Charles;Good day everyone, first time on this forum and can’t wait to get some ideas and info from you all out there.
I have a question.... I am restarting HO scale modelling after nearly 20 year break from it, I would like to know people’s feelings and input into what brand track is the best value for money for a amateurish modeller.
thanks in advance
Welcome to the forum!
These days, model track comes in three basic forms. Two of them should be familiar to you. Sectional track, and flex track, were around 20 years ago. Back then, it may have been brass rail track (gold color rails) or maybe nickel/silver track (silver colored rails) Brass track is no longer manufactured, though there is plenty of it on the used market. Nickel/silver needs less-frequent cleaning, and looks a little more like real rail, so it has taken over the market.
The newest form of track is "roadbed track." This is a special type of sectional track with a gray plastic "roadbed" piece attached to the bottom of each track section. The roadbed piece simulates the crushed rock ballast under real track. It also has clips at each end that lock firmly into the next section. This makes roadbed track very convenient for temporary track setups, like around a christmas tree. It is also used on permanent layouts and has become fairly popular. Most current train sets come with roadbed track included.
There are two main brands of roadbed track, Bachmann EZ-Track, and Kato Unitrack. The Kato is a much better quality track, including Kato's "turnouts" (track switches.) The Bachmann track is ok, but the Bachmann turnouts are not ok. They have a lousy reputation for causing derailments, and breaking down. For this reason, if you decide you like the convenience of roadbed track, I definitely recommend Kato Unitrack, and not Bachmann EZ-Track. The two are not designed to connect to each other, or to flex track, or sectional track. It is possible to adapt roadbed track to connect to other brands, or types, of track though.
As for flex track, you have a choice of several brands, and all are good. Atlas, Peco and Micro Engineering, all offer good quality flex track. The Atlas is more flexible than the others, and the Micro Engineering is the most realistic looking. M-E flex track is stiff. It's more difficult to bend into a given curve, but stays in place once formed. Atlas is the exact opposite, very easy to bend, but snaps back to straight the second you let go of it. Some like one type and may hate the other. Others feel just the reverse, your choice.
Flex track in general, is the best value, costing less per foot than either sectional track, or roadbed track. Roadbed track is the most expensive of the three types of model track.
The files below have lots of information on a variety of model railroad topics. Browse through them if you wish.
Good Luck & Have Fun;
Traction Fan 🙂
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