pro's & con's of ho gauge track mfgr's, atlas, peco, walthers

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mapep, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. mapep

    mapep New Member

    Getting ready for a new layout after several years away from the hobby. Although I like the look of hand laid track, I'm leaning toward "flex track". I used to use Atlas brass track with the fibre tie strips. I would appreciate the experience of those who have used the nickel silver track from Walther's, Peco, Atlas, or Micro Engineering.
  2. rcline

    rcline Member

    Mapep, I used code 100 nickel silver 3' flex track on my layout and soldered all the joints together. Using flex trak I was able to route the track at angels that otherwise
    would not be able to do with standard track. With flex track, I also was able to have the
    track make slight sways back and forth just like it looks when you look down a real section of straight track.
    Good luck - rcline (Little Choo Choo)
  3. mykroft

    mykroft Member

    ME Flex is very stiff, and a little fragile, but the spike detail is the best looking. By far the best looking flextrack available for HO.

    Atlas Code 100 is very nice to work with, quite flexible, tough, but the detail (Spikes, tieplates) is about O-Scale in size. Probably best for hidden trackage. I haven't used their Code 83 stuff.

    Peco I haven't used, but their Code 100 and COde 75 is UK outline, and the details are wrong for US trackage. Their Code 83 looks to be excellent (I've seen some examples fo the turnouts, very impressive).

    Walthers/Shinohara is in between Atlas and ME for detail, robustness and flexibility. The Code 83 is Walthers branded, the Code 70 is Shinohara, but all of it is Shinohara made.
  4. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    Peco code75 track is great. I love it. One of hte nice features is that the 'sprues' htat connect the sleepers (ties) together are not as thick as the sleepers themselves so it is possible (with a great deal of careful brushing) to get the same effect as you do with handlaid track, i.e. the ballast does not touch the bottom of the rail.

    This looks great on older tracks (pre diesel secondary tracks) where the ballast was not maintained as much.

    the points are brilliant (especially the electrofrog) and they say that north american style points are track are coming out soon. I can't tell the difference but then I've never seen a real NA point so the subtleties may be lost on me.

    I have heard very good reports on micro engineering stuff but they only have one type of point and no crossings, wye, three ways, single slips and double slips that the peco line has. It is also twice as expensive in britain.

    Walthers is meant to be good (actually made by Shinohara, which is very good) but it is patterned after modern track and I model the 1920's so i have never used it.

    Atlas has always struck me as cheap crap but i am sure lots of people will disagree :D and their CustomLine code 83 stuff looks better.

  5. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    I've only used Micro Engineering and Atlas flextrack, and these folks are right.
    Micro Engineering has some fine detail, and with a little treatment, you can come close to making it look handlaid. It's also quite stiff, once you bend it, it'll be hard to straighten it out again. I've used codes 70 and 55 on my layout and it has worked fine.
    Atlas code 100 is something I'd use strictly on hidden track.
  6. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member

    As a rookie I've only used Atlas code 100 and Atlas code 83. I much prefer the code83 and think that it is easier to work with.

    It's easy to mix the code 81 and code 100 since Atlas has made them the same height at the railhead, but I would stick with the code 83 all the way. I used some code 100 on some hidden trackage but now wish that I had used code 83. The cost difference is not significant unless you can use a lot of code 100.

    I don't think that I would want to spend the time to hand lay track, with the possible exception of switches. I think that I would use Walthers code 83 switches instead of Atlas if I were starting over. Mostly because of appearance although the Atlas code 83 turnouts look much better than the code 100 turnouts, I think.

  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The way I weather and scenic my track, it makes little difference if it's code 100 or not, much less how big the spikes are.


    So I go for the easy to use Atlas. As far as turnouts go, the cheap ones are cheap, the expensive ones are good. Here in the US the expensive Atlas are less than the other brands, as far as I know in all cases. The good Atlas are known to work flawlessly for years, but are often slandered by those who had experiance with the cheapies.

    One brand I really didn't care for in flex track was model power. It's not NS. It attracts a magnet, corrodes quickly and is very very stiff to form. I bought some because they had it at Hobby Lobby and I was there.

    And most importnatly, :wave: :wave: :wave: Welcome to the-gauge! :wave: :wave: :wave:

    And :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: Have fun!!! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

    :cool: :cool: :cool:
  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Now that's GREAT LOOKING trackwork Jon!!!!
  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I use Atlas C83 track and switches on my HO industrial switching layout.I use O scale spikes to spike the track in place..I am also using Atlas C80 on my N scale industrial switching layout that I am ever so slowly building.Needless to say I will not use any other brand of track. :thumb:
    I also weather my track as well...Now C100 will not look as big once you get it weathered.We use Atlas C100 at the club and after we weathered the track it looks like C83 IMHO.. :D
  10. atsfman

    atsfman New Member

    Most of the trackage on my three deck Santa Fe has been down for several years. It is a "matured" railroad. I used a mix of code 100 and code 70 (code 83 not being that popular or easy to find then). Except for the sections that were handlaid, I used MicroEngineering and like it very much. There are around 250 switches on the railroad. Most powered switches are Shinohara, the non-powered switches, which are the majority, are Peco. I particularily like the spring in the Peco switches which locks the points in place. I don't care for the appearance of the ties. However, Peco has announced a new code 83 "American" switch which will probably be very good.

    I have a lot of switching areas on the railroad, and that is where I have the Pecos. My crews like the east of "flicking" the switches over and having them lock in place.

    As a note, I use Homabed roadbed on the railroad, and I use code 70 spikes to hold the track in place. After the ballasting and glueing down, the track does not move.

  11. mapep

    mapep New Member


    Thank you members for your response an willingness to share your knowledge. It is appreciated and will be put to good use.
  12. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Jon, What's up with the track on top of the tunnel? Part of it looks to be "floating". Just curious. I really like the closest track in the pic. with the ties totally covered.

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