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I am finally buying my first bit of outside track, my question is which should I order and where from. The Stainless has the advantage of needing little to no maintenance from what I understand but the brass is less expensive and there is move available. I also have heard that the brass looks more realistic but this is not necessary, i am not a prototypical Railroader, I just love to watch them roll. I guess I should ask, living in North East Nebraska would it be better to use Brass, and how much cleaning would it really take? Any and all advice is welcome on this mater. Also I have been doing some look around at prices and have found ridgeroadstation.com has good prices, whom else should I be looking at?

Thanks
Bill
 

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Bill,
Each type pf material has it's merits, Brass conducts electricity better but Stainless does not need cleaning. Brass may be cheaper as well. I have a mixture of LGB and Aristo which is all Brass, and after being outside for close to 10 years, is holding up very well. Good Hunting!
 

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I have brass, it's been outside for 22 years and I have had no problems, except cleaning. After 18 years I got tired of cleaning it so I when to battery. You can get a good deal on track if you wait for Aristo's buy 4 get 1 free sale.
 
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Bill,
If you are looking for brass AML by accucraft has code 332 much cheaper than aristo and in my opion much better product, there are many other sources for track now, and because aristo priced them selfs out of the game and left a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouth last year, when convently LGB went out of busness aristo had a 100% price increase... so i would beware of there products just on moral grounds and what they did to us witch in my opion was price gouging.. but that has been hassed out here MANY TIMES BEFORE... also train li,has stainless and HR trains has track out at a good price also in brass and stainless..
Nick
 

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Guys, basic questions: track or battery power. If battery then aluminum or brass, don't need the cost of ss.

If track power, I recommend only stainless, yes it's more expensive than brass, but MOST people have to spend a lot of time cleaning brass. If the cost of SS really is not possible, then brass.

If you are going SS, then Aristo is pretty much your only option unless you are really not cost-sensitive at all, then go to H&R.

If you are going brass, I'd stay with 332, more options, and you stated appearance is not a big issue.

If track power and brass, solder jumpers or use rail clamps, most joiners will just be a nightmare.

Try this page too:
http://www.elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84&Itemid=94

You might also read the beginners FAQ section too.

Regards, Greg
 

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I have 300+ feet of AMS brass flex track with code 250 rail. AMS flex track bends easily and smoothly without a rail bender. It is easy to cut. Each section is 5' long. If you buy the track with the ties already on them, there are 12 pieces to a box, or 60 feet with either standard or narrow gauge ties. See this site for details:
http://www.accucraft.com/index.php?categoryID=53

AMS also offers individual rails in 8' lengths and you can separately purchase standard or NG ties. They've recently started to offer code 332 rail. The cost of brass keeps increasing, but you can find Accucraft dealers who will discount the advertised price.

So far, the track I've installed has stayed in place and the ties have not discolored or warped after four years outside in all types of weather. The only thing I've noticed is that the brass has become less weathered than the rails on my Sunset Valley turnouts. However, it is not unsightly. You can see my track clearly on this You tube video (watch the track and not the train).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihD_JTB6Jco
 

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Greg has summed it up very well.

I think what he did mean to say was that most people spend a lot less time cleaning SS rail and that is without a doubt correct. I absolutely swear by SS rail and SS clamps. My RR is maint fee except for some settling but that isn't a rail conductivity problem. One thing I did do was to add some little cleaner pads on one car of each train consist just to make sure dust/dirt is cleaned off and the rail tops are nicely polished. It's as a preventive maintence measure. I can understand why those who use brass track would go to battery, but with SS there's no reason to from a "having to constantly clean the track" perspective.

Actually, www.hrtrains.com has the code 332 SS rail at a cheaper per foot price than Aristocraft SS even when the Aristocraft is on sale with the buy 4 boxes get one free. So times like now when it's not on sale, hrtrains track is a good deal. I placed an order for some 12 inch sections of the HRTrains SS to evaluate it to see how it fits in the Aristo plastic ties. If it fits right, this will be the way to go for SS users. I plan to report back my findings when it comes in.

Overall the SS rail isn't that much more expensive than the brass, in my opinion.

For the prices that Nick was talking about on the AML Brass track, I believe St. Aubins Station is who had it on sale for a good price. With St. A: Make sure you order via the internet only through them, SAVE a copy of the internet order in your email so if the invoice arrives and they've overcharged you, you can charge back the difference on your credit card.

In summary again, if you plan to go track power outside, I seriously suggest Stainless steel and SS clamps.


Raymond
 

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Thanks Raymond, case where brain was going faster than hands!!! I fixed the post to say what I wanted, as you correctly surmised.

By the way, since the cost of track has gone up so much, the shipping costs seem to be less of an issue. Just my opinion. There are also some places with free shipping.

I had not checked the H&R prices on their track, good news that it's now a competitive option. By the way, their ties last very well in the sun, about 9 years with no problems.

Regards, Greg
 

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Seems to me it comes down mainly to if you like your rails yellow or gray.
 

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SS track does require occasional cleaning but not nearly as often as brass. Though I have not seen any scientific studies, there is some consideration that one brand of wheels may cause a black residue to buildup even on SS track. Since I am running DCC it is a concern for me. I wipe my SS track off with mineral spirits on a rag or old washcloth. It greatly improves performance of my engines and does not damage the rails or crossties. I have a friend who has about 1,000’ of brass track and he runs a cleaning car constantly during sessions. At least on his GRR, a cleaning car is a must.
 

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For good conductivity and little maintenance you might also want to look into nickel silver (NS) rail. Not too many new to the hobby are ever told that NS is an option in G scale. But most seem to know it's the standard rail choice in the smaller scales.

NS is not as common or readily available as brass or stainless, but it sure is great for track power. One thing to remember though is that all outside rail tops will have to be cleaned occasionally. Brass a lot more then SS or NS.

A good place that offers NS rail in G scale is California & Oregon Coast Railway (as mentioned above by Chuck), and more specifically Llagas Creek Track

Another good aspect of the "silver" rail is the apperance. Brass is yellow /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif Eventually the sides tarnish to a realistic color, but the clean rail head still is yellow. SS and NS are typically shinny silver with SS being shinier. Although they shouldn't tarnish much, if you want a more weathered look you could paint the sides a realistic rust color and leave the railhead shinny. Looks fantastic, and most modelers in the smaller scales do this.

Since you're just starting out, I'd suggest SS. SS is more accessible and comes in preformed curves. NS curves typically have to be "bent" in a rail bender. So you're best bet is probably SS. I just wanted to let you know there's another rail option out there for G scale.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the help, I chose the Stainless, though I do have enough os the brass (from a starter kit and a gift) to make a small oval now. I Also ordered mostly 8' turns hopping to make the track seam larger then it is. As soon as I get things going I will upload some pics.

Thanks again.
 

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Can't wait for the photos
 

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Hey Mike. I followed your Tree Farm link to the site. Might want to check the store link on the left. The first part "Attention" works. The second part "Visit our online store" appears to be a bad link.

I've had pieces of various types and brands out for a couple years to test weathering here in Virginia. The LGB brass has gotten much darker than the Aristo, but both would need serious cleaning before actual use as powered track. I have been pleasantly surprised with a 100 foot layout done in the old Aristo aluminum track. After being up all winter it looks almost like when I put it out. The aluminum only gets a thin layer of oxidation. I did mount it all on treated lumber, and I plan to add power pickups every 10 to 15 feet to solve the conductivity problems. If you don't mind gray track it can save a few bucks.

A couple years ago I did a forty foot dog leg with Lionel track. It runs over a pond and was only intended for battery trains, since the track is hollow. It has held up suprisingly well and is now weathered very nicely. If you raked a certain section of the woods you would find a 70' plastic loop set up when my daughter was a year old. Some of the ballast gravel has washed away, and the old birdhouse buildings have rotted, but the track could be there long after I'm gone. I've really got to clean that up one of these days...

Paul
 
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