Mixing track code

mtaylor Aug 5, 2000

  1. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    In my never ending debate with myself about which track to use on my up and coming layout, I found myself with the following question. Can you mix and match differnt track codes togetehr? For example, let's say that I have Peco code 55 flex and points (Allen has converted me to say points now [​IMG]) and some Atlas points and snap track (code 100?) will these work together? Won't there be a HUGE elevation change from coe 55 to code 100? I would think that this would cause a huge bump on the train and possible derailments. I am thinking of using some snap track on curves and the helix. I like the appearance of Peco Code 55 but the ease of use (and price) of some of the Atlas products. I have almost given up on my ideas of using Unitrack. Yes that nasty roadbed can be hidden to make it look good. But what a pain and wow is it pricey. The points seem to be a good deal though.

    Any ideas and help would be great. I am currently using Atlas snap track on my test oval. I have used Atlas snap track back in my HO days and I like it too.

    Thanks
    Matt - head spinning.
     
  2. Chessie_SD50_8563

    Chessie_SD50_8563 Permanently dispatched

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    I dont think N scale snap track is code 100

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  3. Gats

    Gats Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Matt,

    The base rail size for N is code 80 - .080" high. The Peco 55 will connect with most code 80 track with no problem - Peco 55 is really 80 with two 'foots' to the rail... one at 80 embedded in the sleepers (another different term for ties) and the other above giving the appearance of 55. The only difference here would possibly be a slight height difference between the bottom of the two codes of track when connected. The Peco 55 may sit up about .025" higher and if this is the case, I suggest you shim the bottom of the track back several inches from the joint to maintain the tops of the rail level.
    Can anyone confirm the height difference?
    Another point that may become an issue, depending on the brands used, is the width to the rail foot. The European brands seem to be wider than Peco and Atlas. Having said this, and in answer to one question, Atlas and Peco do join together using Peco's smaller joiners easily, even though the Atlas track has a slightly wider foot. The Atlas joiners are bigger (and ugly in my view) and will work as well.

    As an aside - The Micro Engineering code 55 is a different kettle of fish. It is a true 55 (.055" high) rail and joining this to others (including their code 40) would require shimming the joiner, or flattening the joiner and soldering the ME 55 to the top, ensuring the rail top is level. Also the track itself will need to be shimmed up to assist in maintaining the vertical alignment of the rails.
    [*]A tip for those thinking of using ME 55 - use Peco's Z joiners for ME-ME joints. They fit with a little force (use long-nose pliers) and are virtually invisible.

    Personally, I would go with using flex on your curves. The less joins, the less possibility of problems. You will find that the most troublesome spot will be the hardest to get to - Murphy really gets his kicks this way [​IMG] - and that will be in a helix.

    Hope this cures some confusion [​IMG]

    Gary.


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    Gary A. Rose
    The Unofficial TC&W page
    N to the Nth degree!
     
  4. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Gats,
    Thanks for the great informaton. Yes this does clear up the confusion on my end. I assumed (you know what they say about assumptions [​IMG]) that N-scale snap track was like HO snap track. I thought the code was relative, not literal. To clarify my understanding then, HO code 83 would be compare to N-Scale code 55? I think the next step for me is purchase some good quality rail nippers (any suggestions?) some Woodland Scenic roadbed and some Peco flex and start praticing my track laying skills on my test board.

    Now about the critical track areas. My logic for Snap track was the predefined radius of the turn and the elimination of possible kinks. Yes there are more joints but the track itself should have near perfect geometry (my spelling stinks [​IMG]) As long as care is taken when laying the track, I would think there would be less margin for error. I say this not to counterpoint but to try gain from everyone else's experinece before I start construction.

    How do you keep the radius consistant using flex on a curve. (I won't even bring up the soldering thing [​IMG]) This is one of my weaker areas, laying flex, and being that track work is absolutly critical, I am a little gun shy going after it.

    Thanks, sorry for the book

    Matt

    [This message has been edited by mtaylor (edited 04 August 2000).]
     
  5. Gats

    Gats Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You're welcome, Matt

    The code is relative to rail height in thousandths of an inch.
    I use good quality flush-cut sidecutters or a dremel tool for cutting the rail. When buying sidecutters, always check the jaw alignment end on and then by placing them up to a light and looking for any gaps between the jaws when closed. There is a brand specifically advertised for rail cutting - someone will know it here. Micromark have them and probably the local model shop as well.

    Remember, each joint is a potential spot for a kink. I made a simple tool for drawing radii by taking a piece of scrap 2x1, marking from a set point and drilling holes big enough to take a pencil at roughly 1" increments, then placing a screw (or nail) through the set point. Use it to mark your curve. Either use it as the outside, inside, or centreline of your track. Don't forget to allow for a transition curve into and out of the curve (something you don't get with set/snaptrack).

    Never apologise for writing a book. Framing your questions well helps anyone who is in the same position as yourself, and the replying parties to adequately answer them. [​IMG]

    Gary.

    Gary.

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    Gary A. Rose
    The Unofficial TC&W page
    N to the Nth degree!
     
  6. tunnel88

    tunnel88 TrainBoard Member

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    My Xurons are tops...
     
  7. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    Matt
    Get rid of the SNAP-TRACK. It has no business on a layout of the type that you have described. Also DO NOT even think about putting SNAP-TRACK on a HELIX. You want the best possible track-work on your helix, unless you want to have a constant derailment headache built into your helix. Use flex track, take your time and do it RIGHT!
    As TUNNEL88 said XURON railnippers are the best. After a couple of practice cuts, you can cut rail quick and clean every time. It helps to have a very small file, to clean up any ends of the rail that didn't come out perfect.
    By the questions that you are asking you need to get you a good trackwork hand book. PAUL MALLORY has written a couple. I use one called TRACKWORK HAND BOOK. While not really written for N-Scale, the book will answer most questions about easements(which are needed on any layout's curves), radius control and other trackwork questions. These books are available in several different magazines.

    All this time I now spend on the computer, I should be doing chores, please don't tell the wife! LOL

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    MARK
     
  8. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks all. I will certainly do the homework. [​IMG]

    Comptuers are addicting too aren't they?

    Matt
     
  9. ChrisDante

    ChrisDante TrainBoard Member

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    Dosn't this board have knowledgeable people!
    I'm building a helix in HO and have the same problems. Just different scale.

    mtaylor, porkypine52 is right. Now go to the Walthers cataloge and look for a company called ribbonrail. They make preformed radii in every measurement. The pieces are about 2in long. Put them between your rails and run it along the length of track and you will have a good radius.

    Hope this helps,
    LOL

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    When in doubt, empty your magazine.
     
  10. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ChrisDante:
    Dosn't this board have knowledgeable people!
    I'm building a helix in HO and have the same problems. Just different scale.

    mtaylor, porkypine52 is right. Now go to the Walthers cataloge and look for a company called ribbonrail. They make preformed radii in every measurement. The pieces are about 2in long. Put them between your rails and run it along the length of track and you will have a good radius.

    Hope this helps,
    LOL

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    This board is great!! I will look into this as well. Happy days are approaching [​IMG]
     
  11. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Matt,
    I have to agree with the rest and go with flextrack. Don't rush into your layout my suggestion is practice laying some flextrack and run your most troublesome rollingstock (get some MDC husky stack cars) they are so light if they run over your trackwork almost every other type of rollingstock will also. When I built my layout I layed a few curves and ran a locomotive over it. Once you lay a few lengths you will find how satisfying it is.

    Godd luck

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    http://users.bigpond.net.au/railroad2000
     
  12. JohnC

    JohnC TrainBoard Member

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    I've been following this thread carefully. I'll be laying track soon.

    I picked up a pair of Xuron cutters from an electronics supply catalog. They work great!

    This forum is the best.

    John
     

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