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 roadbed.
"> 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
: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
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: email@example.com
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.
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.
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 turnouts.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, coustanis at email@example.com wrote on 12/1/05 8:27 AM:
"coustanis" wrote in news:1133454476.144044.219470 @g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:
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.