Best code 83 HO track/turnout system

I've been away from model railroading for years. This year I bought a
new house with a wonderful basement room perfect for a large layout.
My 11-year old boy and I are eager to get started but aren't sure
which code 83 system to use. What are my options, and what are the
pros and cons of the various brands currently available? Websites
would also be helpful. Thanks!
Reply to
Bill Bryant
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I've always considered the ME track to be the best available. It is a bit harder to work with as it is stiff but a bit of working on the curves will make them flow right.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
If price is not a big concern, consider Railway Engineering
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turnouts. They can be purchased DCC ready as well as with wooden ties already attached. And they will make ANYTHING you can draw; curves, straights, non-standard, etc. It is the next best thing to hand laid, and instead of doing the labor, you pay for it.
If you want ready made turnouts and don't mind the European look, check out Pilz Elite turnouts. I'm using them now with their flex track and they work great. I measured them and made templates for them in Empire Express to design my layout, and the result were right on. See
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for purchase and pricing. To use these with DCC, I removed the two jumpers, put a jumper between the stock and point rails, and wired the frog rails to be switched by my Tortoise motors. In addition, I made a cut two ties prior to the frog (in the closure rails) to prevent the back of metal wheels (especially steam locos) from touching both rail simultaneously. That leaves a dead spot of less than one inch. If you left the jumpers I removed in place, then this cut could be made even further away and there would be no dead spot. ( I installed them then discovered the "back of wheel" problem)
I find that ME and Walther's / Shinohara turnouts are troublesome with DCC, though others don't mind the conversion. Atlas has sloppy points, even with "Superswitches" which otherwise look very good, so I ruled them out.
I have no opinion on Peco, but some love 'em (you'll likely hear from them here), but they have no code 83.
in article, Bob May at wrote on 11/18/03 11:57 AM:
Reply to
Edward A. Oates
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is the home of Atlas track. I would strongly suggest starting with their track. Avoid their snap switches but use their custom line switches. It is easy to use and works well. Micro engineering is very hard to work with and if you are new, avoid it I think. Walthers makes good switches but their height is different than Atlas's a small bit.
In short, start with Atlas. After a while you can experiment. Have fun!
Reply to
I'd use HO PECO if I didn't mind the fact that the turnouts don't look right for US standard gauge track. They function perfectly but only come in 100 and 75. For HO I use code 83 Walthers. The Walthers turnouts look very nice and are reasonably priced. If you use either DC or DCC they need slight modification to be completely reliable. The modification is not difficult and well worth the effort. The same goes for Shinohara. ME's probably need a little work too but really look good. I noticed that Ed mentioned Railway Engineering. I have not tried their products but have heard nothing but good things about their turnouts. All the Atlas turnouts I've tried were introduced to the trash can in short order. Many people have had success with the Atlas stuff so don't rule them out on my experience. Lord knows what they get to run through those things.... probably diesels or something else horrible. :) If you plan to run steam locomotives consider using turnouts like Walthers or similar turnouts from other manufacturers that offer code 83 and modify them. Even with diesel locomotives this is the best way to go to be stall proof when running real slow through a turnout. You can see diagrams on how to modify a variety of turnouts at
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. Even if your not doing DCC these mods work. One other note regardless of who's track products you decide on get an NMRA gauge and make sure everything is in gauge. For the most part things will be in gauge or close enough that it won't matter, but its still good to check and catch the occasional problem before it creates one. Remember that the forces of nature insure that the one turnout that's out of whack will get installed at the most difficult to reach spot on the layout. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
available. It is a bit
the curves will
ME ? In this case stands for....?
I'm on and, and "ME" stands for "Mutant Enemy" which is the production company of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel."
Reply to
Mac Breck
In rec.models.railroad my first guess would be Micro Engineering. Paul
Reply to
Paul Newhouse
"Paul Newhouse" wrote in message news:uNMub.247699$Tr4.758435@attbi_s03...
Thanks. "Mutant Enemy" was acting like a block. Couldn't get past it.
Reply to
Mac Breck

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