Best permanent track?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Dashdriver, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Dashdriver

    Dashdriver Member

    What is the difference between 100 and 83 Atlas track?

    I am planning on using nickel silver track but what is the best product to use....
    Micro Engineering (Flex or rail)
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    That code number is the height of the rail in thousands of an inch.

    Code 100 = 0.100 inch tall.

    Code 83 = 0.083 inch tall.

    The shorter Code 83 looks closer to the real thing. As long as it's nickel silver, it should be reliable. Visually, Micro Engineering flex track is supposed to be the nicest looking because they got the realistic uneven ties all built in for you. Not cheap though!
  3. Dashdriver

    Dashdriver Member

    The place I used to go to in NJ has Micro Engineering track 100, 83 and 70 Rail or Flextrack plain or weathered plus ties joiners and spikes. Any opinion on what looks best and runs best out of this?
  4. Dashdriver

    Dashdriver Member

    Oh and I was also wondering (I know, I know, this is really elementary but bear with me for a bit) whats the difference between Flex and Sectional track? :rolleyes:
  5. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Code 70 rail is too short and might cause some derailments-- The flanges on some HO wheels will hit the tie plates and foul the turnouts because of the short rail and cause trouble.

    Code 83 is as short as you should go and still have reliable operation. Go for the plain ME Code 83 Flextrack, and weather it yourself. :thumb:

    Edited to add: Flex rail means you can bend it to any curvature you want. Sectional is stiff and unbendable. Hope this helps!
  6. Dashdriver

    Dashdriver Member

    Helps a TON, thanks my friend.

    So I assume with Flextrack you aren't limited to 18", 22" and 30" turns? You can basically set up any radius you want?
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Yep.. That's why flex track is preferred over sectional track for building permanent layouts. You are not limited to the rigid curvatures of sectional track.

    If you want to have something for quick-and-dirty running and be able to pack it away afterwards (like a circle around a Christmas Tree), then you want to use sectional track with the plastic roadbed, like Kato Unitrack.

    Flextrack is for permanent fixture on a layout though (It won't stay at the curvature you want unless you fix it down, either with an adhesive or with nails).

    BTW how big the curves are depends on what you want to run. If you want to run big locomotives like 6-axle 4th-generation diesels, you want curves bigger than 22" radius. If you want to runs big nonarticulated steam locomotives with 4 driver axles or more, even bigger radii is a good idea.

    Good luck!
  8. CRed

    CRed Member

    Unitrack has a decent selection of curves actually,18,22,24,26,28,30 and 33 so unless you need larger then 33" curves Unitrack will work in that regards.Flex-track is better of course if you don't mind having to lay down roadbed and glueing/nailing everything down,but I'm using Uni-track because it's simple and this will be my first layout so nothing fancy for me.My son doesn't seem to mind and that's why I'm doing it for the most part,but I'm thinking I'll really enjoy it with him.

  9. Dashdriver

    Dashdriver Member

    Great info, thanks again. Here's the plan.....

    Planning on a very large, permanent set in a large basement. Not sure what the overall layout will look like yet (E shape, dogbone, etc) but I want to run freight between 2 decent size towns, one mountain town (ala Durango CO type) and one foothills type town at the other end. Like to have a few friehgt lines running between them, possibly one passenger line between them and have a small trolley running around one town.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The other plus for flextrack is that you don't have a joint every 9" -- they go up to 36" (sometimes a bit more). Reduces the voltage loss in a distance or reduces the number of feeders needed.
  11. Dashdriver

    Dashdriver Member

    What do you mean by feeders......wire attachments to the rails?
  12. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    This link should handle the basics of wiring, yes feeders are the wires that connect from a bus (larger gauge wire) to your track.

    I bought a couple books on wiring based on suggestions from other forum members and they are invaluable :).

    Here is the nrma basic wiring page:

    This thread contains the books i bought:
    I've also purchased an atlas wiring book from

    My noob thread asking similar questions :D:

    If you do a forum search for basic wiring you will turn up an enormous amount of first hand wisdom from other members.

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