most accurate track code

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by BNSFsd60m, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. BNSFsd60m

    BNSFsd60m New Member

    What is the most accurate track code for a modern mainline? and what is your prefered switch manufacturer?
    i thought of fast-tracks, is it good?
  2. WReid

    WReid Member

    I would think code 83 rail would be the close to modern mainline rail in size. Code 81 might be closer but it is hard to find. Central Valley used to sell code 81 rail as I bought five 99 foot bundles a couple of years back but I see it is no longer listed on their web site. To bad as it worked well with their turnout kits and tie strips. As for RTR code 81 track products no one makes them that I know of.

    When it comes to turnouts I went the Fast Tracks route. Partly because some of the ready to use turnouts do not have the best clearances which lead to derailments and because the ones that seem to work good are hard to get ( Walthers code 83 line ).

    My other reason was using the Fast Tracks jig my cost per turnout will be less. Seeing as my turnout minimum will be a #6 and I will need a lot of them ( 33 to 50 ) I bought the jig kit. Now if you only need a few turnouts it may not be the best route as the turnout building kit is not cheap.

    I have built 10 turnouts for my new modular layout I plan to start in the new year so far using the Fast Tracks jig and they have all have turned out real nice. I used a couple to build a 8 foot test track with a couple of sidings on it and all the locomotives and rolling stock I have run on it have rolled through the turnouts problem free. When properly built the wheels do not even bump at the frog. They roll through without a sound.

    I purchased my turnout jig for code 83 Micro Engineering rail because all my track will be code 83 rail. Some of it will be handlayed and the rest code 83 flex track. I was also surprised to find out the code 81 rail I bought for a switching layout I was going to build with all handlayed track also works in my jig. I am now thinking of using the code 81 rail for my small yard and for the sidings as even though it is not much shorter in height than the code 83 rail its fine profile makes it look smaller.

    Wayne R
  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    A mix of Code 70 and Code 83. Sidings can be Code 55 and even Code 40. If you want the most accurate, you'll end up going the route of highly detailed kits...such as the aforementioned Central Valley.

    The nice thing about Fast Tracks is that it allows a beginner to access hand laid turnouts. There is a number of people out there whom prefer hand laid track...both in appearance and in the cost savings on turnouts. You can produce your own turnouts without Fast Tracks (I've thought about some of their tools before, but don't really need them since I've already made my own without them). I'd personally prefer to go the hand laid route to really nice flex track such as Micro Engineering.

    If you really want nice looking track, you should investigate Proto:87. Here are there gorgeous turnout kits:
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm not going to be building enough turnouts to justify the cost of Fast Tracks jigs, but I don't want commercial turnouts. Also I'm building a switching layout with code 55 rail and no one makes a commercial code 55 turnout. I'm going to use Central Valley turnout tie strips, proto87 frog casting in NMRA standard code 55 rather than fine scale, and Micro Engineering code 55 rail to build my turnouts.
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    What era are you interested in? Code 83 was designed to simulate modern mainline rail. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is show a size difference between mainlines and sidings. Use 83 for mainline, 70 for sidings. If you are really daring, use code 55 for industrial tracks. If you are doing pre-wwII, code 70 with code 55 sidings would look better.

    Some things to consider: Older european made equipment, such as Rivarossi, older IHC, or AHM, won't run on less than code 83. Also, the smaller the rail code, the less forgiving the trackwork seems to be. A small bump may get it out of gauge, and extra care must be taken to make sure things are smooth and level when using smaller rail sizes.

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