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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
zeetrains;

Your choice, of course, but since you have 18 turnouts, and cost is a big factor, why not just fix the Atlas Snap Switch turnouts you already have in place? This is by far the easiest, and least expensive, option. You might want to try modifying one of your Snap Switches using the info from my file. Then see how it performs.
Atlas Custom Line will be a small step up the quality ladder from Atlas Snap Switches, but Shinohara is a better quality turnout than either Atlas. I have not used Atlas Custom Line turnouts myself, since they are not available in my scale (N) Neither the Atlas Custom Line,* or Shinohara, turnouts will be a drop-in fit for snap switches. You will need to take up some track, and probably a bit of roadbed, in order to fit either of them. Also both come without switch machines, so include that considerable cost when planning your course of action. You may be able to use your existing Atlas switch machines on Atlas Custom Line* turnouts, but they will not be strong enough to operate the Shinohara turnouts. Those Atlas switch machines are the weakest on the market. That's why Atlas Snap Switches have unusually loose point rails with rivets at both ends. Its only by making them "super loosey goosey" That the rather whimpey Atlas switch machine can move them. Shinohara, and most other decent turnouts, need a stronger switch machine, like a Tortoise motor. (approx. $18 ea.)
New, retail, Peco & Shinohara should be fairly close in price. I don't use E-bay, so I don't know about prices there.

Good Luck with whatever you decide to do;

Traction Fan

* If you decide to buy Atlas Custom Line turnouts, make sure of what you're getting. I listed the differences between actual Custom Line turnouts, and Snap Switch turnouts, in my earlier response. There is mis-labeling however. I have seen turnouts labeled "Custom Line" that were physically identical to Snap Switches.
Buying them would be like replacing your 18 Snap Switches with 18 new Snap Switches at the higher price Atlas charges for "Custom Line" + inflation from when you built your layout up to today. Why spend that amount of money for no improvement? :oops: Frankly, I don't see any point in replacing Atlas with Atlas, even real custom line Atlas, but that's up to you.
Thanks Traction Fan.....I'm thinking on going with Shinohara
 

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Unfortunately, Mr. Shinohara decided to retire about 3 years ago and shut down the business. You may still find some of those turnouts hanging around, but no new ones are being produced. Walthers purchased their tooling and has contracted a company to make their Walthers Track turnouts to the old spec. Unfortunately, they're having supply chain issues so the supply is scarce at tehe moment.
 
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Unfortunately, Mr. Shinohara decided to retire about 3 years ago and shut down the business. You may still find some of those turnouts hanging around, but no new ones are being produced. Walthers purchased their tooling and has contracted a company to make their Walthers Track turnouts to the old spec. Unfortunately, they're having supply chain issues so the supply is scarce at tehe moment.
Good to know .....Thanks Much !
 

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Now that I finally got a couple locomotives running on my layout I'm having a lot of derailments at a lot of my turnouts. Yes, the ARE Atlas. I first built my layout in the 70s and they were in my price range LOL So my question is, are there any economical turnouts out there that I could start replacing a few at a time? Right now I have #4s, #6s & #8s. (Atlas) #s . My only concern would be tearing up my road bed. I don't mind cutting track or filling in track. It would be the radius of the turnout to fit the road bed that would matter ! Any insight or suggestions would be appreciated !
Well I had the same problem. I switched from plastic wheels to metal (non-magnetic) and made each car weight according to NMRA specifications. My problems evaporated! One thing I found is the NMRA standards appear to me that of an empty rail car. Growing up near rail yards and shipping loading points, I’ve seen loaded rail cars depress rail and ties nearly as much as a heavy steamer. So, I’m of the mind that exceeding the NMRA standards only impacts the amount your locomotive will pull. But, isn’t that the reason real railroads use more than a single engine and developed consisting? Dur:) I routinely consist smaller engines, even stermers.
Check out my ideas for your self. You might be surprised!
 

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Now that I finally got a couple locomotives running on my layout I'm having a lot of derailments at a lot of my turnouts. Yes, the ARE Atlas. I first built my layout in the 70s and they were in my price range LOL So my question is, are there any economical turnouts out there that I could start replacing a few at a time? Right now I have #4s, #6s & #8s. (Atlas) #s . My only concern would be tearing up my road bed. I don't mind cutting track or filling in track. It would be the radius of the turnout to fit the road bed that would matter ! Any insight or suggestions would be appreciated !
Thus 70’s junk drove me out of N Gauge for 40 years.
 

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Here's another helper video
beepjuice;

"Interesting" video, but not accurate, or complete. It also includes what I would consider some rather bad advice. What this guy has done is add a bistable spring to some old Atlas HO turnouts, both Custom Line and Snap Switches. The spring he makes from a paper clip performs the same function as the factory-installed bistable springs in Peco, Micro Engineering and the new Walthers turnouts. Not a bad Idea, though hardly an original one. Model railroader ran an article many years ago called "Finger Flipping Turnouts" using the same principal but with smaller wire inserted from the top, instead of the bottom, of the turnout. All that's fine, and may well help reduce the number of "picking the points" derailments. However he then claims this makes the turnouts perfectly reliable, and tells viewers not to believe anyone who says that a modeler should use "expensive" (aka better made, more reliable, turnouts) This is both arrogant, and untrue.
He also does exactly nothing to fix one of the most common causes of derailments on Atlas (& some other) turnouts. The over-wide flangeways cause a lot of derailments. They can be easily fixed by gluing styrene shims into the flangeways. Many modelers have done this, with great success. He doesn't even mention it. There are some other problems with Atlas turnouts that are not mentioned either, like sagging point rails, rivet wear, poor electrical contact between the point & closure rails, and, in the case of the snap switch, a very weak switch machine.
In fact, there is no reference to switch machines, some of which cause modelers to intentionally remove the spring from a Peco, Micro Engineering, or Walthers turnouts. All in all I rate this video as poor and deceptive. It covers only one possible problem, and recommends only one fix, (the spring) which, depending on whether the viewers plan to use a switch machine or not, may not be necessary, or, in some cases even desirable.

I give it multiple thumbs down. (n)(n)(n)(n)(n)(n)(n)(n)(n)

Traction Fan :(
 

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I'm having a similar problem with Walthers brand turnouts. I have 15 of them and 2 are "acting up" I tweaked the ends slightly and made it much better but not perfect. The switch rail isnt notched or recessed. I can switch out a few to replace the ones on the main line. The same cars were trying to go the other direction on each turnout. I pulled these cars off and noticed the "flanges" on the truck wheels were as sharp as a knife. I switched out some of the wheels for wider flange wheel/axles and that worked much better. I have no issues with the turnouts that have a straight piece on either end of them. Problems are with a section of curved track attached to the turnout. The locomotives are not a problem at all. I may reshape the layout to place these turnout's on straight pieces of track. I hate derailments with a passion.
 

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I'm having a similar problem with Walthers brand turnouts. I have 15 of them and 2 are "acting up" I tweaked the ends slightly and made it much better but not perfect. The switch rail isnt notched or recessed. I can switch out a few to replace the ones on the main line. The same cars were trying to go the other direction on each turnout. I pulled these cars off and noticed the "flanges" on the truck wheels were as sharp as a knife. I switched out some of the wheels for wider flange wheel/axles and that worked much better. I have no issues with the turnouts that have a straight piece on either end of them. Problems are with a section of curved track attached to the turnout. The locomotives are not a problem at all. I may reshape the layout to place these turnout's on straight pieces of track. I hate derailments with a passion.
Again, "Walthers" turnouts covers at least 3 different model numbers for each turnout number and orientation (RH or LH). The oldest models can be a little problematic, but I've never had the issues you describe in 20 years of using them. You're providing some vague reference to a piece of curved track next to a turnout. This may, in fact be either creating a kink in your rails, an unacceptably sharp turn on the diverging route, or an S curve, all of which would cause problems which aren't the fault of the turnouts themselves. Also sounds like some of your rolling stock is out of spec and needs upgraded RP-25 conforming wheels.
 
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The turnouts are all brand new. Walthers 433-3003 remote control turnout, code 100.. 22 inch radius curves, turning left in a 180 degree turn. The turnout is right hand and it's the first piece of track after the turn. Going off the theory of the tapered wheel, that would push the wheel towards the outside of the curve and grab the moveable switch rail. I have many used cars, about 40. I spent a couple of days cleaning the wheels. Soaked them in Dawn dish soap/ water for hours. Then wiped them clean with Goo Gone. This worked awesome. Very little elbow grease to make them look like new. Then wiped them in rubbing alcohol. The axle tips were dipped in powered graphite. They spin for at least 5 seconds when ya give them a whirl. I have no plans on upgrading to better wheels. They cost too much. My plan is from now on to purchase higher quality cars to begin with. In the long run its a better bargain. Adding new couplers, body mounting them, then adding new wheels or new trucks makes some of these tyco/cox/bachmann and others no longer a good deal. I have a large outer loop that has zero turnouts, these cars will spend their time on that line. I have 18 cars on it now( all tyco and cox) that are the billboard cars. kelloggs/jello/ baby ruth etc, and never had a derailment. Wife likes the looks of the colorful billboard cars, so I have to keep them.
 

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I may try to notch the rail so moveable switch sits "inside it " better. I purchased quite a bit of old tyco track when I decided to get back into model RR ing last fall. Then later decided on DCC and all new everything. The old Tyco turnout rails are all notched and they still all work. I may try one or 2 in this spot and see whats what. For now the simple fix is an axle with wider flanges. I pulling about 11 cars and its always the same car in the same spot that starts the derailment. I swapped axles and that car pulls thru w/o an issue. Only problem is that I have 3 or 4 more cars to swap out axles. This afternoon I will run only new cars on that loop and see if there is still a problem. Im not complaining at all. I love to tweak things and make them work better. Solving issues is quite enjoyable.
 

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I'm having a similar problem with Walthers brand turnouts. I have 15 of them and 2 are "acting up" I tweaked the ends slightly and made it much better but not perfect. The switch rail isnt notched or recessed. I can switch out a few to replace the ones on the main line. The same cars were trying to go the other direction on each turnout. I pulled these cars off and noticed the "flanges" on the truck wheels were as sharp as a knife. I switched out some of the wheels for wider flange wheel/axles and that worked much better. I have no issues with the turnouts that have a straight piece on either end of them. Problems are with a section of curved track attached to the turnout. The locomotives are not a problem at all. I may reshape the layout to place these turnout's on straight pieces of track. I hate derailments with a passion.
Tigger;

I have used the older "Walther's" turnouts, which were actually made by Shinohara, and distributed here by Walthers. I have not used the latest Walther's turnouts, which are made by someone other than Shinohara. I note, from CTValley's response, that there may well be a third manufacturer of "Walther's" turnouts, so I'm not at all sure what kind of Walthers turnout you are dealing with. Some clear closeup photos would help.

You mentioned that "the switch rail isn't notched, or recessed." The (two) rails that should be notched are actually called the "stock rails", but that's just a technicality, I know which rails you mean. The lack of notches can itself be a significant problem, but there may be others as well.
The old Shinohara/Walthers turnouts did have notches. You, can, (and in my opinion should) add the notches yourself pretty easily if you are reasonably careful.

Mark the spot where the moving point rail touches the stock rail when the points are thrown. Do this on both routes that the points can be thrown to. Then, use a tiny miniature file to remove a bit of the inside of the stock rail just deep enough for the point rail to fit into the notch. The tips of the point rails should be fairly sharp, (often they are pretty blunt on some commercial turnouts) File them if necessary.

Imagine that you are a wheel flange, approaching the point. What's ahead of you that you can possibly snag on, or get on the wrong side of? The answer should be "nothing", which is the reason behind a thin point rail end, hidden inside a notch in the stock rail.
Filing the notch may require removing a tie, right under the notch marking, to let the file get where it needs to work. The removed tie can be put back in place after.

The thin point rail tips, and the notched stock rails, do a lot to eliminate "Picking the points" a very common turnout-caused derailment, where some wheels go onto one route through the turnout, and other wheels try to get onto the other route.

This same thing can happen further into the turnout, at the frog. Again you may see part of the train trying to follow one route, and the rest trying to go the other way, causing cars to derail. The cure here is to use an NMRA gauge to check the width (and depth. for another problem*) of the "flangeways" that are part of the frog itself, and those right next to the stock rails, directly opposite the frog. With the exception of Micro Engineering, every brand of commercial turnout I've ever dealt with has flangeways that are both too wide, and too deep, to meet the standards built into the NMRA gauge. Again, I'm not familiar with whichever Walthers turnout is giving you problems, but it couldn't hurt to check. Another potential cause of the same problem is the distance between the wheels. This is called the wheel "gauge" and is critical. You can check the gauge of all the wheels, the track gauge, and a bunch of critical areas on your turnouts, all using the same NMRA gauge. This essential tool costs about $12 and is available from www.modeltrainstuff.com or www.trainworld.com
The files below explain more about turnouts. A lot of the information in the "Improving Atlas turnouts" file actually applies to other brands of turnouts too. Starting on page 8, you will see photos of how the NMRA gauge is used to check flangeways, points, and other areas of a turnout.
Other info in this file, concerning rivet pivots on the point rails, and adding jumper wires from the closure rails to the point rails, can be ignored, unless your turnouts have rivets. I suspect your Tyco turnouts may be nearly identical to the Atlas "Snap Switch" but that's just my guess.

Good Luck;

Traction Fan 🙂

* Too deep flangeways cause cars to bounce vertically, and sway side-to-side, when passing through a turnout.
 

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I messing with it right now. Tried to file the leading edge a bit to help ease the wheels in and it was disaster. Every car derailed. Next is a swap with one that's in a "yard" . I added a 6 inch piece of straight track right in front of the turnout and that seemed to help, only 2 cars derailed out of 12. but the turnout still needs to be put where it will rarely be used. This turnout will be the experimental one. I will try to recess the main rail of it and if I mess it up, oh well. You tube video shows a person adding a tension spring to it. I'll have to re-watch that video again. I might have to dig out my dremel tool.
 

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Tigger-- I'm glad you have done so much work on your wheels, but on my layout, any car that routinely picks turnouts would be banished until I had replaced the wheels... no matter how much effort I had put into making the wheels spin well -- crappy flanges, poor profiles, and out of spec axles aren't easy to correct. But you have to do what you feel is right on your layout. Obviously, I can't really tell what might be happening without a picture, but there are also lots of track configuration issues that can make an otherwise good turnout into a problem child. I mentioned a frpew of these in my post.

Since I'm using several (6) of the new Walthers Track models on my layout without issues, I'm inclined to think it isn't an inherent problem with the turnouts.

And to address Traction Fan's observation, yes, the Walther's Track models use a different supplier, since Shinohara quit making track a couple of years ago.
 
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Adding new couplers, body mounting them, then adding new wheels or new trucks makes some of these tyco/cox/bachmann and others no longer a good deal
Hate to tell you, but those cars were never a good deal, even when new, at any price…..unfortunately, back when they were new, there weren’t many better cars out there…..
 

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I "jumped" back into trains not knowing any other brands existed. My bad. Should have joined this forum first before any purchase. Some of the cars will get upgraded wheels. But not all. What brand is considered a good upgrade for wheels? Some of the tyco cars came with metal wheels on them. Must have been replaced by the previous owner(s) I want to get all the track issues solved before I start the foam track bed/ballast process. This is the first time the layout has had cars on it. I was running just the loco's so far. I ran a few of the brand new cars yesterday and they didn't like that turnout either. Seeing that is 90 plus degrees out today and extremely humid, I'll get a lot accomplished today down in the basement.
 

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How about a photo or two of the problem area?
 

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I swapped out the suspect switch with another one that has never been run on. The first 9 cars made it thru then the last 3 decided to look like a country dog going to town. I'll try to get some pics a little later on. I removed the loco and pulled the cars thru by hand. Same cars tried to take the other direction every time. I believe its the wheels These are 12 hopper cars of different brands. I added some weight but that didnt help. Gonna try that spring trick I saw on you tube. It keeps slight tension on the moveable rails. Then its new wheel time. Another option is to remove these switches and alter the layout.
 
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