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Need Advice on Track

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  • Need Advice on Track

    Good Morning, Crew! Well, after two joint replacements and the recoveries from the surgeries, I'm in good enough shape to start building a railroad. I'll use the bench work and top from my old Sn3 layout for the new one in HO and it will be a month or so before the cork roadbed gets installed. I was initially planning to hand lay the track and turnouts as I did in Sn3, but I realize now the scale difference will make hand-laid track in HO tedious and very time consuming. I have enough turnouts planned to make the use of a jig economical, but the ties for the turnouts and track are something that I've been researching and need advice.

    So far, the best looking plastic ties that I've found are the Central Valley tie strips. Has anyone used these? I'm wondering how well the turnout and regular rails are held. Is there a better option? Any ideas and comments are welcome.


  • #2
    Hi Russ, glad to hear your are recovering from your surgeries. Nothing worse than joint replacements. You can't live with them and can't live without them.
    Just my opinion here. But I built my HO layout so many years ago, I'm not with all the modern items on the market. I know the Central Valley track to be a fine way to go for looks. Once painted and ballasted, it doesn't really matter. I stand by the old tried and true Atlas flex track, and Peco's very reliable turnouts. All mine have been operating flawless.
    At this stage in life, you are right about not wanting to hand lay the track and turnouts. Well, that is my 2 cents worth. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

    Louis L&R Western Railroad
    Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


    • #3

      While Louis makes some good points, I have found hand-laying track and turnouts to be a pleasant exercise in saving money. Sent you a PM....

      in Michigan


      • #4
        I did some careful evaluation of track about 5 years ago. I finally chose ME Code 70 flex and a combination of ME and FastTracks turnouts. But Peco Code 70 was a -very close second-. The Peco turnouts, in particular, work extremely well. So my $.02 would be "ME for looks, Peco for reliability." The ME flextrack is harder to work with than Peco.

        And if I were starting over, I think I'd hire someone to do the trackwork for me. It's my least-favorite part of the hobby!


        p.s. I have found hand-laying track and turnouts to be a pleasant exercise Well, this makes me question Pete's sanity! :-)
        Last edited by deemery; 12-03-2021, 01:37 PM.
        Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)


        • #5
          Thanks for your input, Guys! The only physical limitation that I have now is severe spinal arthritis. This condition prevents me from leaning over for any extended and that's the reason why I want to look at an alternative to hand-laid track and the process involved. I was even thinking of a way to pre-fab sections. Making the turnouts using the Fast Tracks turnout jig to make the rails and slip the turnout and track rails into the CV tie strips is where I'm heading, but I still have to think out the details. This would allow me to simply put the track down in sections and have well-detailed ties at the same time. Stay tuned for more drama and hand-wringing indecision!