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Thread: Most Realistic N Scale Track

  1. #1

    Most Realistic N Scale Track

    I am looking for some of the most realistic N scale track out there. Can anybody help me?

  2. #2
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    Here is "my" list ranked according to realism. Some of the commercial stuff is hard to obtain but may still be found. Some folks mix and match like using ME track and Atlas code 55 turnouts. Shinohara can still show up on e-bay and I occasionally run across it at obscure hobby shops. On my NTRAK modules I have been using Atlas code 80 with Peco turnouts. On my home layout I have been hand laying my track.

    1. Hand laid code 40 track with hand laid turnouts.
    2. Micro Engineering code 55 track and turnouts.
    3. Atlas code 55 track and turnouts.
    4. Peco code 55 track and turnouts.
    5. Kato Unitrak
    6. Shinohara code 65 track and turnouts.
    7. Peco code 80 track and turnouts.
    8. Atlas code 80 track and turnouts.
    Russell Straw, Sugar Land Route

  3. #3
    I wish they made that fast and easy proto 87 flextrack in n scale. But I am looking for something like handlaid, but with ready to run turnouts, I don't know if I want to handlay yet. Whats cheaper?

  4. #4
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    For the best overall value, looks, availability and the ease of working with, I personally would go with the Atlas code 55.
    Russell Straw, Sugar Land Route

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorfolkSouthern9708 View Post
    I wish they made that fast and easy proto 87 flextrack in n scale. But I am looking for something like handlaid, but with ready to run turnouts, I don't know if I want to handlay yet. Whats cheaper?
    In the end, they are all about even in overall cost. There is an economy of scale with hand laid track, but that comes with the increased price of time. Also, depending on how many turnouts you are going to have, it may be more cost effective to use existing turnouts, or buy the hand laid turnouts from one of the really good builders.

    When it comes to all of the flex track, the decision has to be made based on the rolling stock and the wheel flange height. If you have the old pizza cutter wheels for Micro-Trains and do not want to spend the money to change the wheels, then all of the Atlas Code 55 track is off the table and you are back to Peco Code 55, not American proto track, or Code 80 track.

    So you see it is not all about the cost of the track, but of the ancillary costs of implementing the track. Both hand laid Code 55 or Code 40 track will look really good and neither suffers the problems with wheel flanges like the Atlas track. But the really overlooked cost is your time. It may take 2 hours to layout and install a 6 foot Ntrak module using any of the flex track systems, but that same amount of track hand laid, could take 3 or 4 times as long depending on your skill or comfort level.

    And then there are the different flavors of hand laid track either using spikes to hold the rail in place, or newer methods using bonding adhesives and tooling from Fast Tracks. This is everything from turnout fixtures to straight and curved track fixtures. Each of these fixtures etc come with tooling costs and other support costs like the rail bender or the stock rail tool. So after looking at all of the costs to get setup with hand laid, the flex track may start looking like the better solution.

    So it all boils down to the total economy of the solution, not just the cost of the track and turnouts.
    Last edited by DCESharkman; August 20th, 2009 at 06:45 PM. Reason: typo
    Respectfully,

    David

    Our Future is in our Hands!

    Modeling the ATSF from Winslow to Barstow


  6. #6
    Atlas Code 55 flex would look great on industrial spurs, with ME code 55 flextrack on mainlines. Because of the wider ties on ME track.

  7. #7
    If done right, I think flex track can look as good or better than handlaid.

    Micro engineering c55 is my #1 choice for flex track. It is difficult to find ME switches however, so I use Atlas ones.



    I tried handlaying c40 a couple years ago but found it just a bit to much trouble.

  8. #8
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    I, too, seconds (third?) ME flextrack and Atlas turnouts in code 55. Plus, at least for my needs, ME offers flextrack with concrete ties AND all their flex track in pre-weathered or non-weathered versions.

    The ME flextrack is also better than the Atlas flextrack because it retains its form after you bend it. The Atlas springs back straight unless it's fastened down.

    The ME turnouts are great, but I've heard of reliability problems, as well as general lack of availability. the Atlas C55 turnouts are everywhere. I even saw them at my local 7-11! (j/k)
    Metro Red LineUnder the streets of Los AngelesCheck out my N scale layout blog!

  9. #9
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    A sample of hand laid track

    Here is a sample of hand laid track that is not repeatable using off the shelf pieces. It is another endorsement of hand laid if you have the time and desire.

    Respectfully,

    David

    Our Future is in our Hands!

    Modeling the ATSF from Winslow to Barstow


  10. #10
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    If I were starting to build my own layout right now, I would probably use ME flextrack. I would probably use Atlas turnouts where they offer the size desired (#s 5,7 and 10) but also handlay a lot of turnouts of different sizes and configurations. I might even handlay code 40 on some sidings or spurs.

    (In hidden areas I might use something else entirely, like Peco or Unitrack.)

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