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Hmm, ok, no balsa, no Dremel.
Shame, since it's always fun dodging hi speed chunks of cutting wheels when they decide to fragment themselves.:D

However....

I may be tearing the whole section out and starting over. I never liked where the track plan placed the turnouts, but not knowing any better I went ahead and followed it to the letter.:rippedhand:
Turns out a turnout at the end of a sharp corner, or start of an incline, is a bad thing, even when you're using exquisitely engineered technical marvels made all the better with a few TF tweaks.

That'll set me back a bit time-wise, and goes against my "I'm gonna use what came in the box instead of buying more stuff" rule.

Decisions, decisions....
Many "canned" layout plans were never actually built by their designers, and a lot of them contain problems like this. Sure, the track fits together, but...

Was the incline in the original, or did you add it?
 

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Better, non-shrapnel, dremel wheels

Hmm, ok, no balsa, no Dremel.
Shame, since it's always fun dodging hi speed chunks of cutting wheels when they decide to fragment themselves.:D

However....

I may be tearing the whole section out and starting over. I never liked where the track plan placed the turnouts, but not knowing any better I went ahead and followed it to the letter.:rippedhand:
Turns out a turnout at the end of a sharp corner, or start of an incline, is a bad thing, even when you're using exquisitely engineered technical marvels made all the better with a few TF tweaks.

That'll set me back a bit time-wise, and goes against my "I'm gonna use what came in the box instead of buying more stuff" rule.

Decisions, decisions....


gimme30;

I haven't used an actual Dremel brand cutting wheel in years. I had no luck with them and broke them all too often!
Harbor Freight ( www.harborfreight.com ) to the rescue!
They sell solid steel core, diamond coated, unbreakable, cutting wheels! You can wear them out, (the diamond dust coating wears off eventually.) However it is all but impossible to break one. I catch myself brushing/hitting the wheel against something all too often. with the old (Dremel) wheels this was a guaranteed broken wheel every time! Using the Harbor Freight wheels, no breakage, ever.
The one caution is to carefully center the wheel when installing it. The HF wheels have a slightly larger center hole than the Dremel ones. You can get an arbor with a larger diameter screw, that eliminates the eyeball centering.
An off center wheel causes serious vibration of the wheel and the whole tool. This makes it loads of fun trying to line up a critical cut! :mad: Sort of like trying to accurately aim a long range rifle shot while riding a bucking bronco! :laugh:

You don't necessarily need to buy Peco turnouts, since your Atlas ones are working so well.
The remaining weak links in the overall "Atlas turnout owner's experience," are the weak switch machine, the prone-to-short-circuits blue button control, and the lack of a powered metal frog. None is a real deal breaker, except perhaps for your 4-4-0. That little guy would benefit from a powered frog. If it's like the Bachmann "Jupiter" 4-4-0 I have, the pilot truck does not pick up power at all, and one set of drivers has traction tires. That means only one wheelset picks up power, and that's not enough to get through a plastic turnout frog.

The new Peco unifrogs are very nice. They come DCC friendly, have the option of powering the frog, and have Peco's well-known reliability and rugged construction. I recently bought four of them at www.modeltrainstuff.com for $20 ea. That's a good retail price for brand new Pecos.

On the down side, Peco has a weird notion of what constitutes code 55 rail. Their "code 55" turnout actually has code 78 rail, with some of it buried in the plastic tie strip. That wouldn't be so bad, except they made their rail with two rail bases. This will work fine connecting to code 80 rail, but is a royal PITA for people like me, who use real code 55 track (in my case, Micro Engineering) I had to take a Dremel to my brand new, premium quality, Peco turnouts in order to connect their "code 55" turnouts to some real code 55 track!
Bad form Peco, very bad form! Report you skinny backside to the headmaster's office for a good sound whipping! If they'd only had sense enough to cut a slt in the end of the rail, right below the code 55 rail base, the problem would have been eliminated. I started a thread about this issue, on the "General Model Train Discussion" section. You might want to look at it.There's a photo of the strange rail.

The considerably-less-than-splendid-quality, Atlas twin-coil switch machine will work better using a capacitive discharge unit like the one built into the Stapleton 751D turnout controller, That controller is also a vast improvement over the Atlas blue button POS control that comes with the turnout. It won't melt the coils in the switch machine, which a shorted blue button, and lingering human fingers, have done more than once, a lot more.
It's also a good idea to lightly glue, or "plastic weld",(with a soldering iron) the lids to the rest of this wonderous Atlas switch machine. I've had several of them actually shake themselves to pieces because the top was not fastened to the bottom very well! :mad:

Yes, placement of turnouts can be critical. Incorporating one into a curve is OK, as long as you understand that the curvature built into an Atlas N-scale "Snap Switch" is 19" radius. Were you to put a 19" R. curved section on either side of the curved route of your turnout, that would work fine. The 19" radius curve of the turnout can also serve as a simple form of "easement" into a tighter curve.
BTW, if you're starting over, and have the room, you might go to a larger curve radius. Even 11" radius is an improvement over 9-3/4" radius.

As for turnouts at the bottom, top, or anywhere in between, on a grade, that may be more challenge than you should bite off right now. It's never a really good idea, although it can be done, but it's a bad practice in general, and a major PITA to construct, and maintain. (subtle hint, you're right, don't do it.)

Regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Many "canned" layout plans were never actually built by their designers, and a lot of them contain problems like this. Sure, the track fits together, but...

Was the incline in the original, or did you add it?
Yep, the incline was in the original plan, but I don't know if it was by coincidence or design that the end of the turn out landed right there. As you alluded to, it took some fiddling to get the whole track laid according to plan...following it exactly wouldn't work at all, especially since they made a mistake requiring the use of a particular length of track that wouldn't fit! Because I had to fudge that area it could be my fault the turnout wound up where it did. Anyway I tried to smooth out the transition with plaster filler but that just made things worse, so for now I've cut the track free from the roadbed and stuffed a shim in there-it works, but I know it isn't "right."

I sure hate to start over though.....seems like this whole experience has been one step forward two steps back the entire way!

The second turnout, at the end of a curve (traveling counter-clockwise) isn't as much of an issue as long as I'm not trying to break any speed records. Otherwise inertia wreaks all kinds of havoc. There's no practical reason for it being placed where it is but again, in my ignorance I blindly followed the instructions thinking surely Woodland Scenics knew what they were doing, any issues had to be mistakes I made!

Live and learn.🤪

TF I'd love to go to a wider radius but there just isn't room! The turnout in question is coming off an 11" curve, it just would have made more sense to have at least a short straight there instead. It'd be simple enough to swap things around but since the other turnout is at the opposite end of the same section it may be better to start over-but not yet! If I can jerry-rig it I will.

I have plenty of duct tape.🙈
 

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The Dremel light duty cut-off wheels are indeed fragile. I broke many while laying track for my layout. I stocked up beforehand knowing how fragile they are.

When finished using it for the day I would always hang the tool up by the attached loop to keep that disc from touching anything until I used it again.

They do fly apart and I always have safety glasses on while using a cut-off disc or wheel of any kind.
 

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They are fragile, but if I'm patient and let the tool do the work rather than bearing down, I can usually wear them away before they break. I still wouldn't dream of using one without safety glasses (all it takes is one object pinging off your lenses with intense force and you are forever a fan!).
 

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Yep, the incline was in the original plan, but I don't know if it was by coincidence or design that the end of the turn out landed right there. As you alluded to, it took some fiddling to get the whole track laid according to plan...following it exactly wouldn't work at all, especially since they made a mistake requiring the use of a particular length of track that wouldn't fit! Because I had to fudge that area it could be my fault the turnout wound up where it did. Anyway I tried to smooth out the transition with plaster filler but that just made things worse, so for now I've cut the track free from the roadbed and stuffed a shim in there-it works, but I know it isn't "right."

I sure hate to start over though.....seems like this whole experience has been one step forward two steps back the entire way!

The second turnout, at the end of a curve (traveling counter-clockwise) isn't as much of an issue as long as I'm not trying to break any speed records. Otherwise inertia wreaks all kinds of havoc. There's no practical reason for it being placed where it is but again, in my ignorance I blindly followed the instructions thinking surely Woodland Scenics knew what they were doing, any issues had to be mistakes I made!

Live and learn.🤪

TF I'd love to go to a wider radius but there just isn't room! The turnout in question is coming off an 11" curve, it just would have made more sense to have at least a short straight there instead. It'd be simple enough to swap things around but since the other turnout is at the opposite end of the same section it may be better to start over-but not yet! If I can jerry-rig it I will.

I have plenty of duct tape.🙈
gimme30;

Does the 11" curve feed into the straight route of your Atlas turnout or the curved route? If it feeds into the straight route, that's not bad. If it feeds into the curved route, that's OK too. The 19" curve in the turnout will just act as a form of easement for the tighter 11" curve. Is there any way you can post your track plan? I'd like to look at it and see if I can suggest any improvements.

Regards;

Traction Fan 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #47
539785

There ya go, not much to it!

The incline starts on the right side where turnout 20-202 meets curve 20-160, increasing in the counter-clockwise direction. 20-200 at the top left of the loop is the area I had to fudge-This pic shows a single straight but the kit instructions called for three 1 1/4" pieces and one 5" piece, and those are what was included. They wouldn't fit, in any combination, so I had to cut a straight piece to use as filler elsewhere.
 

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That's the Scenic Ridge, isn't it?

That's a tight little booger. (Am I allowed to say 'booger'?

Can you add a short straight piece between the lower right curve and the turnout to smooth the transition between the tight curve and the turnout?

Scenic Ridge.jpg
 

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View attachment 539785
There ya go, not much to it!

The incline starts on the right side where turnout 20-202 meets curve 20-160, increasing in the counter-clockwise direction. 20-200 at the top left of the loop is the area I had to fudge-This pic shows a single straight but the kit instructions called for three 1 1/4" pieces and one 5" piece, and those are what was included. They wouldn't fit, in any combination, so I had to cut a straight piece to use as filler elsewhere.
gimme30
 

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gimme30;

The right end of the passing siding, the same area you're describing, contains a reverse curve. Reverse curves are bad things to have in any track plan. They can cause derailments occasionally. Sometimes they're unavoidable, as in a crossover that uses two Atlas snap switches, like the one to the immediately left of the area you described. Because Atlas snap switch turnouts they have curved routes, which will be back-to-back, the train curve first one way and then the other as it passes through the crossover. Back to your described area. The reverse curve in that area only come into play when the turnout is set for the siding,m using the turnout's curved route. That route contains a curve that is the opposite direction from the 11" r. curve in the main line.
If it is set for the straight, mainline route, then you have one simple curve feeding into straight track, which is fine. The same reverse curve scenario is repeated on the left end of that same passing siding.
Fortunately, these two potential problem areas are easy to eliminate by switching the turnouts used on the left and replacing them with the turnouts from the right. In both cases, use the curved route of the newly swapped turnout to connect to the mainline curve. That means that if the train goes into the siding, from either end, it will travel from 11 curve into a piece of "straight track"( the straight route of the turnout)
If the train stays on the mainline, it travels from an 11"r curve into a 19"r curve (in the turnout) these curves will both be in the same direction, so no reverse curve! The 19"r curve in the turnout will also act as an easement into the 11"r mainline curve. Win win! If/when you start over, and if you decide to keep using your Atlas turnouts, then I would use this arrangement wherever possible. Other brands of turnouts don't have a curved route* just two straight routes, so this arrangement of curves won't apply.

Good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan 😊

* The exception to the "no curved route" statement is, of course a curved turnout, which has two curved routes and no straight route.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
To quote Charlie Brown...."AUUUUUUUGGGHH!!"
Why in the world wouldn't Woodland Scenics know better than to include something like that in a track plan? Haven't they been around forever?

Jeez louise. :mad:

Never mind, I'm done dinking around with track. As the fellow in my avatar would say, a man's got to know his limitations, and I hit mine months ago. Honestly that siding won't get used anyway-I've got an extra 10"-12" on the right side of the plan where Dr. Mort's (Dr. Mort's Creepy Carnival Halloween Train Set - Rel. 10/16) is going to sit idle near a makeshift carnival, never to move....ever...again...bwhahahahaha!

Besides I'm sick of looking at all the white and need to get to makin' mountains.

Speaking of landscaping, anyone know where I might find N scale alligators or crocs?
 

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To quote Charlie Brown...."AUUUUUUUGGGHH!!"
Why in the world wouldn't Woodland Scenics know better than to include something like that in a track plan? Haven't they been around forever?

Jeez louise. :mad:
These canned track plans are often terrible designs. They basically turn some graphic designer (who may not have the foggiest idea how to actually build a layout) loose on layout planning software and have him crank out a bunch of designs. Many of them have unworkable track arrangements, unreasonably steep inclines, and too much track crammed into tight spaces.

These layouts are primarily marketing tools, intended to sell track, or in Woodland Scenics' case, scenery materials and layout supplies.

That's why so many of us push newcomers to design their own.
 
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