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My Peco Flex tracks arrived a couple of days ago and I have started laying them.

At some point, while taking a rest, the color of the rails struck me, boy they are shinny bright yellow. Now we modelrailroaders are quite fussy about replicating the prototype of all railroad related items so;

.. why on earth are these rails in yellow color ?

Baykal

For that matter, Hornby rails too...
 

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QUOTE (ebaykal @ 15 Aug 2008, 10:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>My Peco Flex tracks arrived a couple of days ago and I have started laying them.

At some point, while taking a rest, the color of the rails struck me, boy they are shinny bright yellow. Now we modelrailroaders are quite fussy about replicating the prototype of all railroad related items so;

.. why on earth are these rails in yellow color ?

Baykal

For that matter, Hornby rails too...
The metal used to make the rails is known as nickel silver, however it doesn't include any silver and it is actually a type of brass and like other brasses it is yellowish in colour. It may be more yellow if it needs cleaning.

The way to get round it is to paint the sides of the rails a greyish-brown like the prototype. It is then very difficult to tell that the shiny strip on the top of the rail is a slightly different colour from the steel of the prototype.
 

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QUOTE (Edwin @ 15 Aug 2008, 18:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The metal used to make the rails is known as nickel silver, however it doesn't include any silver and it is actually a type of brass and like other brasses it is yellowish in colour. It may be more yellow if it needs cleaning.

The way to get round it is to paint the sides of the rails a greyish-brown like the prototype. It is then very difficult to tell that the shiny strip on the top of the rail is a slightly different colour from the steel of the prototype.

***Small correction - yes, it uses some of the same elements but isn't a brass derivative....It is most commonly made of nickel, copper and zinc + minor parts of other elements. High quality NS uses more nickel and zinc and less copper.

So

The best quality NS rail has a high nickel content - C&L use about 22% nickel and a relatively high zinc content and as a result it looks much more like steel and tends to corrode less.

Coin grade NS is about 25% nickel, your Peco rail is 18~19% at best, so quite yellow even when clean. even a couple of percent morenickel and a little more zinc makes it nearly stainless and if Mfrs would simply make that small change you'd all have to clean your rails less!

Personally I'll stick with my preferred steel rail.
Less cleaning needed and it looks like steel rail should.

to quote wikipedia re NS

Many alloys fall within the general term of "nickel silver". All contain copper and nickel, while some formulations may additionally include zinc, antimony, tin, lead or cadmium. A representative industrial formulation, Alloy No. 752, is 65% copper, 18% nickel, and 17% zinc. In metallurgical science, such alloys would be more properly termed nickel brass. The white alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel used in coins, such as the United States nickel, is better known as copper-nickel, cupro-nickel or cupronickel.

Some nickel silver alloys, especially those containing high proportions of zinc, are stainless (corrosion-resistant).

Re the black stuff on the rail..... (you know, the black line on your finger when you rub the rail). I had it analysed some time ago - its nearly 95% copper oxides, which is why the yellower the rail (the higher the copper content) the more it will need cleaning.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 15 Aug 2008, 14:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Personally I'll stick with my preferred steel rail.
Less cleaning needed and it looks like steel rail should

Richard
DCCconcepts

Exactly, missed this opportunity, maybe in my next life.

Edwin, even if you rust the sides with paint the top of the rail is still yellow and when looked at from a distance it annoys me, can't get the steel look.

By the way, Tillig Elite track, are they yellowish as well?

baykal
 

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QUOTE (ebaykal @ 16 Aug 2008, 00:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Exactly, missed this opportunity, maybe in my next life.

Edwin, even if you rust the sides with paint the top of the rail is still yellow and when looked at from a distance it annoys me, can't get the steel look.

By the way, Tillig Elite track, are they yellowish as well?

baykal
No, Tillig is brown
 

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QUOTE Edwin, even if you rust the sides with paint the top of the rail is still yellow and when looked at from a distance it annoys me, can't get the steel look.

you could try coating the rails with metal blacking?

http://www.finescale.org.uk/show_page.php?...522b80d0c057ce6

different formulae achieve different results with other metals........apparently,metal blackener doesn't interrupt the flow of electricity....
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 16 Aug 2008, 14:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>you could try coating the rails with metal blacking?

http://www.finescale.org.uk/show_page.php?...522b80d0c057ce6

different formulae achieve different results with other metals........apparently,metal blackener doesn't interrupt the flow of electricity....

***Yes, it does unfortunately, most of the time.... It has no effect in the rail but the surface is a totally different issue - almost always less conductive when blackeners are used, as they are usually oxides.... bloomin hard to apply evenly over a long length of track too.....

Richard
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Richard mentions sticking with steel rail which will of course look realistic! I had always assumed that the shift from steel to nickel silver track was because the NS needed less care and attention; obviously NS won't rust although we like the rust look for the sides but goes dull like brass - as is clearly explained above.

Is NS track cheaper to produce than steel or, if not, why the change by the manufacturers? On the other hand does steel track look good but need more TLC? I'm intrigued...


Geoff
 

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steel track will keep bright and clean if used regularly.

many trainsets are not used that often.....I suspect they realise a need for reliability of contact, to maintain interest.

Nickel silver therefore is more reliable.

I think N/S is also easier to cut, and is more amenable to flexing.....steel flex track used to be fine adopting a chosen curve...but reluctant to cope with change, unlike N/S rail.

I prefer steel...I dont like N/S wheel tyres either.
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 17 Aug 2008, 05:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>steel track will keep bright and clean if used regularly.

many trainsets are not used that often.....I suspect they realise a need for reliability of contact, to maintain interest.

Nickel silver therefore is more reliable.

I think N/S is also easier to cut, and is more amenable to flexing.....steel flex track used to be fine adopting a chosen curve...but reluctant to cope with change, unlike N/S rail.

I prefer steel...I dont like N/S wheel tyres either.

***If your layout is indoors it will oxidise slower than NS, and steel oxides are soft unlike the hard layer on NS track. (NS "Rusts" just like steel, as rusting = oxidisation.... you just cannot see the NS oxidisation as well)

Steel also cuts easily, flexes better and naturally (in bullhead or finer profile flatbottom anyway). and solders at least as well as NS. NS is actually HARDER than steel rail to cut and bend!!!!!!.

I worked on my layouts hand made track for nearly a year before connecting a controller and running a loco - without cleaning the track the loco ambled round nearly 400 feet of track at a slow pace with not one stall anywhere... I don't think NS would have done near as well.

The rail I use is C&L finescale...a whole different thing to the poor quality rail that used to be used in steel track by trainset people. It is a high quality steel with no plating on it.

BTW, I was really interested to see that Marklins stainless steel rail is also of an alloy that solders really well with my sapphire 179 solder - I'm really, really tempted to have a batch of stainless steel bullhead drawn with the same material! (Marklins bare rail is actually made in China by the way)

Richard
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 15 Aug 2008, 23:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>No, Tillig is brown

Guess I should have gone for the Tilligs then
.....sigh.

Baykal
 
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