Wiring Atlas C55 turnouts and flex track

I love my Atlas C55 track, and if I was starting all over I would use it exclusively. That's not to say however that I haven't encountered a few problems in using it. After installing my first batch of approx 25 Atlas C55 turnouts, I discovered that on a couple of them the inbuilt power jumpers connecting the stock rails to the closure rails had failed, and the closure and point rails were therefore not reliably receiving power. That problem was easily fixed with a bit of soldering, but it did make me wonder about the long term robustness of the hidden jumpers.

Now, rather than relying on the inbuilt jumpers, I install my own jumpers in parallel with the inbuilt jumpers, and solder track power feeders that electrically connect the stock and closure rails, and then drop down through a hole in the baseboard.

I expect that once I have ballasted the track these feeders will be all but invisible.


Somebody asked for enlarged photos to better illustrate what I do to modify these turnouts.  I hope these will do, but if not, please email me and I'll send you higher resolution photos.

This first photo shows where I've removed the plastic between the ties, and soldered the droppers to the underside of the rail. Note that each feeder (dropper) is soldered to both the stock rail and the closure rail.

Once the plastic has been removed it is important to file the base of the rail, and then tin it. I use a non-corrosive flux to ensure the solder flows easily, without melting the plastic.  Note that the gap between the ties is quite narrow, so a fine tip is required on the soldering iron.

This is how the turnout looks after it has been installed. The figure-8 dropper has been passed through a hole in the plywood.

To add jumpers between the frog rails and the stock rails, cut the plastic from beneath the two frog rails and the appropriate stock rail, then file and tin the base of the rail. Then cut a short length of shielded wire and tin the ends. Drop the wire into place, and solder the wires to the stock and frog rails, ensuring that the insulating material prevents shorting out of the other frog rail.


While I'm at it, I'll also show how I solder my track feeders to flex track.

I start by cutting the flex track to length and then test fitting it. Once I'm satisfied with the fit, I mark both the flex track and the roadbed with the position of the feeders.

Then I remove the plastic webbing from between the ties, for 3 ties on either side of where the feeders will be soldered, and slide the ties aside. this gives me a gap of about 1cm to work in without risking damage to the ties.  I lightly file the base of both rails, and apply a small blob of solder to each.

For my feeders I use 'figure-8' speaker wire.  I tin about 1cm of both wires and then spread them to form a "T" shape. I solder one lead to each rail, and then snip off any axcess wire that extends outside the rail. When that's done I use a file to clean up any excess solder from around the joints, and then slide the ties back into position.

Next, I retest the fit of the rail, and check the position for the hole that the speaker wire will feed through.  When I'm satisfied with it all, I drill the hole, pass the speaker lead through it, and install the rail.

Here's how it looks when it's done correctly:

Once the track is ballasted the feeders are all but invisible.



  1. Ah, two points too late for my UK layout "Yeoveney". Rats. But still very useful and I'll apply it to the rest of the #7 and curved points not to mention the #5's.

    Thank You,

    Mike Beard

  2. Can you please enlarge the pictures? Especially the first one?

    I cannot see what you have done. It is too small for my eyes/monitor/etc.

    Thank you.

    1. I will see if I have some better photos that illustrate what I've done. Unfortunately, I don't have any (uninstalled) turnouts that I can use to get more photos. If I can't get any better photos I will draw something up and post it here.


    2. I've added better photos. Hope they help.