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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to be starting my first G-scale layout in the Spring of 2009. I am doing extensive searches to find information on track but noone has broken everything down exactly. So I will ask a few humble questions and hopefully you guys can help.

First of all, please explain code to me. From what I gather, it is the distance from the bottom of the ties to the top of the rail head? If that is the case, why is it important? Is it just a question of the "correct scale" or is it the durability of the track? Does it have anything to do with the conductivity of the electrical current? Is it the density of the rails?


Second of all, I am having a big problem with curves. I realize that alot of people recommend using flex track to complete curves for many reasons, but if I were to just use curved track, USA Trains seems to be the only company that gives radiuses in feet. Now I realize that LGB was European and , ergo, used a different system of measurement, but how can I equate different systems to what I am running? For example, I am planning to get a USA Trains BigBoy eventually. After talking to USA Trains about it's running requirements they recomended I use 16'+ radius curves. If I were to use USA Trains track, that would be easy because they manufacture from 4' radius to 20' radius. But what if I decided to use a different brand of track? I am not making much sense of R1-R5 curves and I cannot find information on what the radius of those would be in feet. I assume R1 is 4' diameter but I would hate to spend alot of money buying R5 curved track to find that it is only 14' radius and would not accomodate my BigBoy.


Third problem is turnouts. Turnouts are a problem for the same reason curves are. I need to use turnouts that can accomodate my BigBoy and many manufacturers do not give their measurements. They seem to describe them as #1-#5 generally but leave no indication of what the actual radius is. Does anyone know the standard radiuses in feet for Turnouts #1-#8? I realize that before BigBoy track radius was not so much of an issue but since BigBoy will be the largest locomotive built in G-scale I'd like to build my layout to support it and therefore, everything else.


Fourth question is track options. I can alleviate many options right up front by stating that I will be using electrical current, not battery operation. That leaves out aluminum and plastic. Brass and Stainless Steel seem to be the best 2 options for what I am running and there lies the problem. Having read many threads on Brass versus Stainless Steel, it seems that Stainless Steel would be the best option for me due to the apparent lack of a need for maintenance and long-term durability. The problem is, I am having a difficult time finding it, and when I do, I am unsure of what their radiuses for curves and turnouts are in feet, which is a problem listed above.


Finally, can someone list me some track manufacturers as I am having a difficult time finding them (especially Stainless Steel), as well as your experiences with those listed brands if you have had any?

Thanks a bunch guys in advance, any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

-Will


p.s. - You guys have got some great layouts posted on MLS and you inspire me. Keep up the great work ^^
 

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I'll take a crack at it, but I'm much less experienced than many people here and I'm sure they will correct me if I'm wrong. I use track power and code 332 track.



Code refers to the height of the rail. Code 332 is what you find in starter sets and it's still the most common, I think. It's much too big to be prototypical. But it's very durable. There's no reason the other codes can't be durable as well if supported and anchored, although deer stepping around a layout could be a problem. Code 250 tends t be more exensive because there is a saller market, and it appeals to more serious modelers who want a greater degree of accuracy. I have mostly code 332 brass, from LGB, Aristocraft, AML and USA Trains. I have some stainless steel from Aristo. Cleaning the brass has not been a very big deal for me--I just run a track cleaning car around.


Aristocraft sells curves with the diameters given in feet. You can find it on most retailer's websites.. Speaking from my expereince, though, I would say it is abslutely worth it to get a track bender, especially if you are using code 332. You can bend any track--it does not have to be "flex" track specifically.


Aristo makes three turnouts--one that matches what LGB used to call R1, which forms a four foot crcle, and the "wide radius" switch which will lead nicely into a 10 foot circle, and the #6 switch which is wider yet. They make them in brass and stanless code 332. If I were you, running a Big Boy, I wouldot consider anything other than the Aristo #6


A simpe way to deal with this is to get a tracksoftware program. I use an inexpensive program called "rail modeler." It has library of the major manufacurer's standard curves, and you can just drop them in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks lownote, I do have a few track software demos, but most of them are for windows and I have a 2000 Mac at the moment lol. Until I get a new Mac that runs Windows and Mac OS I am stuck with what's out there I'm afraid. Unfortunately, most of the demos I have downloaded only have LGB listed as an option for the G-scale track manufacturer. Thanks for the rail bender info. It seems that would be my best bet needing such high radius curves.
 

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Will, Welcome to MLS!

First, "code" is the size of the rail. Most folks use 332, but plenty also use 250 and 215. The bigger the number the larger the rail size and thus stronger. For example, code 332 will be .332" from bottom to top of the rail. Code 250 or 215 can look more prototypical. I have mostly code 332 but some code 250 switches (yes you can get connectors so you can do this). I think I prefer the code 250. Conductivity seems to be the same for the various rail codes, as all are bigger than whatever wire you are going to use to power the track :)

Second, I think most manufacturers (USA Trains, AMS, and Aristo-Craft) all use Radius or Diameter. I believe LGB is the only one to use the R numbers. I don't use the R numbers as I can never remember what that translates too, so I don't buy LGB. Plenty of others and less expensive too.

Third, numbered turnouts are not a radius, although you can buy radius turnouts; i.e. a turnout on a curved radius. A turnout's number expresses how much it will cause a train to diverge when it is thrown. The number is calculated by taking the number of units of forward travel for one unit of divergence. For example, if after traveling six inches from the point of divergence the train has diverged one inch, then you have crossed a #6 turnout. A rule of thumb is, the smaller the number the tighter the radius of the turnout's curve.

Fourth, whose stainless steel track are you looking at that is confusing you?

Finally, I would check out Aristo-Craft (Brass and Stainless Steel), AMS (Brass), USA Trains (Brass), Sunset Valley (brass, stainless steel, nickle silver), Llagas Creek (brass)
 

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Do you have a link etc.......to this Rail Modeler??
Sounds like what I could use, to design my railroad!
Thanks.
 

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Big Boys are big and need a good solid base to run on. #6 switches and 16.5 or 20 foot diameter track is a must. Ridge Road seems to have all sizes in stock - http://www.ridgeroadstation.com/istar.asp?a=3&dept=TRAINS&class=G&subclass=TRK+SS&manufacturer=255&sortby=INSTOCK&numperpage=42&pos=0 and a special on long straights - http://www.ridgeroadstation.com/istar.asp?a=3&manufacturer=255&dept=trains&class=G&subclass=&icon1=13
I'm a happy user of Aristo stainless.

on track size LGB R1- 4' diameter, R2 - 5', R3 - 8', R5 - 13.5' or there abouts

on switches - numbered switches are not curved so they do not have a radius. The larger the number the more gradual the turnout.

-Brian
 

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One thing to remember is Aristo switches need adjustments to make them work correctly. The guard rail and frog areas are incorrect and can cause problems. Turnouts do have a radius on the turnout side. For detailed info on Aristo turnouts and fixes visit Greg's web site at www.Elmassian.com Also his site can give you a ton of info. Later RJD
 

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I have chosen to use Llagas Creek code 250 track, with narrow gauge ties. Mostly because I want a bit more of a scale look. I plan on using all Llagas components.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the info guys, it has been a big help ^^
-Will
 

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For track power, also consider Micro Engineering G-Track in nickel silver (code 250). Between brass and SS in cost, with very good conductivity outside so far (just passed one year of use). They have a variety of sectional pieces, I used 4' radius sections and 3 foot straights, and they sell and ship direct. Good luck on your planning, that's half the fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Railmodeller isn't bad but is missing some key track manufacturers. USA Trains, Llagas Creek, Sunset Valley weren't on the list unfortunately.
 

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Will, your post had these 3 key phrases:

"track power"
"big boy"
"first layout"

Right now, I would recommend nothing but Aristo 332 stainless with split jaw stainless clamps.

1. forget anything under code 332 for your first layout, not tough enough.
2. no one should start a new layout with track power and brass IF you can afford a big boy...
3. First layout... smaller code sizes or brass will just frustrate a newcomer to track power...

Also, if you will build something large (broad) enough for a big boy, you will have 20' diameter curves (at least!)... in that gradual of a curve, go flex track.

Regards, Greg
 
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i agree partly with Greg.
don't beginn with one of the smaller codes. what nobody mentioned, there are a lot of locos and rolling stock, that have large flanges on the weels. on smaller codes they sound like mashine-guns, because they hit the sleepers.
but i disagree about trackpower and brass. i have LGB-brassrails, am using trackpower and am still content after nearly fourty years.

korm
 

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Korm, did you solder jumpers, or what did you do to connect rail segments.

One of the reasons I do not recommend brass to newcomers is that the "cleaning experience" seems to vary wildly. There are many "brass" guys that have very little maintenance, and then there are some who have huge issues. Since the difference in price is not that great now (because of the copper price), I recommend SS.

So, brass can do the job very well, I will agree, and if I went brass I would be able to save money if I soldered jumpers, as opposed to the (in my mind) mandatory rail clamps on SS.

Regards, Greg
 

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If you want an idea of the track types available Aristo-Craft has a nice template you can download and print off that gives their track sizes; diameters and switches etc. This may be helpful.

http://www.aristocraft.com/catalog/track/track_templete.pdf

USA Trains used to have a template on their website for all their track types as well but it's disappeared. However if you give them a call they should be able to fax you a copy.

Good luck and welcome to the hobby. it's great fun!

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #17
How does Aristocraft Stainless Steel hold up versus Llagas Creek?
 

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Posted By Engineercub on 10/24/2008 12:36 AM
How does Aristocraft Stainless Steel hold up versus Llagas Creek?


Nobody has been alive long enought to figure out the difference.....

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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To help on track length, 300mm is just under 12 inches.
1200,, is 47 and 1/4 inches.

Therefore you can allow 3/4 of an inch for every 1200mm being just under 4 feet.

Code numbers for track type is the height. Why metric lengths are .332 or .250, etc. inches is beyond my thinking.

I am 100 percent code 332 brass and have to do some cleaning.

I find bugs running on top of my rails in the hot weather, and engines squish these critters making an insulator when the bug juice drys, thus cleaning is needed.

I do not know if these bugs ignore stainless and just like brass.

Aristocraft makes a lot of track and switches in both stainless and brass code 332. USA brass and Aristo brass rails are identical, ties are different. LGB is similair rail, but joiners are compatible but different as are PIKO track, a newcomer to large scale.

Lionel and Bachmann track is code 332, but hollow steel and rusts quickly, plus ties are not UV protected..
 

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So it depends....

Do you go out to your railroad with a caliper to see if everything is the proper size, or do you invite such people out ;)
 
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