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code 70/55 rail

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
code 70/55 rail
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 1:09 AM

I'm beginning a new HO layout. I imagine it to be a prototypical southern California branch line in the period 1900-1920. Code 70 rail seems appropriate to the main line and code 55 to the spurs and yards. I have several questions to ask. Does anyone have any experience in making code 55 switches from scratch or kits....there do not seem to be any 'pre-made' switches available? The October Model Railroader HO track buyers guide article doesnt list any. Anyone care to name brands or suppliers which have worked well? Second, anyone have any experience with sharp angle turnouts (#4) in code 55 service? Third, do RP25 profile wheel sets track acceptably in code 55 service? Last, I intend to use light and medium steam motive power...2-6-0, 4-4-2, 0-6-0 and the like, on 18-22 inch radius curves, from such makers as Bachman, MDC and IHC....will these locos track well on code 55 or will i have to remachine or replace the wheel sets with something closer to RP25 profile? Thanks in advance for the assistance.

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 8,198 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 5:20 AM
BK Enterprises at has turnouts that you spike to the ties in these sizes (the buyers guide only covered RTR track and turnouts). I have no experience in using them. Thin head spikes or glue instead of spikes may help with wheel problems.
If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Central Or
  • 318 posts
Posted by sparkingbolt on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 6:39 PM
I have Scratchbuilt my own switches, some #4s in both code 70 and 55. all the locomotives You mention should have no problem with flange depth, or negotiating the turns. Micro Engineering has flextrack with tiny molded in spikes that dont stick up far enough to interfere.
Scratch building switches is very cost effective, but you gotta have patience , some skill, and a few basic tools (solder iron, flat pliers, nmra guage, etc)
I build mine at the workbench and then install them. I can give you more info if you want it. You can even make curved switches. They end up costing under $2.00 ea!
  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: US
  • 2,455 posts
Posted by wp8thsub on Friday, November 14, 2003 12:20 AM
I've built several code 55 turnouts from scratch. They're no more difficult than handlaying with larger rail, but because the rail is narrower at the base it's easy to place guardrails and frog wing rails too closely; trust your NMRA gauge and leave the correct flangeways.

Any equipment with RP-25 flanges will operate OK on code 55. Newer Bachman/Spectrum and MDC stuff should already have the correct flanges. I don't have much recent experience with IHC but all their older equipment I had was equipped with oversized flanges. Check the wheels with the NMRA gauge to be sure.

As far as frog number goes, if the loco or car will negotiate a #4 in code 100 (or 83 or 70) it will work through the same number turnout in 55. If you have to handlay, make the turnout as broad as you can in the allotted space. Steam locos are especially sensitive to short lead distances between the points and the frog, which amount to sharper entrances to curves.

Rob Spangler

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