For 30 years Atlas code 80 N gauge track has been a standard in model railroading. This review looks at a the Custom-Line No. 8 Turnout.

In the Package

Atlas introduced their Code 80 N track decades ago and it continues to be popular.   The components are nickel silver track on black plastic tires.    This turnout ("switch") has a throwbar extending from both sides, designed to work with an undertable switch machine or ground throws.  (Atlas offers their Atlas Under-Table Switch Machine (item #65).)   While the guard rails are plastic, the frog is metal.

This switch is designed to be DCC-friendly and "electrically reliable," meaning its electrical components are isolated to prevent shorts, with an isolated frog with an electrical contact to feed the polarity of the frog, controlled by a switching device.


A couple of good sites I found about wiring turnouts are:

TURNOUTS. . .what you need to know

Wiring for DCC

Atlas packs this track in clear blister packs with a stiff card backing as the "box art."  The back of the label informs the modeler of other Atlas items, and sometimes wiring diagrams.

The Turnout

The Turnout



Design and Electric Contacts and Leads

Design and Electric Contacts and Leads

Appearance and Performance

This No.8 turnout is a scale 100 feet in length. 

Atlas also makes code 55 N track.  While it is more prototypical in appearance, some modelers with older rolling stock with deep "pizza cutter" flanges have reported operating problems.  The higher code 80 rail does not suffer those operating issues.  I ran a DC powered Atlas RS-1 through both routes of this turnout as slow as possible without stalling or hesitating, 9 mph.

Custom-Line track looks better due to the tie size and spacing.  One aspect is the ties are authentically short because they are not designed to mount a switch machine.


Atlas' N Code 80 is popular track and the Custom-Line No.8 Turnout is a popular turnout.  It is ready to go whether you run DC or DCC.   It can be thrown manually or remotely.  My locomotive had no problem tracking across it.  Older rolling stock should have no problem operating across it, either.


Atlas N Custom-Line Code 80 No.8 Turnout



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