Track help

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Spartalee, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Spartalee

    Spartalee Member

    OK I am working on setting up my new HO set but I am curious as to what kind of track is best. .83 or 100. plastic base or no base. any suggestions? what do you guys use on your large layouts? and is it durable and long lasting?
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    The most important thing you need to look for is whether or not the track is made of nickel silver. You should only buy nickel silver rail. Steel or brass rail are unreliable because when tarnished, they lose electrical conductivity. Nickel Silver retains conductivity even when tarnished, which means it's more reliable.

    Code 100 or 83 is just how tall the rail is. 83 is shorter and looks more realistic, but also costs more.

    Plastic roadbed or no roadbed-- Up to you, but most of us prefer to buy no-roadbed flextrack and lay our own cork roadbed + ballast.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I used Atlas code 100 flex track.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    "best" may depend of what you want. Code 100 is a bit overscale, but rugged. Code 87 is right for a heavy mainline. Code 70 and smaller for lighter lines.
    Plastic roadbed is also rugged. It does limit you in track plans.
    Most of my layout is code 100 (Peco) but one end is their code 75, and I have a few other makes. Code 70/75 can conflict with the larger wheel flanges.
    I have a loop of Bachman EZ track which I used for running in and other purposes.
  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I would go with CODE 83 track, just my opinion though:D :D
  6. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    I handlay mine and currently use code 83 mostly because it was on sale :D
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    By plastic base, I assume that you are talking about the sectional track with built in roadbed. Like many things in model railroading, it depends on what you are trying to achieve and your budget and skill level. For a beginner, the sectional track with roadbed gets you going in a short time with minimal effort. It can be used on the floor, on a dining room table or wherever. The flextrack does a better job of realism but requires more work, since you have to use adhesive and/or nails to install it. You also have to provide the roadbed separately. Usually cork or foam, although there is one company still making wood roadbed, I believe. When you get into the nitty gritty of model railroading, you will find that there are several options of rail size, tie spacing and other things that you can do to make your layout realistic. Check some of the beginners books available at hobby shops.
  8. jstump

    jstump New Member

    I use nickel silver code 83 flextrack by Atlas. It comes in 3 foot pieces and I use cork for the base.
  9. Spartalee

    Spartalee Member

    Whats the smallest turn radius able to be made with flex track?
  10. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Generally, you don't want to make your flextrack curves any smaller than 18" radius.. Locomotives and cars may derail if a curve is too sharp.

    For people who model traction layouts (trolley lines, etc.), they can get the radius down to 12" or less. But if you are modeling general mainline action running stuff like 4-axle Geeps, you want to stick with 18" or larger.

    Hope this helps!
  11. Spartalee

    Spartalee Member

    Dang right tom your a wealth of knowledge.
    How thick should the top of the table be and is plywood the best wood or is their something stronger?
  12. CRed

    CRed Member

    I am going to be using E-Z Track for a few reasons,1)We rent so if we have to move I can just pack it up,2)I'm new at this and I want to keep it as simple as possible until I grow into the hobby a bit,and 3)I'm doing this with my son who is 9 and want him to be able to help without it being too difficult for him.

  13. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    There are many different ways to do the benchwork...

    - Some people use plywood and cookie-cut it.

    - Some people use open-lattice benchwork without a solid plywood top at all (the L-girder system), and the terrain/scenary is completely made of plaster hardshell/papier mache.

    - Some people use a thin sheet of plywood such as 1/4" as a tabletop (braced underneath to give it rigidity), and on top of it they lay inch-thick sheets of styrofoam on which they lay the roadbed and carve the terrain/scenary.

    Which way you want to do it is up to you. You might want to google for "layout benchwork" and see what turns up.

    Good luck!
  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Minimum radius is a function of whatever your largest locomotive will tolerate. Additionally, cars need to be able to follow the locomotive without derailing or coming uncoupled. In HO scale, 18 inches is a minimum, but there again, it depends on the equipment that you are using.
  15. Spartalee

    Spartalee Member

    Now the scale for HO is 1:87 correct?
    And this is the formula used to regulate size of actual trains? the same is true with track right.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The scale for HO is 1:87.1 (and there's probably a few more decimals). 1:87 is probably good enough for anything you model other than railways.
    When peco first brought out their streamline track, they had a display that showed it bent, twisted and tied into knots. The track will probably make a sharper curve than any equipment will take.
  17. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    If you don't already have a copy of the January issue of Model Railroader magazine, I would suggest getting one. There are several articles of interest to beginning model railroad folks. A 4X8 tabletop layout is shown with a staging yard extension. The whole issue seems to be geared toward getting started.

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