Second hand track - worth the hassle?

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Robert Howard

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1 Feb 2014
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Derby UK
Hi

I am newbie and have been picking up some second hand LGB track as trying to put together a railway on a budget.

Just wondering how other people get on with second hand track? Does it tend to be OK to use or do you find it a cause of grief in the long term? Appreciate it depend on its condition.

Also any advice on the best way to clean old track appreciated? Is it worth giving it a good scrub or can this do more harm than good?

Thanks Rob
 
bobg

bobg

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3 May 2010
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95%of my track (Peco G45) was second-hand, though most of it was in good condition, some did need a good scrub. I don't use track power so can't comment on it's suitability for that. I suspect that most people do use second-hand, when it is available.
 
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trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
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Hi Rob,

I don't think there is anything wrong with S/H track - I've bought loads in the past - as long as it is not mangled up!

If your running on track power, then it's all-important to make sure the rail ends are clean and the joiners too.

The rail head? I use one of those coated sponges (fine emery grit) for the rail head. Older track will have mellowed with age - LGB track has a lovely pattination when weathered whilst other makes have a brighter brass finish and this takes longer. Plus, if you ballast it to sleeper height, it really looks the part.

Points and crossovers need attention sometimes - look underneath to see if plated screws have gone rusty or the copper bridges are secure and passing current.
 
Gizzy

Gizzy

Railways, Aviation, Caravanning....
26 Oct 2009
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Hullo Robert,

I have brought a lot of my LGB track second hand. I've had no problems at all and once even had to jet wash it to remove sewage (that's another story) from it!

Most of my track has been down for 14 years in all weathers, and I reckon some of the track is 35 years old....
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
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There has been some note on here regarding corroded terminals on Piko points wiring. When cleaning generally make sure all mating surfaces are clean. Use a soft wire rotary metal brush on a dremel or similar. Some say you can use cola drinks to remove tarnished surfaces. When re-assembling use something like LGB graphite paste or Coppergrease to ensure long term electrical coductivity issues are minimised. There has been some note here regarding checking the rail's profile to check for excessive wear that can lead to de-railment issues. Otherwise three should be little risk. Oh and if tnere is woodwork involved check it is sound and well rot proofed
Max.
 
mmts

mmts

Registered
Another vote here for secondhand track.... and it seems to keep its value ;)
altho you'll usual find only the smaller radius and smaller length straights as i found out when i had to buy r5 curves new :( :(
 
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Robert Howard

Registered
1 Feb 2014
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Derby UK
Thanks all

Will keep on collecting track

Picture below of my railway so far.

Will start work in the garden if it ever stops raining!

Rob

[attachthumb=1]
 

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The Devonian

The Devonian

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17 Nov 2009
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South Hams
All usable track I have has been new Aristo-craft, both USA and Euro sleepers(ties) which, for the most part, is eight years old. It has been lightly cleaned with a non-abrasive pad but as I switched to battery power a while ago this is now rarely done. I did mention to a local large scaler that I needed a few straights. He said he had some spare LGB (R3) curves which could be straightened: foolishly I agreed to this. I ended up with four pieces, roughly 1ft. in length, which basically are junk. The only use for them, other than as an unused siding, is as a load of old track on a flat bed which is what I decided to do with them. So think first before you agree to s/hand track.
I also believe than quite old track which has been subjected to rail cleaner/grinder, may have lost its original rail head profile. This may, or may not, be detrimental to some loco and rolling stock wheels.
 
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playmofire

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23 Oct 2010
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North Yorks
Second hand track can be bright and shiny and unused, and still cheap. You can also get some unusual items cheaply. I recently bought an LGB manually operated uncoupler LGB 1050W for £10, fitted to its original length of track and an LGB three way point minus electric motors for £60, a very useful item where you have limited space.
 
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ExeterGeek

Registered
30 May 2011
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Exeter
patiorails.blogspot.com
I've bought a fair degree of second hand track.
Pro's:
Cheaper than new although as always it pays to watch bidding prices on ebay. I have seen some second hand stuff go for prices that are more than the new cost (including postage).
Many bargains - on points, stuff that comes in boxes normally indicates a "cared for indoor life" and can mean good condition.
Lots of R1 curves from starter sets are essentially (and probably) unused.
Con's
Watch for condition - somebody else has previously mentioned about connectivity on points and I would add watch for missing fishplates (replacement costs can soon add up).
Very occassionally any track but curves and points seem most prevalent will have issues with the track coming out from the plastic ties - I put this track in between two pieces of good quality track.
Look at those ebay pictures carefully and take condition into account when bidding.

Cleaning
As a newbie I initially started using "Brasso" on the principle it was brass track ?
Wrong - messy and not really very effective in my view.
These days I use the LGB Track rubber which is cleaner, quicker and superior in my view.
A cheaper alternative could be some of the foam style "sanding blocks" available from the DIY stores.

PIKO and LGB track mesh together very well - so much so that the way I can tell them apart is the sleeper pattern without turning them over. Mixing/matching other brands of brass track can require a little more work. For example I think tenmille track (I only have straights) appears to mesh fairly seemlessly, yet special joining fishplates are sold - but I need to put some more testing in on this. I think it is train line 45 that has fishplates that are a different size. Somebody (I forget who) uses little screws and connectors to join track.

I have only mixed PIKO and LGB points. I have no experience of the others and can make no comment on how well they mix/match.

As always, caveat emptor, but there are bargains out there vs new.

Chris
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,436
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Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
I have mixed and matched LGB/Piko/Aristocraft no problems same profile and rail height, Code 332. I believe Accucraft and Trainline 45 products are the same too, the principal differences with all these being sleeper style and spacing alone. Term "code" followed by a number refers to height of rail mesured in thous of an inch, all rail is rated that way.

I also use some Tenmille 45mm gauge, it has a different rail profile to the others and ideally will require adaptors to join with them but works well when done this way. It tends to work out cheaper than other makes, 2nd hand where offered, possibly for that reason. There are also bespoke wooden sleepered track sections out there that turn up 2nd hand from time to time, a lot of that uses LGB code 332 rail in its construction too. If you get into larger radius points, R5, and trick stuff like double slips these can often be great value compared to the mass produced norm new or 2nd hand.

I have seen a "tutorial" on this forum showing how to convert redundant R1 curves and similar to straights. Personally I'm not convinced but it seems to work for some and could be cheaper source per ft of track. If you can try to get some longer lengths of flexi-track, up to 1.5 metre, available in all makes. This stuff allows you to get into more gradual curves, more flexible layout configuration and means less places for corrosion to get hold over time at the joints (unless you "bond" all the track) and start to cause voltage drop outs. It seems a lot of the time that as our rostas and ambitions grow so our need for larger radii turns does too. Why do think all this R1 and R3 stuff shows up all the time ;)

Max.P.S. Aristocraft are the ones that used the screws.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Robert, one of the things to watch with second hand points is the Connecting Wires between rails. Sometimes these are a Press Fit (like Peco) and sometimes they are Screw (Old LGB) sometimes manufacturers change from one to the both. The point is that they can break down, fall off unscrew. It is best to check these out with a Meter if you have one then repair any faulty connections. My method of choice is to solder up these things anyway. Particularly with Peco Press Fittings, do not let this put you off second hand, the savings are still well worth having.
JonD
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
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;) one of the pros of running an R1 system, a lot of other folks decry R1 as too tight, hence the availability of good second hand LGB R1 curves. Straights tend to be somewhat more rare on the market. The only dud piece that I've ever got had a mangled rail joiner... easily fixed by bending back to shape with pliers.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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I thought that I would bump this thread back to life a little. In correspondance with a buyer of some of my advertised Track In realised that there may be a surplus of R1 Curves at that and other lines. This has been said before, it is entirely possible to turn R1 Curves into Straights of slightly differing length if you have an equal number of them. This link shows how it is done, though the guy has used a Railbender which would always make a better jod it is still possible to make a good job by using Mk1 hands or a good vice and hammer.

http://www.largescalecentral.com/forums/topic/21446/how-to-turn-r1-track-into-straight-track/view/page/1

If there is a link in G Central to a similar process be good if anyone could post that link, I never found it!
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

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24 Oct 2009
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Second hand track - worth the hassle? - YES!
 
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Paul M

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25 Oct 2016
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I thought that I would bump this thread back to life a little. In correspondance with a buyer of some of my advertised Track In realised that there may be a surplus of R1 Curves at that and other lines. This has been said before, it is entirely possible to turn R1 Curves into Straights of slightly differing length if you have an equal number of them. This link shows how it is done, though the guy has used a Railbender which would always make a better jod it is still possible to make a good job by using Mk1 hands or a good vice and hammer.

http://www.largescalecentral.com/forums/topic/21446/how-to-turn-r1-track-into-straight-track/view/page/1

If there is a link in G Central to a similar process be good if anyone could post that link, I never found it!
Presumably you could actually make the R1s into a larger radius?
 
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Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
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North West Norfolk
Hi

I am newbie and have been picking up some second hand LGB track as trying to put together a railway on a budget.

Just wondering how other people get on with second hand track? Does it tend to be OK to use or do you find it a cause of grief in the long term? Appreciate it depend on its condition.

Also any advice on the best way to clean old track appreciated? Is it worth giving it a good scrub or can this do more harm than good?

Thanks Rob
You have to use your brain a little bit, but not much :emo::emo::emo: If we're talking plain track, then generally if it looks OK it'll be OK. Track has to be failry well bent out of alignment to cause a derailment in G scale.

With points, it's a bit of a different question - I'd tend to advise buying from trusted sellers - friends on this 'ere forum or traders with a good reputation for dealing with problems :nod::nod:
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

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Only started in February this year, all my track is used, there are a few threads on cleaning and joining track for using powered track, I have use Kilrock on the ends, and a little Kilrock on the running surface and non-abrasive nylon scourer, my track started going together last week and I have not had any real continuity issues at all - however time will tell!
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Presumably you could actually make the R1s into a larger radius?
I guess you could with a little but of faffing, I would remove all the rail from the sleepers then run it through a single rail rail bender then thread it back into the Sleepers. Do one rail first then the other to keep on making sure that the bend is close enough. Fishplates would not be aligned with each other and some mods to the sleepers would be required for Fishplates, but who gives a hoot about that?
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
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North West Norfolk
Only started in February this year, all my track is used, there are a few threads on cleaning and joining track for using powered track, I have use Kilrock on the ends, and a little Kilrock on the running surface and non-abrasive nylon scourer, my track started going together last week and I have not had any real continuity issues at all - however time will tell!
Generally, if you've got it together OK in the first place, then you've got it.

The main reason why conductive paste is recommended with LGB track is that sliding fishplates will always have the most infinitesimal air gap - so you need to fill it. With Aristo / Bachmann / USAT screwed fishplates, the plate is clamped to the rail and the connectivity is retained.

When I relaid my Aristo track having had it in place on the WWSR for about 6 years, I removed all of the screwed fishplates to clean the track ends. What I discovered was that where there were joints that had been screwed at the factory i.e.the fishplate had never been removed, the brass track end was clean and shiny :clap::clap:

That's nothing to do with torque or tightness, it's simply that the two surfaces were held close together and Mr Oxidation couldn't get a look in ;);)