Looking good, Reg!
I have cultivated a liking for the GN, having spent time up on Stevens Pass and having ridden the entire route of the Empire Builder in 2015. I also got that great new book on the GN when it first came out, which is well worth the cover price if you're a GN fan! https://shop.whiteriverproductions.com/products/gnry
" I already have plans to replace the plastic wheels with metal.
I have a small stock of Kadee wheels and more on the way.
I have to say that I am not thrilled to death with either the Atlas or the Micro-Engineering turnouts.
I have been running a variety of equipment over them and I am not experiencing derailments,
but they just are not as smooth as I would hope.
Equipment rocks and bumps over them about the same as my sloppiest handlaid turnouts."
I checked out some 'Hornby' OO track last year, for running some of my vintage 'Tri-ang' HO stuff on.
The pretty deep wheel flanges clear the quite low-profile 'spikes' easily, on the 'Hornby' straights & curves.
However, on the switches, the flange depth clearance decreases MASSIVELY at the frogs.
Where they have moulded the frog-base pretty darn HIGH, compared to the generous Code-100 rail clearance.
Some older HO plastic wheelsets can be fairly deep, with Kadees being not deep at all.
My faith in the commercial turnouts is somewhat restored.
I have a box car that was occasionally picking points and frogs. Not quite to the point of derailment, but still annoying. Last night it derailed after picking the points on a turnout.
I checked the plastic wheels against the NMRA gauge, and they looked OK. But I was kind of disgusted with it so decided to change out the wheels. I have some Kadee 33" wheels lying around from an On30 "hunkering" project. So I did a complete tune-up on that car, including changing out the wheels.
Wow! What a difference. It really improved the performance of that car.
I was inspired, so pulled a car that was the prize rock and roller on the layout and tuned it up. Amazing. The prime contributor to the rockin' and rollin' was loose trucks. The previous owner seemed to think that really wobbly trucks had some kind of performance advantage. It appears that quite a few cars have wobbly trucks.
He was incorrect.
Changing out the wheels and adjusting the trucks properly really improved the behavior of that car.
A piece of advice. If you have cars with plastic wheels, get some metal wheels (the Kadees are great) and ditch the plastic wheels. It will really make a big difference.
Now, of course, I have to do all the rest of the cars. At the moment I am out of wheels, but I have more coming. It is obvious that changing out the wheels on all the freight cars I have is going to improve Kadee's bottom line.
All the cars are going to need some attention to their couplers. Some will need new couplers. That will not be of benefit to Kadee. For some reason lost in the depths of time, I have a very large collection of HO Kadee couplers squirreled away. I can't remember why. Until this most recent venture I haven't modeled in HO for over 30 years.
On this section of the layout I have one more performance problem I need to solve. The SD-7 stalls on one frog. The GP-35 (I have only two locos converted to DCC, out of the 23 I own) does not even hesitate on that frog. Nor does the SD-7 hesitate on any of the other frogs, let alone stall. As I am using the over-center springs as my "switch machines" all of the turnouts have dead frogs.
As a side note...the over center springs are working out great.