Like other elder hobbyists, I created a home layout with a retro look -- an affirmation of my boyhood involvement with toy trains in the 1950s. I used Lionel O gauge tubular track with O42 curves and K-Line O42 low-profile switches. Perfect, and affordable.
Although I was "overruled" by other members who opted for more realistic Atlas O track and switches for a large club-sponsored layout, during operations we had continual trouble with the switches; a small track piece in the ground rail at the "entry" of switches often came loose. We glued them back in place, but that "fix" didn't hold for long. Also, some overzealous track installers bore down too forcefully with a power screwdriver when placing track screws in the cross ties. They broke off some of the very small track spikes away from the rails at cross ties. Caution -- drive the track screws most of the way, then hand-torque the screws "home." Later, the club removed much of the Atlas O track and switches and replaced them with Lionel Fastrack. Some operators complain about the noise of Fastrack, but IMHO trains (like the prototypes) aren't supposed to be quiet.
Many hi-railers install Gargraves track - it looks and works great. Its performance can be improved by soldering short joiner wires to connect the outer (ground) rails to each other. Ross switches are "bulletproof."
You'll live with an initial decision about a track brand for the life of the layout, so get it right the first time.
Mike Mottler LCCA 12394