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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all
New to the forum, I'm planning a 12' by 9' L-shaped 'tail chaser' layout for the garage. I'd like it to be based around about the mid to late 70's, so which track is best?, not just from a prototypical point of view, but ease of use, availability etc. I've heard lots of favourable things about SMP and C&L, but pictures are hard to come by, and is it really that much better than Peco stuff? Any info would be appreciated
 

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Hi ChrisO, cant advise you about track but someone will,post some photos when you get started
And welcome
 

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Hi ChrisO
Ive found that as far as track is concerned Peco is best in terms of looks and availability. I use streamline code 75 which is fine scale but code 100 is available too, which is closer to hornby set track. (OO and HO) They are both compatible with Hornby track and are nickle plated so stand up to "damp" conditions much better than steel track (hornby set track) which will rust. You say you are using the garage for your model railway, is it heated or does it get damp?
Track choice is also a matter of personal taste and budget.
Welcome to the forum
Steve
 

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QUOTE but pictures are hard to come by

A high proportion of the feature layouts in Hornby magazine use SMP track - it tells you in the text. The principal difference is the appearance of the chairs. SMP has very noticeable chairs which reach about half way up the rail. Peco rail fixings are a lot flatter. The best way to decide is to seek out photos of the period and area you intend to model. My feeling is that mainlines for the period you are modelling had already changed over to flat bottom rail and a more shallow rail fixing which would suggest Peco track would be more appropriate.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've got (so far): Bachmann Class 24, Bachmann Class 37, Hornby Class 31 and 2 Bachmann Class 20's (all BR blue): rolling stock is all freight stuff (Bachmann TEA tanks, Hornby & Bachmann Seacows & Sealions etc.) I was thinking of having one side of the L-shape in Peco code 100 concrete sleepered depicted as a still well-used 'mainline' and the other side as a less-well used 'branch, still used as an occasional diversionary route, hence I was thinking of using the SMP or C&L, as it's bullhead rail. The loops at each end are to be scenic breaks and are Peco 3rd radius set track (dictated by space allowed) Is there any problems in joining code 75 to code 100?
Thanks for the info so far
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (wolverton bloomer @ 1 Feb 2009, 16:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>>>>Snip
Ive found that as far as track is concerned Peco is best in terms of looks and availability. I use streamline code 75 which is fine scale but code 100 is available too, which is closer to hornby set track. (OO and HO) They are both compatible with Hornby track and are nickle plated so stand up to "damp" conditions much better than steel track (hornby set track) which will rust. You say you are using the garage for your model railway, is it heated or does it get damp?
>>.Snip

**** Steve, if only you hadn't said "best looking" - it took me ten minutes to pick myself off the floor and stop laughing.


Peco (and Hornby for that matter) track is/are perhaps the most inaccurate model of anything ever produced.

Wrong in sleeper width, length, spacing, position and size of turnout timbers relative to frog and other parts etc etc... wrong check rail spacing, wrong check rail length... and it goes on.

However it is indeed the only readily available track so they get away with it.

*** Chris.

C&L is a far more accurate track than SMP but as DWB said it is bullhead rail and not so appropriate for anything much after WW2. The difference is in the sleepers and chair detail - SMP is a lump, C&L has a proper chair and wedge and also the C&L rail profile is much more accurate.

Re both C&L and SMP, there are no RTR points for it so you would have to make your own unless you buy SMP or C&L made to order...

As far as ready to lay track systems... There really isn't that much choice readily available in UK so Peco really is it unfortunately. Hornby and set-track in general is toy track and best avoided if a realistic model railway is your intent..

If you have mainly models which are less than 20 years old use Peco code 75 as Steve mentioned, ( however a small correction, it is solid Nickel Silver, not plated).

Code 75 looks better and is actually easier to lay well than code 100 as the finer rail profile bends more naturally and doesn't try to kink on curve joints like code 100 does. (BTW the word code refers to the height of the rail in inches - code 100 is 0.10 " high, code 75 is 0.075 " high). Code 75 is closer to the real thing than code 100, but neither are really accurate.

ALl the odels you list will be OK on both C&L, SMP and Peco 75. If the odd item doesn't like the lower rail profile sell it - it'll be old and tired anyway... Better to have a better looking track than toy-sizes rail to run old badly detailed models.

Joining 75 and 100 is easy - just solder them together.

Use Electrofrog turnouts and modify/wire as per the very frequent advice on this list... this will give best running and best reliability. Where possible use large radius, use medium where large won't fit and avoid small radius totally.

regards

Richard
 

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**** Steve, if only you hadn't said "best looking" - it took me ten minutes to pick myself off the floor and stop laughing.
Richard,
Glad to give you a giggle.
As I dont have the patience and were withall to build my own points and am a relative newbie to this hobby I'm not so bothered about the track being totally 100% accurate but that it looks acceptable, is easy enough to lay, is available and had RTR points etc.
Ive pointed out in the past that Im not a "rivet counter", near enough is good enough. I respect those who do demand 100% accuracy out of common human respect, but this hobby is about comprimise after all. Afterall, who can really make a model of a prototype location and be accurate regards scale distances etc in a limited available space?

Thankyou for correcting me regards nickle silver track being solid not plated.
I will be in touch via PM regrding fitting sound to my Bachmann class 55.

Regards
Steve
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 1 Feb 2009, 12:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>C&L is a far more accurate track than SMP but as DWB said it is bullhead rail and not so appropriate for anything much after WW2.

There was still a lot of bullhead around in the 1970s, even on main lines (large stretches of the S&C for a start), and I can think of more than a few places where it's still in use now. Apart from that, I concur with everything else Richard said. C&L or SMP for appearance, Peco for ease of use but it looks nothing like British track.

C&L/SMP with Peco code 75 points doesn't look too bad if you don't fancy making your own. 80% of the effect for 20% of the effort and all that.
 

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http://www.53a-pix.co.uk/picture/37414-CW-120998.jpg

check this out [my favourite piccy...I am intending to detail/alter my vitrains version to match this phote]

ignore the loco...look at the trackwork. Note the bullhead rail in the foreground, flat bottom rail under loco.

[note colouring, ballasting, small details, etc...a nice clear photo, thanks to John Turner.]

why not mix 'n match, C&L Finescale trackage, with Peco code 75?

that way, the OP can decide for himself which he prefers...........note, type of rail at this time period will depend on actual location/usage of track..ie running lines, sidings, etc.
 

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A very useful and informative photo Alastair - thanks for posting it


David
 

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QUOTE (wolverton bloomer @ 1 Feb 2009, 20:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>****
Ive pointed out in the past that Im not a "rivet counter", near enough is good enough. Regards

*** Nor am I really, but do notice when they are missing.


But... I always raise an eyebrow when I see modellers carp about the shape of a window or the curve of a nose or a tumblehome or the thickness of a windscreen wiper on a loco, then happily run it on track thats "sort of totally not right".

My negativity to Peco isn't for any other reason than they could do better if they bothered trying, but simply show no respect at all for the UK modeller by ignoring scale accuracy when all around them go the extra mile to make loco's and stock ever better all the time.

(Yet they very quickly totally retooled to make the US market happier with their code 83, which is not bad at all for US prototype track.)

I do often wonder whether modellers have a vision filter that cuts out all below the chassis rail.

regards

Richard

PS: Yes, I know I over generalised re the dates for Bullhead - I was trying to keep it simple. I photographed a lot of it still in use in UK when I visited relatively recently!
 

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...err may I recommend "Tillig Elite" track and turnouts.

I am a late discoverer of them, afraid its too late. Still banging my head on the wall for it.

Baykal
 

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thanks for the reminder, ebaykal...tillig is indeed fine trackage.....

but still gives us 4mm scale modellers the same situation as Peco...track ideal for 3.5mm, HO, and a severe compromise for OO.

sure, we 4mm modellers have only ourselves to blame, seeing as we opt for a track gauge of about 4 foot 1 inch..forgetting the other 7 inches or so. and by reducing the length of the sleepers, it alleviates the somewhat 'narrow gauge' look.....[irish modellers must have things even worse?]....but the distance between sleepers could be better.

what I would like to see...[seeing as I don't get out much] are good, natural colour photos of TRACK,,,different types, ballasts, locations, etc.......allowing many of us with poor memories to model what is ACTUALLY THERE, rather than what we THINK would be there?

a recent surprise for me was to take a GOOD look, close up, at old, used trackage on the NYMR....to realise, many of the sleepers were actually GREY in colour!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks to everyone for their replies. As I say I'm new to the forum and have returned to the hobby after 20 years or so (house, marriage, kids etc.) I had a layout when I was young, which my Dad built using Peco track, and I've just managed to get a couple of yards of Peco code 100 concrete sleepered track which looks OK, but doesn't seem to have changed from 20 years ago!!! when we appear to have had so many advances in the hobby, it seems a bit of a shame. I want the new layout to realistic, but I'm not bothered about 100% accuracy
Anyway, I've heard and read SMP and C&L are far superior but it's hard to find good comparison photos.
Does Marcway pointwork go with SMP?
I've not heard of Tillig, but I've seen an ad in Model Rail for 'Borg' does anyone use their track?
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 1 Feb 2009, 13:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>My negativity to Peco isn't for any other reason than they could do better if they bothered trying, but simply show no respect at all for the UK modeller by ignoring scale accuracy when all around them go the extra mile to make loco's and stock ever better all the time.

Maybe, just maybe their sales to HO modellers worldwide far outstrip the sales to OO modellers worldwide ?
 

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***That'd be fine as a thought if the geometry and engineering of the turnouts was anywhere near accurate for anything anywhere in the world, but it just isn't! (the two may be similar amounts but I don't think it would be so - Sure, there are many, many non-uk prototype modellers using it but also... there are a LOT of expats modelling UK prototype outside the UK!

Richard

QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 2 Feb 2009, 10:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Maybe, just maybe their sales to HO modellers worldwide far outstrip the sales to OO modellers worldwide ?
 

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[/quote]
PS: Yes, I know I over generalised re the dates for Bullhead - I was trying to keep it simple. I photographed a lot of it still in use in UK when I visited relatively recently!
[/quote]

Yes Richard, it's still around. In 2007 I travelled on the Leeds-Harrogate-York line (pale shadow of it's earlier glory). Still short lengths of bullhead on the line and all the yards and sidings - I had to giggle really. Also nosing around near the Arthington triangle and around the mouth of Bramhope Tunnel I noticed more on the mainline.

6991
 

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Tillig is indeed in my opinion one of the better off the shelf HO track systems. I nearly went that way myself before heading down the C&L route and hand made points etc. I purchased a couple of pieces and was well impressed with the detail on the chairs and the pre-weathered rail. Now I couldn't handle the yellowish look of nickle silver and stick to the C&L steel track.

One easy to do improvement to RTR HO track to make it look a little better for the UK 4mm modeller is to space the sleepers out a bit more. While this doesn't correct the actual sleeper under size issue, simply separating the sleeper spacing a little to scale sleeper spacing does make a vast visual improvement, particulalry once ballasted, and is easy to do to any of the RTR HO track suppliers.
 
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