My view is that if you have a lot of it from your starter sets (for example) or someone is gifting it to you, you should go right ahead and use it.  If you are buying to start with, most people, including myself would recommend Fastrack, Atlas or Ross/Gargraves over Realtrax for all of the qualities you mention, whether bought new or used.  

Sounds like you are looking for a quick, easy and cheap way to start a layout. When I started in O gauge about 6 or 7 years ago, I bought a bunch of Realtrax and about 12 switches months before I started my layout. I struggled working with it and from day one knew I made a mistake. 

I have since removed all of the Realtrax and replaced it with Gargraves track and Ross switches. Over the past years I have worked with Lionel Fastrack and found that to be a very reliable, an easy "ready made track" that looks very nice. It's more expensive than Realtrax, but you get what you pay for most times than not. They have lots of different options for their track as well.

RAY

 

Tried the Realtrax (it came with a starter set) and didn't like the way it assembled.  I sold the Realtrax and built my layout (approximately 10' X 20' with 3 loops) using Fastrack and I'm very satisfied with the results.

Chief Bob (Retired)

Realtrax is challenging to work with.  The copper tangs that make contact when snapping the pieces together are frail and get bent very easily.  Extreme caution is needed to assemble that stuff.  I have a bunch of it and the price is what makes it attractive but it sure can be frustrating at times.  I don't have any of the switches and am not familiar with how they behave.    Someone else will have to speak to that.

Lots of good opinions here I did use it for around the Christmas tree and agree the copper tabs suck but if it's not being taken apart all the time I thought it might be ok. I have used LIONEL TUBE, GARGRAVES, K-LINE SUPER SNAP ROSS, ATLAS O & FASTRACK on layouts over the years I had problems with rust on FASTRACK & detest ballesting that's why I was thinking about giving the MTH brand a try.

Dave Ripp

 

On some temporary layouts, I have used Realtrax from starter sets and have had very few problems with it. As you say, putting it together and taking it apart frequently could be problematic over time, I think, but could be done with a little experience, finesse and patience. 

Personally, I think all track systems are basically good, but they all have some quirks. Good news is the quirks can be worked around with a little patience and the good tips from others here that are using the same track type. I have always liked the looks of Realtrax and Fastrack because of the built in roadbed. As you say, no ballasting!

CHOO-CHOO MIKE posted:

Using Realtrax for around 20 years !  

Perhaps the original stuff?  With all solid rails?  Hopefully the quality was spot-on at that time.

The new stuff, while not bad, ain't always the greatest either, IMHO.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

Dave Ripp. posted:

Lots of good opinions here I did use it for around the Christmas tree and agree the copper tabs suck but if it's not being taken apart all the time I thought it might be ok. I have used LIONEL TUBE, GARGRAVES, K-LINE SUPER SNAP ROSS, ATLAS O & FASTRACK on layouts over the years I had problems with rust on FASTRACK & detest ballesting that's why I was thinking about giving the MTH brand a try.

In my neck of the woods, it's pretty easy to find used Real Trax at train shows for really good prices.  I put together a 6' x 16' layout using both used and new stuff.  It was somewhat of a pain in the posterior getting everything to run properly, but I finally got it figured out.  Basically, I like the looks of it and I like the price of it.  My next layout will most likely be GarGraves/Ross, but for right now my MTH track is serving me just fine.

If you want to go ahead and give it a try, by all means go for it.  Me and several others could give you some good pointers on what to look for and how to prepare the track and switches for painless track laying the first time around. 

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

Hey....pls listen to Ray of Sunshine...I've had far too many problems with Real Trax, and it with the new and old versions. I have about 90% of old 1st generation solid rail...but it is the tangs at the ends that are the problem....even after just a few assembly/disassemblies  Just use good old tubular...and Menards sells a good replica from what I hear.

 

 

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