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H O track

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H O track
Posted by Beamer on Sunday, December 02, 2018 12:24 AM

I am using Kato track. I'm having trouble finding all the pieces .Where can I find a good source for Kato. Is this the best track to use ? what does the majority of railroaders use?

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, December 03, 2018 12:28 PM

Welcome to the forum. New members’ first posts are moderated, so there can be a delay before they appear. Please stay with us, and that will pass shortly.

Beamer
I am using Kato track. I'm having trouble finding all the pieces .Where can I find a good source for Kato.

Modeltrainstuff.com has many of the components in stock and their prices are usually very competitive.

Beamer
Is this the best track to use ?

"Best" is subjective. It's very easy to build with and works reliably. But Unitrack can be tricky to design with if you are planning a more complex layout because of the fixed sections. HO Unitrack has a more limited selection of components than N scale.

Beamer
what does the majority of railroaders use?

Many experienced modelers use flextrack and pre-fab turnouts rather than click-track like Unitrack, but it is certainly an easy way to start. Atlas and PECO are popular brands, among many others.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

Tags: Kato , Unitrack
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, December 03, 2018 2:19 PM

Beamer

I am using Kato track. I'm having trouble finding all the pieces .Where can I find a good source for Kato. Is this the best track to use ? what does the majority of railroaders use?

Echoing Cayuma, modeltrainstuff is a good source for KATO Unitrack.  I bought some from them for a test track and their service and prices are among the best, and if you live on the east coast, shipping of modest.

Ebay is another place you can look for KATO track as well.

 

As for best, it is the best of the HO sectional track with a base on it.

Beginners tend to build layouts out of sectional track but if you can learn to use flex track, then you can expand you track design options a lot more by using flex track and turnouts from Atlas, Peco or MicroEngineering.

Here is an example of a 10x18' layout built on open grid benchwork using flex track and cork roadbed in open areas and part of it is on flat sheets with Homasote.  

Otherwise sectional track and following plans may be a good way to startout

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by hminky on Monday, December 03, 2018 2:49 PM

Got a good deal on the Black River Junction set, I like what can be done with the Unitrack for early rail.

Looks like old timey track in HO and various narrow gauges when painted.

If I were doing a contemporary layout probably paint the track gray and go from there. It is nice to be able to do the track weathering at the workbench.

The track can be blended with a berm of Sculptmold/Latex paint or fur grass as here in HOn30 with N-Scale track.

As far as geometry no problem in HO, Unitrack seems to work great in N-Scale with the geometry setup.

Harold

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, December 03, 2018 6:22 PM

Cuyama said about all that needs to be said. I would just echo his comments.

.

You did not say where you were at, or what scale Unitrack you are using. HO Unitrack can be hard to find, but most good hobby shops have a selection of N scale Unitrack.

.

I love my HO scale Unitrack pieces. They are reliable and easy to set up.

.

-Kevin

.

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

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, December 03, 2018 6:47 PM

SeeYou190
or what scale Unitrack you are using

The title of the thread is "H O Track"

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Posted by OldEngineman on Monday, December 03, 2018 11:17 PM

Having been out of modeling for 40+ years, I found the HO Kato Unitrack easy to use and get up-and-running quickly.

Lots of different radius curves available, from tight to wide.

Being sectional, it's very easy to make small changes and adjustments -- I've done this several times.

I suggest using the manual turnouts instead of the powered ones (add powered switch machines if you wish, very easy).

For a smaller layout (4x8, etc.), it's easy to use the wired unijoiners and "extensions" to get wired up quickly.

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Posted by Beamer on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 8:37 AM

SeeYou190

Cuyama said about all that needs to be said. I would just echo his comments.

.

You did not say where you were at, or what scale Unitrack you are using. HO Unitrack can be hard to find, but most good hobby shops have a selection of N scale Unitrack.

.

I love my HO scale Unitrack pieces. They are reliable and easy to set up.

.

-Kevin

.

I live inPhoenix and I am building a temporary layout. I am using HO scale. We are planning to sell the house in about 6 months hence the temporary lay out. My current bench is 8x 14.  Les

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 11:11 AM

The layout in my photo's earlier was "temporary".  Well, not 6 months temporary. 

My wife and I moved into a townhome in late 2013 and planned to be there for 4 years, 5 years max.  I built the bulk of the 10x18' layout during the following year.  The trick is I built it using open grid benchwork sections which were bolted together with 1/4-inch carriage bolts.  That way it could be dismantled at the end of the 4-5 year period.  As it turns out we sold the town house 4 years later - the layout was dismantled summer of 2017.

Anyway, for a 6 month period, it would make the most sense to use modular track such as KATO Unitrack (which is not hard to get contrary to what some say, as long as you don't mind buying online from modeltrainstuff or other vendors.).  The good thing about the KATO Unitrack is it has a base so you don't need to put cork down, assuming you want a base.  Bachmann makes similar modular track but the quality isn't as good, especially the turnouts.

Or you can use Atlas modular track which doesn't have a base.  Modular track would let you fairly quickly put together a temporary layout to use until you move.

So if you use a flat table top benchwork, you can simply tack the track down, say with track nails, and use it and take it up later for resuse or sell it.

After you move, you may want to build something more in an open design style like what I did, where you employ flex track so you are not limited to only the dimensions or radii of the sectional track.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 5:54 AM

So while we are on this topic and instead of starting a new one.   I am starting on my third HO Scale layout and I am using Atlas Flextrack again.    Though I must say the Bachman #6 crossovers with the DCC programmable switch machines were too much in a package to pass up so we'll see how those work (they sure take up a lot of space but look nice).   Anyways, back to my question.

Back in the early days of Atlas Code 100 Flex Track (my favorite, which I am using now), Walthers used to market railroad ties you could insert under the joints where you had to strip off the Atlas ties to make a good joint.    Basically they were half hieght ties and came in brown and black wood.   Where can I get these now?    I tried a bag of I think Campbell ties from my local hobby store and they are too thick to slip under the rail.    Anyone have any tips on where to get the half hieght pre-stained ties for the Flex Track ends?

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 6:22 AM

CMStPnP
Back in the early days of Atlas Code 100 Flex Track (my favorite, which I am using now), Walthers used to market railroad ties you could insert under the joints where you had to strip off the Atlas ties to make a good joint.    Basically they were half hieght ties and came in brown and black wood.   Where can I get these now?    I tried a bag of I think Campbell ties from my local hobby store and they are too thick to slip under the rail.    Anyone have any tips on where to get the half hieght pre-stained ties for the Flex Track ends? 

Atlas flex is my favorite too and I find it very easy to work with, both code 100 and code 83.  I do wish the code 83 had a finer profile because when viewed from above, the rail is almost as wide as the code 100 which sort of defeats to purpose of going with code 83.  I'm going to be looking at Peco code 83 to see if it looks significantly better and is still fairly easy to work with.

As for ties, I've never seen any half height Walthers ties.  I trim enough ties from my Atlas track and save them that it is pretty easy to just trim the spike detail and file the tops a bit and they will slide right under the gaps.  A little white glue will hold them in place and when painted and ballasted they should blend in well enough.

Above the middle of the orange gondola I have inserted some ties in a gap.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 7:24 AM

I use a dremel with a burr that looks like a cylinder.  Holding the dremel, parallel to where the track, I cut right over where the track be on the ties I have cut off. 

It leaves a curved depression that fits the rail joiner. There is a small learning curve to cut enough but not too much.

I can slide it underneath the rails.  I never glue it down, just use ballast as normal.

Henry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 8:50 AM

I find if I leave the ties loose, that were slid under, they bump loose often when I am working on the track.  It may be a days or even many weeks before I end up ballasting so a couple dabs of white glue will keep them in place while checking and testing the track in yards or elsewhere.

Seeing that the OP is doing a 6 month layout, it might be a moot point.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by Beamer on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 9:46 AM

Thank you to everybody for the pointers. I have my bench built and presently laying track. Hope to have some photos soon

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 10:19 AM

BigDaddy

I use a dremel with a burr that looks like a cylinder.  Holding the dremel, parallel to where the track, I cut right over where the track be on the ties I have cut off. 

It leaves a curved depression that fits the rail joiner. There is a small learning curve to cut enough but not too much.

I can slide it underneath the rails.  I never glue it down, just use ballast as normal.

Never thought of that.   I have a Dremel and lots of bits I don't use yet, I bascially use it for cutting the flex track and squaring the end of the rail again for a perfect fit.   I've seen that barrel shaped bit though so will try this....thanks.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 10:32 AM

riogrande5761
Atlas flex is my favorite too and I find it very easy to work with, both code 100 and code 83.  I do wish the code 83 had a finer profile because when viewed from above, the rail is almost as wide as the code 100 which sort of defeats to purpose of going with code 83.  I'm going to be looking at Peco code 83 to see if it looks significantly better and is still fairly easy to work with.

That is the look I am looking for.   I used to do what your doing above which is track right on the benchwork without the cork roadbed.    This time I am using the cork roadbed for the mainlines and secondary lines, the yards and sidings I am going to have the track slope down from the cork roadbed to the bench work table, as that looks kind of realistic to what the railroads do.   I have 2 feet of track left to cut in and the double track mainline for the first level is finally complete and I can start electrical testing everything.

So a lot of new stuff here.  I have two reverse loops side by side on the first level with the dual digitrax reverser unit circuitry........never wired that before but it looks easy from the instructions that came with it.    I had to make them reverse loops because further up the line I use Backman #6 cutovers paired (L-R and R-L) and that would have caused a short otherwise without isolating the dual half loops.   The cork roadbed helps with the bachman track in that it about lifts it to the same level as the bachman track which has the roadbed in plastic.

Should finish the PTB100 power booster to the NCE program track tonight.   Finally should be able to program my decoders on the PGM track now.    

Then I have to program the bachman DCC #6 crossovers, never done that before.   I powered their frogs as a precautionary measure because they are so long.

So this weekend should be busy with all that wiring and testing for shorts or dead spots.    I'll see if I can get some pics on here.

Speaking of PECO, just for the hell of it.   I did buy the PECO Y type switch with the third track comming out of the throat of the Y.....lol.    No clue how I am going to rig a tortoise to power that but I thought it would be a space saver in my freight yard..........might just leave it manual for now.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 10:59 AM

CMStPnP
I used to do what your doing above which is track right on the benchwork without the cork roadbed.

To be clear, my track in the yard is mounted on painted Homasote which is attached to half inch (nominal) OSB.  It's basically a sandwich; the Homasote will hold spikes or track nails nicely.  You can paint it first for a basic color and then draw centerlines where the track will go.

    This time I am using the cork roadbed for the mainlines and secondary lines, the yards and sidings I am going to have the track slope down from the cork roadbed to the bench work table, as that looks kind of realistic to what the railroads do.

You don't need to make a ramp it you simply mount the subroadbed with the cork so it matches the surface of the benchwork table.

See here the subroad bed runs up-grade to match the surface at the left-top of the photo:

or here:

In the photo below on the opposite side, there is no Homasote on the lefthand section where two table top secctions join (left and right); the right hand part is Homasote/OSB sandwich.  I mounted the left hand part such that the cork would be flush with the surface of the Homasote on the right.

No ramp required.

It's all in how you mount the sub-roadbed so that whatever the track is mounted on will be flush.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, December 06, 2018 6:00 PM

riogrande5761
No ramp required. It's all in how you mount the sub-roadbed so that whatever the track is mounted on will be flush.

Except that I outsourced my benchwork to a contractor.   Didn't want to get involved with it, my previous two layouts I either purchased someone elses modular benchwork and reassembled and another one my Father did the carpentry work.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Monday, December 10, 2018 10:16 AM

For ramps, I used cedar framing shims. You can get them at any big box store or lumber yard. Just cut them at the thickness that matches the roadbed and install.

Works great for sidings.

South Penn

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