Model Railway Forum banner

n gauge track explanations please

10587 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Dinwiddy
HI all

I'm a newcomer to N gauge having inherited a big sset of stuff from my father. Thanks to Loconotion's advice today I'm not going to sell it, but look instead at building an N layout myself. I'm confused about the different track specs - Dad used Peco setrack points and flexible track, but it looks all a bit too 'toy train' .

My last layout was 00 and the smallest radius point was 5'0, I've always avoided N but it looks a lot better now.

Any pointers would be appreciated


1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Hello Bigwordsmith,

There are three types of Peco N track in increasing order of realism - Code 80 Setrack, Code 80 Streamline, Code 55 Streamline (Finescale) - look for the suffix 'F' when buying points to make sure you get code 55. Code 55 has the most realistic looking track and is very solid due to the clever design where the track is partially embedded into the sleepers. I believe that real track is somewhere in the region of code 55 (perhaps code 40?) when scaled down to N. Code 80 has taller rails which look more toylike. Large radius curves can be created using Code 55 flexitrack.

I hope this helps and if not there are other people more knowledgeable than me who will help no doubt!
Some N gauge stock will go round 9" radius curves or even sharper but it is probably best to keep your minimum radius to 12" or greater, and use larger curves in visible parts of the layout. This allows you options like track looping round the back on a single baseboard of manageable width, not possible in OO.

Peco track is the most widely available and widely used for N gauge in the UK and I would agree to go for the code 55 in the scenic areas and maybe code 80 for hidden sidings as it's a bit cheaper. No problem joining these together though you may have to pack under the sleepers to get it level - sorry can't remember details at this time of night! Real track (of the modern flat-bottom type closest to those modelled by Peco) has rails about 6" high so code 40 would be to scale. However code 55 isn't much worse than using code 100 in OO, the track gauge is more accurate is less in British N than OO, and because it's all smaller any discrepancy is that much harder to see.

The most serious criticism of Peco 55 track is the depth of the switch blades, which revert to Code 80, and the large gaps between them and the stock rails on points.
See less See more
Hi Bigwordsmith - yes the finescale track does look a bit better than the standard but there are a couple of things to note: -
1. As you have inherited older stock beware that some of these may have deeper wheelflanges which do not like the smaller finescale rails.
2. Also some track items are only available in one or the other but not both and it can be difficult to identify which (eg the double slip). If you drop in to Loconotion again, we can give you more information/advice - I wasn 't there, I cover fridays and saturdays and model mainly N or 009.

Probably the best compromise that will run most items regardless of age is the 'streamline' flexi track (SL300) with 'streamline' pointwork etc the latter having much longer radiuses than the 'setrack' while using the same profile rail.


David Y
See less See more
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.