Code 55 turnout availability?

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by crclass, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. crclass

    crclass TrainBoard Member

    I am looking for some code 55 turnouts for my layout and I am having trouble finding anything in stock. I think I am going to use ME flex track and would probably be looking at either ME or Atlas for turnouts. The only ones I seem to find are #10. I am thinking of #6 and making my own using a Fast Tracks fixture and parts. Any thoughts?
  2. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

    Good luck finding anything atlas! You should, go with micro or peco. Or build your own...

    Anyone else notice the date on the original post in this thread??

    Sent from my Commando
  3. Teditor

    Teditor TrainBoard Member

    It says 3.20pm Today, any significance?
  4. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

    Hmm. Weird. When I first saw it, its said 5/19/1982... Must have been a glitch somewhere in cyber space.

    Sent from my Commando
  5. crclass

    crclass TrainBoard Member

    That's what I was thinking about with Atlas. I have been out of the loop so to speak with Atlas and assumed they are still struggling to get inventory? Micro Engineering seems to be out of stock everywhere as well and Peco just seems expensive. Does any one have an opinion on the Fast Tracks fixture for N scale?
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    There have been a few offered for sale in our TrainBoard Swap Meet forum. Have you explored that area for possibilities?
  7. crclass

    crclass TrainBoard Member

    I have looked through the swap meet and not really found much. I would prefer to buy a bunch at one time as I am thinking in the neighborhood of 50 or more. I need 34 just for my layout and then a bunch for staging yard. If I build them that will occupy a lot of my time and save me a good deal of cash. Plus I figure I can get them just the right size. I will continue to look through the swap meet since I need so many I figure it will work out for all involved.
  8. Dave

    Dave Permanently dispatched

    It is highly unlikely that you will find a single lot of the quantity that you need and I don't think Atlas will have them available for several months; maybe even a year or more. Good luck with your search.
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I agree. Given the enduring shortage of Atlas c55, locating such a quantity would be getting close to miraculous. Picking them up one or two, here and there, is likely the only hope until more come in country. And even so, with the pent up demand, those may disappear so fast as to be scary.
  10. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    Wonder if this place still has any left?
  11. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

    Crclass... Have you read the thread about atlas code 55... per Paul? You might pick up a few things there about just how long we all have been waiting...

    Sent from my Commando
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    When was the photo taken? PM the information to the OP.
  13. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

    Gee whiz!! Thats a secret stash! Packing up the van as soon as I know where that is!! Lol! Maybe!!

    Sent from my Commando
  14. crclass

    crclass TrainBoard Member

    Very nice selection unfortunately not my LHS!
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Someone on here had a bunch of C55 track and turnouts for sale. Just cant remember who...^%$(&%^..
  16. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

    I have used the Fast Tracks #6 jig, their Point filing tool, and their stock rail filing tool to create terrific turnouts in Code 55. My only wish is that I had started doing so earlier, and made my entire layout with them. They operate flawlessly.

    Here's a photo:


    The top one is a #6 finish with Fast Track's "quick sticks" ties and I've attached a wire to power the frog; the second is a #6 that I finished with bulk wood ties (notice that they are a bit uneven on the straight side) with no frog powering wire (yet; I did eventually power the frog, as I do with all my turnouts). The bottom one is a #4 that I made with just a paper template after learning the techniques using the Fast Tracks jig and other tools.

    I calculated that the break even point for using Fast Tracks tools was about 25 turnouts, if you finish them with bulk wood ties. That is, at the 25th turnout, you've saved enough by making them over buying Atlas #7's to pay for the tools. After that, you are saving money with every additional one you make.

    The Fast Tracks tools aren't strictly necessary for turnout construction; lots of folks have done this using just paper templates. But the jig makes the process easier to learn, faster, and more precisely repeatable. My first one took 4 hours; after that, about 90 minutes from sitting down at the bench with all the tools/supplies to the painted, finished item you see in the photo. It would have gone even faster if I had a resistance soldering station. But my 35-watt Weller iron with a pencil tip worked just fine. I just followed the Fast Tracks videos and descriptions on their web site, and produced a nice turnout on my second try (the first was a learning experience). The two #6's in the photo are my fourth and fifth. All of these are now in service on my layout.

    John C.
  17. crclass

    crclass TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the great info. It is looking more and more like this is the way I am going to have to go.
  18. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    Not sure how current the photo is, but if you (or your Papa) has ever BEeN to a train store in Houston, you might know of the dealer.
  19. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    I've built all my turnouts for the past 30 years or so (early 1980's) and built many for my model railroad friends who needed special applications or who wanted to learn to roll their own in both N and HO.

    Back when I got started, there was no Fast Tracks, so after I gathered up the information on both N and HO turnouts and the different ways to build them, I drew up my own paper templates and used those to build my turnouts on. Took me four turnouts before I got one that was acceptable to me both functionally and cosmetically. My first ones were in code 70 to match the Rail Craft code 70 flextrack I was using for my Ntrak modules.

    One of the things you learn pretty quickly is that when you build your turnouts properly, they look better, work better, cost only a fraction of the amount of RTR turnouts (about 2 bucks each) and you're not tied to what the manufacturers make, so your layout designing becomes incredibly more flexible.

    Of course, as John has posted, if you decide to go with Fast Track jigs and fixtures, the cost goes up, but the learning time is drastically reduced. If you decide to go with Fast Tracks, you'll probably only need one set of jigs and fixtures, and when you get it figured out, you'll see how easy it is to make a variety of turnout sizes and styles just using paper templates. Remember to get the Fast Tracks stuff that will allow you to make the most widely used turnout on your layout.

    Here's a photo of part of my last turnout build. I like to make them in monolithic sets if there are several close together and I've done all of my yard ladders this way, which makes things nice and smooth with the fewest rail joints (which are always a potential problem). These are code 55 and consist of a #4 Wye, a #8 LH and a #6 Wye...none of which are available RTR in code 55 and fit the curving entrance to my Emory UP Center Siding perfectly. The other end consists of another #4 Wye, a #8 RH, and a #8 LH. There's also a #7 RH for the short trailing point siding on the east-bound main at the old Emory Station site:

    Here's a photo of several code 55 #12's and #10's which form the Center Siding and Yard Throat for the west end of Echo Yard:

    When I built these big turnouts in the last shot, there were ZERO RTR code 55 turnouts available in the sizes I needed/wanted. My only recourse was to learn to make my own, and the effort wasn't all that big of a deal. The vast majority of turnouts on my layout were built using just a simple 35 W Archer soldering iron with a wedge tip, using an old twin bench grinder and my Dremel as well as various files to shape my frogs and closure points.

    Turnouts and trackage for my Park City Yard and Branch are in code 40, with everything being hand-laid on PCB ties. I like the contrast between the code 55 mainline rail and the branch/yard code 40 rail.

    I always encourage people who are feeling like they're being held hostage by the lack of code 55 turnouts from Atlas to give making their own a chance as the only downside I can see to it is that they take an hour or two to make and 6 to 10 hours to learn how (without Fast Tracks).


    Bob Gilmore
  20. wmcbride

    wmcbride TrainBoard Member

    I agree with Bob. Take a try at it.

    Besides the lack of Atlas turnouts, I was always bothered by the frogs whose wider tolerances allowed wheels to drop and made cars wiggle as they crossed. Real freight cars wiggle and waggle on lots of track but it was the speed of it in N that made it so unrealistic. It wasn't a "scale" appropriate wiggle.

    I bought a Fast Tracks jig and had an ok but rough looking turnout on try 1. Try 2 went a bit south and try 3 looked pretty good and functioned well.

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