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Changing Track gauge

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  • Member since
    April, 2010
  • 225 posts
Changing Track gauge
Posted by fender777 on Monday, May 15, 2017 6:48 AM

My current shelf layout uses all Atlas 100 code track and turnouts. When I start my next extension can one change to code 83. And is code 83 reliable as code 100 for running operation' Is it harder to lay and operate. It does seem to look more realistic. I did not know if they make like transition pieces. Thanks

  • Member since
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  • From: Fruita, CO
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Posted by slammin on Monday, May 15, 2017 6:58 AM

Walthers offers a trasition track, part #948-897, code 100 to code 83. The website states it is out of stock. You can usually find them listed on eBay. You should edit your title on this thread. You are changing the code, not the gauge. The track gauge stays the same regardless of the code.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, May 15, 2017 8:13 AM

I was expecting that the NMRA track gauge was changing mysteriously overnight.

There are other ways to modify rail joiners so that the height matches between code 83 and code 100.  The width between the rails is the same and the wheels ride on the top of the track.

Other than that, it is track, just like any other track. You won't notice any difference in laying it or operation, assuming you can install track without kinks and problematic s-curves.  Different brands of flex track "flex" differently.  One rail of Atlas slides very easily, the other is fixed.  You must shape the curves of ME somewhat differently.

We might digress into a my brand is better than your brand discussion but I don't have an axe to grind there.  Because of sublte differences in manufacturing specs it is best to stick with one brand as much as possible.  Otherwise ties will be different in appearance and height.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, May 15, 2017 10:42 AM

The Walthers 100 to 83 transition track is often seen at hobby shops - you might even get it on sale!  Atlas, Peco and Micro Engineering also make "transition rail joiners" although you can also make your own.

Dave Nelson

 

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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, May 15, 2017 12:08 PM

I've used both transition tracks and thin shims to level the rail heads.  I built Phase 1 of my railroad with Code 100, but switched to Code 83 for the rest.  I don't even think about the transitions any more.  I've never had trouble with any of them.

I do find that ballasting is easier with Code 83, probably because the ties are thinner so the ballast has less volume to fill up.  I like the look of Code 83 better as well.

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

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Monday, May 15, 2017 3:55 PM

fender777

My current shelf layout uses all Atlas 100 code track and turnouts. When I start my next extension can one change to code 83. And is code 83 reliable as code 100 for running operation' Is it harder to lay and operate. It does seem to look more realistic. I did not know if they make like transition pieces. Thanks

Reference: Thread title.  Should read, "Changing rail height."

If the rails are 16.5mm apart (HO standard gauge, HOj pretending to be 3.5 foot gauge) anything with appropriate wheel/axle geometry will run on them, regardless of their height.  Problems start when wheel flanges hit the spikes (or whatever holds the rail in place or fills the bottom of flangeways.)

The only item I own which had problems with Code 83 Atlas flex is an ancient 0-4-0T manufactured with extra-deep pizza cutter flanges.  I turned them down to approximately RP25 dimensions, and now they don't hit the Pandrol clips (concrete tie flex.)  They also stay off the spikeheads of a couple of tracks hand-laid with Code 70 rail.

Atlas Code 83 flex is the same height, tie-bottom to railhead, as Atlas Code 100 flex.  The lower rail sits on thicker ties.  I find both easy to lay to precise curves and perfect tangent track, and both will form good spiral transitions with very little persuasion.  To connect the two end-to-end, just dig a deep space in the plastic under the Code 83 rail ends, put Atlas 'Universal' joiners on the code 100 rails, slide the code 83 into them and anchor both sides of the joint to the roadbed.  I use caulk to secure flex track, so I put a leveler (short piece of 2x4) across the ends of both lengths of flex and add weight - anything from 2 liters of diet soda to a length of 65 #/yard rail.

In addition to thicker ties, the Code 83 flex has 'hidden' track nail holes.  The tie tops don't show them, but they are open from the bottom.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - with Atlas Code 83 and Code 100 flextrack)

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  • From: Culpeper, Va
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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, May 15, 2017 4:27 PM

Transition rail joiners are made by Atlas and MicroEngineering for code 83 - 100.  The Atlas ones are metal and ME are plastic insulated.

An old trick was to flatten half of a code 100 joiner and solder it to the bottom of the code 83 rail.  Disclaimer - I never tried this.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by fender777 on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 7:30 AM
Thanks all for your replies' And sorry about the mix up on the thread title, Still getting back in the flow. Code is what I meant. Again thanks for your wisdom.
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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 7:58 AM

If you have a bit of patience you can make your own transition track.  After making one it works so good I’ll never go back.  Check out my blog post.
 
 
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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