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I had derailment quite often when I first started in n-scale. I changed all my cars over to MT trucks with couplers and that ended most all my derailments. I was also using all Atlas flex track and switches. On my current I used Peco flex and switches best stuff ever in over 30 years not one problem with over 100 switches.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Most of my cars now have the old style rapido couplers. I’m not sure what trucks they are. I just bought some modern cars and a Norfolk Southern engine all new with knuckle couplers and those cars seam even worse. They do just what happened in that pic half one way and half the other. I am using all atlas track not flex all premolded or whatever it’s called. But I am using atlas turnouts I believe. I bought them used as part of a layout I bought to start with then added on to. It is getting kind of frustrating putting cars back on the track every 15 seconds!! I am going to get one of the gauge tools I see people talking about and see what’s doing with that first. It seams as if the flanges of a wheel at random switches the turnouts mid travel then everything goes the wrong way.
 

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Improving Atlas turnouts

Most of my cars now have the old style rapido couplers. I’m not sure what trucks they are. I just bought some modern cars and a Norfolk Southern engine all new with knuckle couplers and those cars seam even worse. They do just what happened in that pic half one way and half the other. I am using all atlas track not flex all premolded or whatever it’s called. But I am using atlas turnouts I believe. I bought them used as part of a layout I bought to start with then added on to. It is getting kind of frustrating putting cars back on the track every 15 seconds!! I am going to get one of the gauge tools I see people talking about and see what’s doing with that first. It seams as if the flanges of a wheel at random switches the turnouts mid travel then everything goes the wrong way.
Cousin Eddie;

Atlas turnouts have frustrated many! However, all is not lost. While in the long run you may possibly replace them with better turnouts, like Peco, or Micro Engineering, in the meantime, you can make the Atlas turnouts work more reliably. Maybe you will not have to replace them at all.

The attached file, "Improving Atlas turnouts" tells what problems are built into Atlas turnouts, and how you can easily and cheaply fix them. The first 8 pages or so of this file are more about the HO-scale Atlas turnout, than the N-scale version you are using. Skip to page 8 and you will see that NMRA gage you need to buy, being used to measure the flangeways that are likely causing your derailments. However, back on the top of page 3 you will find info on notching the stock rails and filing the points. That's another common derailment cause.

The second file, "All about turnouts" covers turnouts in general. It clears up some of the mysteries about types & parts of turnouts, and how they work. It ends with my personal rankings of seven common brands of commercial turnouts. (Spoiler alert, Peco is#1 Atlas "Snap Switches" (the only kind Atlas makes in N-scale) are #6 out of 7.

Good luck and Have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks traction fan I will give them a good read tomorrow at work. I am mostly working on the layout at this point, but I do like to take a night off now and then and run some trains it is aggravating to keep putting the cars back on! Especially cause I can barely see them lol!
 

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Atlas or clone

Traction fan is this an atlas or is it something else? this one gives me the most trouble.
Cousin Eddie;

The turnout in your photo is either an Atlas, or a clone of the Atlas design. Bachmann for instance, made some turnouts that were quite similar to Atlas ones. Regardless of brand, it is very likely to have the too wide, and too deep, flangeways shown in the photos of my "Improving Atlas turnouts" pdf file.

Here's how to make that problem turnout less problematic. (Note: you might try step 5 first. It may solve the main derailment problem, by itself. However, doing all five steps will make the turnout much more reliable, and make the cars flow through it smoothly.


1) Get yourself an NMRA gage like the one shown in the file. You can order one from www.modeltrainstuff.com or buy it through a local train store, if you still have one near you.
The gage costs about $12. You will also need some styrene strips about 1/16"-to-1/8" wide, and anywhere in the 005"---.010" thickness range, also some liquid styrene cement.

2) Read the direction sheet that comes with the gage. It will tell you how to measure a flangeway, so does "Improving Atlas turnouts." The fact that the guardrail flangeway is too wide, is the most likely cause of your derailments.

The fact that the flangeway is also too deep, will cause the wheels to drop down into the flangeway, and then be dragged back up when they hit the point of the frog. This produces an effect I call "frog bounce," where the cars bounce up-and-down, and sway side-to-side, as they pass through the frog. Frog bounce won't often cause a derailment, but it can do so, especially at high speed. Mostly it's just ugly, and annoying. (NOTE: Never file down any part of the frog in an attempt to "fix" frog bounce, or for any other reason. Filing the frog won't fix anything, and it can cause other problems like short circuits.)
Raising the frog floor, with styrene shims, will fix frog bounce. The frog floor should touch the bottom of the "flangeways" tab on the NMRA gage. So should the floor of the guardrail flangeway. Glue styrene strips to the frog, and guardrail, flangeways floors until they do just touch the "flangeways" tabs on the NMRA gage.

3) Glue styrene strips along the inside of the guardrail flangeway until the turnout's flangeway width matches the width of the "flangeways " tabs on the NMRA gage. They will most likely be glued to the guardrail side. The guardrail flangeway width is much more important. It is likely causing the derailments. The frog flangeway can be a little too wide without hurting anything. Neither flangeway can be too narrow to pass the tabs freely.

4) Once you have the guardrail flangeway and frog flangeway, correct, check the wheel gage of all the wheels on several cars. When you have all the wheels on those cars at the correct gage, try pushing a string of cars through the turnout. They should stay on the track.

5) Another important thing to check is the "point (moving) rails" of your turnout. The ends of those moving point rails should be filed thin. They also need the :stock rails" (the rails the wheels ride on) to have notches filed in them for the points to recess into when the point is moved up against the stock rail. Some turnouts have this feature, others don't. I enlarged your photo by clicking on it three times. I can see that your turnout does not have notches in the stock rails, and does have very blunt points, file some notches in the stock rails for the points to "hide" in, and file the points thinner.

Good luck, Have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

P.S. If you don't feel like doing all of the above, buy a Peco turnout to replace that Atlas clone one. The Peco is a slightly different shape.
It won't be an exact fit. You will need to use some short pieces of flex track to connect your existing tracks to the new Peco turnout. The Peco will still have frog bounce (which can be fixed by shimming the floor up) but it won't derail cars.

P.P.S. What are those green Atlas "selector" electrical switches in the bottom of your photo used for?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Traction fan is this an atlas or is it something else? this one gives me the most trouble.
Cousin Eddie;

That is either an Atlas, or a clone of the Atlas design. Bachmann for instance, made some turnouts that were quite similar to Atlas ones. Regardless of brand, it is very likely to have the too wide and too deep flangeways described and shown in the photos of my "Improving Atlas turnouts pdf file.

Here's how to make that problem turnout less problematic. (Note: you might try step 5 first. It may solve the main derailment problem, by itself. However, doing all five steps will make the turnout much more reliable, and make the cars flow through it smoothly.

1) Get yourself an NMRA gage like the one shown in the file. You can order one from www.modeltrainstuff.com or buy it through a local train store, if you still have one near you.
The gage costs about $12. You will also need some styrene strips about 1/16"-to-1/8" wide, and anywhere in the 005"---.010" thickness range, also some liquid styrene cement.

2) Read the direction sheet that comes with the gage. It will tell you how to measure a flangeway, so does "Improving Atlas turnouts." The fact that the guardrail flangeway is too wide, is the most likely cause of your derailments.

The fact that the flangeway is also too deep, will cause the wheels to drop down into the flangeway, and then be dragged back up when they hit the point of the frog. This produces an effect I call "frog bounce," where the cars bounce up-and-down, and sway side-to-side, as they pass through the frog. Frog bounce won't often cause a derailment, but it can do so, especially at high speed. Mostly its just ugly, and annoying. (NOTE: Never file down any part of the frog in an attempt to "fix" frog bounce, or for any other reason. Filing the frog won't fix anything.)
Raising the frog floor, with styrene shims, will fix frog bounce. The frog floor should touch the bottom of the "flangeways" tab on the NMRA gage. So should the floor of the guardrail flangeway. Glue styrene strips to the frog, and guardrail, flangeways floors until they do just touch the "flangeways" tabs on the NMRA gage.

3) Glue styrene strips along the inside of the guardrail flangeway until the turnout's flangeway width matches the width of the "flangeways " tabs on the NMRA gage. They will most likely be glued to the guardrail side. The guardrail flangeway width is much more important. It is likely causing the derailments. The frog flangeway can be a little too wide without hurting anything. Neither flangeway can be too narrow to pass the tabs freely.

4) Once you have the guardrail flangeway and frog flangeway, correct, check the wheel gage of all the wheels on several cars. When you have all the wheels on those cars a the correct gage, try pushing a string of cars through the turnout. They should stay on the track.

5) Another important thing to check is the "point (moving) rails" of your turnout. The ends of those moving point rails should be filed thin. They also need the :stock rails" (the rails the wheels ride on) to have notches filed in them for the points to recess into when the point is moved up against the stock rail. Some turnouts have this feature, others don't. I enlarged your photo by clicking on it three times. I can see that your turnout does not have notches in the stock rails, and does have very blunt points, file some notches in the stock rails for the points to "hide" in, and file the points thinner.

Good luck, Have fun;

Traction Fan


P.S. If you don't feel like doing all of the above, buy a Peco turnout to replace that Atlas clone one. The Peco is a slightly different shape.
It won't be an exact fit. You will need to use some short pieces of flex track to connect your existing tracks to the new Peco turnout. The Peco will still have frog bounce (which can be fixed by shimming the floor up) but it won't derail cars.

P.P.S. What are those green Atlas "selector" electrical switches in the bottom of your photo used for?
Thanks very much for your help. I have three train shows I’m going to in the next three weeks so I will definitely get the gauge and work on that turnout as you instructed. The atlas track selectors control blocks of the layout each section of the layout has blocks wired into it so I can leave a few different trains sitting and allow others to pass. They keep the power pack from running all the engines on the layout at once. I also can loop two tacks at once and still switch. ( after I get the trains to make it around more than once on their own) The selectors also allow me to switch power packs to different sections of track. There is 18 powered engines on the layout at once. I can power three off their own power pack at once. The fourth power pack runs the turntable motor and will power turnouts. I’m old school lol I don’t have dcc I do things the hard way.
 

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Looks like a fun layout! I like the turntable with many locomotives and had been planning to use one on my layout but realized I don't know how they are wired. Does each radial track need a separate switched power feed?

Dave
 

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Looks like a fun layout! I like the turntable with many locomotives and had been planning to use one on my layout but realized I don't know how they are wired. Does each radial track need a separate switched power feed? I am wondering if it might be possible to solder a tiny metallic brush strip to the end of the central rails that would make contact with the aligned track only and be flexible enough to handle the rotation from track to track?

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Looks like a fun layout! I like the turntable with many locomotives and had been planning to use one on my layout but realized I don't know how they are wired. Does each radial track need a separate switched power feed? I am wondering if it might be possible to solder a tiny metallic brush strip to the end of the central rails that would make contact with the aligned track only and be flexible enough to handle the rotation from track to track?

Dave
Thanks and yes each stall needs its own wiring as does the turn table itself. The motor that turns the turntable needs wiring also. That being said it sounds complicated but really it’s not. All the grounds or negatives get all connected together to the power pack. Then each stall goes to a selector I use atlas 215s but you can use any on off toggle. The other side of the switch goes to power it’s that easy. In dc that is dcc I’m out I have 0 knowledge in that. Then the drive motor goes to a controller so you can reverse it with a switch. Also easy if you are serious about getting one I’m all over here find me I can email you a very detailed step by step and picture of the wiring.
 

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Not necessary

Looks like a fun layout! I like the turntable with many locomotives and had been planning to use one on my layout but realized I don't know how they are wired. Does each radial track need a separate switched power feed? I am wondering if it might be possible to solder a tiny metallic brush strip to the end of the central rails that would make contact with the aligned track only and be flexible enough to handle the rotation from track to track?

Dave


Dave;

Your idea might possibly work, but its not necessary. The Atlas turntable in the photo has built-in contacts to feed power up to the rotating rails. It also has built-in contact plates which handle the necessary polarity reversal when a loco comes onto the turntable, is rotated 180 degrees, and then runs off the turntable & back onto the same feeder track, but going in the opposite direction. Turntables, wyes, and reversing loops, all need some sort of "X-section" of track that can have its electrical polarity reversed independently from the rest of the railroad. The reason is that any one of these three items can change the direction of a locomotive and send it back onto the same track it came from.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Looks like a fun layout! I like the turntable with many locomotives and had been planning to use one on my layout but realized I don't know how they are wired. Does each radial track need a separate switched power feed? I am wondering if it might be possible to solder a tiny metallic brush strip to the end of the central rails that would make contact with the aligned track only and be flexible enough to handle the rotation from track to track?

Dave


Dave;

Your idea might possibly work, but its not necessary. The Atlas turntable in the photo has built-in contacts to feed power up to the rotating rails. It also has built-in contact plates which handle the necessary polarity reversal when a loco comes onto the turntable, is rotated 180 degrees, and then runs off the turntable & back onto the same feeder track, but going in the opposite direction. Turntables, wyes, and reversing loops, all need some sort of "X-section" of track that can have its electrical polarity reversed independently from the rest of the railroad. The reason is that any one of these three items can change the direction of a locomotive and send it back onto the same track it came from.

Traction Fan
Traction fan I think he wants to use the rails on the turn table to supply power to only the stall it’s facing at the time.
 

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If so

Traction fan I think he wants to use the rails on the turn table to supply power to only the stall it’s facing at the time.
Cousin Eddie;

If that's actually what he had in mind, I think your, more normal wiring, approach would be a whole lot more reliable!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Traction fan I think he wants to use the rails on the turn table to supply power to only the stall it’s facing at the time.
Cousin Eddie;

If that's actually what he had in mind, I think your, more normal wiring, approach would be a whole lot more reliable!

Traction Fan
his idea would be a really cool way to do it but I really can’t think of a way it would be possible. I’m sure it is but I’m ok with the way it is.
 
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