track code

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by viperman, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    How can an amateur like me tell the diference between code 83 and 100 track? Can you use both together? I'm re-building my layout, to an atlas trackplan I got out of a book. I need to buy some 22" curves, but am not sure what code track I have to match it up. Check the link in my sig, as I have many more questions there too.
  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    CODE 83 and CODE 100 can be joined together. CODE 83 has brown ties and the rail is a little shorter in height than CODE 100 which has black ties.

    You can buy transition tracks which go from CODE 100 to CODE 83 in one section of track (I think the piece is about 6" or so)
  3. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Code refer's the base of the rail to the head of the rail, code 83 being .083" and code 100 being .100". Joining can be done with transition rails OR joiners, but I'd suggest the rails.
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Viperman, if you're buying sectional track, my guess is that it's Code 100. Another way to join two disparate sizes of rail together is to slip rail joiners on the larger size rail, then, using a pair of pliers, crimp the half of each which protrudes from the end of the rail, then set the bottom of the smaller rail on the flattened ends, and solder it in place. That's what I did when I installed the loco shop at Lowbanks: it had been built many years prior to the layout, and all of the interior tracks were Code 100, while the layout uses Code 83. This picture, of the back of the building, doesn't show the soldered rail joints that I mentioned, although you can see where the far track enters the building, it's a smooth transition.


  5. gottaBreal

    gottaBreal Member

    Just use FlexTrack dont buy those prefab turns. And ive never understood how a trackplan from a book ever makes it in to use.....Why not get an idea of your area to use for layout and then make your own plan?

    My 2 cents
  6. Illus

    Illus Member

    So you are saying that Code 83 is .083 TAll measured from the top of the tie? And Code 100 is .100" tall? So there is a .017" difference?

    I was wondering the same thing, because the guy I got my stuff from had both kinds of track.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    That is correct. Model rail is made ina variety of sizes to better replicate prototype rail which also came in a variety of sizes. In HO, the chart looks something like this:

    code 40 = 40 lb rail
    code 55 = 75 lb rail
    code 70 = 110 lb rail
    code 83 = 132 lb rail
    code 100 = oversize for all but 152 lb used only on the PRR in a view places

    Note this only scales by height. Model rail tends to be a little oversize on the width of the head; some makes more than others. Model rail is quite oversize on the width of the rail web to provide the required strength, and provide enough thickness for reasonable ease of manufacturing.

    Track is available from Atlas in both code 83 and code 100. Walters makes code 83. Shinohara makes code 70. Micro Engineering makes track in code 55, 70, and 83.

    my thoughts, your choices
  8. Illus

    Illus Member

    Thanks for the info. Like I said, I got Codes 83 and 100 when I got my HO, and it's all Atlas Flex Track. I like the Flextrack. I am going to stick with it. I'll figure out which track to stick with later. Maybe use the Code 83 on mainline areas for the brown ties, and the Code 100 in the yard and switching areas, for the black ties. With transitions, of course.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    A usual procedure (which reflects prototype practice) is to use the smaller code for yards and switching areas.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    One additional point to remember if is it is all ATLAS track, the railheads come out at the same height. They made the ties on the Code 83 0.017" thicker so it would match the Code 100 rail height. In this case then, only a Code83-100 joiner is needed.

  11. gottaBreal

    gottaBreal Member

    Yup thats how you should do it sir...AND PAINT THE TRACK.
  12. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I'm sticking to 83, with 70 in a few various places, & 100 for "off layout" tracks, like hidden tracks, staging, ect.
  13. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    I think all my track is from Atlas, Bachman, and Life-Like. I have no idea. Probably all Atlas. All my track has black ties, so I'm assuming its all code 100. Everyone feel free to check my post too for updates there
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Just line up the rail ends as if you were joining them. You should be able to see if one is lower than the other.

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