (no need to bend).  Also, the individually spiked rails (turnouts and sectional track) look great and makes the track system section very robust.

Mark Magnusson 121219 posted:

Beautiful is the ballast glued down?   Amazing job looks phenomenal

Hey Mark. Yes, the ballast is glued down. Ballast is by Dennis Brennan.

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."

I use GG and Ross (and now-defunct Curtis; same profile) track. GG and Ross switches. Both work just fine. Just added 3 new GG 072 switches. They have a smaller footprint than do Ross units. Needed that. Same switch machines.

Most of my switches are ancient GG units, pre-factory switch machines. They have been fine - some(!) adjustment was needed, but that was long ago, forgotten now.

I do prefer the looks of Ross tack, with the "spikes" and no tinplate flange between the ties to paint. But my layout is so old that the track is 85% GG.

All track was painted using Krylon, etc. before it was laid. 

You can always use Ross for the majority of the layout, curves and all, and use the GG flextrack in a spot or two that require  a custom curve.  I wasn’t real handy flexing the track,  you might burn a piece or three getting a good technique down.  Once it’s bent wrong, I wasn’t able to get it back to be usable.  Had great luck with the Ross switches and track.  A quality product.

One added note. The only problem I have had is not with the Ross switches but with the machine that work them. I didn't like the looks of them either. Went back to my old standby, under table machines. They are foolproof and easy to set up with signals. Luckily I have a ton of new/old Tenshodo machines. DonUnknown

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I think Greg's answer which bounces a lot of the issues back to you makes a lot of sense. In addition to that, you said aesthetic reasons were important to you. Are you a rivet counter? I am not. Atlas track and a combination of Ross and Atlas switches work fine for me. I do NOT ballast the track. It's not worth it to me.

I recall reading some time ago about someone who used electric cable ties to secure track. I assume 2 ties to hold it in place. The cable ties simply hold the track in place. They do not secure it rigidly to the plywood, so the sound is not amplified. I have NOT done this. But it makes sense to me, and maybe on the next layout....

Gerry 

  Home of the BRATS RR  

 

 

 

I built my layout in 1987. I used Gargraves phantom rail flex track, Midwest cork roadbed, Ross Custom switches and Tortoise switch machines. 32 years later all still work as installed. Nothing more to say. Except this; If you break a Ross switch, Steve will repair it and return it to you free for life. Made in America by Americans. 

Thank you all for the input. I’m going to hit up SCARM and start playing with the GG/Ross combo and all Ross to see what I can come up with. I would not say I am a rivet counter, but I am planning a highly detailed as scale as I can get it within reason layout. I say within reason, because as mentioned Atlas would be the more prototypical track, but I do seem to be drifting away from it as time goes on

I went with all Ross for my layout. I liked the look of Ross over Gargraves. Ross track sits on top of the ties and are spiked down. Gargraves is embedded in the tie. Minor difference but I wanted a consistent look.  As others have stated, Ross switches are superior. 

I use GarGraves track (both sectional and flex) and Ross switches. I have used Atlas track and switches in the past, and it also is very good. I simply found that GarGraves and Ross products are more readily available in my area. I use Lionel FasTrack on the small all-tinplate layout I am building, and am perfectly happy with it, as well.

3rail 2 posted:

Ross switches and curves. Gargraves straight sections. Everything gets a coat of spray paint with some minor weathering.

Atlas may look more prototypical but for the money, I think my combination looks good too!

Donald

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Donald:

Layout looks great. Well done!

Pat

Cmschroeder456 posted:

Another contributing factor as well. My LHS has phased out Atlas track products unfortunately, which they used to offer every piece of track made. It does seem like Atlas track overall is getting harder to come by.

Honestly...you cannot go wrong with the ROSS / Gargraves combination. Except for track spikes every tie, you can make it look as realistic as you want. I use Atlas track for my bridges and also at my transfer table. It is possible to tightly connect Gargraves track to Atlas track using the Atlas track joiners. All it takes is a little cutting with a Dremel and file smooth. I attached some pics of the two types of tracks joined together. No solder required.

Donald

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"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."

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No track systems are available in my area as I live in a black hole.  Therefore, I must rely on what I can find via the internet.  Judging by the results of my search of dealers I find the following availability )best to worst):

  1. Lionel FasTrack,
  2. Lionel tubular,
  3. Atlas though not necessarily all needs met by one source,
  4. MTH RealTrax likewise not available from a single source,
  5. Gargraves again not fully stocked.
  6. Scaletrax and Ross.

Atlas and Realtrax have about the same availability.  All the China made track tends to go in and out of stock with relatively long gaps in availability.  I must say that both Ross and Gargraves are available from the USA located factories with common pieces in stock and at least reasonable lead times at Ross.

Like most of senior hobbyists I started out with tubular track, but I my college days I started looking at Gargraves.  It was the only alternative to tubular then.  But in the 30 year gap between layouts things have changed.  The Gargraves that I have did develop some surface rust on the tinplate rails, but it didn't affect operations. 

In 2007 pretty much all the track systems had come to market.  I chose Atlas for its realistic look, nickel-silver rail, AND its well-thought out track system.  I suffered through the problems with their original switches.  I still have a few on the layout that I have yet to have an issue.  Their latest have been trouble free.

Ross completes both Gargraves and Atlas.

Jan

Bottom line it's your choice, but I'm using Gargraves and ross switches. and here a little info also, Ross will repair switches should you have a problem, I bought 8 off the bay and lets just say they weren't up to par, I sent them Ross and they fixed them for me, Now I understand each item they get for repair will need more or less but they did mine for $75 + return shipping. ( I think it was $32 ) So I'm a happy camper. 

I highly recommend Ross switches. 

Bill

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