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> nickel silver track vs steel ?
jules caley-edwa...
post 21 Sep 2012, 16:37
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Hi, I am looking for advice , I have inherited a model railway and have recently built tables around my attic to rebuild it, I have aproximatly 60 yards of track ,and my first thought is should I replace it with nickel silver, the current setup was made in the 1980s and is a zero one system with the main controller and the two add on controllers and one cabled control, It includes about 13 engines all with zero one chips , I have managed to repair the main controllers key pad as over the years the buttons stopped functioning ,some conductive paint resolved this. I have tested the engines on a 7 yard straight and all seems well so far. So back to my first problem the track I have been quoted 163.80 for 60 yards of peco sl100 silver nickel track , which I think is a good price , should I buy it ?, I have seen some conflicting reports does it make that much difference, and if so is peco the best to go for?, Many thanks Jules.
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rgmichel
post 21 Sep 2012, 16:47
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I would always go with nickel silver. I have never considered steel, so I have no experience with it, but I would have thought that soldering to it might be a pig. Also, it's conductivity would be less than nickel silver, so you might have voltage drops more easily. I am not sure what type of steel is used, but if it is not stainless, then it would corrode and pit easily.


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Iarnrod
post 21 Sep 2012, 17:05
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The layout I've just brought to life after 25 years has sections of nickel silver flexitrack and sections of steel set track with roughly a third of the pointwork in the latter. Even without cleaning after all that time my locos went as new round the nickel silver bits & ground to a halt on the steel.

After a very thorough clean running on the steel is still sluggish. I'm now resigned to replacing these sections. Thank goodness I have the remains of the flexitrack somewhere in the roofspace & that points aren't as frighteningly expensive as I feared they might be!


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crompton 33
post 21 Sep 2012, 18:11
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go for the nickel silver track and being peco you carn't go wrong. i only use peco track . the steel track is a waste of time.
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Trog
post 21 Sep 2012, 20:22
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If you do replace the steel perhaps consider saving some for any rising gradients you have, as locos will generally pull more on steel rail as it is less slippy than nickel silver.


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Ian Everitt
post 21 Sep 2012, 21:30
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I was in very much the same situation as you - inherited a lot of track that I wanted to use, not just for value reasons. But as has also been said here, mixing the two really shows the performance differences. Silver nickel means free flowing, smooth running (even with older engines) but as soon as they hit the steel they will, at best, judder and lose some of their zip. More often than not they will just conk out.


I have, reluctantly, had to opt to for the silver nickel. It's put things back a bit, but if you are going to spend time getting a great layout, you don't want to be frustrated by poor performance which is track related. After all, once its ballasted, its pretty much there for good!



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jules caley-edwa...
post 21 Sep 2012, 21:32
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Many thanks for the posts, they are all of great interest, it seems as if I should replace the track with peco nickel silver,it was also interesting to see that steel may be beter for gradients , something I had not considered before,one other thing I would like opinions on is track underlay, I was considering laying the track directly on the plywood base mainly because when I removed the old layout the foam track ballast fell apart and seemed to not be long lasting,also I like a realistic finish which I think I could achieve with ballast alone, I am aware of increased noise of the locos ,but what are your thoughts, does it make a lot of difference ?
Many thanks Jules.
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crompton 33
post 21 Sep 2012, 22:11
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i use cork on the top of my baseboard then the track. but once you lay the ballast it will become noisey. one tip i will give you is before you fix dowm any points make sure you have drilled the hole's for the point motor's as once you have fixed them down you will not beable to drill them.
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34C
post 21 Sep 2012, 22:58
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Peco's track is very well made and reliable, and will give long term service if looked after. I have some now well past thirty years old which spent twelve years on a garden line, and now in service reused on a third layout.

The price is fairly competitive, you might be able to get a tenner off by shopping around. But this isn't the whole story regarding the track purchase. Going to want any points? They should be bundled in the deal to get the best discount. You also need a pair of rail joiners per flexitrack length and three per set of points, plus another 20% on top, and insulating rail joiners if you are going to use live crossing ('electrofrog') points which are very helpful for best power collection. Most shopkeepers will be interested in securing that bigger spend in these financially straitened times...

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hoonsou
post 22 Sep 2012, 00:09
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If you're replacing plain track and points I would advise going for Peco code 75 with electrofrog points and crossings. I did the changeover a few years ago and don't regret it at all. Properly wired electrofrogs really improve running over points etc, so if you decide to go with code 100, live frogs are still the best, and don't believe stories that they're hard to wire; I can do one in less than five minutes.

The thing to watch out for with which code of track you use is the wheels on your stock. Really old stuff (I'm guessing it's age by the Zero 1 gear) might be a problem with code 75.


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Richard Johnson
post 22 Sep 2012, 05:32
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*** Modern steel rail is actually excellent to use and is easy to solder (ie: C&L track). Set track (older stuff anyway) was normally a lower grade and also plated...

Steel looks much better but you are then in a position of having to make your own pointwork too...

IF - and I mean if, your layout is in a climate controlled area (properly inside) then I'd happily recommend you use steel - however for a shed or attic layout the temperature and humidity swings are high and you may get less successful results. In those palces I would use NS

The exception is a practical one. If your grades are steeper than say 1 in 60 and you want to haul long trains, use steel flex track on them...Steel will give much better results on gradients train-lengthwise... NS is very slippery.

Yes, I agree the price you are offered is good if it is Peco track - the lower cost italian made flex uses a lower grade of NS and will need more cleaning, so be sure it IS peco.

Richard


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34C
post 22 Sep 2012, 09:06
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Should have added: regarding prices, I use Hattons as a good marker for what the best price is likely to be. They are sometimes beaten on price on items, but as a long term running average offer the lowest prices in the UK, and are scrupulous about only listing items in stock when they actually are in stock.

Regarding code 75, that's what I would choose to use too, and it drops the flexi track price. But this requires the finer scale wheels ty[ically fitted to current product, and from the description of what you have the wheels on at least some of your stock are likely to be too coarse for code 75.
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Iarnrod
post 22 Sep 2012, 09:13
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Thanks for the tips about gradients. When my railway was built for me the folding baseboard was designed to allow flyovers & flyunders, so am reconsidering what is possible now!


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It might look like a train set to you but it gives The Small Controller & me a lot of pleasure!

My Railway

"I don't want to spend all my time messing about with microscopic wheel and track adjustments. I want to make models, models of all kinds of things" - JH Ahern
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Dinwiddy
post 22 Sep 2012, 10:37
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Hi -re tracklaying & ballasting can I suggest Gaugemaster GM200 grey ballasted underlay - solves the problem of noise with glued ballast, its quick to lay, curves & fits most track easily and looks quite good (especially if compared with the Peco & Hornby underlays). At around 20 for a 5 metre roll it isnt cheap but is well worth it for ease & speed of use.

Regards

David Y
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