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Model Railroading > Code 83 Flex Track


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Date: 12/11/11 14:32
Code 83 Flex Track
Author: mearsksealand

If you were starting a new layout today would you use Micro Engineering code 83 HO OR Atlas Code 83 rail?

Also what is your view on using concrete ties on the mainline of your new layout?

Thanks in advance for your opinion

Dale Smith



Date: 12/11/11 14:42
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: JLWII2000

I use concrete ties on my main line. I love the look especially since I'm all modern. I would still go with Atlas...



Date: 12/11/11 14:43
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: railroadjohn01

I like Atlas it seems easier to find and is more flexible. I like the brown ties because of the area around northeast Indiana.



Date: 12/11/11 14:44
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: Santafes95

When I built my layout 12 years ago the cost between the two was quite a bit different. Now that Atlas track seems almost as expensive as microengineering, I would go microengineering. I think too, that we spend so much money and attention on motive power and we forget that the track is a huge part of the model.Also, if this is a layout that is going to be permanent or even semi-permanent, what is the difference if you spend a copule of hundred extra dollars? That is the price of two locomotives. I think it is worth it.
John
Santafes 95



Date: 12/11/11 15:08
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: pmack

While both are Code 83 the rail is different widths. The Atlas rail is wider making connections a little finicky.



Date: 12/11/11 15:38
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: TaylorUPBNSF

I wont touch Atlas track anymore, don't get me wrong, it is VERY popular. But I like having realistic track that actally has spike and plate details rather than a bulky chunk to hold the rail down.

The whole, "Micro engineering is too hard to work with", is garbage I believe, it can bunch up ties when bending for a curve. But that takes seconds to correct.

I like the concept of having both concrete and wood ties, like on a double main, have one track wood, one concrete. But on modern layouts, the concrete ties is very realistic.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/11/11 16:05
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: wabash2800

The Micro Engineering is closer to scale. Once you get used to working with it, it's not hard to work with. You have to learn how to bend it and deal with the fragile connection btw the rail and the ties.



Date: 12/11/11 18:08
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: mully

What are the prices?

Gary


Santafes95 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I built my layout 12 years ago the cost
> between the two was quite a bit different. Now
> that Atlas track seems almost as expensive as
> microengineering, I would go microengineering. I
> think too, that we spend so much money and
> attention on motive power and we forget that the
> track is a huge part of the model.Also, if this is
> a layout that is going to be permanent or even
> semi-permanent, what is the difference if you
> spend a copule of hundred extra dollars? That is
> the price of two locomotives. I think it is worth
> it.
> John
> Santafes 95



Date: 12/11/11 18:30
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: sandmanre

mully Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What are the prices?
>
> Gary
>
>
> Santafes95 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > When I built my layout 12 years ago the cost
> > between the two was quite a bit different. Now
> > that Atlas track seems almost as expensive as
> > microengineering, I would go microengineering.
> I
> > think too, that we spend so much money and
> > attention on motive power and we forget that
> the
> > track is a huge part of the model.Also, if this
> is
> > a layout that is going to be permanent or even
> > semi-permanent, what is the difference if you
> > spend a copule of hundred extra dollars? That
> is
> > the price of two locomotives. I think it is
> worth
> > it.
> > John
> > Santafes 95


At MB Kleins, for 100 pieces (300 feet) of Atlas Concrete ties, $379, Micro Engineering, same track, $439. So basically, 60 cents per foot.

Ron Evans
Golden Valley, AZ



Date: 12/11/11 18:44
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: jsnoy

I prefer the better flexibility of Atlas code 83 especially in curves. Several years ago I built a layout using a mixture of ME and Atlas code 83 flextrack. I discovered that the ME flextrack rails "pinched-in" ever so slightly on 24" radius curves and caused binding on some long wheelbase steamers. When I replaced those curves with Atlas flextrack the binding became minimal. The binding was obvious when I checked the curves with a "sweep" tool. My new layout is composed of Atlas flextrack plus I increased the curves to a minimum of 30". I check my curves with a "sweep" tool to ensure there is no "pinching". In my opinion, reliable train operation is more important to me that "good looking" rails. In the Denver area bulk orders of Atlas flextrack is cheaper than MicroEngineering flextrack.
Just my 2 cents
Joe



Date: 12/11/11 18:50
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: ChrisCampi

Be my hero, tell me your secrets to smooth track work with ME. I love Micro Engineering's scale look but have trouble working with it. I use Atlas for my main and ME for everything else. All my number six turnouts are ME. The scale profile of The Micro Engineering rail is a very nice contrast to Atlas rail in this arrangement. No concrete ties in my little world.

Any advice working with ME flex track would be most welcome.

Thanks,
Chris



Date: 12/11/11 20:05
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: TaylorUPBNSF

ChrisCampi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Be my hero, tell me your secrets to smooth track
> work with ME. I love Micro Engineering's scale
> look but have trouble working with it. I use Atlas
> for my main and ME for everything else. All my
> number six turnouts are ME. The scale profile of
> The Micro Engineering rail is a very nice contrast
> to Atlas rail in this arrangement. No concrete
> ties in my little world.
>
> Any advice working with ME flex track would be
> most welcome.
>
> Thanks,

What problems are you having exactely?
> Chris



Date: 12/11/11 21:09
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: ChrisCampi

TaylorUPBNSF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ChrisCampi Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Be my hero, tell me your secrets to smooth
> track
> > work with ME. I love Micro Engineering's scale
> > look but have trouble working with it. I use
> Atlas
> > for my main and ME for everything else. All my
> > number six turnouts are ME. The scale profile
> of
> > The Micro Engineering rail is a very nice
> contrast
> > to Atlas rail in this arrangement. No concrete
> > ties in my little world.
> >
> > Any advice working with ME flex track would be
> > most welcome.
> >
> > Thanks,
>
> What problems are you having exactely?
>

I can't seem to avoid kinks in curves or tangents.



Date: 12/12/11 00:09
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: rschonfelder

ChrisCampi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TaylorUPBNSF Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > ChrisCampi Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Be my hero, tell me your secrets to smooth
> > track
> > > work with ME. I love Micro Engineering's
> scale
> > > look but have trouble working with it. I use
> > Atlas
> > > for my main and ME for everything else. All
> my
> > > number six turnouts are ME. The scale profile
> > of
> > > The Micro Engineering rail is a very nice
> > contrast
> > > to Atlas rail in this arrangement. No
> concrete
> > > ties in my little world.
> > >
> > > Any advice working with ME flex track would
> be
> > > most welcome.
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> >
> > What problems are you having exactely?
> >
>
> I can't seem to avoid kinks in curves or tangents.


I couldn't agree more. I like the ME stuff for all of the reasons mentioned in terms of looks. However, I am guarded by the people who say that ME is easy to work with when I haven't seen their track. It may be a case of those who tout the benefits of ME track are perfectly immune to understanding that kinks are unacceptable. I have seen some guys get smooth curves from ME track but I don't know how. I used to have the same problem with Shinohara flex track as well.

For my hidden return track, I'll be using Atlas code 100 and for my exposed stuff, I am going to go with Central Valley CVT strips. That will give me ME rail on ties that go through a curve nice and smooth.

If someone will come out and do a new thread on how to work ME or Shinohara track into smooth curves, they will be well received I am sure.

Rick

Rick



Date: 12/12/11 01:21
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: Focalplane

No mention of Peco Code 83 - is there a reason?



Date: 12/12/11 09:28
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: rdsexton

Haven't worked with MRE track (save for some code 70 parts) so can't speak to that issue. I will offer one observation. It is very evident that the width of the railhead has a definite impact on traction. On the San Joaquin Central, a friend's layout, there are segments of track that are code 83 but narrower tham Atlas track. On grades there is a big difference in the ability of a locomotive to realize full pulling power. If grades are a big part of your layout, use Atlas if you want to get your trains up the hill.



Date: 12/12/11 09:54
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: wabash2800

I use Ribbonrail curved track gauges in various radii to get the curves started on the ME flex. I then workout my easements or slight differences based on center lines on the roadbed. Ribbonrail also offers straight gauges 5", 10" and 24" to get the tangent sections straight. These simple metal gauges slide btw the rails. Lay the track on a flat surface when you do this.

Tony Koester and some others use a technique of rolling the flex on a flat jig along the edges of one side of the ties to get the curve, but I use the technique above. ME's rail joiners seem too small, but you have to open them up first before sliding them on and they fit well. (I use a small piece of rail beveled on the end slightly with a fabricated wood handle to open them up.)

When I started using ME flex I was frustrated with it but have now got it down pat and will not use any of that over scale stuff. I use code 83, 70 and 55 ME flex and do not spend the extra money on the weathered rail version as have to paint my track and ties anyway. I have found this product is more challenging to bend too, compared to the non weathered.

However, I lay code 100 Atlas flex in hidden track, staging and helices as the extra work and cost is not worth it there.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/11 10:02 by wabash2800.



Date: 12/12/11 10:21
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: mearsksealand

Thanks for all your comments

Dale Smith



Date: 12/12/11 12:20
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: rosenth

I can only second that: ribbonrail templates are great. I used them on ME code 70 and code 55 HO, HOn3 and dual gauge HO/HOn3 track.

Lukas (switzerland)

P.S. Yesterday A torn down the last track segment of my used to be layout. Will move next summer into a new house being built around a large railroad room [12.5m x 4.5m, that is approx. 37.5 x 13.5 feet] ;-)



Date: 12/12/11 12:56
Re: Code 83 Flex Track
Author: ChrisCampi

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use Ribbonrail curved track gauges in various
> radii to get the curves started on the ME flex. I
> then workout my easements or slight differences
> based on center lines on the roadbed. Ribbonrail
> also offers straight gauges 5", 10" and 24" to get
> the tangent sections straight. These simple metal
> gauges slide btw the rails. Lay the track on a
> flat surface when you do this.
>
> Tony Koester and some others use a technique of
> rolling the flex on a flat jig along the edges of
> one side of the ties to get the curve, but I use
> the technique above. ME's rail joiners seem too
> small, but you have to open them up first before
> sliding them on and they fit well. (I use a small
> piece of rail beveled on the end slightly with a
> fabricated wood handle to open them up.)
>
> When I started using ME flex I was frustrated with
> it but have now got it down pat and will not use
> any of that over scale stuff. I use code 83, 70
> and 55 ME flex and do not spend the extra money on
> the weathered rail version as have to paint my
> track and ties anyway. I have found this product
> is more challenging to bend too, compared to the
> non weathered.
>
> However, I lay code 100 Atlas flex in hidden
> track, staging and helices as the extra work and
> cost is not worth it there.


Good info. Thanks Wabash, i'll check into those gauges



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