Mixing Track

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First thanks for the replies in my last threads, I'm using Life-Like Power Loc steel track for my layout, but I did not have any 3" straight tracks so I used Power Loc Nickel silver track to complete a section. Problem when the engine gets to the track right before the nickel silver track the engine slows down, coincidence or conductivity issue?

Question 2 will adding a second rerailer (with power) increase the speed of the trains or could it damage the engines?
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Registered Member
Staff member
George, I'm no expert at this, but different metals have different electrical conductivity properties. Also added to this is the fact of oxidization on the metals will be different also. I have no idea of the consequence of these two oxides being mixed and spread around the track. I could be wrong, but in my honest opinion do not mix tracks of different metals. Cut a piece of LifeLike track and fit it in some way.



5th Generation Texian
the issue is the steel track. It corrodes very quickly (rust). likely you can clean that section and the problem will disappear for a little while. If you add ballast someday, the water in the glue will make it rust overnight.

the problem with mixing track materials will show up are corrosion where they touch ("galvanic corrosion") but how much and how fast is determined by the relative differences in the materials, I don't have the #s handy so I can't tell you if mixing them will definitely cause that problem. but it's generally OK for brass and nickel-silver track to be mixed, but steel is a whole different beast.

Adding a second power point will almost always help, but how much will depend on many, many other things. If you do add the 2nd power point, you do have to make sure the wires go to the correct track, matching the existing power point.

My recommendation would be to gradually eliminate all of the steel track.


Long Winded Old Fart
Many years ago when I started my 1st. layout I used steel track & then later the brass track came out. I had all kinds of problems back then w/rust between the different kinds of metal. I made the problem go away by running short pieces of wire from one type of track to the other & soldering them.
I have a lot of steel track laying around under my train tables that have been in train sets. It has all rusted pretty fast in about 2 years. I have some dampness in my metal
barn where my layout is. I have switched over to Nickel Silver flex in the past 10 years & all my switches are the same. From experience w/steel track; I never use it.
The only thing I use it for, now, is--I cut it up for rail stacks on sidings, etc.


Don't skimp on your track. I know it's tempting to save some bucks, but unless you're building a huge layout the cost savings aren't worth the extra hassle that comes from having to clean steel track much more often.

Think of buying Nickel Silver as a long term investment in your railroad. If you track is dirty and your trains don't run well, you won't enjoy operating your raiload. So use the best you can afford.


I would recommend tossing that steel rail and going to nickle silver. Especially if you are going to ballast it in place. Nothing can be more frustrating than having non-cooperative trackage, either poor conduction or turnouts that constantly derail your cars.


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