HO Code 83 Track?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by meo1960, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. meo1960

    meo1960 New Member

    Hello all,

    My 1st post. I'm new to this hobby so I've been reading and learning for the last 2 months. I've decided on a layout. Central Midlands from the Atlas catalog. I've got a lot of time(on disability) and not quite so much money which is why I'm looking at this as a very long-term project. Given all this, I'd still like to make this project as REALISTIC as possible. I'm trying to find the most REALISTIC track out there. I like the Micro Engineering weathered HO 83 track but don't like that they only have #4 turnouts. Also, I'm hearing that the Peco turnouts are the best, but I'm concerned with having 2 different looks for the track. I'd like to be consistent. I'm intrigued by laying my own track but am having trouble finding good sites that discuss making your own track or companies that sell the parts to make your own track. So, my question would be recommendations for the most realistic HO 83 track out there, whether it's pre-built or whether I have to construct it myself. I'd appreciate any Companies and/or Links you guys could provide.

    Also, and I know this is a long shot, but I live in the Chicagoland area(Palos Park) and would be very interested in finding someone who is experienced in scenery modeling to perhaps take me under their wing and teach me the artistic side of this hobby. I've an engineering background and have never been very artistically inclined. Tks...
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge! And to the "world's best hobby". ;)

    I like the Atlas Code 83 flex track (decent appearance, better price) and the Walthers/Shinohara Code 83 turnouts. They are available in #4, #5, #6 and #8 at my local train shop. The appearance is excellent, and the price is not bad - more than Atlas, but less than Peco or MicroEngineering.

    They do not have the positive spring action of the Pecos, so I will be adding a ground throw, or some other device to keep the points to one side or the other. The W/S turnouts match almost perfectly with the Atlas track, although the tie spacing is slightly different.

    The scenery stuff is not as hard as you might imagine - here's an article I wrote when I was having some trouble getting started: Small diorama kickstarts landscaping

    Hope that helps!

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

  4. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    I am building a layout with Atlas Code 83 track and turnouts on the mainline and shinnohara track and turnouts on my industrial area mainly because my dad has a ton of the code 70 flex track. That, i believe, is the most realistic setup you could have since code 83 represents the most realistic mainline track and code 70 represents sidings and industrial areas.
  5. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I prefer Micro Engineering myself, they have pre-weathered rail, and the flex track is stiffer.
  6. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I had the same concerns when starting my layout a year ago. I wanted to use track and turnouts all from the same manufacturer in order to preclude (I hope) track issues. I settled on Walthers/Shinohara, and so far have been pleased, though have not yet got to the point of exercising (or exorcising the track. That comes next.

    What really sold me was the wide variety of turnouts, especially the curved ones, which are really slick. This reminds me that now that I have all the track laid down (finally!) I need to update the photos on my site...
  7. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Welcome meo1960! I just got back from a vacation in Chicagoland! :)
  8. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    That musta been harsh, Ralph. What did your itinerary end up being?
  9. meo1960

    meo1960 New Member

    Has anyone had any experience with the Proto:87 track?


    This is the most realistic track I've seen thus far. However, It goes without saying that beyond looking good, the track has to be reliable and not derail the train every 5 minutes. tks...
  10. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Nah, we had a great time because we decided to fly the 55 minute flight to Chicago instead of take that seven hour drive. With the price of parking at the hotel (along with the expected tip for the valet parkers) and the price of gas ($3.55/ gal. in Chicago this weekend) we actually almost broke even with our cheap airline fare. Had a lot of fun Saturday early afternoon through Tuesday morning seeing the sites; Navy Pier (caught the Saturday night fireworks), walked along Michigan Ave to the beach, and then along the lake, took a silly but fun tour of famous 1920's-30's gangster sites that drove us all over the city, saw the Museum of Science and Industry's model railroad and the U-505 captured submarine, ate well, took the El and the subway to explore and reach a restaurants we wanted to try....it was a good time but my feet hurt. :)

    Any way, back to meo1960's questions! I use Atlas code 100 myself but we must more modelers here who have thoughts about Code 83 and Proto:87.

  11. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I use Atlas code 83 brown tie track myself. I like their #6 switches which I actuate using caboose hobbies ground throws. All in all I have no complaints. I had considered using code 70 on a part of the layout, but I'm glad I didn't. I have some older rolling stock I think would have bottomed out and really didn't want to have to change out all those wheel sets.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    RE: Proto:87 track.

    It sure looks good. Look up Dave Davis' article in MRP or GMR a few years back. Amazing work - spectacular results... BUT...!

    You have to be prepared to do the work - not only with the tighter track tolerances, but also the wheelsets, turnouts, and any other moving parts on the loco and rolling stock trucks, couplers, and so on.

    If you are prepared to do it, then more power to you. If not, I imagine that it would get frustrating pretty quick. Code 83 or Code 70 is kinda in between the two. Gives a nice, "more in proportion" look, with relatively easy and forgiving installation and operation.


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