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Code 83 rail joiners

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Code 83 rail joiners
Posted by donfromnh on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 5:28 PM

What rail joiners do you use for code 83 HO track? I have some Atlas code 83/100 that are too big and some micro engineering that are too small from some of my Walters/Shinohara switches. I also have some Peco switches and trying to decide between Peco and Micro Engineering for flex track.

 

 

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Posted by peahrens on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:21 PM

Given the option that I read somewhere, I used Atlas N scale joiners for my HO code 83 as the joiners do not look so huge.  Granted, with painted track, you probably would not notice unless in a photo or taking a special look.

My code 83 track is Atlas flextrack with Walthers-Shinohara turnouts.  The N joiners are very tight and tough to get on, so it is best to take a piece of rail, file the ends to a slight angle and put the joiner partially on and wiggle it a bit to prep it so it goes on nicely by hand. 

IIRC I ran out of the Atlas N joiners and bought some N Walthers joiners and they were tighter and tougher to work with the code 83 as described above.

Give it a try and see if you like it enough to take the extra trouble.

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:36 PM

I also went with Walthers joiners.  They have been in use for close to 25 years with out a single problem.  I originally soldered the Atlas joiners and that was a problem.  I didn’t have to solder the Walthers because they fit super tight.  They’re much smaller than Atlas as well as a tighter fit.  If you paint your rails it’s hard to see them even if you’re looking for them.
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:01 PM

 I had no problem with the Atlas ones - for Atlas track.

Next layout I am going to use Peco turnouts, and figured I'd just use Peco flex as well. Their joiners work fine on their track. I tried ME flex - it's bendable, not flexible. I know a million people will respond and say it's easy to get smooth curves - it's a MILLION times easier to get smooth curves with Atlas flex. The Peco is in-between. It flexes easily and smoothly, allowing a nice smooth curve to develop, but it does not immediately spring back to straight like Atlas.

 Buy a stick or two of each and try them. A single piece is not too expensive.

                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:21 PM

The Atlas code 100 rail joiners will work on either code 100 or 83.  But I agree, they are kind of big and ugly.

Back when Atlas's code 83 rail joiners were still available but they were officially discontinued, I'd made it a point to buy as many packs as I could find before they disappeared because they look much better.  I used them on my last layout and saved them all for the next.  If I happen to stumble on any more at a train show, I'll grab them.

That said, I think some say they use N scale rail joiners made for N scale code 80 track and they supposedly work on HO code 83 as well, even if a tight fit.  Makes sense.  I may try those when I get desperate and my supply of Atlas code 83 joiners is exhausted.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:08 PM

I also used the Atlas code 80 N joiners.  I took a piece of code 83 rail and sharpened one end and bent the other into a loop.  When I sat at my desk listening to conference calls I used the sharp end to open up the joiners up so they would slide on more easily.  A one hour conference call yeilded enough ready to use joiners for several hours of track laying.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by Andy110675 on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 9:01 AM

I am curentlly using peco on my code 83 track.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 9:32 AM

I keep a small supply of Atlas, MicroEngineering, Walthers, and Peco rail joiners on hand. Then use what fits best.

What I find irritating is why code 83 ( or any other code ) is all different sizes from different manufacturers. Shouldn't they be all the same size if they were actually scale? 

South Penn
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 10:13 AM

SouthPenn

What I find irritating is why code 83 ( or any other code ) is all different sizes from different manufacturers. Shouldn't they be all the same size if they were actually scale? 

It is annoying, and I wish the same, but I don't expect that is ever going to change so like many aspects of the hobby, we have to adapt and deal with it.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 10:49 AM

 The differences are mainly in profile, they are all pretty much the same height. Some of it is manufacturing limitations, if the rail web and bottom flange were all to scale thickness the rail wouldn;t be very durable, and just liek many other thigns in any scale model hobby, some manufacturers work closer to scale than others.

 The height is generally the same - .083". 

 Look at Peco's N scale code 55 - the actual metal of the rail is MUCH taller than .055" - but it's embedded in the ties. It's more the size of the 'standard' N scale code 80 (which is even MORE out of scale than HO code 100), but the visible portion above the ties is .055.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 11:00 AM

I must admit that I have seen some nice layouts where the joiners jump out at you as an eyesore, especially in photo's.  Would not using the joiner made by the same manufacturer as the track alleviate this problem somewhat?

How the joiners look as well as the appearance of the track should be a determining factor in what brand to buy, at least it was when I made my decision. When I got back into the hobby, I went to a MRR shop and they had a piece of every manufacturers track all side by side on a piece of plywood, including the joiners attached. They had another sheet of plywood with turnouts all over it. Seen on their own the differences may not be evident, however, side by side viewing can make one go HMMMMMM!

Engines and rolling stock get the once over with a critical ( rivet counter ) eye when we are looking for something, even to the point where railings, ladder rungs and a whole host of other things get changed out. Track seems to get a pass as far as appearance goes.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:10 PM

BATMAN
I must admit that I have seen some nice layouts where the joiners jump out at yoho joiners recently u as an eyesore, especially in photo's.  Would not using the joiner made by the same manufacturer as the track alleviate this problem shile i have not looked at omewhat?

Not necessairly.  I have not looked at HO joiners recently, but in past Atlas were lareger and more visible than most other brands.

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:15 PM

rrinker
Look at Peco's N scale code 55 - the actual metal of the rail is MUCH taller than .055" - but it's embedded in the ties. It's more the size of the 'standard' N scale code 80 (which is even MORE out of scale than HO code 100), but the visible portion above thatlas e ties is .055.

I have mixed Peco55, Peco80, Atlas80 and Kato with no problem.  Usually used Peco joiners.

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 1:21 PM

I used Atlas joiners until the Great Atlas Track Shortage a few years ago.  I tried a few others.  The Peco ones were much too tight for my Atlas Code 83 flex.  I finally found some Walthers ones that worked fine.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:15 PM

I generally used whatever joiners were available at the time when I needed them, and since I solder all rail joints, never worried too much about a sloppy fit or having to enlarge ones which were too tight.  A coat of paint hides most of the objectionable features except, as noted, in some photos.

On the recently added second level of my layout, I used some Central Vally tie strips, with unpainted code 83 rail from MicroScale.  I really like the CV tie strips but was having trouble finding code 83 rail joiners other than Atlas' code 83/100 versions.  I used some code 70 ME jointers, but when they ran out, got a deal on some ME code 55 joiners. 

These are too small to enlarge by force, so instead, I simply used a cut-off disc in my motor tool to make the rail ends smaller.  At first glance, it would seem necessary to narrow only the foot of the rail, but because the joiners are also too small in their open vertical dimensions, I had to also remove material from the bottom of the rail's foot.  This extra operation turned out to be a bonus, as the soldered-on joiners are flush with the bottom of the rail's foot, requiring no modifications to the ties to accommodate the extra thickness.

Here's one on track not yet ballasted...

...and one on ballasted track...

This method should work equally well for flextrack, too, if all you have on-hand are joiners which are too small for the rail.

I generally solder three or four 3' lengths of rail together before adding it to the already in-place tie strips.

Wayne

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Posted by Medina1128 on Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:05 AM

I use Micro Engineering code 83 rail joiners on Atlas code 83. Out of the package, they are extremely tight. 

I file a point on one end of a short, about 2" of code 83 rail.

Once part of the rail joiner is on the rail.

Using a section of 1x2 with slots cut across, I press the pointed end of the rail with the joiner attached into the slot. The joiners slides onto the rail.

I slide the joiner off the tool, and they slip snugly onto the rail.

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, January 11, 2018 5:14 AM

Wow, great responses to his thread.

.

I never thought I had this much to learn about rail joiners.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, January 11, 2018 8:39 AM

As long as we’re on the topic of rail joiners I thought I would put my 2¢ in about code 83 to 100 joiners.  I’ve never liked the normally available transition joiners so I made my own.
 
 
This is the code 100 rail filed down to mate with a code 83 rail.
 
 
This is a code 83 rail sitting on the modified code 100 rail.
 
 
A standard Atlas code 100 joiner couples the two rails together very strongly.  All of my rail transitions are used in hidden areas so the larger joiner isn’t viewable.  I use the tiny Walthers joiners on my code 83 rails where they can be seen.
 
 
I’ll never go with a store bought transition joiner again.  
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by carl425 on Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:25 PM

RR_Mel
  This is a code 83 rail sitting on the modified code 100 rail.

I've used this same technique except I just soldered the rails together rather than using a rail joiner.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:48 PM

carl425

 

 
RR_Mel
  This is a code 83 rail sitting on the modified code 100 rail.

 

I've used this same technique except I just soldered the rails together rather than using a rail joiner.

 

I need the slip and slide because of the Bakersfield heat, I learned the hard way about expansion and contraction.
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 10:04 AM

My "transition joints" go from Micro Engineering code 70 to either Atlas or Shinohara code 83. 

My "dirty easy" transition joints are made this way:

I slip a ME C70 joiner all the way onto the ME C70 rail, then use the C83 joiner on the C83, while slipping the C70 rail and joiner into the other half of C83 joiner.

Makes a nice smooth joint, no cutting, no filing, no muss and fuss. 

All of these joints are in the yard, as I did the yard ladder in pre-made (read factory) Shinohara (and one Atlas) C83, but the actual yard tracks are handlaid ME C70 rails. 

That part of the layout is still up.... Most of it was removed however to get ready for a move that fell through, but another option is in the works, so I have yet to re-assemble the remaining areas of the layout.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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