Track advice

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Hi all,
I have a hodge podge of trains, track etc. I'm trying to make it all work nice. Some of the track is ez-track and some is power-loc. Most of the track is the older type track. It seems that most people stay away from the ez-track and power-loc track. Is this because of looks or some other reason? Should I scrap the newer stuff. Should I stop trying to use what I already have and just get new track? Any advice is welcome.
Bob
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I suggest, if you're going to use a track system with a road bed to use one manufacturer, thus eliminating any problems with connections. Alot of people you'll see use either cork, or that new(er) Woodland Scenics foam for roadbed, and place the track on top them selves.

There's various advantages to both, the foam and cork being a "softer", or "sound deadening layer". The WS foam will allow softer hits on the rail joints which is an obvious benifit for our micro worlds, the cork to a lesser extent and both should elminate "echo" from the joint hits, and the "metal on metal, on top of wood" echo's. These roadbeds also allow for the most varition in track plans, and the track pieces are in a MUCH larger varity. As far as I know there's no flex-track plastic roadbed manufactured.

BUT intern the plastic roadbed provides easy of assembly, and tear down, if need be. To a lesser extent it should deaden the sound. Its also fairly prototypical straight from the box, and would require little or even, maybe no effort to look "ok". And it can ALLWAYS be upgraded with some simple gravel over the plastic for ballast. Once again though, lower number of track parts available. Also the interchanging of various companies is some times impossible, and the plastic trackbeds do not have an NMRA standard to connections, like "normal" track does.

Then it comes to track... Code 100, Code 83, Code 70 (for HO), what do you choose? most beginer sets come with code 100. Code 83 is close to prototypical (although Code 81, which is rare, is closer), and Code 70 replicates a lighter weight rail, for say yards an branchlines. If I were you I'd stick to code 100 for the added reliablity, but Code 83 will surfice if you're more of a detail freak.

Then there's the Nickle silver/ brass debate, just use NS, trust me...

In all its up to you, no one here will look down on you for your choices!!!

P.S. I think this is one of my most detailed replies yet!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
jbaakko said:
Then there's the Nickle silver/ brass debate, just use NS, trust me...
Bob, I think Josh pretty well summed it up in his reply above, but I just wanted to mention the actual reason [at least as far as I know] for choosing Nickel Silver track: It is much less prone to oxidization! Brass track, because of its oxidizing tendencies, has to be cleaned quite frequently - no matter how dust-free your trainroom is.
 

PNKFLOYD

Mikey
My $.02 worth, flex track allows variable curve radii to take best advantage of available layout space. Also 36" lengths reduce the number of connections of track pieces and the possible electrical trouble spots like loose connections and corrosion. Switch positions are easier to locate by cutting the flex track to the length you need, while premade pieces are difficult to cut and retain a prototypical look.
You could use your existing track for yards and hidden track for consistant appearance.
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
i'm with pnk here (btw, which one's pnk?....)

my layout, all 125' of mainline as well as the yards and everything is 100% NS code 100 flex. It's just so much easier to lay, kinks are easier to avoid and you can add subtle curves and such just like the prototypes. It costs much less overall than the pre-fab track sections, too. I really think that in the long run, you will be much happier with new track.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Great replies, I was going to go in-depth with the NS track and flex track but I ran out of time on lunch! I feel i just about answered all you'd need to know, minus what was added.

BTW Ken when's that tidy sig coming?
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
EZ track is only easy at first. I just spent the last 2 months trying to make EZ track look right. I found that when the freight cars pulled up next to freight docks they were about 3/8" too high. eventually it bothered me enough to fix it. IF you have problems with a tunout, you have to take the turnout off the track and take the back off. An easy fix, untill you build scenery around it. One has stopped functioning and I need to find a way to throw the turnout becasue it is burried too deep in the scenery to yank back out.

EZ track really isn't.
 
Thanks guys. I think I'm convinced to at least slowly wean from the ez and power-loc track. I'll be buying some flex track tomorrow. We have built and rebuilt the layout several times. We are only working on a 4'x8' table and I would like to find a way to have multiple trains running at the same time. I've got 2 currently. Getting a third in that space is proving to be a challenge. I want to get something locked down so I can start on scenery.
 

PNKFLOYD

Mikey
Itsreallyformyson said:
Thanks guys. I think I'm convinced to at least slowly wean from the ez and power-loc track. I'll be buying some flex track tomorrow. We have built and rebuilt the layout several times. We are only working on a 4'x8' table and I would like to find a way to have multiple trains running at the same time. I've got 2 currently. Getting a third in that space is proving to be a challenge. I want to get something locked down so I can start on scenery.
Flex track makes it easy to position your switches to make the most use of available space. The track can be parallel or wander around the scenery as needed to make your layout more interesting. Add a little height to cross a track to keep wide radii for the curves.
You can lay the track on different base heights (plywood, foam and cork) to add variety to the places where you have parallel track.
Remember, this advice is worth every penny you're are paying for it.:D
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Uh oh, multiple trains!! This calls for a DCC vs. DC thread too! Seriously though, I just found out today that Bachmann's EZ-track has 28" & 26" curves!! Did someon learn that 18" & 22" were to tight?
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
EZ track isn't that bad, though most experienced modelers shun it. Flex track does allow for very graceful custom trackwork and, I'm sure, is cheaper to boot (Atlas flex track). There is a slight learning curve to laying flex track. You'll pick up the techniques quickly, but do need to realize it'll take a little more effort. The results are worth the time!
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
You may not think EZ track is bad Eric, but I've spent more time fixing it--making it work and making it look right than I have on any other project on my layout. This is time I could have been working on scenerey or running trains.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
SpaceMouse said:
You may not think EZ track is bad Eric, but I've spent more time fixing it--making it work and making it look right than I have on any other project on my layout. This is time I could have been working on scenerey or running trains.
We used it on our first 4x8 several years ago without any problems, but that probably wasn't much of a test. That layout lasted less than a year before it was rebuilt (without EZ track)... Maybe we just didn't give it enough time for problems to develope.
 
Ok, I've taken down everything and ready to start over. I have flex track and was wondering if there are tips/suggestions on laying flex track? I searched the forum but didn't really find anything on that subject. Thanks again.
Bob
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Itsreallyformyson said:
... I have flex track and was wondering if there are tips/suggestions on laying flex track?
One thing I've learned is, when using flex track on curves, take pieces you plan to use and lay them straight and solder the ends together. This will be like creating one big 6-foot length for your curve, and you'll avoid troublesome kinks at the joint.

Look at my attached graphic (straight "before", bent "after") to see what I mean - the solder joints are shown in bright green.

 




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