Well, a relative noob to narrow gauge anyhow. Purchased a couple of On30 locos and cars a few years ago, along with some Bachmann EZ Track. Only ran them a few times before getting back into O gauge (had a small layout many years before when my son was small). 

I am now building another level and thought, why not throw the narrow gauge up there? I have read in several places that the Kato Unitrack is more reliable and a better choice, so I purchased the "World's Greatest Hobby" Kato config. I'm underwhelmed, to say the least.

The rails are thinner than the Bachmann, and I can easily flex them side-to-side with my finger. There appears to be slop where the rails are "spiked" down. The joiners are thinner and not as long as Bachmann's, and I already have several areas of power loss after only having the track apart a few times. Never had this problem with the EZ Track. 

So...

Am I missing something? Did I hit all the wrong reviews? I'd like to hear opinions/ advice on what track you use/prefer and why.

Thanks

Steve B

Original Post

Remember that both types of track you're using were designed for HO standard gauge trains, not specifically for On30 narrow gauge. Bachmann uses code 100 track, Kato Unitrack is code 83. Code 83 is closer to the correct 1:87 scale size for most mainline trackage than code 100. Kato Unitrack is also narrower than most other brands of code 83 HO track, so is closer to scale size than most others.

Unless you've accidently damaged the joiners when pulling them apart or putting them together, there should be no problem with electrical connections for Kato track. As with any track, you do need to clean the railheads from time to time, and need several feeders (either the straight track with power connections or the wired track connectors.)

- Stix

Allen. shouldn't ON30 rail be code 100? since it is O gauge. I used M.E. code 83. Just like every thing ...now I wished I used code 100. Most replies i have received on this topic every one though that the On30 would be more correct with code 83. I cant even imagine how some guys will use code 70! 

JIM S.

jim schleutker posted:

Allen. shouldn't ON30 rail be code 100? since it is O gauge. I used M.E. code 83. Just like every thing ...now I wished I used code 100. Most replies i have received on this topic every one though that the On30 would be more correct with code 83. I cant even imagine how some guys will use code 70! 

JIM S.

On30 isn't O gauge , it is HO gauge track, its gauge is thus based on a 1/87 scaling of prototype 4' 8.5" gauge. In O scale 1/48 scale, HO gauge track is roughly 30" prototype. 

The code of the rail has nothing to do with the gauge, code 100 rail is thicker and taller than code 83, the real problem with using code 83 would be if the wheels on the On30 equipment had deep flanges that would hit the ties from what I recall. Code 100 is roughly analogous to Tinplate Lionel track, its higher rail height will allow deep flanged wheels to use it so almost any equipment can run on it. On30 equipment generally has wheelsets that are pretty much inline with HO scale equipment, so code 83 could work assuming the wheelsets meet NMRA standard flange depths. 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

The code of the rail is the actual size of the rail in height.  It has nothing to do with scale.  O scale is (1/48th) or 1/4 inch to the foot.  A doorway in ON30 is the same size as the doorway in O scale, it has nothing to do with code of the rail. BTW if your flanges are hitting the TIES at .070 inches you have some really bad equipment!   Russ

"proper code of rail for On30 "  The answer is YES 

If the narrow gauge line is a stand alone out in the woods line it could be very light rail.  If the NG line on the other hand has an interchange with a common carrier railroad then in that interchange area the rails would necessarily have to match.  Depending on the railroad things like bridge rails or dock rails may be different than the regular NG main.  So the correct answer is really - IT DEPENDS 

We are modeling Chama to Antonito summer of 1940, all of the rail is code 83 EXCEPT in Antonito which is code 100 and the hidden staging which is also code 100 (cheaper).  Russ

ChiloquinRuss posted:

"proper code of rail for On30 "  The answer is YES 

If the narrow gauge line is a stand alone out in the woods line it could be very light rail.  If the NG line on the other hand has an interchange with a common carrier railroad then in that interchange area the rails would necessarily have to match.  Depending on the railroad things like bridge rails or dock rails may be different than the regular NG main.  So the correct answer is really - IT DEPENDS 

We are modeling Chama to Antonito summer of 1940, all of the rail is code 83 EXCEPT in Antonito which is code 100 and the hidden staging which is also code 100 (cheaper).  Russ

Russ, I understand code, gauge and scale.  I recently visited the Roanoke transportation museum and they had a huge display of all the rails in poundage.  Someone said code 83 was about 50 lb. rail and 100 was about 70 lb rail. At the museum what was i guess code 83 looked scary small. So I freaked out. Now.. at my local hobby shop they have a piece of the white pass rail. It,s supposed to be somewhat close to code 83. Which made me feel better. If code 83 is supposed to be actual scale for Standard HO then I think that 100 would be better for O scale. I mean what would be more correct to the eye... of the be holder scale wise...... To much anxiety! my trains look great and run smooth. with code 83.  I'm modeling say 1910 in the hollers of West Virginia.. with old coal hoppers and lumber from Bachmann, and others. with Hieslers and Shays. Thanks for getting back. I love the Spruce Coal co. on youtube.

JIM.

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