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Wa may be moving house which will possibly allow for a bigger layout, my present has Code100 track, would Code 88 be a better option?
 

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Code 83 rail is extremely popular, and a bit more realistic looking than code 100.
The only caveat to it, is that if you run old equipment on it, (e.g., pre '80's) the larger diameter wheel flanges may tend to touch the ties.
 

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The title of the thread is track gauge, when in fact it’s about rail height....two different things.....just sayin’....
 

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Wa may be moving house which will possibly allow for a bigger layout, my present has Code100 track, would Code 88 be a better option?
What are you thinking? Why are you asking? Really, YOU have to place importance of characteristics in relative order based on YOUR preferences, even if your preferences change due to new information. So, that's why I'm asking those questions just now. Something has gotten under your skin about track heights (not 'gauge', that's the distance between the flange faces of the rails).

I'm not busting your chops. I would just like a better understanding of the nature, and the reason, for your question. Once I understand the 'need' to figure out the various track codes, I can offer you more focused suggestions.

Code 100 rail approximates to 165lb/yd rail, a weight nobody in N. America ever used, at least none of the Class 1 rails did. The heaviest used was 155/b, and the Pennsy was an example.

Code 83 is closer to 125 weight, about the heaviest used these days. Many modelers who are sticklers about details will insist that it's rather too large for most layouts, and that Code 70/75 is closer to the typical weight you'd find on secondary lines, short lines, industrial spurs where tonnages were stiff.

Code 100 is more widely available, can be cheaper, is more robust, and is easier to handle, including fixing it in place. The shorter rails look more realistic, and will look better in photos where you get the camera close to the rails for 'head height' shots.
 

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old hobo, he should know that if he runs a larger radius curve the rail height is going to change. I would like to know this ahead of time before I made a change, what if all I was running was older locomotives?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
None of my Locos are that old, my shelf layout has both 100 and 83 (packed up slightly) .....................83 just looks nicer IMHO.
 

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aquakiwi, looks like you have your answer - "it looks better". I agree. Only reason to use code 100 would be pizza cutter flanges or availability. Not sure what doug means by larger radius curves effecting rail height?
 

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I think he’s talking about superelevation in curves, again, not the same as rail height.....the rails themselves are still the same height.....
 

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To be clear:

(Track) gauge - distance between the rails, not rail size

Track “code” - describes the rail height of model track in 1000ths of an inch (Code 100 = 0.100”)

In HO scale:
Code 100 = about 165lb/yd prototype, oversized for most model applications
Code 83 - about 136lb/yd, modern heavy mainline rail
Code 70 - roughly 100lb/yd, older, secondary main lines
Code 55 - about 80 lb/yd, industrial and yard trackage, other older (early 20th century) non upgraded track installations on minor spurs and branches with low traffic volume.

Superelevation - the practice of banking or raising the outside of a curve. This is done by profiling the entire track structure (ie raising the ties) NOT by using different size rails.
 
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