MTH vs ATLAS track

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by terryreitz, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. terryreitz

    terryreitz New Member

    Just bought a few sample pieces of MTH ScaleTrax, and one piece of Atlas flexible track on ebay. Looking at both brands to decide which one to use on my new layout. Feel a slight preferance for the MTH at the moment because it's dimensionally a bit more prototypical, and the flexible stuff seems more easily formable. Question: How do the MTH flexible pieces connect together electrically? Is there a rail joiner available? Any experience out there, as to other characateristics I should consider before making a brand choice.
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    While Scale Trax has a nicer sized rail, the ties and method of joining the pieces suffer from poor design. Since you bought the Scale Trax, I can safely assume that you are running 3-Rail equipment. Another thing I about the Scale Trax is the wide tie spacing, more of a branch line look than class 1 mainline. I have the Atlas 2 rail track, which has the same size rail as the Scale Trax and if I were still into 3-Rail would consider adding my own middle rail. The easiest way I've seen is code 100 HO Nickel Silver set in the middle. The problem probably would be the switches; the frogs are gauged for finer wheel sets than the typical 3-Rail truck is set up for. If you are going to set up a layout and not change it around, ballast and weathering will make the Scale Trax look good. The Scale Trax switches look ok but then again the ends and the ties where the pieces fit together is a weak point. Good luck, would be interested in hearing what you decide.

  3. terryreitz

    terryreitz New Member

    Thank-you Greg, for sharing your insights.

    Yes, I am running three rail, but I want to make the three rail as realistic as possible. So I guess I would be called a hi-railler. Yes, I've already experienced the "weak point" you refer to. The pieces, once snapped together, must be handled carefully, or they will pull apart. Yes, the tie spacing is a bit wide.
    One further question: How are the flexible pieces meant to connect electrically? The fixed radius pieces have the spring connector. There is no spring connector on the flexible pieces, which, of course is not possible due to the cutting (of the inside rail length) that is necessary when doing curves. Must the rails then be connected electrically via soldered wire? Or, is there some sort of joiner available (obviously I don't yet have a catalog)?

    Thank-you again in advance, for any additional insights.

    (It's beginning to look like Atlas may be the way to go, so far as any additional purchases.)

  4. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Well Terry I don't have any flex track from MTH. I do have the flex track from Atlas, 2-rail, and it has rail joiners like they sell in HO. The Altas rail joiners may work on the Scaletrak, since the rail foot looks to be the same size. If the layout is going to be permanent, I'd solder jumper wires to the rails and drop them down through the road bed to a power bus underneath. The rail joiners would help keep the rail head in line too. IMHO MTH jumped into the Scaletrak way too fast. More design and refinement on the ties could have been used.

  5. terryreitz

    terryreitz New Member

    Thanks Greg

    Yes, the ATLAS rail clips could be made to work. I experimented with an ATLAS rail clip on the MTH track, and it fits a bit loosely. However, a gentle crimp on each side of the joiner would work.

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