Which track to use?

Red Oak & Western

Active Member
First, a little background. I've been modeling in HO for nearly 40 years. I'm currently on the 6th HO layout. Our current house (and the last according to my better half) sits on just over 2 acres. We've been working on the landscaping for about 4 years now. My wife has it to just about where she likes it. Now she wants to install a garden railroad as a "feature". (Like I'm going to complain about that!) The route she wants the trains to follow runs about 800 feet, not including sidings, yards, etc.

So, which track, preferable flex, it the "best", or most cost effective, for looooong runs. How about expansion problems? We're in New Hampshire, hot days, cool nights, 6 feet of snow on the ground in winter, etc. Yes, I know this kind of question starts all kinds of debate, but, hey, that's the fun of these forums!

It's not a straight out easy answer for the "right" kind of track. The first consideration I would think of is track power or battery power. If you use battery power it is a lot easier to keep track clean, and you don't need to worry about the conductivity of the rail. Rail can be bought it aluminum, brass, stainless steel, nickel silver. Each has it's own benefits.
G gauge has a lot of manufactors of rail, both flex and sectional. I would stick with flex track because it provides more options. The "flex" track in G is not like HO were you can bend it and it stays in place. If going with the flex track invest in a rail bender. It will make laying rail a lot easier. :cool:
Other major point to think about
Do you plan on modeling narrow gauge (1:22.5-1:24?) or standard gauge (1:29, or 1:32)? Different companies offer different sized ties for narrow or standard gauge.
I have never heard of many expansion problems for the people that "float" the track in ballast. It can get a little bit more tricky if you "hardwire" the track to wood posts/subroadbed. I think that if you provide expansion joints in the rail it sould be no problem either way.
Here are some of the major manufactors of g guage track that I think of right now.
LGB, USA, Aristocraft, Llagas Creek, Micro Engineering?, Bachmann, Sunset Valley Railroad, Peco?, Marklin
My personal choice of track when I get around to building my layout is going to be Llagas Creek. Just my opinion! :rolleyes: