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I went with the more recent Atlas  2 rail, year 2000+. John Sethian pretty much summed up the reasons. I think ME is a great product also which made it a difficult decision. Staggering rail joints would be a bit more challenging with ME, though, and staggering the joints won out for me. ME is a bit more stiff but really beautiful track, probably a bit nicer in appearance than Atlas.

27 Y6a 2156 IMG_7867 AA OK copy

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Last edited by christopher N&W
@AGHRMatt posted:

I've been dabbling with 2-rail track and between the Atlas and Micro-Engineering, the Atlas track is easier to work with. Further, it has UV-treated ties for outdoor use. It's pricey, though. I have most of a box of Atlas and a bunch of MTH ScaleTrax n my garage right now -- the jury is out as to what's going on my layout. Place your bets now.

Matt

Before I "place my bet", 😁 I looked up MTH Scaletrax; I don't see it in a 2 rail option...so I'm gonna go with Atlas, if we're indeed talking 2 rail. 🙂

Mark in Oregon

Overhead rails off course, didn't think of it that way before. Ive cut my own sleepers, using scrap wood. I scored some sugar pine that fell of someones trailer on the way to the tip, that made a  nice lot of sleepers, and another wood that a friend suggested was soft Meranti ( not the hard stuff ) this works as well as sugar pine, no splitting. Im guessing sugar pine is more common in the US. If you area a tight old Scotsman like me, you can use staples for spikes as well. I only know this because I thought , what would I do If I couldn't get Right of Way spikes, so I experamented. ( being all the way down under )   cTr....( Choose the Right )

Last edited by Stephen Bloy
@Strummer posted:

Matt

Before I "place my bet", 😁 I looked up MTH Scaletrax; I don't see it in a 2 rail option...so I'm gonna go with Atlas, if we're indeed talking 2 rail. 🙂

Mark in Oregon

MTH Did offer 2-rail ScaleTrax (actually Lenz) for a while. My interest in ScaleTrax is that the sections have insulated running rails even on the turnouts (for the hybrid wiring I've been working on). With the flex, you can yank the center rail if you want to, but if I'm in that situation it would probably be Atlas 2-rail track to start with.

I also looked at using Atlas 2-rail track and adding a Code 55 roller rail for my 3-rail equipment, but I'd have to perform major surgery on turnouts. With the loss of MicroEngineering, though, this pretty much moots the discussion about 2-rail track absent Lenz (if they're still producing it),

Christopher  I assure you I found It mangled on the side of the road, ( a fortuitous happen stance for me ) on the way to our tip, It seemed to have been used in some sort of construction, and was painted, not the usual construction pine. It took some work to slice it up in my small bench saw, but certainly worth the effort. Ive tried regular pine but its to hard, it gets really expensive to import sleepers rail etc, you can double the price by the time it gets to Aussi Land, same goes for Locos etc.          cTr....( Choose the Right )

I used ME uncoated Code 148.  Excellent product.  It flexed and bent without issues.  Mine is nickel silver for better electrical conductivity at the far end of the layout.  I used a Dremel to stagger the rail joints when I installed it.  The rail web required painting after installation but that was easy to accomplish.  The black tie Atlas seems to be modeled after European track.  Where the tie plates are, there are what appear to be Pandrol rail clips.  (My Atlas was older so I do not know what the present Atlas looks like.)   I also used Atlas turnouts as they were the only ones I found that did not have to be assembled, and that was a mistake.  I powered each frog with Atlas snap relays, and that was another mistake.  These relays simply do not have the horsepower to handle momentary currents in the range of 2-3 amps, such as would occur when an incandescent lighted passenger train passes over the frog.  They also are not good at handling 18VDC that is required to operate the MTH 2 rail locomotives in my collection using the DCS system, even though all of my MTH engines operate at less than one amp.  (I do not use smoke.)

SZ, Too bad you didn't stop by my table at the Parma two rail show last week. I had a  bunch of Atlas and Old Pullman flex track for sale at $10 a strip. I sold some black tie Atlas flex for $5 each. I also had some hand laid track on Homabed too. I was next to the guys with all the PRR diesels for sale.  Doug

Doug,

I didn't stop because I wasn't shopping for any track -- as a typical [ I think ! ] 0 scaler who's been in 2R for over forty years, I have a good supply of track and turnouts under a table, even though the layout has been essentially built for some time.  I was just regretting that I had not paid closer attention to the track prices to support my contention that buying track at 0 scale shows is as economical as hand laid, and your pricing you posted -- thank you -- does just that.

That fellow did have a nice looking selection of '628's, didn't he  -- almost enough to recreate the outside tracks of the PRR / PC era Conway turntable....

With best regards,

SZ

Sooo....you want to hand lay some track.

Well here is a challenge,  consider forming 7 tracks into 2 tracks using two 3 way switches, 1 not too obvious  double crossover, 1 single slip switch and 2 double slip switches all on a gentle curve.

This is a reposting of a OGR forum shot of Roo's from his friend's layout:

Roo England

The nicest example of 0 scale track work I have ever seen.

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Last edited by Tom Tee
@Tom Tee posted:

Sooo....you want to hand lay some track.

Well here is a challenge,  consider forming 7 tracks into 2 tracks using two 3 way switches, 1 not too obvious  double crossover, 1 single slip switch and 2 double slip switches all on a gentle curve.

This is a reposting of a OGR forum shot of Roo's from his friend's layout:

Roo England

The nicest example of 0 scale track work I have ever seen.

Or at the other end of the scale, you can hand lay some really rough track....20210508_222631

But contrary to how it looks, it does require as much - if not more - care in laying as smooth, level track, if it's going to be reliable & not derail stuff. And my rough track IS reliable, as this video shows.

Edit - the high speed run is a demonstration only. Normally trains crawl along at walking pace, swaying along as close to the prototype as I can get it.

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Last edited by SundayShunter
@Tom Tee posted:

Sooo....you want to hand lay some track.

Well here is a challenge,  consider forming 7 tracks into 2 tracks using two 3 way switches, 1 not too obvious  double crossover, 1 single slip switch and 2 double slip switches all on a gentle curve.

This is a reposting of a OGR forum shot of Roo's from his friend's layout:

The nicest example of 0 scale track work I have ever seen.

Lets come back and look at that scene after the catenary has been strung.

I used Atlas Flex track and Atlas Switches.   Both Code 148.   The first was an excellent idea, the second not so much.  I would now go with Signature Switch Company or O Scale Turnouts.   The latter has solid (not hinged points) which would look better.

I checked out the Signature Switch Company website. I like the looks of their switches. My question is, what switch machine goes with these? Also how are wires attached? Lastly where would I find the switch machines and wires?

Curtis1983,

A below-the-track switch machine would look best and operate well.  I use the Hankscraft display motors, 3v, 4 rpm.  The are DC so are reversible to throw the switch both ways.  I use common wire and dpdt switches so the electrical switch can activate the switch machine and change the polarity of the frog at the same time.  Brad will wire the switch for a small additional fee.  Pay it.  It is worth having them pre-wired.  Google will get you some info regarding switch machines and others here will chime in also.  I use a 14 gauge bus and 18 gauge feeder wires to the switch motors.

Good luck,

Ed

I'm in the throws of deciding if I should build a new layout in 2-rail. I like the realism of 2-rail vs. 3-rail. I just can't seem to get past that third rail for some reason. Anyway, which brand of 2-rail track do you recommend? Atlas? Other? I want to maximize a realistic look as much as possible. Not sure how many manufacturers out there on 2-rail.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Ralph

Micro Engineering O scale/Right 'O' Way Proto48 flex track and hand laid turnouts.

Last edited by jgtrh62
@Ed Kelly posted:

Curtis1983,

A below-the-track switch machine would look best and operate well.  I use the Hankscraft display motors, 3v, 4 rpm.  The are DC so are reversible to throw the switch both ways.  I use common wire and dpdt switches so the electrical switch can activate the switch machine and change the polarity of the frog at the same time.  Brad will wire the switch for a small additional fee.  Pay it.  It is worth having them pre-wired.  Google will get you some info regarding switch machines and others here will chime in also.  I use a 14 gauge bus and 18 gauge feeder wires to the switch motors.

Good luck,

Ed

Thank you for this information.

I'm in the throws of deciding if I should build a new layout in 2-rail. I like the realism of 2-rail vs. 3-rail. I just can't seem to get past that third rail for some reason. Anyway, which brand of 2-rail track do you recommend? Atlas? Other? I want to maximize a realistic look as much as possible. Not sure how many manufacturers out there on 2-rail.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Ralph

I started in O-Scale using ATLAS 2 rail track and switches for trackwork for my NY City based Trolley and "EL" Rapid Transit layout.

Of course, on the "EL" structure trackage, I have to add much more prototype required details to the track and decking "R-o-W" on the EL trestle.  The ATLAS (flex and some sectional curved and straight sections) does the best job for me.  Its quick, strong, and detailed nicely enough for my needs.  This layout was started back in 1985 and finished between 1986 & 1987.  Weathering makes the track look even better.

I also hand cut track ties and hand laid spiked rail, on many of my yard (all ballasted) tracks.  Saved using paid-for ATLAS TRACK but obviously took longer to install and finish to completion.  But it was worth it and saved the cost of using additional Atlas Track. The yard track looks great and is generally covered with laid up stored Subway and EL trains most times anyway.  Some yard sections I actually did use some spare ATLAS track sections with ballast.  See 2nd and 6th photos below for those;  See other photos below using all Atlas Tracks on the open EL Structure decking..

PS:  I hand made  and laid various degrees of angled insulated-crossing tracks - as ATLAS did not make any back in the 1980's. (See 2nd photo)

Regards - Joe F



3-track-el-mainline-details_5449782856_ocrossover-between-local-tracks_5438012527_ocurved-local-track-and-guard-rail-details_5452264839_oimg_4665_6321473447_ooverhead-view-of-standard-3-track-el-line-and-signals_5449646838_oyard-layup-tracks-and-bumpers_5453094748_o

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Last edited by Joseph Frank

At the risk of diverting this EXCELLENT thread, (not to mention being too cute)... I guess I am handlaying my track as well. It's just a scale 21 feet above the rails:

5276

Hello John and others. Noticed the nice guard rails above, which are not a stock option for out of the box track (like Atlas). Prototypical question: when are guard rails usually implemented? Bridges, tunnels and crossings mainly? I don't see any of these in the gorgeous photo above, but maybe they are just slightly out of shot. Anyways, I think it really adds to the realistic look of the track.

@lionel1946 posted:

Noticed the nice guard rails above, which are not a stock option for out of the box track (like Atlas). Prototypical question: when are guard rails usually implemented? Bridges, tunnels and crossings mainly?

Yes. Anywhere clearance is restricted

I don't see any of these in the gorgeous photo above, but maybe they are just slightly out of shot.

Yes, the bridge is just out of sight in that photo.  See photo below

Anyways, I think it really adds to the realistic look of the track.

Yes it does

4282

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