NS or Brass track?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by MontanaHOKid, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. MontanaHOKid

    MontanaHOKid New Member

    Hi Everyone,:wave:
    I am a newbie to the gauge and to the hobbie. I am getting to start my first layout and have some questions about track. Brass or NS. I know that NS is better but I have a lot of brass and would like to try to keep cost down and not buy all new track:cry: . Also, should I replace all track where possible with flex to eliminate joiners and electrical headaches.:curse:
    Wow these little faces sure are "cute"
    Thanks all.
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Save yourself the cleaning headaches and go with Nickel Silver from the start.

    With brass you will drive yourself nuts cleaning the rails every week. :curse:
  3. 65GASSER

    65GASSER Member

    I have a hundred or so pieces of brass track thats about to go on ebay. That and a few other things. :wave:
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    So Montana, wanna buy some more brass track?

    Let me hook ya up with the Gasser!!:D :D :D
  5. 65GASSER

    65GASSER Member

    sign1 190+ pieces and its all on ebay under my name. (not pugging it tho)

    I don't have a use for the track right now. Personally I would go with NS and flex just for my own reasons. If I could afford to anyway.
  6. KCS

    KCS Member

    I agree with everyone here. NS is the best way to go. As for the rail color in detail purpose it can be done with NS but brass will have you pulling your hair out before you know it. I used a couple of pieces of brass flex track 7-8 years ago. I took it out and set it on fire. Then cut the rail up and made load's out of it. As far as cleaning as Tom say's. It could even be more than once a week depending on what kind of climate you live in. I was cleaning that junk 3 times a week at times durning the summer months. about once or twice a week during the winter depending on how much running was being done.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I guess all that's left for me to say is "hello" to a fellow Montanan. I will also add my opinion. Forget the brass,and yes, flex track is better for several reasons. As you say however; "money is a consideration". It always is.
  8. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Nickel silver is best, period. Brass needs to be cleaned so often that anything larger then an oval will drive you nuts.
    That's my opinion anyhow.

    You can use it, but be prepared to rip it up later and replace it. So put it in a place that is easy to replace.
  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Yep, Nickel Silver as everyone else has said, you will be a lot happyer with it and you will save lots of time having to clean the rails.
  10. MontanaHOKid

    MontanaHOKid New Member

    Brass or Nickel Thanks

    Thanks to all of you that have answered my brass or NS post. Sooo, the next question is where is a good place to buy NS flex and track pieces? I have found NS flex online for $2.09 a 39" piece in quantity. Seems like a good price. But what about switches? Anyone have any they might sell?
  11. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I hate to say this, but, online sources or mail order are probably cheaper places to buy track than your LHS. Don't forget the shipping charges if you order online. Also there is the cost of roadbed. Can't help you with the switches.
  12. gruggier

    gruggier Member

    Please tell me what is flex track?
  13. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    gruggier: Flex track is the (usually) 36 inch pieces of track without plastic roadbed attached, just rail and ties. As the name implies, it is flexible and can be bent to any reasonable radius curve. Snap track is the shorter sections of track, usually found with train sets that are meant to be setup on the floor or a table. There are several manufacturers of both types. Atlas, Life Like, PECO, Shinohara make flex track. Bachmann, Kato and others make snap track.
  14. gruggier

    gruggier Member

    Is it worth it? Would you buy it if money was not an issue? Any pros or cons?
  15. caellis

    caellis Member

    Go with Flex Track. Transitions and curves are much, much easier to do. Fewer joiners too.
    Flex Track makes alignment between sections or turnouts are much easier because it is 'flexible'.

    Cost wise I believe it is as cheap as sections.

    Solder one drop per 3 foot section to the bus and your done.
  16. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Flex track is definitely the way to go if you want a more "real world" (prototypical) look. As stated above there is more design "flexibility" ( that word sure comes up alot). Flex track also comes in several sizes of rail. You can get anything from code 100, large mainline size down to code 55, for sidings and old time layout use. Incidently I'm thinking in HO scale terms. Other scales use different size rail. You do have to add roadbed to the flex track and do your own ballasting to finish the track.
  17. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I remember from my younger days what a pain in the behind those stupid joiners can be. The trian would run over it it would loosen and we would haev to go scrambling around trying to figure out what was wrong where.

    I picked up a bunch of the snap track and i plan to wire it up w/ multiple contact points and hopefully pin it in place on some foam.
  18. MontanaHOKid

    MontanaHOKid New Member


    Do you still put in joiners even though you are "hard" wiring each track piece? Are you running DCC for all your engines?
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Use the joiners for mechanical joining, not electrical. Most people seem to solder the joiners in place on curves - where the track may be under tension, and therefore likelier to get out of alignment. Joiners are not soldered (and a small gap is left) on the straight track.

    Feeders can be wired to the outside or underside of the rails, or combined with the joiner in the case of the curves... although that makes it more complicated.

  20. caellis

    caellis Member

    Yes you should install joiners at each joint. Soldering them is optional.
    I solder most of my joiners, leaving some soldered at one end only. This permit the track to contract or expand as needed due to temperature changes.

    I have 60 years experience at soldering so this part of the track laying is not much of a challenge for me.

    I switched from DC to DCC about two years ago. Luckily my DC wiring was perfect for going to DCC. I really only had to replace the DC power packs with the Lenz 100 system, turn it on and go.

    I have converted all 20 loco's to DCC and did the decoder installs myself.

    Anyone that tells you DCC is too complicated does not base their statement on experience or fact.

    By the way, I am 72 years old so age should not be an excuse for staying with DC.

    I have found DCC to be exciting and makes operations/yard switching a real pleasure.

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