Plastic Tracks

J

Jonsworld

Registered
20 Sep 2020
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0
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Spain
I´ve inherited a LGB train set with tracks and wish now to expand. However, I find the tracks to be rather expensive, but as I have converted the locomotive to battery power I´m considering getting plastic tracks for the expansion. Any thoughts out there? Brands? Quality? Outside use?

I´m sure this has been covered before but there seems to be no search options on this forum, and find it easier to start a new thread than looking through all the posts. It might even be useful for some!
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Whilst there are varying makes not all are compatible, you may also find that the track will eventually suffer (Go brittle) big time from all that sun you get in Spain. Look at second hand track if you can source it, Aristo, LGB, Piko, Peco whatever all can be made to couple to each other though Peco to the larger rail needs special fishplates supplied bu PECO. Start small and build up.

You can use whatever plastic you have for a while, a spray with matt black will assist making it last a bit better.
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
I have some "ECR" plastic track (for storage purposes) and some Bachmann plastic track (grandkids to play with), and as Jon has mentioned above these are not compatible with each other, though I am sure somebody could "adapt" the end fittings, also as mentioned is the UV quality. The price of plastic track is not a lot less than metal track (bought second-hand), if you can source plastic track, and metal track is far more robust for a permanent railway outside. Also LGB, Piko and Arisocraft are compatible with each other, and Tenmille and Peco are adaptable to these. I would think long and hard before going down the plastic track route.

P.S. I am converting to battery, and would still stick to plastic :)
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Hello Jon?,
Welcome to the Forum!

If you wish to be serious about plastic track, then most will have very tight radius curves.. This will limit what loco's you can run. - Having said that all LGB loco's will go round R1 curves, though some look very silly, doing so.

For longevity of plastic track outdoors, consider Palymobil track. - Though you are limited by the parts that are available.

PhilP.
 
SophieB

SophieB

Registered
24 Sep 2017
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Elizabeth City, NC, USA
The first outdoor layout my husband and I had was plastic track and very toy-like battery operated trains. It was a lot of fun and they worked. Sort of. We had a lot of track donated to us, much of it wouldn't connect to other brands. The curves were tight and it expanded like crazy in the sun. Looking back the whole experience was a bit silly, but we ran it for two years and it inspired us to get started in the hobby.
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
17,122
1,688
North Essex
Welcome to GSC, from another one of the "Jo(h)ns without the Haitch" (there are several of us on here...)

I'd echo all of what has already been said - plastic track, though available, is very limiting in many ways - on top of those already mentioned (vulnerability to UV, incompatibility between brands, lack of variation in pieces available, Radius 1 curves only etc) I could also add fragility... with the possible exception of the very toy-like Playmobil "solid" track, most other brands I've seen would not stand up to somebody stepping on them, or rolling a lawnmower over them, for example. LGB track will survive an elephant standing on it (quite literally, it was used in their first advertising back in the late '60s!).
As everyone else has said, you can save on brass track by making judicious second-hand purchases and it will pretty much last you for ever.

Jon.
 
J

Jonsworld

Registered
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Spain
Thank you all for responding with your thoughts and expertise. This seems to be a very active forum with lots of enthusiasts.

To the question at hand, I understand weather has a negative effect more on plastic than on the metal tracks, but the sleepers on the latter are also plastic so I expect they will also be effected, I suppose. So it is the old question of price versus quality. For example, I found this on eBay, which I could replace perhaps 4 times for traditional ones:


Any thoughts, please?

Jon Número 5?
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
If I understand correctly, whereas plastic track is often made of "hard" plastic, the sleepers of LGB, Piko and the like are made of a more flexible plastic that is UV resistant, I think it is ABS, but not an expert.

P.S. ECR track okay, but you are limited, if you wish to expand or have larger radii, you will be stuck.

P.P.S Welcome to the forum.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,935
2,784
Tamworth, Staffs.
This is the Chinese 'Newquida' or 'Train' branded product..

It is quite brittle, but better than some other plastics track out there. If you give it a coat of paint - the primer for plastic car bumpers, I would suggest, as a base. It will last longer in the great-outdoors.

It is all a single radius, which is the equivalent to LGB R1, so quite tight.

If it is painted, and on a solid-base (not straight onto the ground) then it should give you three years, or more? - Your local conditions and climate could affect this estimate.
As the UV gets to it, it will go brittle, and the joints/clips will fail first. Plastic track will expand/contract a good-deal more than brass (believe it or not) so you need to find a way of securing the track, but will plenty of room for it to move..

PhilP.
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
17,122
1,688
North Essex
Thank you all for responding with your thoughts and expertise. This seems to be a very active forum with lots of enthusiasts.

To the question at hand, I understand weather has a negative effect more on plastic than on the metal tracks, but the sleepers on the latter are also plastic so I expect they will also be effected, I suppose. So it is the old question of price versus quality. For example, I found this on eBay, which I could replace perhaps 4 times for traditional ones:


Any thoughts, please?

Jon Número 5?


LGB in particular, and most other makers of brass track, use very high quality UV-stable engineering plastics for the track sleepers (and for their locos and rolling stock too) - it will last for decades outdoors without going brittle or otherwise affected by weather, which the much cheaper plastics of the "toy" brands will not.

However if you are 100% sure you want to go the plastic track route, then the Newqida track from ECR as shown in your link is probably one of the better options out there. Most G scale stock (and ALL of LGB's products) will negotiate R1 curves, though longer stuff does look a little silly doing so... if you're planning to keep to short locos and rolling stock then it should work OK.

In the end, you makes your choice and pays your money.... ;)

Jon.
 
justme igor

justme igor

Registered
17 Apr 2020
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Netherlands Westwoud
Dip your toes into 3d printing and get some uv resistant filament. ABS seems to work very good, uv resistant PLA will also do the trick
But with pla you will have to experiment, you must make your prints ~0.5 to 1% bigger, it tends to shrink.
PLA is very easy to print but you have to "cure" it after your printing, in a oven after the heater shuts off you put the tracks in at 60C.
So you beat the sun and can stay true to measurement.
ABS on the other hand is very difficult to print, but you can skip those steps, yes there is always a but...you will need a enclosure for your printer.
(small tip, buy a ender!)
On thingyverse you can find a lot of tracks to print.
The biggest problem is time, on a 50x50cm platform you can print just 1.6 meter of track in ONE day.
I can post my 3d files as well, i think i still have them

Look at some of mine posts over this forum, i build them with aluminium strip, with very good success.
I still must make some updates :blush: :blush: :blush: , sorry.
You dont have to have expensive equipment, but you will need skills!
For those that remember those experiments....i have a suspicion that my experimenting is over.:cool:

Cost wise:
For 3d printed track(from my memory) around 6.50e a meter regardless PLA or ABS.
2 euro for 1 meter with aluminium strip incl: azobe wood and putty.(if bought strip in bulk 100 meter minimum)

Both methods: strip or 3d require investments and a learning curve.
Buy a 3d printer, learn how to use it and learn some 3d drawing program....
Or:
Basic tools like: ruler, pencil, putty dispenser, jigsaw and a sawing table, master some skills and SAFETY if you are not used to sawing tables.....
Cheap jigsaw 35(go for new!) cheap table that can do the trick ~100.

Hope this was informative and of some help to get you going.
With best regards, Igor.
 
Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
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www.gscalecentral.net
Hullo and welcome to the forum.

Plastic track is a false economy. I have LGB track that is more than 25 years old. It is UV stable and the brass doesn't rust.

You should be able to get it second hand for £3-4 a foot.

The only plastic track I have is the Bachmann stuff which is no longer available. It mates with LGB and other code 332 track (Bachmann/PIKO/etc.) but I only use it in my storage depot.

I would strongly advise that you consider brass track in the long run but the NQD stuff might be fine for you short term....
 
ntpntpntp

ntpntpntp

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24 Oct 2009
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UK
Yes, forget plastic track it's not robust and will deteriorate and fail outdoors. I have Newqida and also Scientific Toys plastic tracks from sets, I use the straight track on display shelves. Also avoid the old Bachmann and Keystone cheap steel track, that rusts very quickly if left outside. All these cheap track types are really only of use indoors for under the Christmas tree :)
 
J

Jonsworld

Registered
20 Sep 2020
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Spain
Thanks for all your input, folks. Highly appreciated. The thing is I will only use this for when kids come visiting and despatching the odd gin and tonic to my woman at the yoga deck. If I do go the plastic route I suppose I can invent a cover for when it is not in use, protecting the tracks from the gruelling sun.

However, first I will use some time looking for second hand LGB brass. Sadly tracks for around 4 EUR a foot seems few and far between.

Jon 5
 
Hutch

Hutch

G Gauge, Raising Peaches, Apricots
1 Feb 2012
466
116
Southwest Oklahoma, USA
As a caution, some of the older AristoCraft track had ties that were NOT UV protected. You probably won't hit much of that in Spain, but you should be aware. REA and Kalamazoo track are excellent, however.
---Hutch
 
Last edited:
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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8 Mar 2014
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Actually the "missing uv" protectant happened sporadically all through Aristo history, so it's not just the older stuff.

But there is a really easy way to tell: you put it outside, and 5 years later, if all the plastic has rotted away, it was the stuff without the UV protection ;)
 
Mike Whitcomb

Mike Whitcomb

Registered
16 Apr 2017
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Stuart Fl, USA
Thank you all for responding with your thoughts and expertise. This seems to be a very active forum with lots of enthusiasts.

To the question at hand, I understand weather has a negative effect more on plastic than on the metal tracks, but the sleepers on the latter are also plastic so I expect they will also be effected, I suppose. So it is the old question of price versus quality. For example, I found this on eBay, which I could replace perhaps 4 times for traditional ones:


Any thoughts, please?

Jon Número 5?
Welcome Jon,
I started my layout some 5 years ago with almost 200' of Newqida plastic track here in Florida USA. Like you it was all about price. At the time I was paying $1.50 per foot for Newqida track. The most attractive aspect to it were the availability of switches (which are identical to LGB'S R1 switches, even the switch mechanism) 20190216_181151.jpg 20191208_092423.jpg I have a raised layout using boards and artificial grass the base for the track was very flat and level, so I had no major problems with the plastic track. It was outside for almost 5 years with no degradation to the track or switches. The track its self is about code 250 in rail height compared to LGB'S code 350, which is not an issue for any of my LGB, PIKO, USAT, or Aristocraft trains to ride on.
Track length and switches are identical to LGB R1's, Aristocrat, and USAT tracks profile except rail height. So when i finally found an exceptional deal on brass track it was very easy to swap the plastic out for the brass, keeping my track plan almost identical. The only issue to over come with the plastic track was expansion in the hot Florida sun (90-95 degrees Fahrenheit). You must let the track free float, no anchors. I made small pieces to be placed every 5' or so on either side of the ties (like a channel for the track to sit in) to keep the track in place.
 
M

Mazerate

Registered
14 Oct 2020
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Innisfil
I´ve inherited a LGB train set with tracks and wish now to expand. However, I find the tracks to be rather expensive, but as I have converted the locomotive to battery power I´m considering getting plastic tracks for the expansion. Any thoughts out there? Brands? Quality? Outside use?

I´m sure this has been covered before but there seems to be no search options on this forum, and find it easier to start a new thread than looking through all the posts. It might even be useful for some!
It depends on where you are and are you inside or out. I use the Playmobil G scale tracks indoors, however you are limited. You must use the pre made turns etc. Very limited extra or spare parts to fit your ideal configurations together. Outdoors, I only use metal. But again I am in Canada, and the elements do a good job.