Different Tracks



Hello Again to all!

Got a couple quick questions... :confused:

Just about finished with my benchwork, and now I am down to deciding the track. I have all but decided on unitrack, yet I was in the store this evening and noticed that FineTrack was a little cheaper. I know that Unitrack and FineTrack aren't compatible, but what about the power adapters and such? Tomix I noticed has a really nice DC controller (much nicer than the standard kato controller), but I'm not sure if the hook up will be able to support the Unitrack system, along with the numerous amount of switches I will have. Once again, as always, the newbie (me) is reaching out to gather opinions before throwing the yen down to purchase anything. If anyone has any pro's/con's regarding Unitrack or FineTrack, please feel free to inform the masses! :p Thanks for the help!!!

I do not Really use Unitrack or Finetrack so maybe I 'm not the one to try and answer this but since no one else has, I'll give it a shot. The basic controler is going to supply the same type of power from either company so I don't see where there would be any problem there. If there are any special accessories that are unique to each brand Then there may be a question with them. Remember your Tomix and Kato locos will both run on each others track, it's just the way the sections are joined together that makes them incompatible.


Thanks for the help! Just curious, but what type of track do you use? If there is another brand that is cheaper and more reliable/efficient, i'm all into investigating! :D Thanks again!

I live in the US and have had a chance to use a lot of different brands. I started, over 30 years ago, with track that was brass and almost quit the hobby because it was impossible to keep clean enough for N. Since then most track has been made with Nickel-Silver which is easier to clean. Then I used Rapido which was okay but did not have a prototype rail look. Then I did a lot of hand-laid code 55 ( 55 thousands of an inch high) and some code 40. On the present layout I have used a lot of Peco Streamline which only has the top 55 thousands of rail exposed, the rest being buried in the ties. This gives a fairly good looking track but some here in the US complain that the ties are spaced too far apart for the US look. I find that when I ballast the track most of the ties are hidden anyway. I have used some Kato track for a hidden lead from a hidden storage yard and I think it is either code 70 or 80. When connecting to the other types of track, regardless of brand, I use rail joiners and solder them together. If one rail is not as tall as the other, I put the rail joiner on the tallest rail and then squeeze the exposed half shut with pliers and then solder the smaller rail on top of the joiner, trying to match up the top inside of the railhead as close as possible. A little dressing up with a small fine file will make for a smooth transition from one to the other. You might want to put a section of Kato and Finetrack (which I have not seen) end to end and see what it would take to join the two together. This way you might be able to use the best of both with a few transitions.
Most of the track sold in the US is just the rails and ties with no road bed under it. There are a few companies that do have the road bed but this is usually used for train sets where you put it up and then take it down soon after. By using just the rails and ties track you can ballast it and have more variety in the look. This is more for a pemanent layout, although some people in the US do use Kato for permanent layouts.

Atlas has come out with a new line of US style track that is code 55 and looks very nice. If I was to ever build another layout I would consider trying it. Up until now most track has been code 80 which is way too high for N scale track and is the first clue that a photo is N instead of some other scale.

Hope this helps, feel free to ask if there is anything I have left out.
If you wish you can go to the site below to see a few shots of my layout, The Royal Gorge Western.