Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by NightWolf, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. NightWolf

    NightWolf New Member

    Hi, I am very new to this and I have some basic questions. In some of the things that I have read they mention code 100 track, what does that mean? I cant remember ever seeing a different code. I received a New York Central Flyer from Lionel for my birthday (witch is what started this madness) can I use that transformer to power an HO setup? I have come to realize that O scale is way too big, and there`s not much of a selection... thats in my budget anyway. Thanx for your help!!
  2. SteveJ

    SteveJ New Member

    The code system is actually pretty easy. It is simply the height of the rail expressed in thousands of an inch. This system is common over all scales.
  3. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    As mentioned above, "code" refers to the height of rail in thousandths of an inch: Code 100 is .100" high. Other common "codes" are Code 83, 75, 70, 55 and 40. The first three are seen in finer-gauge HO, the latter two in N. Code 100 is the most common for HO, but is actually quite a bit too big, scaling out to be a bit heavier than the heaviest rail used today. Code 83 is a good "happy medium", it's a little smaller but still pretty easy to work with, although equipment with deep flanges (European prototypes or old toy-train stuff) may have trouble with it. Code 70 is used for fine-scale "Proto:87" model railroading, which requires mostly handlaying track, different wheels with prototype-thickness tires and flanges, and a lot more detail--NOT something for the beginner.

    O-gauge three-rail doesn't really fit into the "code" world, but two-rail O scalers use Code 148, I think, and fine-scale O scalers (Proto:48) use, I think, Code 100 (which is of course about half as big in O as it is in HO.)

    Code 100 works fine, though, and is cheap, and Code 83 is getting more common and therefore cheaper. They'll do the job.


    It runs on AC. HO scale trains run on DC. YOU WILL DESTROY THE ENGINE and possibly cause fire or injury.

    I repeat:

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi, Bill.
    If you go to HO scale, the commonest track will be code 100. That's what comes in the train sets. However, this represents a really heavy rail and a lot of guys like to use something more delicate. The next sizes down are codes 83 and 70, and few slightly off sizes. Code 100 isn't too bad if you paint the sides of the rail to tone it down.
    If you have a situation where you have to tear down the track often, code 100 is sturdier. Some people use large rail on the mainline and smaller on the sidings.
  5. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    I have code 83 rail for my Christmas layout. I find it aggrevating to put the loco and cars on. But, once they are railed, it works just fine and looks very nice. I use code 100 on my main layout in the basement. It works well too, but doesn't look quite as good.
  6. NightWolf

    NightWolf New Member

    thanks everyone, it was just one of those things that kept nagging at me. I guess I`ll hook up the AC transformer to the setup when that starts getting on my nerves!!:eek: hehe!! No, I wouldn`t really do that, just knowing that I can is good enough.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you add a rectifier unit to the Lionel transformer, you can run HO trains with it. Probably not the best (filtered) current.
    You may be able to get an add-on throttle unit. These include rectifier, speed control. direction switch, circuit breaker, and usually some intersting features involving transistors.
  8. NightWolf

    NightWolf New Member

    Ok, your answers have caused more question. Is there a way to connect code 100 to code 83 track? Can I run any manufacturers product line on any track? I mean can I run a Bachman engine on code 100 or a life-like engine on code 83 or the other way around? I am only asking because I am getting all kinds of stuff from relatives I didn`t even know I had. Thanx again everybody!!!
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    There are special rail joiners to connect Code 100 to Code 83 track, yes,

    Generally, you can run anything standard-gauge HO on standard-gauge HO scale track--the gauge remains constant. If you get some narrow-gauge equipment, you'll know it because it will be much smaller and won't even fit on the track--but this is unlikely, as narrow-gauge equipment tends to be rare and expensive. Brand name is not a problem--thanks to the NMRA and industry standards, anything that is the same scale/gauge will run on any manufacturer's track of that scale/gauge.

    The only possible exception is with the smaller gauges of track: as mentioned, some toy-train and European stuff has very wide flanges, and some of it might "bottom out" on lighter weights of rail. But with Code 100 you should be able to run anything that anyone hands you.

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