Difference in track?

Squirrel40

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I am getting ready to build my first layout and it will be for outside. Is there any major differences in the track? I thought I was going to use Sunset Valley but making my own curves is a little intimidating. I am also looking at Piko. Any advice?
 

Gavin Sowry

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I am getting ready to build my first layout and it will be for outside. Is there any major differences in the track? I thought I was going to use Sunset Valley but making my own curves is a little intimidating. I am also looking at Piko. Any advice?
Brand names aside, first thing you should settle on, is the right style of track for the prototype you are modelling.
Bear in mind, that there are different scales used in the rolling stock, basically 1:29ish if you are doing Mainline American, or 1;22.5, give or take (often quite a bit) if you aremodelling a narrow gauge prototype.
There are different track systems available for both these options. Key difference, is the sleepers/ties that they use. Although 45mm gauge models will operate quite happily on either one, often they can look ridiculous when running on the wrong one. 1:29 track, in particular, just looks wrong with its numerous skinny sleepers/ties, and shoul be reserved for the 1:29 scene. Conversely, 1:29 stock running on the narrow gauge type, whilst not looking right, is the lesser of the evils.
Personally, I have always used the LGB pattern narrow gauge track. As I run many scales (but never together) I find that track are reasonable alternative. I run 7/8ths at times as well, and if I were to run it on 1:29 track, it would look stupid.
 

Paul M

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Start with tracks that are compatible with other manufacturers and to start use "set track" with ready made curves. Once you get used to laying track, you can then try the flexible stuff
 

GAP

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I would go the other way and dive in head first to flex track (I did it that way because I had experience with HO flex track).

Custom curves are easier to make using the tried and try "belly bend" till a bender is purchased, if purchasing a bender I would go the Train-Li dual bender, I did not and have some regrets but I worked around the deficiencies.

I have some circle radii drawn on my shed floor (5Ft and 6Ft) to give a guide of where to start (I always use the largest radii I can fit in).

Caveat; I do not get too wound around the axles about scale and track appearance, I just look at my trains if I like the look then I am happy, but I may just be in a majority of one.

Best advice I can give is; When starting out just get some track down (either set or flex) and start running trains, fine tuning can come later; go with what you can afford, what you are comfortable with and what pleases you.
Look for clubs in your vicinity and go have a chat with them, if there are dealer close by go look at their products and compare.
Always remember its you railway and if others do not like the look of it, tell them to not look.
;)
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Always remember this is a hobby to be enjoyed not endured.
 

Squirrel40

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Thank for the help guys. I think I am going to start with the set track and think I decided on LGB. I have a habit of making everything complicated and taking the fun out of it. I can always change things up later after I get it up and going.
 

Gavin Sowry

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Thank for the help guys. I think I am going to start with the set track and think I decided on LGB. I have a habit of making everything complicated and taking the fun out of it. I can always change things up later after I get it up and going.
Good on you. You can't go far wrong with that stuff. Next thing to consider, is the track geometry, by that, I mean mainly curve radius. The general advice given, is usually for the largest possible radius. Good advice, but don't dismiss the basic LGB track that comes in the sets, and is called R1. Most, if not all, LGB stock is designed to run on track this tight. It is also handy if you are strapped for space, and best of all, it is the cheapest. Often, R1 curves can be picked up on the second hand market. As for turnouts, you should match those with whatever curve radius you choose.... don't go slapping in R1 turnouts, when your ordinary track is R3 or R5 etc. Rough rule, the bigger the radius, the more expensive the track.

Check out my thread on Taita Gorge Railway to see what is possible with an all R1 set up.
 

Paul M

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Thank for the help guys. I think I am going to start with the set track and think I decided on LGB. I have a habit of making everything complicated and taking the fun out of it. I can always change things up later after I get it up and going.
There's no point in going large too quickly, start small and expand, learn by your mistakes and enjoy it.
 

Zerogee

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Generally, most brands of track that use Code 332 rail (same as LGB) can be used together - LGB, PIKO, Trainline45 (now also sold by Modell-Land under their own "ML-Train" label), Accucraft/AMS, Aristocraft (now defunct but a lot of their track still around as 2nd hand or NOS) and others will all readily join together, especially if you're using railclamps, and it's just fine to mix-and-match them. As others have mentioned, sleeper (tie) designs, spacing and colours can vary between brands, but that is purely aesthetic and won't affect the running in any way.

The only incompatibities you might run into are the few brands like Peco and Tenmille, who use slightly different rail profiles - but even then, there are adaptor joiners available...

One thing you should be aware of is that different brands use slightly different geometries for their set-track pieces, often with confusingly similar-but-different nomenclature - for example, LGB "Radius 3" and PIKO "Radius 3" curves are NOT the same! ;)
This doesn't stop you mixing the brands on your layout, of course, but you do need to be aware of it when buying your track pieces.

Jon.
 

tac foley

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Good on you. You can't go far wrong with that stuff. Next thing to consider, is the track geometry, by that, I mean mainly curve radius. The general advice given, is usually for the largest possible radius. Good advice, but don't dismiss the basic LGB track that comes in the sets, and is called R1. Most, if not all, LGB stock is designed to run on track this tight. It is also handy if you are strapped for space, and best of all, it is the cheapest. Often, R1 curves can be picked up on the second hand market. As for turnouts, you should match those with whatever curve radius you choose.... don't go slapping in R1 turnouts, when your ordinary track is R3 or R5 etc. Rough rule, the bigger the radius, the more expensive the track.

Check out my thread on Taita Gorge Railway to see what is possible with an all R1 set up.

Even THIS loco - the Aster/LGB White Pass mike #73 - runs around R1 track! [clue - the chassis articulates in the centre]

1625576882793.png
 

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Personally I've gone for Gauge 1 track from Cliff Barker. It is available in flexi-track only and is Code 200, so much lighter in look. Many people doubt that LGB and other G Scale stock will run on Code 200, but I've yet to find anything that won't. I am using the stainless track, which I think looks better than the brass track, but you need a Dremel or good set of cutters to trim it. It's totally different to working with the LGB set track, but you may find that it looks a little too lightweight with some larger scale stock.

Sleeper length is a little longer than LGB or Piko and the spacing is slightly larger as well, but not as much as some of the narrow gauge track types I've seen.

Most of the stock in this picture is around 1/32, but the trams, coach and wagons are closer to 1/28.



Stock on track.jpg
 

Greg Elmassian

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Yes, you can always change things later, EXCEPT if you start buying R1 curves and find out they don't work for your trains.

What kind of trains will you be running? The classic mistake is using the 4 foot diameter curves and find almost nothing but LGB works on it.

How about a list of locomotives you will want to run, and also what kind of freight and passenger cars.

List what you WANT to have eventually, not what you are starting with.

Greg

p.s. "3 minutes", the OP is in the USA. There is code 200 available here from other manufacturers'
'
 

Squirrel40

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I am starting out with live steam and may do electric later. I have 2 Merlin locomotives from the 1980's in 16mm scale (1:20.3) I think. I ordered LGB R3 curves because I didn't want any disappointments with curves too tight. There is a huge learning curve with all these different terms and things. I tried to join a club but never got a response from them.
 

dunnyrail

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I am starting out with live steam and may do electric later. I have 2 Merlin locomotives from the 1980's in 16mm scale (1:20.3) I think. I ordered LGB R3 curves because I didn't want any disappointments with curves too tight. There is a huge learning curve with all these different terms and things. I tried to join a club but never got a response from them.
You will find that the Merlins are not happy with LGB Points, the Wheels are Gauge 1 Fine Scale back to back. Back in the 80’s I used to thin the LGB gaps with 00 Flat Bottom Code 100 Rail,to sort this out. Peco G Points have no problems in this regard with either them or LGB Wheels.
 

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You will find that the Merlins are not happy with LGB Points, the Wheels are Gauge 1 Fine Scale back to back. Back in the 80’s I used to thin the LGB gaps with 00 Flat Bottom Code 100 Rail,to sort this out. Peco G Points have no problems in this regard with either them or LGB Wheels.
One thing I noticed at the Garden Railway show was on a couple of G Scale layouts, some stock bumped up through the points and some dropped down at the same point. I would suggest some had flanges so large they bounced through the frog, while others were dropping into the gap.

I guess this is the disadvantage of the relatively crude track and wheel standards. Stock will run around tight curves, but getting it to run smoothly can be more of a challenge.
 

Paul M

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Many people doubt that LGB and other G Scale stock will run on Code 200, but I've yet to find anything that won't
I also use code 200 with no problem, but I have some very old LGB stuff that bounces over the chairs.
I am starting out with live steam and may do electric later. I have 2 Merlin locomotives from the 1980's in 16mm scale (1:20.3) I think. I ordered LGB R3 curves because I didn't want any disappointments with curves too tight. There is a huge learning curve with all these different terms and things. I tried to join a club but never got a response from them.
Most live steamers will not appreciate R1s, my Dora does, but the wheel base is tiny.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Funny, I was researching terms on a UK site, and I found "turnouts" used in modern prototype documents as much or more than "points".

By the way, R3 is still tight, Live steam locos are sensitive to grades and curves, so you wind up playing with the throttle more on them. I would not go R3 unless you have to. Get at least 10 foot diameter (R3 is 8 foot diameter).

Any increase in diameter, and reduction in turnout frog angle will help.

Greg