Trains.com

Mixing and Matching Track

1495 views
12 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: St. Paul
  • 767 posts
Mixing and Matching Track
Posted by garya on Friday, June 4, 2021 1:50 PM

Quick newbie question: (yes, I tried search)

 

Can one mix and match G-scale track, or should one stick with one brand?  I got an LGB starter set, but LGB track is quite pricey, but if I need to stick with it I will.

Gary

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: North Coastal San Diego
  • 940 posts
Posted by Greg Elmassian on Friday, June 4, 2021 10:51 PM

You can usually mix and match, joiners may need some messing with. Go with rail clamps to bypass that issue.

 

LGB, USAT, Aristo pretty interchangable.

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 800 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, June 5, 2021 1:28 AM

Gary,

I would avoid even bothering if you use track that is stamped (looks like a long, thin tunnel with a rail cross-section). The track in Bachmann starter packs comes to mind.

We made an abandoned siding with some of  it in September 2019:

This is a close-up of all that is left 11 months later:

To be fair, the stuff is not intended for outdoor use, and I live in the tropics about 2 miles from the ocean.

 

Eric

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 2,070 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, June 5, 2021 10:07 AM

Hi Gary!

 I started with G in the " primordial days"( 1995). My track was averaging about$2.00 a foot then .I've often thought how hard it would be to start out in the hobby today. The track is probably the largest expense.That being said,here's a few thoughts:

LGB is expensive, but everything they make is of the highest quality.In '95, I purchased some track from another manufacturer with"USA Style" ties. Here in  Southern California, everyone who purchased this track had the same problem: the ties disintegrated after a few years in the hot sun.Of course, the rails will last a lifetime, but all the ties needed to be replaced.All the LGB track I have from the same era is still good...

LGB track has " code 332" rail. This is the same as Aristo,USA, and Piko.

Paul

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: North Coastal San Diego
  • 940 posts
Posted by Greg Elmassian on Saturday, June 5, 2021 12:55 PM

Eric, he did indicate LGB starter set, not Bachmann... so he already has nice quality brass track..

To the OP: please do not buy any of the steel/tin Bachmann track and use it outdoors.

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 800 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, June 5, 2021 1:23 PM
Greg, yes, I should have been more clear in my response. Sorry for any confusion, Gary! Eric
  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: St. Paul
  • 767 posts
Posted by garya on Saturday, June 5, 2021 8:11 PM

Thanks for the replies, everyone.  I'll avoid Bachmann.  

I'll try to gather up some LGB track.

Gary

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • 2,070 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, June 5, 2021 11:20 PM

Sounds good. It will last, and even if you take it up and reuse it in a second layout. Rugged and durable. Mine is 26 years old, and going strong.

Paul

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 800 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, June 6, 2021 1:36 AM
Gary, I've been snooping around e-Bay. If you are not picky, it looks like there are deals to be had if you can buy in bulk and accept there may be stuff you don't need. If, like me, you are looking for a particular piece of track, with the possible exceptions of turnouts, you are probably better off buying new once you calculate shipping. -- eric
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: North Coastal San Diego
  • 940 posts
Posted by Greg Elmassian on Sunday, June 6, 2021 4:50 PM

To help with the confusion, Bachmann now makes solid brass track also, so you have to check carefully.

 

I believe all the Bachmann starter sets with the "Big Hauler" still come with the stamped / hollow plated steel track that will dissolve in the outdoors.

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

  • Member since
    November 2012
  • From: Kokomo, Indiana
  • 1,297 posts
Posted by emdmike on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 5:17 PM

The Bachmann brass track is the old Aristo Craft track from what I can tell.  I myself have found LGB and Piko to be the best for outdoor use.  I only used Piko as LGB did not offer the curve radius I needed for a prebuilt raised railway I bought.  Otherwise my track is 100% LGB.  nearly 20 years of use outdoors with no issues with plastic ties degrading or turnout motors failing.  I did move away from track power about 15 years ago, so I nolonger deal with rail joint corrosion or even the need to polish the top of the rail.  I do polish it sometimes as it just looks better with shiny rail running surfaces(and the metal wheels sound better on it). But as long as the rail matches in height, you can mix and match as you like.  Only ones to avoid is the metal/tin track from Bachmann and Lionel Large Scale track.  LGB, USA, Aristocraft/REA, Sunset Valley, Accucraft/AML, Kalamazoo and the brass Bachmann track will work together.    Mike

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: North Coastal San Diego
  • 940 posts
Posted by Greg Elmassian on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 10:49 AM

Looking at the pictures of the Bachmann Brass track it sure looks like the Aristo, i.e. the joiners look identical, I cannot see if the screws are hex head or philips, but the ties also look like Aristo, which makes sense since both Bachmann and Aristo had Kader as a manufacturer (although the rail itself was made in a different factory).

 

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,737 posts
Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 2:43 PM

LGB is the gold standard for brass track, Yes it is pricey but it can often be found second hand for alot less. Piko track is interchangable with same rail joiners. Aristo and USA brass track (same track basically) usually is best to use rail clamps to join to LGB so its best to use Aristo/USA together in a stretch and then only use clamps where it would join with LGB/Piko. I use LGB switches but I swap out the turnout mechanism with the new one offered by Bachmann as it works better than anything else out there. 

   Have fun with your trains

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy