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HO Track Codes

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Bundesbahn View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 Aug 2014 at 12:24pm
I have noticed that among the DC 2-railers there is quite a dispute about track codes, such as Code 83 versus Code 100. This code is expressed in 1/1000 of an inch, referring to the height of the track.(HO Scale)

Code 83 is said to have the most realistic appearance. Older European locos and rolling stock have larger wheel flanges, often referred to as 'Pizza Cutter' wheels. They don't run well on Code 83 tracks. You would have to use Code 100 tracks to run them successfully.

Being a Maerklin AC 3-railer, using C-Track, I don't have to worry about all this. C-Tracks are Code 90. I can run anything I like on these tracks. It takes a magnifying lens to see a difference between these model railroad tracks and real world tracks.

When I play with my trains, I watch the trains. I don't sit there, gazing at the track profile, wondering if they are exactly to scale.
I am a lot more concerned about preventing derailments caused by one track code or another.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Railwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2014 at 12:52pm
Many manufacturers of HO scale track based on European prototype -- the tie spacing and size is slightly different from that in the U.S -- now only make code 83.  You can still find new code 100 in the U.S. and European-based code 100 on the used market.  (Most people probably cannot tell the difference between U.S. based and European-based HO track.)
Probably more important than the code profile is that you darken the rails at least slightly.  There are a variety of solutions for this -- and you can even paint the parts of the rail that does not come in direct contact with the wheels.  But, that's a lot of work.
Another thing that you can do to make track more realistic-looking is to use a fine point permnent marker (such as Sharpie) to darken the tie plates molded onto the plastic ties.  This is particularly effective for concrete ties, where the difference between the tie plates and fasteners and the ties themselves is more pronounced. 
Yes, I do have a very old Liliput electric locomotive model, which was given to me used, and, which, with a lot of work, I got running again.  It has the deep flanges and will not run smoothly on code 83 track, so it will be relegated to shelf display.  (It doesn't fit in the era I plan to focus on anyway.)  But, at least I know it's operable.
By the way, there are quite a few preserved era II-III steam and electric locos in most European countries.  So, running a steam loco with an excursion train would still fit in even on a modern layout.
Operable preserved electric locos in Austria, such as the series 1020, have sometimes even been pressed into revenue service during motive power shortages.  So, those, too, could show up on modern layouts -- from time to time.
-- Ernest
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Bundesbahn View Drop Down
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bundesbahn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2014 at 1:03pm
For more information check out the Blog titled 'HO Scale Track Brands and Track Codes.
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