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Be Careful Using Atlas N Scale Code 55

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Lindy0001

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Jan 28, 2002, 6:57:41 AM1/28/02
to
Went to the local hobbyshop over the weekend. The new Atlas Code 55 track and
switches are in and they look real nice. The kicker came when we tested a Micro
Trains car on the new track, the wheels hit the ties and the car bounced!

It seems that if you want to use the new Code 55 track from Atlas all cars and
locos must have low profile wheels. This problem is unique to the new Atlas
track and no similiar problem is found with Micro Engineering or Peco Code 55
products.

This is a real disapointment as the track really looks nice, but there will be
an added expense of low profile wheels unless Atlas does something to correct
the problem in the near future.

Dave

Lee Poplin

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Jan 28, 2002, 10:51:10 AM1/28/02
to
In article <20020128065741...@mb-ci.aol.com>, lind...@aol.com
says...

>Went to the local hobbyshop over the weekend. The new Atlas Code 55 track and
>switches are in and they look real nice. The kicker came when we tested a Micro
>Trains car on the new track, the wheels hit the ties and the car bounced!

Well, kinda good to hear at least on my end. I was debating the Atlas or Peco
Code 55 track and just last week I decided on the Peco. I hadn't heard any
complaints about it so I bought a box of 30. Would have been looking for my
receipt to return my Atlas after seeing your message. :)

-Lee

---------------------------
Nashville, TN
Southern / Norfolk Southern - Z, N, HO Scales
NMRA Lifetime & Southeast (Cumberland) Region Lifetime Member
DCC all the way baby!

Mike Tennent

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Jan 29, 2002, 9:27:26 AM1/29/02
to
Lee Poplin <Lee_m...@newsguy.com> wrote:

>In article <20020128065741...@mb-ci.aol.com>, lind...@aol.com
>says...
>>Went to the local hobbyshop over the weekend. The new Atlas Code 55 track and
>>switches are in and they look real nice. The kicker came when we tested a Micro
>>Trains car on the new track, the wheels hit the ties and the car bounced!
>
>Well, kinda good to hear at least on my end. I was debating the Atlas or Peco
>Code 55 track and just last week I decided on the Peco. I hadn't heard any
>complaints about it so I bought a box of 30. Would have been looking for my
>receipt to return my Atlas after seeing your message. :)
>
>-Lee
>

There's been much discussion of this on the N scale lists. Here's the other side
of the argument:

1 - Atlas's Code 55 was specifically designed to conform to NMRA standards and
RP's and does so.
2 - Atlas's Code 55 track has more realistic rail spikes, which causes the
problem. Other brands aren't as detailed, apparently.
3 - Atlas's design results in a much more flexible "flex" track and will be
easier to use.
4 - Micro Train's standard "pizza cutter" wheel flanges are over-sized and
exceed NMRA clearances for Code 55.. They're the problem, not the Atlas track.
5 - Converting to available low profile wheels solves the problem.
6 - If you're concerned enough about scale to go with Code 55 track, then
replacing the MT wheels is a no-brainer.

Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't see how track
that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that. The MT pizza cutter
flanges are the real problem.

Mike Tennent
IPE
Crossing Guard Detector/ Flashers
Operating Traffic Lights, HO/N
http://www.ironpeng.com/ipe/

Lindy0001

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Jan 29, 2002, 12:26:58 PM1/29/02
to
>Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't see how track
>that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that. The MT pizza cutter
>flanges are the real problem.
>
>

The problem is not just with Micro Trains the new Kato mikado will also have
problems with the track. Micro Engineering and Peco make Code 55 and neither
have the problem, so yes this is more an Atlas problem. At the very least there
should be some labeling warning the consumer that they need to use low profile
wheels since no other commercially available Code 55 product has the same
problem. It is an Atlas problem.

Dave
in Kansas

Fred Dabney

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Jan 29, 2002, 12:59:04 PM1/29/02
to
> Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't
see how track
> that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that. The MT
pizza cutter
> flanges are the real problem.

We had the same problem in HO some years ago when
the RP wheel profile became common, but a lot of makers,
in particular the train set folk refused to comply, claiming
that they caused more derailments.

In fact, crappy wheels on lousy track is a bad combination
in any scale, and just fixing one sometimes doesn't help
all that much. It's a complex dynamic, that wheel on rail
interface, and it is surprising just how well it all works
when you start looking at it.

But "Pizza cutter" wheels are almost totally gone from
North American HO practice and things do run better
now. It's only the European toy train makers like
Marklin and their ilk who are trapped in a morass of
old, and largely non-interchangeable wheel/track standards.
I'm sure if they had the choice and could write off
generations of the old stuff without totally alienating
a vast customer base they would, in a flash!

I also expect to see NA HO standards evolve toward
still finer track and wheel standards. Consider that
Atlas and Genesis have started using code 88 wheels
on much new rolling stock, code 83 rail has almost
totally supplanted code 100 in new products, and
while by no means "true scale" is a vast improvement
over the market of just a few years ago.

So, if MT cars don't run well on the new Atlas rail
products, I blame MT for not helping to further
the move to better appearing models.

Fred D.


Lee Poplin

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Jan 29, 2002, 1:49:52 PM1/29/02
to
In article <20020129122658...@mb-bk.aol.com>, lind...@aol.com
says...

>The problem is not just with Micro Trains the new Kato mikado will also have
>problems with the track. Micro Engineering and Peco make Code 55 and neither
>have the problem, so yes this is more an Atlas problem. At the very least there
>should be some labeling warning the consumer that they need to use low profile
>wheels since no other commercially available Code 55 product has the same
>problem. It is an Atlas problem.
>
>Dave

I would have to disagree and say that since Atlas followed an industry standard
and made it to scale more so than anyone else that Kato and MT has not paid
attention to the compatability of their product to Code 55 standards. Does Kato
or MT state that their product will work on Code 55 track? If so then maybe
they are the ones who has a labeling problem towards the consumer. Just a view
from the otherside. Not a flame towards you.

Afterall the reason why there is a NMRA standard is to ensure everything works
together. If the Kato and MT's are not NMRA compliant then that would show
where the problem lies.

Ken Harstine

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Jan 29, 2002, 6:03:20 PM1/29/02
to
In article
<C5A0E56D0F7C2163.50F89099...@lp.airnews.net>,
ironp...@ironpeng.com says...
N scale has never built to NMRA standards. It is perhaps both the NMRA
and Atlas's fault for doing something the insures incompatibility. Atlas
certainly should have displayed a warning that their track will only work
with equipment and track built to NMRA standards. Given that almost no
one in N scale builds their standard product to the NMRA standard, it
would have also been appropriate for Atlas to list compatible vendors.

I am sure that in the end the market will solve this situation. But I
fear that this will tarnish Atlas who is in many other ways an excellent
manufacturer and supporter of N scale.

Ken Harstine


>
> There's been much discussion of this on the N scale lists. Here's the other side
> of the argument:
>
> 1 - Atlas's Code 55 was specifically designed to conform to NMRA standards and
> RP's and does so.
> 2 - Atlas's Code 55 track has more realistic rail spikes, which causes the
> problem. Other brands aren't as detailed, apparently.
> 3 - Atlas's design results in a much more flexible "flex" track and will be
> easier to use.
> 4 - Micro Train's standard "pizza cutter" wheel flanges are over-sized and
> exceed NMRA clearances for Code 55.. They're the problem, not the Atlas track.
> 5 - Converting to available low profile wheels solves the problem.
> 6 - If you're concerned enough about scale to go with Code 55 track, then
> replacing the MT wheels is a no-brainer.
>
> Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't see how track
> that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that. The MT pizza cutter
> flanges are the real problem.
>
> Mike Tennent
> IPE
> Crossing Guard Detector/ Flashers
> Operating Traffic Lights, HO/N
> http://www.ironpeng.com/ipe/
>

--
------------------------------------------------------
Ken Harstine
Holyoke, Massachusetts
k.har...@ieee.org (use this for future correspondence)
http://www.directvinternet.com/~kharstin/

Chuck Kimbrough

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Jan 29, 2002, 6:14:21 PM1/29/02
to
What mfr of HO code 70 or 83 advertises that their track will not be
appropriate for old cookie cutter wheels.

--
C. Kimbrough
A & E RAILROAD
TRF MN

BJKRONEN

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Jan 29, 2002, 7:31:09 PM1/29/02
to
>Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't see how track
>that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that.

When folks can't run anything they have purchased in the last 20 years, or
something bought just six months ago, there's a simple solution:

Atlas track won't sell. No matter the "standard" it adhears to.

Sometimes the "norm" is more important than "new and better" when it comes to
sales.

My regrets to Atlas on creating a slow mover/no mover in sales.

Bill

Christian

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Jan 29, 2002, 8:43:26 PM1/29/02
to
| Atlas track won't sell. No matter the "standard" it adhears to.
| My regrets to Atlas on creating a slow mover/no mover in sales.


I think it was about a year ago that internet wisdom predicted the end for
Atlas because of the not-optional decoders in the new [H0] locomotives.
About two years ago the internet prediction was that limited runs would
destroy Atlas. Five years ago "nobody wants a completely assembled modern
caboose." I recall the hobby shop "truth" 25 years ago that nobody would
spend $25 for a plastic Atlas locomotive.

Since the Atlas track is cheaper than Peco or ME and will discount further I
have a feeling its going to be around. Remember, it isn't replacing their
regular line.

CTucker
NY


Fred Dabney

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Jan 29, 2002, 11:58:59 PM1/29/02
to
> N scale has never built to NMRA standards. It is perhaps both
the NMRA
> and Atlas's fault for doing something the insures
incompatibility.

Ah. That's the problem.

Time was, almost any new maker deciding to enter the
US market either followed NMRA track and wheel standards
or got left out, long term.

When N scale was first in the US market, a lot of it
didn't follow NMRA standards, not least because there
weren't any.

But one was established, and many makers did follow
it. Some didn't. Part of the problem has been that
unlike HO, the majority of N scale business has been
oriented toward a "ready-to-run" marketplace and
there just hasn't been the same sort of market pressure
that encouraged even the train set makers in HO to
conform.

One car quibble or even rail at the NMRA's standards
and rps, many do. But what they have done is create
a level playing field for all vendors so anyone's track
and wheels will work together.

The fact that some, not all N scale products insist
in keeping wheel standards that in proportion look
like 40's vintage O gage toy trains isn't something
the market will support much longer. People see
good stuff, look at the bad stuff and wonder why
they are paying a premium for the stuff that looks
so toylike when it's obvious other makers can do
it right and it runs well too.

It's particularly ironic since MT and Kato have
the reputation for having the best in the scale,
but sooner or later their refusal to adapt will
bite them in the butt...

Fred D.


Pacific57

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Jan 30, 2002, 12:14:22 AM1/30/02
to
>
>>Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't see how
>track
>>that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that.


>
>When folks can't run anything they have purchased in the last 20 years, or
>something bought just six months ago, there's a simple solution:
>
>Atlas track won't sell. No matter the "standard" it adhears to.
>
>Sometimes the "norm" is more important than "new and better" when it comes to
>sales.
>

Agreed. A case of theory versus actual conditions. That Kato Mikado problem
is a big one. If this is indeed the case I think Atlas will modify the new
track
to suit. Kato locomotives are a much bigger element in the hobby than any
brand of track. Kato will probably not change their flanges because they just
won't need to.
Now, does the new track have a live frog (selective) or a (powerable with a
relay) isolated frog?
-John

Steve Caple

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Jan 30, 2002, 12:23:40 AM1/30/02
to
Fred Dabney wrote:
> One ca[n] quibble or even rail

I think rail is most appropriate in context.

Lindy0001

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Jan 30, 2002, 5:52:57 AM1/30/02
to
>It's particularly ironic since MT and Kato have
>the reputation for having the best in the scale,
>but sooner or later their refusal to adapt will
>bite them in the butt...
>
>Fred D.

Fred-

I don't think either has refused to adapt, it's never really been a problem
before. I have never seen it discussed here or on the N scale boards. It's just
that now with the release of the Atlas track some are complaining about Micro
Trains wheels.

Atlas could have avoided the whole mess and left off the spike detail and all
would have been fine. I think Atlas is hurt more by this as Micro Trains is a
much more established manufacturer of cars and there are options other than
Atlas for code 55 track.

Maybe from these lemons will come lemonade and a finer scale wheel will become
the standard. There's only one other problem though and that is with operation.
N scale cars are so light that the finer flanges can cause operational problems
not a factor in larger scales.

Dave
in Kansas

Mike Tennent

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Jan 30, 2002, 8:13:08 AM1/30/02
to
lind...@aol.com (Lindy0001) wrote:


>
>Atlas could have avoided the whole mess and left off the spike detail and all
>would have been fine.

So, you're saying that Atlas should have LOWERED the quality of their Code 55
rail just so it wouldn't conflict with non-compliant, out dated, out of
proportion wheels from MT?

I'm glad they didn't. If it forces MT to change, that's better for N scale in
the long run.

Lindy0001

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Jan 30, 2002, 8:48:53 AM1/30/02
to
>Atlas should have LOWERED the quality of their Code 55

I don't really think the ommission of N scale spike heads represents a
signifigant lowering of quality.

>I'm glad they didn't. If it forces MT to change, that's better for N scale in
>the long run.

I highly doubt Atlas will force Micro Trains to do anything. I see Micro Trains
as a much bigger force in the N scale car market than Atlas is in the Code 55
track market.

Only time will tell but Atlas really lost alot of business that would have been
theirs had they just done a little more homework rather than taking a rather
lazy route of adopting an NMRA standard which is not the standard of practice
in N scale.

The NMRA has never been a real force in N scale and maybe it's time the N scale
groups organize and work with all manufacturers on standards. This hurts N
scalers as much as it does Atlas.

Atlas's products are not that much cheaper than their competitors and without
compatability they will only find a home on new layouts where the owners have
small car fleets or where the owners will want to invest in changing alot of
wheelsets.

ATlas's new product is also not compatable with Katos new steamer and probably
alot of other older diesels. And all for the want of including N scale spike
heads? Sorry but I see this as a loss for N scalers and a real faux pax by
Atlas.

Dave
in Kansas


Chuck Kimbrough

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Jan 30, 2002, 8:51:59 AM1/30/02
to
Is the Atlas cod 55 track scale or is for the masses?

--

Mike Tennent

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Jan 30, 2002, 9:10:12 AM1/30/02
to
On Tue, 29 Jan 2002 18:03:20 -0500, Ken Harstine
<khar...@directvinternet.com> wrote:

>In article
><C5A0E56D0F7C2163.50F89099...@lp.airnews.net>,
>ironp...@ironpeng.com says...
>N scale has never built to NMRA standards. It is perhaps both the NMRA
>and Atlas's fault for doing something the insures incompatibility. Atlas
>certainly should have displayed a warning that their track will only work
>with equipment and track built to NMRA standards. Given that almost no
>one in N scale builds their standard product to the NMRA standard, it
>would have also been appropriate for Atlas to list compatible vendors.
>

Huh?!?

"WARNING!! This product conforms to NMRA Standards."

Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, but it seems to me that manufacturers
who DON'T comply with NMRA standards bear the onus if their product
doesn't work with those that comply.

Mike Tennent
IronPenguin Electronics
Operating Traffic Lights
Crssing Guards
HO & N Scale
www.ironpeng.com/ipe

Message has been deleted

BJKRONEN

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Jan 30, 2002, 1:28:52 PM1/30/02
to
With all respect.....to other opinions....

If someone runs out an buys the Atlas track, then uses it on a N-Track module,
then you would have to have a warning sticker on the entire layout:

---------
"WARNING!! This N-Trak layout has one or more modules that conform to NMRA
track Standards.

Only certain locomotives and cars manufacturered after a certain date and
conforming to certain standards can be run on this layout. Please leave
everything else you own at home."
-------------

I'm absolutely not opposed to standards. My VHS player wouldn't work without
standards on tapes and players.

And I can appreciate the point of the "scalers" among us who really want more
prototypical appearance.

But what we are confronted with is the problem of discarding all previous
investments in the hobby, just to run "this" implementation of the NMRA
standard. Not while there are other implementations to select from.

My instinct continues to be that folks won't discard everything they own, just
to have "this" track. Or replace all the wheels. Or modify locomotives.

And when folks take the time and effort to stop by my humble layout with their
collections of trains, I really want them to be able to run it on my layout.
No matter what year they acquired the treasure.

By the way, I think the track looks really great. I'll conceed quickly on that
one.

But I'll continue to look at it in the glass case at the model shop for years
to come.

Bill

John Stephens

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Jan 30, 2002, 2:01:22 PM1/30/02
to
In article <20020130055257...@mb-fr.aol.com>, lind...@aol.com
(Lindy0001) writes:

>and there are options other than
>Atlas for code 55 track.
>
>Maybe from these lemons will come lemonade and a finer scale wheel will
>become
>the standard. There's only one other problem though and that is with
>operation.
>N scale cars are so light that the finer flanges can cause operational
>problems
>not a factor in larger scales.

Yes, there certainly are options other than Atlas code 55. We can just
continue with the toy train track we have been stuck with over the past years;
the "NTRAK Mentality" if you will. Why hasn't NTRAK, which seems to regard
itself as a de facto leader of N Scale, gone to using more prototypical track
rather than sticking with the very unrealistic code 83 stuff? As for the
weight (or lack thereof) of N Scale cars with finer flanges causing
operational problems, that is just nonsense. For the past 15 years I have
operated on Code 40 rail at my club and Code 55 at home with 90% of my rolling
stock equiped with low profile flanges. No problems what so ever. IMO, Atlas
has performed a great service to the N Scale community and is forcing us to
improve despite ourselves. Just my $0.02 worth.

John Stephens
An N Scaler since 1966

David Carl Mallonée

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Jan 30, 2002, 5:36:06 PM1/30/02
to
Lindy0001 wrote:

> I highly doubt Atlas will force Micro Trains to do anything. I see Micro Trains
> as a much bigger force in the N scale car market than Atlas is in the Code 55
> track market.
>
> Only time will tell but Atlas really lost alot of business that would have been
> theirs had they just done a little more homework rather than taking a rather
> lazy route of adopting an NMRA standard which is not the standard of practice
> in N scale.

Dave,

I'll agree with you on the point that MT is the larger force, but remember how MT
got there? Were their couplers compatible with "the standard of practice in N
scale" when they first came out? I wasn't there but in the past 5 years I've been
back in the hobby I have yet to hear a valid argument that MT's should come
equipped with Rapidos. A lot of clamoring for them to embrace the low profile
philosophy, but zip, nada, etc. on dropping back to Rapidos. So why slam another
manufacturer who tries to raise the bar?

David

--
"One grandfather worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad,
The other worked for the Baltimore & Ohio.
I have every damn right to be schizophrenic!"


HMcelhoe

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Jan 30, 2002, 7:25:56 PM1/30/02
to
I find it interesting that some say MT has not conformed. Their standard
releases do conform with the code 80 track. If some choose to go with the more
realistic (Atlas) track, MT offers low profle choices of trucks and replacement
wheels. If we want MT to conform with the code 55 let them know you want them
to modify their cars to have the low profile wheels/trucks as standard
equipment! IMHO...

Bruce

Tony Burzio

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Jan 30, 2002, 9:43:13 PM1/30/02
to

John Stephens wrote:

> Yes, there certainly are options other than Atlas code 55. We can just
> continue with the toy train track we have been stuck with over the past years;
> the "NTRAK Mentality" if you will. Why hasn't NTRAK, which seems to regard
> itself as a de facto leader of N Scale, gone to using more prototypical track
> rather than sticking with the very unrealistic code 83 stuff?

From the NTrak Manual, code 55 trak is allowed. Micro Engineering switches
work fine in module use. The only thing expressly forbidden is the use of
hand-laid track on the main lines, because it's less rugged, although it is
encouraged for private trackage on your module. NTrak is a wonderful
way to gain experience, and can be quite nice if you use the latest in
fine scale standards.


Tony Burzio
San Diego, CA


John Stephens

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Jan 31, 2002, 6:09:03 PM1/31/02
to
In article <3C58AF12...@att.net>, Tony Burzio <tbu...@att.net> writes:

>NTrak is a wonderful
>way to gain experience, and can be quite nice if you use the latest in
>fine scale standards.

I agree, Tony. Hopefully NTRAK will lead model railroaders to bigger and
better things.

John Stephens

Lindy0001

unread,
Feb 3, 2002, 9:27:09 AM2/3/02
to
>So why slam another
>manufacturer who tries to raise the bar?
>

Not really a slam, as a matter of fact my whole point is if they would have
eliminated the spike heads there would be no problem at all with their track.

You know I remember in the 70's that then Kadee B scale cars came in either KD
couplers or rapido couplers.

Bottomline Atlas's new product isn't compatable with a number of exsisting
products and that hurts the product. Now wether or not N scale will change or
be challenged by this, I believe it will I think it will change but I think
we've just begun the dialogue and I don't think the direction f change is quite
set.

Dave
in Kansas
Just back after 5 dark cold electricless days

John Gault

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Feb 3, 2002, 8:25:46 PM2/3/02
to

As I recall the PECO isn't really Code 55 anyway. I was always told
it's just code 80 buried in the plastic ties to try to reach Code 55
height. No reduction in width or any other attempt to be 'scale'.

The ME is nice track from what I've seen. Just wish they offered more
variety in turnouts.

I wish Atlas and ME would follow PECO with the larger # turnouts and
curved turnouts for gosh sakes! Sure would make it easier on me.

Ken Harstine

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Feb 4, 2002, 5:59:38 PM2/4/02
to
"Standard" N scale track is not code 83 width but is narrorwer. My old
Western Railcraft code 55 is actually wider on the top (.7mm vs .5mm)
than Peco code 55. If the height above the ties is code 55, who cares
what is buried in the ties. Now tie spacing and color are a different
matter and Atlas's is better in that regard.

Ken Harstine

[This followup was posted to rec.models.railroad and a copy was sent to
the cited author.]

In article <tjor5uopu5f5njp4m...@4ax.com>,
snow...@hotmail.com says...

--

Tony Burzio

unread,
Feb 4, 2002, 11:31:31 PM2/4/02
to

Ken Harstine wrote:

> "Standard" N scale track is not code 83 width but is narrorwer. My old
> Western Railcraft code 55 is actually wider on the top (.7mm vs .5mm)
> than Peco code 55. If the height above the ties is code 55, who cares
> what is buried in the ties. Now tie spacing and color are a different
> matter and Atlas's is better in that regard.

Indeed, that is the problem. The height above the "ties"
is NOT code 55, since you really need to measure from
the plastic nibs to the top of the rail. This is the same problem
that Micro Engineering code 40 flex track had. If you have
to change all your wheels, why not code 40 flex?

ken.b....@seagate.com

unread,
May 9, 2019, 8:16:03 AM5/9/19
to
On Monday, January 28, 2002 at 5:57:41 AM UTC-6, Lindy0001 wrote:
> Went to the local hobbyshop over the weekend. The new Atlas Code 55 track and
> switches are in and they look real nice. The kicker came when we tested a Micro
> Trains car on the new track, the wheels hit the ties and the car bounced!
>
> It seems that if you want to use the new Code 55 track from Atlas all cars and
> locos must have low profile wheels. This problem is unique to the new Atlas
> track and no similiar problem is found with Micro Engineering or Peco Code 55
> products.
>
> This is a real disapointment as the track really looks nice, but there will be
> an added expense of low profile wheels unless Atlas does something to correct
> the problem in the near future.
>
> Dave

ken.b....@seagate.com

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May 9, 2019, 8:18:20 AM5/9/19
to
I can relate, spent 50$'s on code 55 track and was excited to use only to find these issue's, what a waste of money!

jsa...@ecn.ab.ca

unread,
Dec 25, 2019, 7:33:50 AM12/25/19
to
On Tuesday, January 29, 2002 at 7:27:26 AM UTC-7, Mike Tennent wrote:

> Some have tried to couch this as an "Atlas problem" but I don't see how track
> that conforms to NMRA standards can be labeled that. The MT pizza cutter
> flanges are the real problem.

You're quite correct - from a strict point of view. But people who want to improve
their layouts inexpensively, making only one improvement at a time, might _well_
feel that for Atlas to make the rail spikes so realistic that the track is
incompatible with a lot of existing trains was going too far.

I agree that it's not the right solution to have Atlas _stop_ making track as
realistic as possible for serious enthusiasts. But since this is a potentially
common problem, a warning that the track isn't compatible with certain types of
non-standard wheels is a reasonable thing to seek.

John Savard

jsa...@ecn.ab.ca

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Dec 25, 2019, 7:40:03 AM12/25/19
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On Tuesday, January 29, 2002 at 9:58:59 PM UTC-7, Fred Dabney wrote:

> It's particularly ironic since MT and Kato have
> the reputation for having the best in the scale,
> but sooner or later their refusal to adapt will
> bite them in the butt...

Ouch, yes!

I'd expect makers of cheap, low-quality trains to use wheels that follow the
design of the early days with toy train-like proportions. But the makers of
quality trains would try to follow scale more realistically, and follow official
standards.

Somebody else, though, posted that nobody in North America makes pizza-cutter
wheels any more. I guess that isn't inconsistent because neither MT nor Kato is
North American.

John Savard

jsa...@ecn.ab.ca

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Dec 25, 2019, 7:43:08 AM12/25/19
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On Wednesday, January 30, 2002 at 6:13:08 AM UTC-7, Mike Tennent wrote:

> So, you're saying that Atlas should have LOWERED the quality of their Code 55
> rail just so it wouldn't conflict with non-compliant, out dated, out of
> proportion wheels from MT?

I agree that this is the wrong solution. But selling a product that won't work
with trains from Kato and MT that are in wide use - when other Code 55 rail does
- without any warning to consumers that will lose money shouldn't be an option
either.

Something has to be done to raise awareness of this to avoid similar problems in
future.

However, replacing the wheels with metal wheels with smaller flanges - isn't
that a reasonably inexpensive train upgrade?

John Savard

jsa...@ecn.ab.ca

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Dec 25, 2019, 7:47:33 AM12/25/19
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On Wednesday, January 30, 2002 at 6:48:53 AM UTC-7, Lindy0001 wrote:

> I don't really think the ommission of N scale spike heads represents a
> signifigant lowering of quality.

While I agree with that, I disagree that this means Atlas shouldn't make and sell
N scale switches or track that isn't the last word in realism. For those who want
it, not for those who will be disappointed that they can't use it with their
trains.

Of course, they don't want to appear to disparage Model Trains and Kato either,
but something like "This is an enthusiast-grade product, and may have
compatibility problems with some popular brands of train not fully compliant
with NMRA standards. For more information, check..." would be reasonable.

John Savard

John Savard

jsa...@ecn.ab.ca

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Dec 25, 2019, 7:48:34 AM12/25/19
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On Wednesday, January 30, 2002 at 6:51:59 AM UTC-7, Chuck Kimbrough wrote:
> Is the Atlas cod 55 track scale or is for the masses?

It's Code 55. Unlike some other Code 55, it's definitely not for the masses,
because it's incompatible with some popular trains not strictly NMRA-compliant.

John Savard

jsa...@ecn.ab.ca

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Dec 25, 2019, 7:55:52 AM12/25/19
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On Wednesday, January 30, 2002 at 7:10:12 AM UTC-7, Mike Tennent wrote:

> Huh?!?

> "WARNING!! This product conforms to NMRA Standards."

> Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, but it seems to me that manufacturers
> who DON'T comply with NMRA standards bear the onus if their product
> doesn't work with those that comply.

Yes, from one point of view, that would seem fair.

However, what the warning would instead be saing would be:

"WARNING!! This product requires other stuff you use with it to conform to NMRA standards."

...since not everything in compliance with NMRA standards has an issue with MT
and Kato rolling stock. Sure, those companies _should_ put warnings on their
products saying "For whatever reason, we've made our trains to toy train
proportions, so they won't work with some track and switches made to modern,
realistic scale standards", but in the real world, they won't.

So something like "Warning: this is an enthusiast-grade product. It has been
made to be as realistic as possible, and may have compatibility issues with some
common products which do not conform to NMRA standards as a result" seems fair
enough to me.

That doesn't imply standards-conformance is a bad thing instead of a good thing.

Even if being strict in _demanding_ standards conformance of other components
_is_ a bad thing, but a bad thing that's worth it for the good thing of more
realism - *if you know what you're getting into*.

John Savard
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