Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by csiguy, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. csiguy

    csiguy Member

    hi all

    as i have stated before i am very new to the hobby and admit i do not know a whole lot. i would like to start building my layout this fall. but do not know what track is best code 83 or code 100. or even how much i should pay for it. im sorta confused by this. any help would be gratly appreciated. thanks very much.

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Either is fine. Code 100 scales to a rail size larger than all but a few heavy duty main lines. Code 83 is closer to a "correct" scale. There is also code 70, and 55, lets not worry about those now. Being that you are new to the hobby, I recommend Atlas flex track as it is the easiest to use, at least that I know of. Atlas makes both code 100 and 83, but their 83 is on thicker ties so it mates up their 100 well. Also their 83 has a larger railhead than other brands 83, making it not quite really code 83. If you are planning a relatively small layout I'd say use the code 100, I haven't checked prices in sometime but it used to be cheaper than the code 83. As you mature in the hobby and build another layout you may decide to switch size or brand, you'll always be able to use the code 100, in hidden areas if you no longer like its appearance.

    Hope this helps
  3. csiguy

    csiguy Member

    thanks very much gary, for the information. it helped very much enlightened me a great deal as well and giving me a few ideas. im going to look around in the next few months and see who has the best prices on track. and with any luck start my layout in the late fall. thanks again very much.

  4. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    If you're new to the hobby, I would suggest looking at one of the "track with roadbeds" available now. They're much easier than trying to use cork roadbed :evil: and flex or sectional track etc... Kato Unitrack uses code 83 with a very realistic profile and is very reliable. I'm using it on my new layout, and I've been a model railroader for over 35 years. :eek:
  5. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    Welcome to the forum! Since you are new to the hobby there is little chance that you might own some of the older Rivarossi or AHM locos, freight cars or passenger cars, unless you find them at a swap meet or a discount mail order house. If you find some, you will notice that some of this equipment rides on wheels with large flanges. Such equipment will not run successfully on any track size less than Code 100.
  6. diburning

    diburning Member

    That and most stuff imported from Europe. European stuff has the large European style flanges. The flanges are too big for code 83 and are too big for turnouts for code 100. (I've noticed that my Boeing LRV seems to hop up a little when going over turnouts with the plastic frog)
  7. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    AS Ed pointed out, you likely don't have the older equipment that C100 rail was made for. With that in mind, I'd recommend C83 rail as it has a much more scale profile. I prefer C100 for two reasons; price, as most folks don't care for it now so it's usually a bargain at train shows. The other reason is I prefer the older equipment...could you imagine these Joeuf cars on C83:eek::mrgreen::thumb:

    Little known factoid: The Pennsy back in the late 40s early 50s had a stretch of track that would have scaled out to C100 in HO scale so I really don't lose too much sleep over the size.


  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I hadn't thought about the track with roadbeds, there are a couple different ones, at least. The ones I've seen don't look right to me, and I would never consider using track with fixed radius (just like regular sectional track). But, that's me, and I forgot that for a beginner, that type track is indeed much easier. But it costs big time. You may just want to start with sectional track, and not worry about roadbed yet. There are track plans available that are designed to use sectional track and they typically include a bill of materials telling you how many of each type track to buy.

    I don't think it is terribly difficult to use Atlas flex track and that is what I was presupposing. And, as I stated above, if the choice becomes between Atlas code 100 or Atlas code 83, the visual difference isn't very great, due to Atlas code 83 having a much wider railhead than, say, Micro Engineering code 83. The ME track does look much nicer. However, it is a bear to "flex", tending to kink. I would definately recommend Atlas for a first timer.
  9. csiguy

    csiguy Member

    thanks all very much for the help concerning this. i still havnt made up my mind yet as to what im going to get. seems both have their advantages and dis advantages. next time im at my local hobby shop im going to compare both of them and then go from there. thanks again very much for the advice.
  10. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  11. ozzie

    ozzie New Member

    Just a minor thought, I have used code 100 on my layouts because thats how i started years ago and most of the track has migrated from layout to layout.
    I have found that balasted and painted it does not look too bad.
    Back to the thought, I use KD magnets for all my switching because the delay uncoupling feature adds another dimension.

    Code 100 rail allows me to lay the magnet directly on the ties. with other rail sizes you need to cut the ties away and then moving the magnet, if you need to, is a real pain.
    But I guess it is really horses for ... etc.
  12. csiguy

    csiguy Member

    so if i understand this right and please bear with me, cause like i said im new to the hobby. the newer locomotives run better on code 83 track?
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Not quite...

    Most newer locomotives can operate on Code83. They operate just as well on Code100. That's because they have wheels that are closer to the real thing (as opposed to the "pizza cutters" on Shaygetz's cars (above in photos)).

    So if your fleet is made up of recent production locos, you can use Code83. For you the choice between 83 and 100 comes down to two things - price and appearance.

  14. diburning

    diburning Member

    the newer locomotives can run on either. Code 100 is best for the older stuff that has the larger flanges and for European stuff like Rivarossi. Code 100 is cheaper while code 83 is more accurate scale-wise.
  15. joslin527

    joslin527 Joslin527

    Code 83 vs 100

    I use Atlas 83 flex track, easy to use.. looks good and doesn't rust in the garage.
  16. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    FWIW I'd also recommend C83. In fact, if I was to start over again, I'd go with C83 from the get-go. Now that I'm about 9/10 through the track I need, it's not really worth it. I might still do some of my industrial spurs in C83 or less though.

Share This Page