picking a high end brand of track

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by chipmonk, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. chipmonk

    chipmonk Member

    i know i know....another track question. well anyways im working in HO and ive done some rather costly experimenting with track, started with atlas cuz its CHEAP, and after using it i realized its cheap for a reason....so then i moved on to giving handlaying a try, and found that it looks excellent and turnouts work well(when they get finished which for most is never) but its way to time consuming and i want to run some trains! so ive decided to give in and buy at least my turnouts, now what brand? ive heard great things about peco but i like the look of walthers/shinohara stuff better, are they just as good? in the way of flex track walthers and shinohara flex seems very expensive are the ties real wood like micro engineerings track? and if not would mirco engineering track match up well with walthers/shinohara switches or would using walthers flex look better?

    also one more thing i just read about spiking flex track and switches down almost like handlaying on the outside of the rails rather then in between them. what are some experiences with this, at what intervals are spikes placed? (a pic of this would be outstanding)

    Thanks a bunch in advance, i know these newbie-ish Q's are a pain but you learn from the best! :wave:

  2. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Have a look at Peco
  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I just glue it. Temporary spikes can be placed in our outside the rail, at whatever interval holds until the glue dries, as long as they don't distort the ties/gauge. In other words, use something that fits the holes and don't beat them down.
  4. chipmonk

    chipmonk Member

    alright looking at various websites has convinced me to go with peco, theres just no denying they seem to be the best, couple Qs though, ive seen the small medium and large turnouts by peco listed as comperable to #8, #6, #4 and #6, #5, #4 does anyone know which is closer to the truth? and which flex track would look better pecos or Mirco engineering i havent seen either first hand micro engineerings stuff looks good and it comes in all the codes pecos looks good to but i fear that it will be very european looking.
    any advise would be great
    thanks Chris
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I think you'll find it looks best if you use the same brand throughout. There may be exceptions, but peco has different tie spacing and such than American brands.
  6. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    To determine the number of a turnout: Using the two rails that originate at the point of the frog; The number of scale feet, along the through (straight rail) where the diverging rail is one scale foot away, is the number of the turnout. If the diverging rail is 1 scale foot from the through rail, 8 scale feet from the point of the frog, it's a #8 turnout. You can use any unit of measure, 1/4" apart, 8/4" (2") from the ........etc.
  7. AIGI

    AIGI Member

    I'll have to disagree here, where in the world do you find 1000 miles of ciontinous track with the exact same tie spacings? unfortunatly you don't, so mixing different brands of track can simulaute different areas of the line, maybe they were built at different times, or maintained differently.

    so if you find a certain Turnout works good for you, don't be limited to use it's flex track, if you found something else you find is better for your needs.

    Probably the best thing to do is to build a test layout that is very simple and allows you to run trains as you handlay the track for your main layout. Hand laid track looks so much more real, since the ties are not all perfectly uniform and the turnouts tend to look more realistic as well.
  8. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    Peco points are unusual in that all the turnouts have teh same diverging angle (12 degrees if i remember). The difference is the radius that the diverging route goes through as it diverges. Small radius have 60cm radius diverging routes, medium radius hae 90cm radius, and large radius have 150cm radius. This means that all the points will fit in the same location but the long radius will take up more space than a medium radius etc.

    All the Peco points take up less space than the comperable numbered frog points.

    Small radius will work for Bo-Bo desils and small steam but for Co-Co desils and large steam i would use medium radius (which look nicer because they are not as sharp) and for articulates and places where appearance is really important I'd use large radius.

    Peco has the advantage that it has a huge variety of points however there aren't many crossings for them.

    I would recommewnd that you use Code 75 ("finescale"), Electrofrog points as they look the best and Electrofrog points are more electrically reliable. Use Isunlfrog crossings as it simplifies wiring.

    I have heard Peco are bringing out American profile points etc. later this year.

    I hope this helps.
  9. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    By the way,
    Microscale track is fantastic if you can afford the extra price but it still has plastic sleepers.

    And Peco is the only company I am aware of that sells track with concrete sleepers if you are modelling the modern era.
  10. chipmonk

    chipmonk Member

    pete the reason i ask about the # of peco turnouts was becuase "technically" they are all 12 degrees no matter what size you get, after some research it turns out that pecos small has 24" radius diverging route 36" for medium and 60" for large.

    so any way i took my research and what i was told here and went to the LHS to check out some turnouts. after looking at peco and walthers turnouts side by side im afriad that the european looking pecos would be to noticable. i have decided that i will probly go with walthers code 83 switches on the main, shinohara code 70 on sidings and yards, and code 70 and 83 micro engineering flex track i agree with jay in that this will add some variety and once everying is painted the different brands will bend to gether and create variety but not look out of place.

    this was just my conclusion, i would still be interested to know what other people use, do you use different brands one brand which brand?

    thanks again for everyones help
  11. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Sure, but you could also argue where in the world would you find 1000 miles of track with exact same tie spacing except for the turnouts which have a 2nd tie spacing equal to all the other turnouts? Keep in mind, 1000 miles of track is only 60,689 ft and 8 in in HO :D :D :D A more realistic 100 ft of HO track would represent just over a mile and a half. I like to mix things up too, especially in the oldtime/narrow gauge stuff I adore, but I think there would be better ways than using one brand of turnouts with another brand of flex track :confused: Of course, you could model a change of track laying methods part way through your mile and a half if you wanted that effect. :cool:
  12. AIGI

    AIGI Member

    True, that's why for all seen areas, I'd prefer to handlay both the track and turnouts, that way i can mangle the tie spacings and it'll all look the same :D . as for the unseen areas, well anything can go there as long as the old steamers can go through without derailing ;) .

    Course since I'm now planning a new layout with both standard and a narrow gauge line on it, I'll definalty hand lay most of the runs, course the station and maintence yard that'll be in dual gauge will be my biggest challenge in terms of the Turnouts. :curse:
  13. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I agree hand lay looks best :thumb:

    Love to try my hand at it one day :D

    Right now, I just mangle the plastic ties and it comes out pretty good ;)
  14. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I hand layed an 8' X 10' HO layout, with hand built turnouts..................I'll use flex track now, thankyou. Don't get me wrong, I loved the look.....just not.... hand cutting ties-staining-stacking-glueing-railcutting-gazillionspikes-bending-soldering-aligning-bent over the track-optivisor wearing-finger pinching-knuckle scraping....enough to do it again! HOn3 turnouts? yeah those I'll build...$$$$$, and dual gauge track, I'll hand spike the third rail in..$$$$$.
  15. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    That's what I'll probably endup doing too, Pete, when I really start going nuts on the big daddy layout. Maybe handlay some of the cose up track if I get good (fast) at it. Like you say, too many pesos.
  16. mykroft

    mykroft Member

    I do believe Micro Engineering makes Concrete Tie track. There was some good info on that in the latest MR. Article on laying ME Flex with Central Valley Turnout Kits. I might just do this when I tear down the 4x8 to build a semi-modular layout later this summer.
  17. hocaboose

    hocaboose New Member

    In my humble opinion:

    I would go with Atlas flex track and Peco turnouts (code 100) for the following reasons:

    I had a layout in the past with Atlas turnouts and after all of the "fixes" you need to do to them I was still very unhappy.

    I discovered the Peco line of turnouts just before the begining of the construction of my last layout and have never looked back. One of the bigest advantages I have found is the sprung points wherein you dont need to have a switch machine in place for operation. My old Atlas turnouts needed the horrific black plastic switch machines or push pins to hold the points in place. Additionally, the Peco line includes curved turnouts which while rare on the prototype are huge space savers, and quite frankly look pretty cool.

    I know alot of the so called experts claim that a smaller rail size is more prototypical but after the appropriate weathering and ballasting the grossly oversize code 100 stuff looks pretty good (again this is my opinion). The code 100 also provides "bullet proof" trackwork for those who have inexperienced operators (like my two young daughters and one heavy handed (or throttled) modeling friend). Also the daughters haven't managed to damage the track after repeated matchbox created rail crossings.

    One further thought, I may be the untypical modeler as I have always believed and practiced heavy operations and to date I have yet to see any appreciable wear in Peco frogs, whereas I have had to replace the cheaper Atlas turnouts in the past.

    Hope this helps,


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