Different Size Ties - Atlas Code83 Flex Track

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Gary S., Jan 14, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Over the past year I have been stocking up on Atlas Code 83 flex track. Most is from the two model train shops in Houston, I also bought some at a train show last year. Anyway, I was going through the inventory tonight and discovered that I have two different types! Both of them have "Atlas" "Made in China" "Superflex 83" and "Patent No. 4260104" on the bottom.

    On one type, the ties are slightly bigger, and the plastic connections between the ties are alot bigger than on the other type. As far as I can tell, they are both nickel-silver track, and they were sold as nickel-silver track. The rails look exactly the same in size and color.

    Is there any possibility that the bigger tie stuff is old brass track? Has anyone else seen this?

    The pic isn't that great, but notice the ties on the right are a little bigger, plus the plastic connections between ties are bigger.

    Attached Files:

  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    HHMMMMM, That is odd :confused: :confused:
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Brass rail stopped being made before code 83 rail was introduced - I've never seen or heard of any brass code 83 track.

    The larger ties might have come a different Chinese manufacturer, or more likely IMHO the code 83 rail (if it is code 83 and not 100) was mistakenly added to the code 100 tie strip. The Atlas code 100 flex track has larger ties than the code 83, but the code 83 ties are actually thicker than the code 100.

    just my thoughts
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member


    Thank you for the info, I am glad this is not brass!

    On the bottom of both types, it says "superflex code 83" which is molded into the ties. I compared the rails, and they are the same in all dimensions.

    After looking at the track even closer, I see that the tie plates on the larger ties are bigger, plus the "knobs = spikes" that hold the track to the ties are bigger too.

    Perhaps this is older Code 83 stuff... and originally Atlas used the code 100 tie dimensions? I suppose I should send an inquiry to Atlas.

    I have just enough of the bigger tied track to do my "maiinline" and I will use the smaller tied track for the spurs and yards.
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Oh... one other thing, both types are compatible with each other in height. The ties are the same size vertically, just a little wider.
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Your guess about an older lot is probably better than mine. Atlas will likely replace the older track if you ask. But that's your call, because the exchange may take a couple of weeks (and possibly delay your track laying).

    The "knobs-spikes" being bigger concerns me. Before committing to a course of action, I would run your deepest-flanged equipment over pieces of both track types to ensure you will not have flange clearance problems on the older track.

    just my thoughts
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I can tell you difinitively that what you purchased is Atlas Code 83 rail on Atlas Code 83 ties.

    Atlas's code 100 had a tie profile larger than the two shown, combined. Also, the Code 100 is black while the code 83 is brown...and the code 100 rail wouldn't fit code 83 ties.

    All you've seen is that the tooling was a little different on one die than the other. Things like that are common when dealing with Chinese companies...Precision Scale lost a bunch of masters a few years ago when the Chinese firm dissappeared overnight...I know because I got one of their last DSP&P domes before the incident, and a friend of mine wasn't so fortunate.

    For future reference, brass rail is the same color as any unpainted brass locomotive or brass home fixture. (technically nickel silver has more in common with brass than nickel or silver :)
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thank you for the reply and the info. It is funny but I have had all this track for several months, I have used it, cut ties out, connected it together, and never particularly noticed the difference. But then the other night I was pre-soldering some feeder wires on, and all of a suddn it just hit me, "HEY this track is DIFFERENT from that track!" It's funny, on one hand you can hardly tell the difference, but on the other, there is a huge difference.

    I'm not too worried about mixing the stuff, my layout shelves are pretty high, around 54" above the floor, so most people won't get a good look down on the track anyway.
  9. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    This topic was justed discussed on the Atlas forum - Paul (Atlas) stated that the flex track tooling had been updated, so that is the difference.
  10. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Gary, 54" is a nice, tall height. Have you done a reach test? Place a freight car on a piece of track (or building) near the edge, and try to reach something on the far side. If you knock the car over, the height/width combination might be too much. If it's fine...you'll have to get some nice pictures of your layout! I had a layout were the track reached close to 65" at a few points, and I loved the vantage point. It took a stole to work on it! (I'm 6'2")
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The layout is on shelves, the widest one is 24" and I am 6'-4" so reach-over isn't a problem. But to efficiently work on the layout, I do use a step stool or a 4 foot tall ladder. Now, as for my daughter and the neighbor kids, they pretty much have to use a ladder to even see the layout!:wave:

    There are some photos of the shelves and preliminary design in this thread:

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