Track Compatibility

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
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Artisan
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Track Compatibility

Postby Artisan » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:59 am

As I am on a budget I might buy secondhand track for my first layout and will not necessarily have a choice in which makes I purchase. If I purchase new track are there any brands that are good but cheaper than others? But if I purchase a mix of secondhand track are there any that are not really compatible with each other? Do the brands generally go together well with fitting and appearance? I ask this question only as an idea in my planning but personally I would prefer to use just one brand If I can.
Best regards,
Greg

b308
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby b308 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:46 am

You don't say which scale, but if it's OO/HO then most of the stuff you'll see will be Code 100 and yes they are compatible. However I personally am not a fan of buying secondhand unless you are absolutely certain that the stuff you are buying is in good nick. Points especially can cause major problems if not checked thoroughly before buying. With plain track, especially s/h flexible track badly soldered wires and sleepers coming away from the rail are common. If you do go down this route check everything before buying.

Whatever you do DON'T buy steel rail, nickel silver is the rail of choice for good reasons!

Personally I would tend to buy new when starting out to avoid running problems which may put you off. There was a plan in one of CK Freezer's plan books which showed a layout being built up gradually in stages to spread the cost. First one oval of track which points for future laid down, then a second oval added and finally the sidings. A much better way for costs savings and spreading it over time.

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Artisan
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Artisan » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:09 pm

b308 wrote:You don't say which scale, but if it's OO/HO then most of the stuff you'll see will be Code 100 and yes they are compatible. However I personally am not a fan of buying secondhand unless you are absolutely certain that the stuff you are buying is in good nick. Points especially can cause major problems if not checked thoroughly before buying. With plain track, especially s/h flexible track badly soldered wires and sleepers coming away from the rail are common. If you do go down this route check everything before buying.

Whatever you do DON'T buy steel rail, nickel silver is the rail of choice for good reasons!

Personally I would tend to buy new when starting out to avoid running problems which may put you off. There was a plan in one of CK Freezer's plan books which showed a layout being built up gradually in stages to spread the cost. First one oval of track which points for future laid down, then a second oval added and finally the sidings. A much better way for costs savings and spreading it over time.



Thank you for your reply. Very interesting what you have to say. With regards to the gauge, sorry I should has said I am going to build the layout in N gauge due to my limited space in my home office.
Best regards,
Greg

b308
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby b308 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:39 pm

Right, someone who knows better than I may well amend this but as a generalisation most British N uses code 80 and is compatible. However if you pick up European Track (Roco, etc.) it is code 83 and though it can be connected to code 80 there is a small hump that is best filed to a slope for smooth running. Peco also make code 55 track which is a slight misnomer as the actual depth of the rail is te same as their code 80 rail and can be coupled to it, the sleepers are deeper to make the rail look more realistic.

Chances are that if you are buying in the UK and secondhand that you'll probably see more Peco than any other make, though you may see some Kato Unitrack around which is rather like the old Hornby Dublo 3 rail in that it includes a plastic base with simulated ballast and is grey in colour. If you can find some it's well regarded, though to couple it to "normal" track you'll have to put some packing under the ordinary track to bring it up to level.

A word about the "Codes" I was talking about. In model railways the depth of the rail (or height dependent of your views!) is given by a "code" which (I think) is in thousandths of an inch. The most common rail used in N Scale is code 80 (or as i mentioned 83 in mainland Europe). In OO the most common is code 100 in the UK and Europe.

Final point(!), if buying secondhand my two comments remain as in my previous post, check the points are working correctly before parting with any cash! Also any defects in plain track such as sleepers being detached from the rail will make running even worse than OO scale as everything is smaller and more susceptible to derailments.

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Artisan
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Artisan » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:40 pm

b308 wrote:Right, someone who knows better than I may well amend this but as a generalisation most British N uses code 80 and is compatible. However if you pick up European Track (Roco, etc.) it is code 83 and though it can be connected to code 80 there is a small hump that is best filed to a slope for smooth running. Peco also make code 55 track which is a slight misnomer as the actual depth of the rail is te same as their code 80 rail and can be coupled to it, the sleepers are deeper to make the rail look more realistic.

Chances are that if you are buying in the UK and secondhand that you'll probably see more Peco than any other make, though you may see some Kato Unitrack around which is rather like the old Hornby Dublo 3 rail in that it includes a plastic base with simulated ballast and is grey in colour. If you can find some it's well regarded, though to couple it to "normal" track you'll have to put some packing under the ordinary track to bring it up to level.

A word about the "Codes" I was talking about. In model railways the depth of the rail (or height dependent of your views!) is given by a "code" which (I think) is in thousandths of an inch. The most common rail used in N Scale is code 80 (or as i mentioned 83 in mainland Europe). In OO the most common is code 100 in the UK and Europe.

Final point(!), if buying secondhand my two comments remain as in my previous post, check the points are working correctly before parting with any cash! Also any defects in plain track such as sleepers being detached from the rail will make running even worse than OO scale as everything is smaller and more susceptible to derailments.


Well, that is informative! Thank you very much for the explanation. The mysteries of N gauge railway modelling are becoming clearer!!!
Best regards,
Greg

Bramshot
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Bramshot » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:39 am

Hi. I would add that Peco code 55 flex track is a lot more robust than the code 80. I used code 80 thinking it would be the other way around, but it is very easy to pop the rail out of the sleepers. That said, it is more flexible than the code 55, and easier to straighten out after bending wrongly, in fact it tends to straighten itself. This is because the rails can slide through the saddles on the sleepers easily. I used some code 55 where I had to join to my Nelevator, and found that I would have preferred it to the code 80. This is much stiffer, and so not as easy to change the bend once applied, as the rails do not slide so easily in the sleepers.

Another tip, do not use the Gaugemaster rail joiners (fishplates) with code 80 or 55. They are too deep and the flanges of some locos clunk over them at each crossing. Use the peco ones, a bit more fiddley, but worth it.

You will need some Kuron? cutters to cut flexitrack to length, or better a slitting disc / Dremel / Proxon unit. Or just use settrack, though if buying new, flexi is cheaper per length.

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Artisan
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Artisan » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:43 pm

Bramshot wrote:Hi. I would add that Peco code 55 flex track is a lot more robust than the code 80. I used code 80 thinking it would be the other way around, but it is very easy to pop the rail out of the sleepers. That said, it is more flexible than the code 55, and easier to straighten out after bending wrongly, in fact it tends to straighten itself. This is because the rails can slide through the saddles on the sleepers easily. I used some code 55 where I had to join to my Nelevator, and found that I would have preferred it to the code 80. This is much stiffer, and so not as easy to change the bend once applied, as the rails do not slide so easily in the sleepers.

Another tip, do not use the Gaugemaster rail joiners (fishplates) with code 80 or 55. They are too deep and the flanges of some locos clunk over them at each crossing. Use the peco ones, a bit more fiddley, but worth it.

You will need some Kuron? cutters to cut flexitrack to length, or better a slitting disc / Dremel / Proxon unit. Or just use settrack, though if buying new, flexi is cheaper per length.



Thank you for the information. Following the all help I have received I have decided to use code 55 settrack.
Best regards,
Greg

b308
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby b308 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:58 am

Bramshot wrote:You will need some Kuron? cutters to cut flexitrack to length, or better a slitting disc / Dremel / Proxon unit. Or just use settrack, though if buying new, flexi is cheaper per length.


"Xuron" (I mentioned them earlier!). Personally I would use them over a slitting disc any day, they are safer and give a better cut.

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Artisan
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Artisan » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:35 am

b308 wrote:
Bramshot wrote:You will need some Kuron? cutters to cut flexitrack to length, or better a slitting disc / Dremel / Proxon unit. Or just use settrack, though if buying new, flexi is cheaper per length.


"Xuron" (I mentioned them earlier!). Personally I would use them over a slitting disc any day, they are safer and give a better cut.


Thank you for the advice.
Best regards,
Greg

Bramshot
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:55 pm

Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Bramshot » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:36 pm

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of using my Xuron cutters to cut the actuating pins on point motors. All I got was a pin shaped hole in the cutter jaws. They are not very hard! So I bought some proper wire cutters for these pins and found that they work perfectly well on track too. So I am not sure why the Xuron ones are the ‘must have’ item.

I found I had to still file the ends of the track after using the cutters, to get Peco joiners on.

The cutting disc works great for me, though you do still need to file. Also good if you find you have to cut track after it is laid and ballasted ( maybe to remove damaged sections or to isolate where this had been forgotten!)

Isn’t Setrack Code 80?

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Artisan
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Re: Track Compatibility

Postby Artisan » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:40 am

Bramshot wrote:Unfortunately, I made the mistake of using my Xuron cutters to cut the actuating pins on point motors. All I got was a pin shaped hole in the cutter jaws. They are not very hard! So I bought some proper wire cutters for these pins and found that they work perfectly well on track too. So I am not sure why the Xuron ones are the ‘must have’ item.

I found I had to still file the ends of the track after using the cutters, to get Peco joiners on.

The cutting disc works great for me, though you do still need to file. Also good if you find you have to cut track after it is laid and ballasted ( maybe to remove damaged sections or to isolate where this had been forgotten!)

Isn’t Setrack Code 80?


Thank you.
Best regards,
Greg

b308
Posts: 4912
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: Track Compatibility

Postby b308 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:36 am

Bramshot wrote:Unfortunately, I made the mistake of using my Xuron cutters to cut the actuating pins on point motors. All I got was a pin shaped hole in the cutter jaws. They are not very hard! So I bought some proper wire cutters for these pins and found that they work perfectly well on track too. So I am not sure why the Xuron ones are the ‘must have’ item.

Isn’t Setrack Code 80?


That's why they say don't use them for other things! Nickel silver isn't as had as other metals such as the steel used in those pins so the cutters will get damaged if used on the pins. It's like any tool, used for the correct purpose it will work well, used for other purposes it won't. Reason many of us like them is simple, they do a good job, when used correctly.

Yes, Peco N set-track is code 80.


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