Starting again, need advice

Old HO Guy Dec 28, 2020

  1. Old HO Guy

    Old HO Guy New Member

    Looking for suggestions on layout concepts working with 10 x 5 board in HO gauge.
    Do I stick with traditional Atlas track or go with the new EZ track.
    I am old school when it comes to appearance.
    gmorider likes this.
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    EZ track and Atlas track have a lot of the same dimensions when it comes to sectional track. EZ track (or any sectional track with molded roadbed) is good for temporary layouts, but if you want to do scenery and ballast the track, sectional track or flextrack on cork roadbed is the way to go.

    Switches are debatable too. Peco and Atlas are big ones. Peco switches are nice because they have a spring in the points; you don’t need a switch motor to hold them in place, you can just move them with your fingers. Shinohara (Walthers) is another brand. They have curved turnouts and crossovers that may be worth looking into.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Do please consider a high quality brand of track. It will cost a bit more, however you will experience a lot fewer possible difficulties and thus have more enjoyment. Kato Unitrack, Peco, Atlas....
    traingeekboy and Martin Station like this.
  4. Akirasho

    Akirasho TrainBoard Member

    Welcome aboard Old HO Guy. I hope you fare better than me... I started again over 4 years ago (health and changing interests) and I have a sense of what you're looking for, but it might help if we had a bit more info.

    Size of layout (shelf or monster spaghetti bowl)
    Type of operations (switching or mainline or both)
    DC or DCC
    Goodies you already have
    Budget (nasty four letter word)

    I'm looking to move to DCC but have a large DC fleet Which has slowed my roll as I decide how to reproach such with limited funding.... and health that had me in the ER Saturday!!!

    Good group of folks here! Notice that the board has sub forums for more precise interests. I well be heating up the DCC forums soon.... I hope!
    traingeekboy likes this.
  5. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

    I built my entire layout almost with sectional track and just a bit of flex as needed. The turnouts are a different story, I used Peco turnouts. I did use the foam roadbed on part of it, but finished with cork. For all the curves, turnout and crossovers, we have very few derailments. I think if you use any decent track and take your time to do it right, you will be happy with the results.

    I am not sure if you would like the results if you tried to ballast the ez-track style track.

    Good luck with your build and start a thread on your empire so we can see your progress.

    Dale Baker
    Port of Catoosa Railroad
  6. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    So when I modeled HO scale I almost exclusively used flex track. It gave me the freedom to create anything I wanted without being locked into a shape or diameter of turn. I started with foam roadbed but found it didn't have enough support, I preferred cork in that department. Today I am modeling N scale and I am only using Kato Unitrak. Yes I am limited to the shapes that I didn't want to be limited to in HO, but the cost of the Unitrak was about the same as the flex when you count the prices of the roadbed. When I build my home layout though I will most likely switch to flex, with Fast Track's turnouts. HO on the other hand was a bit cheaper in the flex department. I know I am clear as mud... right?
  7. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    I would suggest getting some train magazines or a more contemporary How To book. A lot has changed for the better. Yet, there are some tried and true methods that people seem to stick to for good reason.

    Rails and track types-
    HO track comes in different rail sizes now. Old brass track was Code 100. People favor nickel silver rail now because it does not oxidize like the brass rail did. It's good to stick with C100 if you have older trains you want to keep using. People will tell you to not use brass track, yet to be honest, I find you get switches really cheap on the auction site that are brass and I have no issue mixing and matching. I.e. Yes, I will buy that brass double slip switch for 10-20 bucks instead of paying 60 bucks.

    Cork is still a must for most people.

    Track joiners-
    I doubt many use the old plastic rail joiners anymore. It's easier to use a cutting disc in a dremel to make a rail gap when needed.

    Consider doing a open bench work style for your layout as it allows for more scenic effects. Then again, I am kind of a toy train runner and I love plywood centrals when well done.

    Power -
    DC vs. DCC... If you are using older locos, it's best to stick with DC power instead of Digital. I've done both, they each have their benefits. Once again, you said you are sort of a old style kind of modeler so DC is the best power system for that and much cheaper. I collect older 60's to 80's HO trains and the effort of converting all those trains to DCC seems like a nightmare.
    Massey likes this.

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