O scale track: To handlay or not to handlay ?

Well, this is probably a beaten to death subject, but I wanted to have the opinions of people who have really done this themselves.
1) I am planning to handlay some short portions of track in O scale (2 rails of course), and was wondering what rail did you use: Micro Enginnering or Old Pullman Rails? Also, what code for the main track (Code 125 or code 148)?
2) If you used tie plates, which kind did you buy? I noticed that Old Pullman offer these plates.
3) Any information about ballast size, colors and weathering woudl be most welcome as well.
Thanks Yves
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