HO Comp Bars...

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


As I mentioned in another thread, my quest for a #8 turnout lead me to buy some code 83 trackwork. I asked the dealer how you transitioned between the two sections, since the rail is different.

He replied "No problem, we've got special rail joiners!" and sold me a pack. He wasn't kidding, they are actually designed to have two different base heights and the top of the rail lines up. On the prototype they're called "compromise bars". They also make the ties thicker on the code 83, so there's no need to shim up the ties.

Once I found that out I was sold on the idea. I bought a few sections to try out, and a pack of those fancy compromise joints. Then I said "OK, so I need some rail joiners for code 83." He reached over, grabbed a pack from the code 100 section and says "Ok, here you go..." I replied "Will those work for code 83?" he assured me they would, while probably wondering what I was thinking. I replied that on the prototype you need different size bars for different heights of rail so I just figured you would on the model too, after all he'd just sold me a pack of comp bars. Of course he was right that the same ones fit both sizes.

On the real thing, they grip the sides of the web of the rail (the vertical part of the "I"), along with a portion of the base and head. Since the web height changes with rail size, there are different ones for different sizes. On the model, they clamp the base of the rail, and wrap around underneath. They only touch the bottom part of the web, so the rail height doesn't matter.

He's probably shaking his head about the guy who wanted code 83 joint bars. :)
Last edited by a moderator:


Stay off the tracks!
Walthers actually makes Code83 rail joiners... they're a pain though. I stuck with the Atlas Code 100 stuff myself as well.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.