Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may be getting a little ahead of myself here, given that I'm just starting up and have no track of any kind, but picking up on discussions about OO/HO track in here has made me think about progressing from track in a starter set.

Now I think one of the Hornby DCC sets looks like a good bet for getting started, probably the mixed goods as you get a working set up and save a few quid at the same time.

However, it may not be long before I start getting additional track and this is where things get tricky it seems. There is varying opinion of course, but it seems continuing with hornby track may not be the best thing. Some say they stick with Peco Streamline, stating that the points are more reliable, but here there are also references to Fleischmann Profi, Tillig and so on, further complicating the choice.

There seems to be a bit of moaning about Peco on this board, but I'm not sure if the issue is more with track reliability and durability or just the modelling accuracy of its appearance.

What's the scale of track quality? Is Peco better than Hornby, and what makes Fleischmann track better than those?

If anyone can help out with their own experience I'd appreciate it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Hi Nathan

This depends so very much on your particular circumstances plus personal opinion of appearance and the finance available. You will probably read a tremendous variety of opinion here.

Hornby is great as a starting point, with it's tough, small sections being particularly suited to layouts that might be altered or rebuilt.
It's readily available too.

Fleischmann has the same abilities with regard to alterations etc, looks better, is tougher but won't be available quite as widely and costs a good deal more.

Any flexi-track is more suited for permanent layouts. I like flexi-track. The negatives expressed re Peco are on fairly abstruce matters and don't worry me a bit, but that is where it becomes such an individual matter - they MIGHT worry you!
.

Perhaps a basic question first:
Do you intend to mount the layout on a more or less permanent baseboard in the first instance?
If we can establish that, it will be easier to progress from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
Hi Nathan
It's 'Horses for courses' really! You can use Hornby track, both fixed and flexible track are available and its all is very easy to buy as most model railway shops in the UK will stock the range. Peco Streamline offers lager radius points and more choices of point configurations e.g. Double slips, 3 way points and two sets of Diamond crossings etc and two types of point frog -. Insulafrog or Electrofrog in both code 100 or code 75 rail height for "00". Don't forget code 100 track from Hornby and Peco is inter mixable as can any make of code 100 track be mixed and matched, if its not pre ballasted, though even that's not a serious issue as often the two profiles can be mated. Again, most Peco track styles are easily obtained in the UK. Continental track suppliers will be less easy to obtain and perhaps stocks held at low levels than the main two UK suppliers, but not necessarily a show stopper!
Neither Peco nor Hornby track is true "00" sleeper spacing but this to me isn't an issue and I think Peco track looks good when laid correctly and ballasted with real stone ballast etc.
I believe the real choice is availability. Nothing nicer than visiting your local shop having a chat about what's needed and leaving with the items, though the internet now offers a wider choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
QUOTE (Rail-Rider @ 8 Mar 2007, 11:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Perhaps a basic question first:
Do you intend to mount the layout on a more or less permanent baseboard in the first instance?
If we can establish that, it will be easier to progress from there.

A permanent layout may be a little way off to be honest. I don't think I'll be glueing track down until I've a better idea how it all works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Then I'd suggest you can't go wrong with Hornby as a starting point.
You can always re-use it later if you do go for a baseboard and, if you want to, there is no problem with extending that using flexi-track.
I think almost anyone would agree that points/switches/turnouts are better quality and appearance from Peco than from Hornby. but lots of people happily use Hornby anyway. Probably best to stick with Hornby for your very first project.

By ALL means look at Fleischmann's Profi-track, which has all Hornby's set-track attributes combined with a much higher quality and very attractive appearance. But do look at the prices first!
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
When I wanted to start a fixed layout a few years ago, I phoned up a model shop in Blackpool, Lancs... who I had bought some items from in the past.

To play safe, they advised me to get insulfrog points and Code 100 Peco track.

I say to you, don't play safe, get something that you will really appreciate.

Go to a model shop, ask the owner to open some packets and look at insulfrog points and Code 100 Peco track. Compare it to electrofrog points and Code 75 track and make up your own mind.

I have gone one step further and got something even better. Tillig Elite points (electrofrog) and Tillig Elite Code 83 track. Compared to Peco, it is fantastic. Locos and rolling stock just glide over all the pointwork as though its not there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
QUOTE (Nathan)There seems to be a bit of moaning about Peco on this board, but I'm not sure if the issue is more with track reliability and durability or just the modelling accuracy of its appearance.

What's the scale of track quality? Is Peco better than Hornby, and what makes Fleischmann track better than those?

As being one of the Peco moaners i suppose i should post here. firstly i think they make excellent HO track. it is extreamly reliable and i use it on my own layout but it does have little things that bug me.
the switch blades with a hinge in the middle are my main one. i just hate it. points arnt like that.

My second moan is that it realls isnt OO track. i know the gauge is wrong anyway but i think far more could be done to make it look more acceptable.

My biggest moan is more to do with the company itself than with the products they produce. they are making basically the same products as they have been since before i was born (not just peco but its constituent companies), there is nothing wrong with this but they have barely added to it at all.

a long time ago Peco used to be inovators. but i think it has totally lost that.

Tillig seem to be taking up the challenge fairly well and i look forward to seeing how the situation developes. I think there will always be a trainset market for Peco track. but i think the serious mnodellers will switch more and more to Tillig. Tillig track is also HO but it look far better under a OO loco than Peco does.
the disadvantage of the tillig track is that it dosent have a latch to hold the blades over so it has to be fixed to a point motor.

There was something about a month ago that i think summed it up perfectly. they produced a new settrack curve. and there was a news item about it. but what can you actually say about a set track curve. yes its a curve. wow. gee-wizz.
it reminded me of the first episode of "the good life" where tom is working in the plastic toy firm and the boss askes him into his office and gives him the name of a new toy and tom can hardly stop himself from laughing.
I thnk someone at peco came out of his office into the factory and shouted "eureka- a new curve"

I find their magazine-Railway Modeller to be pretty much the same. the Ratio coach kits are actually very good. but i dont think they have done one in my lifetime. i am building kits that were first made before i was born. and because of that you can walk around the layouts and spot the ratio signal box on at least 3 different layouts.

I find it ery frustrating when the companys (Peco Ratio etc..) have soo much potential. I have heard it said that they prefer to inovate at their own speed. that is fair enough-30 years ago, but i dont think the company can suceed like in this day and age. its just too cut throat and now there are other companies lurking in the shadows.

The bottom line is that i dont want to see a great brittish company go to the wall. but i am bored with their products and i am moving on and Peco is not moving with me.

Peter
 

·
Chief mouser
Joined
·
11,775 Posts
Nathan

Some good advice there from a lot of people, certainly from my point of view the biggest problem with PECO is the point work, it really is looking very crude now when compared to other manufacturers. I can't comment on Hornby track as I have never used it, (strange as I can see the place from my parents house!)

I have used Rocoline, which was very good but is no longer produced - a result of Roco going bust last year.

My current thinking is to use Fleischmann Profi, certainly not the cheapest, or the easiest to get, but it looks good and the set track system is fairly robust.

Hope my tenpennorth helps

Regards

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
QUOTE To play safe, they advised me to get insulfrog points and Code 100 Peco track.

I say to you, don't play safe, get something that you will really appreciate.

Go to a model shop, ask the owner to open some packets and look at insulfrog points and Code 100 Peco track. Compare it to electrofrog points and Code 75 track and make up your own mind.

I'd strongly agree. If you are starting out there is no reason to buy code 100 unless :

- You have Triang Hornby locos from the Middle Bronze Age with wheels like a Mamod steamroller
- You can't wire a switch
- You already have lots of the stuff on the rest of the layout.

Everything you can buy today will run as well on code 75 as on code 100.

The little extra wiring involved with electro frog will bring big dividends in terms of better running - the large dead spot created by Insulfrogs encourages locos to stall on points

Tillig points are more expensive , and more difficult to find (Peco's in every model shop). The range is a bit more limited . International Models seem to be the main British seller. I've no personal experience of it , but there seem to be a lot of people who are very favourably impressed - see above

I'd strongly recommend you steer away from both Hornby and Peco Setrack, which are very coarse and not ideal for modern stock . I've had pretty unhappy experiences with Setrack in the past
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE I find it ery frustrating when the companys (Peco Ratio etc..) have soo much potential. I have heard it said that they prefer to inovate at their own speed. that is fair enough-30 years ago, but i dont think the company can suceed like in this day and age. its just too cut throat and now there are other companies lurking in the shadows.

The bottom line is that i dont want to see a great brittish company go to the wall. but i am bored with their products and i am moving on and Peco is not moving with me.

I have to say that Peter sums up the problem with British Railway model companies very well there. This is why I got into US and German models. Hornby are still knocking out stuff now that I had as a teenager.

The Trix c track system is designed to set up and dismantle readily and are ideal for train set level. They are robust and easily connected tracks.

However given that you are begining and probably have no idea who Trix are I would suggest you follow Rail Riders advice and go with Hornby or Peco track.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
Just thought I'd throw something new into the ring. A few years ago I tried my hand at hand laid track. It was very frustrating at first learning how to lay track all over again and making points, whew did use a blue langauge. But in the end it all worked very well but it was just so time consuming staining wooden sleepers, setting the first rail and so on. I went to Peco code 75 live frog stuff for my next layout but in truth I'm not real happy with it. The straight flex track is okay but their points aren't the best. So I've been looking at hand laying again and I found this company http://www.handlaidtrack.com/
Now it is a Canadian company so their track is to US spec ie code 70, code 83 and code 100 with code 83 being the norm in the US. The guages and templates supplied seem to be universal for code 70 and code 83 so therefore should work with code 75. I'm oing to make a few more enquires as there appears to be a local supplier here and get a few more details before I commit to test piece.

Ozzie21
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,464 Posts
Pedro,

QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 8 Mar 2007, 22:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>the switch blades with a hinge in the middle are my main one. i just hate it. points arnt like that.

Not wishing to defend Peco, but such turnouts with hinged blades are prototypical although they are quite rare these days. They are known as 'loose heel switches'. We pulled a few sets out of Sheffield Park back in the winter 76/77 remodelling.

QUOTE Tillig seem to be taking up the challenge fairly well and i look forward to seeing how the situation developes. I think there will always be a trainset market for Peco track. but i think the serious mnodellers will switch more and more to Tillig. Tillig track is also HO but it look far better under a OO loco than Peco does.

It's a funny world we live in! On the one hand, we have people complain that they don't like Peco track because of its shortcomings, scale issues etc etc and then those same people are quite happy to use Tillig track, which doesn't look anything like British track, has different sleepers, spacings, chairs and geometry and is HO scale. Yet they run their OO scale models on it!
Perhaps all Peco need to do is make an accurate turnout in HO scale ?
Serious modellers will not go for Tillig. They will go for SMP/C&L.

Graham Plowman
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
I suggested there would be a wide variety of responses and we've certainly got 'em!


None of the opinions are 'wrong', absolutely NOT. Personally I'd go along with it all!
But, to minimise confusion, perhaps we should remember the starting point: that Nathan has already indicated preference for an introductory digital set from Hornby and that a baseboard is unlikely in the short term - maybe not at all.

Whether digital or not, a good value set remains his most likely starting point and his first running track will be whatever comes with it as standard. So he's going to kick off with code 100 for sure, isn't he? Further expansion would likely be in enlarging that set, still not on a baseboard, and there will be a strong inclination to match any new track with the original. I wouldn't like to speculate figures, but I'd suggest that a huge majority of UK beginners start out this way, simply because it's simpler and more economical than mixing and matching a variety of equipment.

Without a baseboard, I'd suggest that electro-frogs aren't a practical option and I don't believe they are supplied in sets, not UK sets anyway. Similar applies to finer scale track. The baseboard, or lack of it, is key to most decisions in this particular case.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time will know my personal preference for Continental equipment, finer scale track and electro-frog points etc. so no argument there. But I'm not a beginner and I've put all that to one side for this discussion.
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
QUOTE (Graham Plowman @ 9 Mar 2007, 07:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...
Serious modellers will not go for Tillig. They will go for SMP/C&L.
...

What is a serious modeller?

Someone that is happy to put up with an out of scale OO loco with boilers designed to house 1940's chunky electric motors or chassis made of solid metal with suspension detail moulded onto the sides. Fixed ponies and flangeless wheels...

I think that modelling is all about compromise. Compressing reality into the limited space we have involves quite a bit of compromise. We can't get too obsessed with one aspect of the hobby, when we have glaring inaccuracies in other areas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK, hold up a minute guys!

Rail-Rider has a good point with starting out with a Hornby set - I will end up with code 100 track. Still, this doesn't mean that I'll necessarily have to extend this set in terms of track as it's just an oval.

I'm not quite getting the hang of why Code 75 is better in some people's opinion.

QUOTE The little extra wiring involved with electro frog will bring big dividends in terms of better running

I understand what electrofrog points are at this stage, but what sort of extra wiring are we talking of here?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Code 75 or anything smaller than Code 100, looks more realistic.
It really does.

One day, I surmise that something smaller than Code 100 might become a new standard in UK, but that's a while off, if indeed it ever happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,202 Posts
Nathan...the rail codes refer to the height , or size of the the actual rail used.........Code 75 rail is deemed a bit more closer in scale size to the real thing.....Code 100 is taller...and therefore more 'rigid'..or resistant to distortion when set up, or laid.

'Electrofrog' is one of those 'trade' terms...like 'hoover'....used to describe a point frog which is 'live....if you study (a picture) of a point, you'll notice how close a +ve and -ve rail get ot each other......therefore in order to [1] eliminate risk of short circuits, and [2] establish a simple system of 'power routing'....ie, the track you have set the point to, will have the same polarity/power to it..the other will 'isolate'....to achieve this, makers produced a 'frog (the bit where opposing rails cross each other) made of 'plastic'.....Peco, in particular, name this type of point 'Insulfrog'.....However, there is an issue with engines sometimes stalling at the 'dead' bit of the frog........so then we come to 'live frog' points (trade name from Peco, Electrofrog).....where the whole shebang is live to the rail you have selected....this ensures continuity of contact throughout. To achieve this involves some [complicated] switching...I suspect using a switch linked to the point's tiebar..the bit that moves the blades......essentially the power in the frog is whichever the switch is connected to at that time.

easily described with drawings?

My immediate recommendation is to find a nice simple shunting [switching] track plan, get a board built around 6 foot by 1 foot.....and place track upon it! A ''timesaver'' design is , IMHO the best to start with.

However, if you are intent on 'trying out on the floor'...as it were, different issues come to play.

What a shame we don't seem able to get Bachmann's E-Z track system here in yUK?

Being built on a nice rigid plastic 'ballast' base, it would be ideal for 'playing around on the floor'..to get a feel of things?

Perhaps Triang and Hornby Dublo had the right idea all those years ago?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
QUOTE I understand what electrofrog points are at this stage, but what sort of extra wiring are we talking of here?
Possibly more track feeds and certainly frog switching via (Normally) a change over contact fitted to the point motor which feeds the appropriate polarity to the all metal frog.
For a more detailed explanation refer to my site.... Points and how to wire
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,844 Posts
>I'm not quite getting the hang of why Code 75 is better in some people's opinion.
The clincher for me was the availability of live frog slips and crossings in the code 75 range from Peco. My sole objective is to reduce the number of "pick up dead spots" to an absolute minimum.

David
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top