Best HO track

 
  Camo3801 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Western Sydney
Hi all,

Looking at starting my layout, and was wondering what is the best HO scale track to use for DCC trains from Austrains, Auscision, etc?

I currently use Hornby track because of my Hornby sets, but looking to go a bit better.

I've heard Peco track is pretty decent.

Also what code does everyone use?

Cameron.

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  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Peco is good.   If you want to run your existing and older Hornby locos and the Australian models,   go for their code 100 range ( the bigger code, the bigger the rail - code 100 is the most popular, Z scale uses code 40 and O scale  often use code 125)  Peci has code 100/83/75 in it's range.

If you plan to run only the "modern" /australian trains I would suggest  the code 75 range as the track looks finer. Modelling wise code 100 is a big rail and the closest used in Australia is the iron OreRailways in Western Australia. Most states use soehting equivilant of the code 83/75 for mainlines.  You can get code 40 and code 55 track from other brands for  lighlt yards and branchlines.

Hope that helps.
David Head
  brissim Chief Train Controller

Using Peco Code 100 is also the cheapest - especially when it comes to turnouts. Also on cost - I would recommend to use the Code 100 Streamline range rather than the Peco settrack. I've used both 100 and 75 in my current layout and certainly while the Code 75 looks much better it is also the more likely to have derailments with some of my older locos and rolling stock. I plan for my next layout to compromise and use code 83 even though it is the most costly (but I've noticed the cost coming down over the last 6-12 months as it becomes more popular and the range expands).

Tony
  Dazz Deputy Commissioner

If you want close to scale track Peco code 75 is far better than code 100.

Even with really good weathering code 100 will always look much chunkier than code 75 as the rail is not only higher but the rail head is thicker, so looks chunky when viewed from above.





This is weathered code 75 Peco vs hand laid code 55 for another comparison. You can see that even code 75 to code 55 looks quite different.



I would suggest looking at a lot of comparative pictures of the various codes, and really think about what you want as your end product before buying any track. Price will be a consideration, but don't lose sight that sometimes saving a little now won't make up for the regret of not paying a little more for something better in the end.
  NSWGR1855 Deputy Commissioner

Hi all,

Looking at starting my layout, and was wondering what is the best HO scale track to use for DCC trains from Austrains, Auscision, etc?

I currently use Hornby track because of my Hornby sets, but looking to go a bit better.

I've heard Peco track is pretty decent.

Also what code does everyone use?

Cameron.
Camo3801
Code 100 is over scale for H0 and has coarser flange ways compared to Peco code 75 and 80 track.
Peco code 75  has the biggest range of the Peco tracks. I recommend elecrofrog turnouts, insulfrog turnouts wear out.
Peco code 83 matches old US track geometry.
Use Peco medium (914mm radius) or large (1,524mm radius) turnouts or #6 code 83 turnouts and larger.
I recommend you use the AMRA minimum track radius standard http://www.amra.asn.au/minimumradius.pdf to calculate your minimum radius.

Terry Flynn.
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
Don't make the mistake of buying what is commonest or cheapest.  You may well regret it in the future when you want something better looking.  Maybe buy a code 75 turnout to test your Hornby stuff on.
  Dazz Deputy Commissioner

Sometimes you have to look to the future, and maybe some of your old stuff won't run on the new track, but I never see the point of building something new to the lowest common denominator.

You can always have something simple to run your old stuff on if need be, if you intend to buy lots of new models with fine detail and running qualities, it will pay to have the best looking track you can buy. After all it's not "just the stuff the trains run on" it's a big part of the overall picture.
  John_Bushell Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Cameron, do not get the idea that Peco is the only brand available.  I have used Tillig, a German brand that I like because the point work is realistic looking and can be bent just a little to fit the geometry you want.  Peco points or turnouts are inflexible and cannot be modified.  Another thing I like about Tillig is that the rail is brown rather than the silvery shine of Peco.  However, it is more expensive than Peco and it is code 83.  If you want to run pizza cutter flanges they might bottom out on the sleepers.

There are more options including Shinohara, Atlas, and more.  If you are a masochist who seeks the best track you can buy rail and make your own.  You can also buy kits to make your own points.  Any of those brands I mention should be on the net or advertised in AMRM.

In Australia Peco seems to be the market leader by a mile.  In Indonesia no one buys it because it is too expensive - they go for Atlas.  Plenty to chose from, but I suppose you know that and that is why you asked for opinions.

Best regards,
John
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Horses for courses......

I started building my largish layout about 3 years ago, after about 40+ years of being a model builder and collector.

Knowing that I was going to need a LOT of track and also being fairly certain that I was not going to bother with scenery, I opted for the "cheap" alternative and have used Peco Code 100. I have bought a mixture of Insulfrog and Electrofrog turnouts. My layout has grown more than double than what I originally envisaged.

In hindsight, I do wish I'd spent a bit extra and bought Code 83, with some Code 70 for the sidings and branch lines. Also with the benefit of hindsight, I would have selected only Electrofrog turnouts; like Terry Flynn says....the Insulfrogs can wear out. However, I cannot say I have seen any evidence of mine wearing out (yet), but the bigger problem I have with them (ie: the Insulfrog), is that I have some rolling stock with "steam-roller" wheels and the wide tyre on these can cause momentary short circuits as the tyre bridges the small bit of plastic that separates the 2 sides of the frog. I have largely overcome this issue by painting brown nail polish on the frog nose for a couple of mm....seems to work well. If these turnouts start to give me grief, they will be replaced by Electrofrog; but I'm afraid I'm stuck with the Code 100.

Now....if I'd been the winner of that $70m....I might have splashed out and re-built the whole layout with Code 83/70. ;-(

Roachie
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Hi all,

Looking at starting my layout, and was wondering what is the best HO scale track to use for DCC trains from Austrains, Auscision, etc?

I currently use Hornby track because of my Hornby sets, but looking to go a bit better.

I've heard Peco track is pretty decent.

Also what code does everyone use?

Cameron.
Camo3801
We all have given a lot of good advise. But we may need soe more info from you.

* what sort of trains do you wish to run, brands, etc.
* is cost very important
* know a bit about electrics
* what sort of layout are you planning, tsbletop, shelves, both.....
* how much is the look of the track important

then we can further assist.

Regards,
David Head
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Tillig makes the best off the shelf track I have seen. I don't recommend code 100, I usually tell people to use code 83 at the largest, my layout will get built in tiny rail, like code 60 or so.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I am not sure about the truth or not, but there was some report that Peco was going to drop the code 100 range in the future.

While I use Peco 100 on my layout & have no issues with it, & find it reliable, which is the main aspect as far as operations are concerned, I used it for a couple of reasons, & that was primarily based on the aspect of cost, also I had a fair amount of it before I started my existing layout.

Back then & not too far distance, the price variation between the 3 Peco track codes was quite a different, today its a lot different so makes the choice somewhat easier, especially with the choosing based on cost. Code 75 is now almost on par with Code 100 in Peco brands, with 83 the most expensive as already pointed out.
If I was starting out today especially in the building of a serious layout, then I would certainly be going for the code 75.  If the Hornby track which I would think is code 100, & is compatible with Peco track, you could still use that in hidden areas by using small adapter tracks, that Peco put out that allows for smooth transition from 75 to 100, there is an add on the back page of the current AMRM showing it.

As for points, I primarily use insulfrog points, & do not have any trouble with them.... So far no sign of wear on the frogs either.
  tabmow68 Station Master

Location: Brisbane
All great points, advice, etc above.  My 2c worth comes down to how long do you want to keep this layout for?  As a beginner, you should realise that it is most likely (but not impossible) that this layout will not be your one and only layout.  As your experience, skills and desires increase, you will most likely (like most of us) want to have a better layout and learn from the mistakes you will inevitably make with the previous one(s).  So be realistic about what this layout is going to be.  If it is to be the one and only, then you could regret in the future not going with better versions of everything you use for it, be it track, scenery, wiring, control systems, etc.  Otherwise, if you acknowledge this one as a stepping stone to one or more layouts in the future, then maybe learn with the less expensive stuff first and change with future layouts as your skills, etc improve (not saying you don't have any now but there is always someone doing something better than you that you will aspire to model like, from my personal perspective).

Bazza
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

My layout is all code 83 and this has cuased some issues with rolling stock and locos as the wheel flanges bottom out on the sleepers.
I have changed some wheel sets on rolling stock but I had to get rid of my Lima gear and now it is virtually all Roco and Fleishman (mine is a German/Austrian layout).
The track is part Roco and the bulk is Peco.
The Peco is more forgiving in regard to wheel flanges though.
The Peco flex track is also brilliant to use.
I did buy some Italian code 83 track of eBay and it was crap to use as it just didn't want to bend easily at all due to it's crazy sleeper arrangement.
You will probably find that your old Hornby stuff will only run on code 100 so you will need to decide if you want to keep all the old stuff or modenise and change to a diffent code track.
Just my 2 cents
  Dazz Deputy Commissioner

If you are sticking to the brands like Austrains, Auscision, Eureka, Trainorama etc, all use very close to RP25 wheels which will all run happily on code 55 rail, and definitely on code 75 Peco, certainly no need to go to code 83 to stop flanges hitting the sleepers if the above wheels are used.

Take into account that 1mm is about 40 thou of an inch. Code 75 rail is nominally 75 thou', so almost 2mm high, RP25-110 flanges are 0.64mm deep, which is about 26 thou', meaning in theory on hand laid track with no track spikes you only need code 30 rail for the flanges not to hit the sleepers.

[table][tr][td]Flange profile
[/td] [td]
Flange width mm

[/td] [td]
Flange depth mm

[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
AAR 1b*
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.67[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.58[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
NEM 311-1
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.7 to 0.9[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.6 min[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
RP25-110
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.76[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.64[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
BS 276 1927 A*
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.63[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.66[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
BS 276 1927 E*
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.48[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.66[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
BS 276 1927 G*
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.56[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.66[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
ANZR/ROA-2*
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.67[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]0.67[/center]
[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td]
NEM 311
[/td] [td]
[center] 0.7 to 0.9[/center]
[/td] [td]
[center]1.2mm[/center]
[/td][/tr][/table]
  a6et Minister for Railways

All great points, advice, etc above.  My 2c worth comes down to how long do you want to keep this layout for?  As a beginner, you should realise that it is most likely (but not impossible) that this layout will not be your one and only layout.  As your experience, skills and desires increase, you will most likely (like most of us) want to have a better layout and learn from the mistakes you will inevitably make with the previous one(s).  So be realistic about what this layout is going to be.  If it is to be the one and only, then you could regret in the future not going with better versions of everything you use for it, be it track, scenery, wiring, control systems, etc.  Otherwise, if you acknowledge this one as a stepping stone to one or more layouts in the future, then maybe learn with the less expensive stuff first and change with future layouts as your skills, etc improve (not saying you don't have any now but there is always someone doing something better than you that you will aspire to model like, from my personal perspective).

Bazza
tabmow68
I meant to add something similar, but more in line with what track to use, especially if Peco is the choice.

When I moved to our present location, & dismantled the old layout, my intention was to use as much as possible from the old one, especially in regard to the track & how much I was able to save, for reuse. I was certainly glad I used thinned PVA for securing the track as by wetting it, the track came up fairly easy, once moved I was able to soak the track in water to get rid of all traces of glue & old ballast.  While some was unuseable there was little I could not use.

I found little of the old scenery useable although a few of the trees & similar items were used again.  As I indicated in my above post there is some talk/rumour/report or whatever that Peco is going to stop making code 100 in the not so distant future.  This prospect would be a big consideration for me if I was starting out today, & as I said I would go with code 75 anyway as a result.

By going to the code 75 track it does provide a fair degree of future proofing your layout, whether its going to expanded or even a complete new layout constructed, that also means consideration as to the actual track layout method itself.
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
My layout is all code 83 and this has cuased some issues with rolling stock and locos as the wheel flanges bottom out on the sleepers.
I have changed some wheel sets on rolling stock but I had to get rid of my Lima gear and now it is virtually all Roco and Fleishman (mine is a German/Austrian layout).
The track is part Roco and the bulk is Peco.
........
Showtime
Lima has particularly deep flanges, the Hornby flanges may well be smaller so test or even measure first.

Mark
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
All great points, advice, etc above.  My 2c worth comes down to how long do you want to keep this layout for?  As a beginner, you should realise that it is most likely (but not impossible) that this layout will not be your one and only layout.  As your experience, skills and desires increase, you will most likely (like most of us) want to have a better layout and learn from the mistakes you will inevitably make with the previous one(s).  So be realistic about what this layout is going to be.  If it is to be the one and only, then you could regret in the future not going with better versions of everything you use for it, be it track, scenery, wiring, control systems, etc.  Otherwise, if you acknowledge this one as a stepping stone to one or more layouts in the future, then maybe learn with the less expensive stuff first and change with future layouts as your skills, etc improve (not saying you don't have any now but there is always someone doing something better than you that you will aspire to model like, from my personal perspective).

Bazza
tabmow68
I've thrown very little track out over the past 40 years so am still stuck with some code 100 (staging only though).  Start out now with finer rail and move forward with one less legacy.

Mark
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
One other thing that no one has touched on yet is what is available locally to buy, any good hobby shop or model train shop should be able to get Peco tracks of whatever code you desire. But if you want to reuse some of the Hornby track unless it is old steel track, the new Hornby track is nickel silver rails, then use code 100 Peco track and use the streamline points only. The set track points are way to sharp. Also try not to use the small radius points even in the Streamline range as it is also a very small radius point, use Mediums and large ones. Large radius is preferable but medium will allow most things to pass through it without jamming or derailing. Yes use Electrofrog points only you will not regret it it makes even a small 0-4-0 go through them no stalling or stopping in most cases.

By the way the person that got rid of most of his lima stock the carriages are easily converted to scale wheels by buying some SEM or similar wheelsets the right diameter and the same axle length. Tale old pizza cutter wheels out and discard and simply clip new scale wheels in, in their place. You may have to adjust coupler height though if you have Kadee's on them.

Hornby these days use finescale wheels on their main range so most would likely run on finer rails, however the Railroad range and the Thomas Range might not as these have varying wheels standards in them as they are a mix and match type of situation.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
If you are sticking to the brands like Austrains, Auscision, Eureka, Trainorama etc, all use very close to RP25 wheels which will all run happily on code 55 rail, and definitely on code 75 Peco, certainly no need to go to code 83 to stop flanges hitting the sleepers if the above wheels are used.

Take into account that 1mm is about 40 thou of an inch. Code 75 rail is nominally 75 thou', so almost 2mm high, RP25-110 flanges are 0.64mm deep, which is about 26 thou', meaning in theory on hand laid track with no track spikes you only need code 30 rail for the flanges not to hit the sleepers.

...
Dazz
One option is to replace the cookie cutter wheels. However is this possible for locos?
I have some Lima and Powerline ones that I don't have a compelling need to ditch. Gradually upgraded the pickups and if you keep the wheels clean they run OK (pulled off the traction tyres!).
  art--vandalay Locomotive Fireman

You can file the flanges down on Lima locos.  It's a pretty long tedious job, but it's quite easy to do.  I had a couple of locos that I did this to and it made them run a lot better over the Peco code 75 track that I use.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
You can file the flanges down on Lima locos.  It's a pretty long tedious job, but it's quite easy to do.  I had a couple of locos that I did this to and it made them run a lot better over the Peco code 75 track that I use.
art--vandalay
While doing this you can also while the bogie is held securely in a vice preferably with the wheels facing downwards apply power to the motor and very carefully file away the slot for the traction tyre in the wheel. I have done it to one locomotive and it will work if you keep any filings away from the motor. Removing the wheels and doing would be better though. I found no appreciable differentce in the pulling power of it though after I did this. Some might argue that now one wheel is smaller than the other on the other end of the axle but it does not seem to make much difference. I did the flanges on this loco the same way. All the filings fell to the floor. The Lima wheels are very soft metal so easy does it.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
While doing this you can also while the bogie is held securely in a vice preferably with the wheels facing downwards apply power to the motor and very carefully file away the slot for the traction tyre in the wheel. I have done it to one locomotive and it will work if you keep any filings away from the motor. Removing the wheels and doing would be better though. I found no appreciable differentce in the pulling power of it though after I did this. Some might argue that now one wheel is smaller than the other on the other end of the axle but it does not seem to make much difference. I did the flanges on this loco the same way. All the filings fell to the floor. The Lima wheels are very soft metal so easy does it.
David Peters
I've never done it myself, but I would have thought that another (better?) option for altering a loco with traction tyres to be a loco without traction tyres would be:

Use a 2-part metal filler (the type that you have kneed the 2 parts together to form a solid piece of metal). Once the kneeding process is complete, use it to fill-up the groove where you're removed the traction tyre. Once it has set solid, run the model upside down and use a file to shape the tyre back to the correct profile....being careful not to get the swarf in the mechanism.

Roachie
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I've done it myself, but I would have thought that another (better?) option for altering a loco with traction tyres to be a loco without traction tyres would be:

Use a 2-part metal filler (the type that you have kneed the 2 parts together to form a solid piece of metal). Once the kneeding process is complete, use it to fill-up the groove where you're removed the traction tyre. Once it has set solid, run the model upside down and use a file to shape the tyre back to the correct profile....being careful not to get the swarf in the mechanism.

Roachie
Roachie
That probably would be the better method now Bill, but would it cut down the pick up ability if you wanted to add more pick ups. There are metal fillers and there are metal fillers though.
  PICHhobbies Locomotive Fireman

Hi,

Just a question, but what type of track should I use for a VR branchline layout station. I was thinking of code 83, but I am unaware of the correct size. The track is code 60, but I am unaware of the size that comes down to in HO scale. I have used Peco code 75, for a test, only 1 section of flextrack, but it seems to go well with my Hornby rolling stock.

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