I want to get into HO railroading. After googling I see that code 83
is more photorealistic than code 100 although it's a bit pricier.
What about flex track. Does it come in a selection of codes? Can you
get flextrack that can be clipped together the way sectional does. A
little box of rail clips or something.
How easy is it to mate flextrack with pre made turnouts and such.
Who is the preferred vendor of flextrack and of sectional without
Flex track will need to be cut to even out the rail ends if you are coming
out of a curve into a switch. Otherwise I just undercut the first two spike
heads on each rail and slip a railjoiner on them.
I like Atlas Superflex in code 83.
The best technique is to pre-curve the rail ends to match the desired
radius. This eliminates the 'doglegs' common in poorly laid trackwork.
This is a good idea whether or not one solders the joints.
And, yes, staggered joints are preferable.
Soldering the rail joints is optional. It is (usually) a good idea to
solder SOME of the rail joints. It is a bad idea (usually) to solder ALL
the rail joints. Some expansion-contraction space is needed in the
trackwork to prevent buckling. It's not the track that usually does the
expansion-contraction, but the benchwork and roadbed under it. I'd avoid
any continuous rail sections more than 10 ft. long.
Often the BEST technique is to leave the major rail joints UN-soldered,
and run a feeder wire to each rail section. This gives excellent power
distribution, AND allows rail some flexibility.
In a message on 1 Dec 2005 08:27:56 -0800, wrote :
"> I want to get into HO railroading. After googling I see that code 83"> is more photorealistic than code 100 although it's a bit pricier."> "> What about flex track. Does it come in a selection of codes? Can you"> get flextrack that can be clipped together the way sectional does. A"> little box of rail clips or something."> How easy is it to mate flextrack with pre made turnouts and such.
Flextrack comes is a selection of codes, usually 83 (realistic
mainline) and 100 (oversized mainline, but needed for some rolling
stock). I just checked at www.walthers.com
Micro engineering also has code 55 and 70 flextrack (used for yards).
And Peco has code 75 flextrack. Yes, you can use rail-joiners to connect
sections of flextrack. And yes it mates to pre made turnouts (or even
bits of sectional track). Flextrack does not come with 'attached'
ballasted/roadbed, like *some* sectional track/pre made turnouts.
"> "> Who is the preferred vendor of flextrack and of sectional without"> roadbed.
Atlas makes good, low-cost flextrack track in both code 100 and code
83. There are several other vendors. *General* rule-of-thumb: if you
are using pre-made turnouts from a given vendor, use the flextrack from
the same vendor for optimal fit and consistent look (eg same
color/shape ties and rails). Although different vendors' products will
generally 'mate' -- sometimes you need that 'special' bit of track-work.
"> "> Thanks,"> W"> ">
Robert Heller ||InterNet: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153
On Thu, 01 Dec 2005 08:27:56 -0800, coustanis wrote:
I don't mean to be picky, but you can get much more complete answers from
books and magazines than you can from this newsgroup. We're pretty good
at answering specific questions, but yours covers a wide range of
informaion. Check out your local library. Usually if they don't have wha
you need, they can ge it from another library.
Good luck and welcome to model railroading.
I would suggest you try to find a model railroad club near you and join
them. You will learn far more there, and far faster, than you ever will by
reading magazines, books or internet posts!
I say this from personal experience.
I like Code 83 because it looks better and it not that much more expensive
to use. Flextrack does come in a selection of codes and can be joined with
rail joiners, but most recommend soldering those joints especially in curves
to maintain the curvature (no kink at the joint). Also, in curves, the
outside rail will cover less of the arc than the inside one, so things won't
line up exactly and you will need to cut the rail (see below).
You can join flex track to turnouts, but be aware that not all track
profiles are identical. For example, Atlas flextrack and Walthers turnout
have different tie heights, so the rail doesn't line up exactly with out
shim somewhere. Also, some rail has a different width at the bottom part
where the rail joiner goes (Pilz Elite, for example is narrower that Atlas).
I wound up choosing the same flextrack as turnouts to avoid those issues. I
don't mind the European look, so I went with Pilz Elite which has nice
turnouts, including curved ones along with weathered rail and joiners.
Atlas, Microengineering, and Walthers all make good flextrack and turnouts,
too. Peco now has a range of Code 83 which I've not used at all, but other
seem to like. I use NO sectional rail on my layout: it is all flextrack and
Note that you can build your own turnouts, and the September issue of Model
Railroading has an article on page 27 about using Fast Tracks jigs to do
just that. . Then you can use rail from whatever flextrack you chose to use
to get an exact match and not worry about differing rail profiles.
I use one of two methods to cut rail: A Xuron rail cutting tool, and then a
fine file or metal sanding disk on a Dremel to square up the cut, or just
use a cutting disc on my Dremel tool, and then use the same sanding disc to
even things up.
in article email@example.com, coustanis
at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 12/1/05 8:27 AM:
Exactly. Flex track is joined using rail joiners that slip over
the rails. Same as sectional track.
Since they use the same types of rail joiners, it's a no brainer.
Atlas and Micro Engineering, AFAIK.
On additional thing you need to know. Flex track has a fixed
rail and a free rail. When you bend the flex track, the free
rail slides within it's 'spikes'. It will apear to change it's
length relitive to the fixed rail. The trick is to place the
free rail on the inside of curves and then trim it short. There
is a bit of skill needed for this.
There are some other tricks to using flex track that this group
can undoubtedly share with you.
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