Author Topic: HO track code 83 or 100?  (Read 961 times)

WyldBill

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HO track code 83 or 100?
« on: May 05, 2020, 11:32:22 PM »
I'm curious what code of track you all are using? Not sure whether to go with code 83 or 100.  :-\
What were your pro's and con's of both and what made you decide on one over the other?
Thanks,
WyldBill

G8B4Life

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2020, 02:50:13 AM »
I haven't built any sort of layout yet, and at my current rate I don't know if I will ever get to but I do have a stash of track to be able to build something one day.

I have a stash of code 83 flex track as I was going to do Free-mo (until arrogant people killed off that enthusiasm) and code 83 is the standard for that. For anything personal I would build I would actually use code 70 (and I have a stash of code 70 rail for hand laying).

For the Free-mo build it came down to matching a standard; for the personal layout it came down to code 70 more closely matched the rail weight of my prototype. I suspect the latter thought methodology applies to many, many modellers and in the US code 83 comes close to what is apparently a common rail weight over there. I think the reason people still choose code 100 is because historically code 100 was always significantly cheaper than code 83 or 70, though that reason has been disappearing over the years. At least one other reason I've heard (only once) is that code 100 track is stronger than code 83 track. In other countries outside of NMRA influence code 100 was also chosen because deep flanged models couldn't run on anything smaller. We used to call them pizza cutter flanges!

- Tim
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 02:52:03 AM by G8B4Life »

Alan

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2020, 09:00:47 AM »
Tim summed it up nicely. Match the weight to your prototype or to the usage.

Code 100 is very heavy rail. If I am not mistaken only the Pennsylvania RR used such heavy rail. I think 100 is so common because of the popularity/availability of Atlas Mfg Co track and the old pizza cutter wheels Tim mentioned. Code 83 looks more realistic. Operationally there is no difference.

It is more a visual thing. Looks more real when the main is heavier rail than spurs and leads. Code 70 or 55 combined with 83 looks good. Problem with code 70/55 is the availability of commercial switches. Code 83 paired up with 100 also works. Either combination looks better than an entire layout built with 100.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 09:15:38 AM by Alan »
Alan

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When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

ON28

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2020, 01:27:39 PM »
Per the above, Code 100 scales to a rare 156 pounds per yard, while Code 83 scales to 132 pounds per yard, typical for North American mainlines. Your locos and rolling stock will also look better on Code 83. I used Atlas Code 100 on my lower deck because I had a stash but used Atlas Code 83 for my upper deck closer to operator eye level. I added a few Code 83 segments on the lower level for photography purposes. I'll add that there's less bouncing as trains go through C83 switches compared to Code 100, where I added .020 styrene in the frogs to minimize annoying wheel drop. Code 100 is also generally less expensive.

On the other hand, I've seen Code 100 track that looks great weathered and detailed. Not my work:

Atlas_SwitchSpringsCode100disguised.JPG

WyldBill

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2020, 05:49:04 PM »
Thank you all for your responses. I like the code 83 from Peco.....just not the extra cost.  ;)

emd_16645

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2020, 10:20:23 PM »
I am using Central Valley ties and switch kits with Code 70 rail.  I found a steal on Code 70 rail on ebay and the tie strips and rail at normal prices compete with prebuilt options.
Chris Bellows
Somerset Junction, 1980
somersetjunction.blogspot.com

darryl.trains

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2020, 10:48:54 PM »
Just a little different as I hand make all my track using jigs or templates with either code 83 or 70. Just never cared for the ready made stuff out there once a few folks made the jigs, fast tracks  or  templates from blue ridge trax.  TOF

Randy

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2020, 01:31:15 AM »
Forty years ago, my brother and I were building a dual gauge HO layout, and used ready made flex track of code 70 dual gauge, code 55 dual gauge and code 40 3ft gauge. we hand laid many dual gauge code 55 turnouts and code 40 turnouts, and bought the code 70 dual gauge turnouts. We were modeling 1940's and 50's Colorado stuff. We joined a club and the club used code 83 mainline and code 70 sidings, and code 70 dual and narrow guage. Of course, certain brands of trains were NOT going to run on these codes of rail.
A few decades later we switched to 2-rail O-scale and used code 125 on the main and code 100 on the sides, and the narrow gauge was 70 and 55.
Unfortunately, many ready made narrow guage turnouts and dual gauge track are not available anymore.
Now, I am modeling in 1:20.3, and I use llagas creek code 215 on the main and code 172 on the sides made up of llagas creek ties and rail purchased from a guy in florida who extrudes his own 172 rail for his O scale trains.  The 172 is just a bit loose in the ties, ( the base is about .015" too small in my opinion for a very tight fit) but it slides into the ties easier, is pretty darn good looking and quite functional. There is one short section where I have code 148 rail hand laid on a 4 ft bridge. LGB and Early Bachmann flanges run just fine on code 215. Spectrum and Accucraft run fine on code 172 and even code 148 if you make sure the medium size spikes are well seated.
Here is a pic of the entrance to the engine house from outdoors, using code 172 rail. A section of code 250 is laying there for size comparison.
3WaySwitch.jpg
And a pic of my Bachmann Forney on code 172 rail outdoors. The roof is loose 'cause I just unplugged the battery. I have since rewired the loco so that there is an on/off switch in the tender water hatch and no need to remove the roof anymore. RailPro is installed in this loco.
Forney.jpg
I like the looks of the 1930's RGS track, which was still using some 30 pound rail in places.  There are compromises with going more scale of course, Like no LGB flanges and such, However, I would say that you each should model what you like, Even if it is a G scale Emily loco on code 332 track. It is YOUR layout.

Mr. E

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 12:08:14 PM »
Wyld Bill, I am using the atlas code 100 sectional track with the wierd end ties removed or replaced.  The first reason is because they are cheap and I was also given a whole lot of them.  I can see a difference if I lay the code 100 beside a piece of code 83, but once I install and ballast the code 100  looks good to me.  Second since I am modelling on a budget (the Rsilpro is my biggest expense to date) I am only using second hand engines like the Pocher/Riverossi steam engines.  These Italian designed trains are closer to the British OO guage (1:76).  In this scale the code 100 would be a lower pound per yard (140?).  They would also be closer to a 7-1/2" tall rail instead of 155 lbs per yard and 8-3/4" in HO scale.  As mentioned above these engines also have the deeper flanges.
- Eli
Railpro on Dead Rail on Modular Layout.

darryl.trains

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2021, 12:31:15 AM »
I'm sorta old school as I use Tru-scale HO code 100 for the most part but have a mix of other brands using them for display or unused sidings. I should peddle my horde of HO Atlas track that is sectional with grey roadbed.  Maybe someone would like to make a trade? Gee I almost forgot, I use some jigs for hand made switches.  What's in your stash ? The old fardt in Arid-zona

TwinStar

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2021, 10:58:50 AM »
I use ME Code 83 on the main for Free-mo (as required like Tim said) and ME Code 70 everywhere off the main.
Jacob Damron
Modeling late 1950's Dallas Union Terminal in Free-mo+ modules

Texas Railway Modeling and Historical Society trmhs.org
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atsfguy

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2021, 05:56:11 PM »
 I am using Peco code 83 flex track and turnouts to build my last model railroad because it is a great looking product and performs well. I particularly like the spring on the points as my layout is narrow and nothing is out of arms reach.
 I adhere the track to the roadbed with siliconized acrylic caulk, which is easy to lift should I change the design to hopefully make it work better.
 My layout is point to point and will eventually have turntables at each end, if I decide to install a decoder in a steam engine. Being set in 1954, steam was still in use on some ATSF lines, especially my fictitious Division.
Cecil
ATSF-Eastern Division

Espeelark

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2021, 07:14:01 PM »
Hey WyldBill - your original post was ~8 months ago but I thought I'd still add my 2-cents worth...
I finally started the build of my layout early last year. I first had to install a drop ceiling, panel LED lights and two, parallel offset stud walls. THEN I was able to start attacking the actual layout. It will be double deck around the walls with a central peninsula/blob that will have four levels - the bottom and top levels of which will be return loops/staging.

For the return loops/staging, I will be using code 100 only because that will get me going a lot faster. I'm using code 100 flex and Peco turnouts here. The helix that will connect all of these levels will also be code 100.

For the two operating levels, those will be code 83 (flex track) and I plan to build my own turnouts using Fast Tracks jigs/tooling/fixtures.

Note - the Wuhan Flu has created a unique opportunity. There have been oh so few model RR swap meets / flea markets because most have been cancelled. However for the couple/few that did not cancel they were a Buyer's bonanza. Attendance was low and after the first hour hardly any new attendees were coming in the front door. As a result, the Sellers were very eager to bargain to move product. I got some great deals on used and new flex track and Peco turnouts as a result.
Espeelark (Paul Mac)
Modeling the SP in Ohio

trainman605

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Re: HO track code 83 or 100?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2021, 10:53:30 AM »
In may cases with some model railroaders it's always about the money, don't let them fool you. Since we all model at different levels, I would say do what works for you, I'm somewhat of a rivet counter so you can see what code I would go with. Just don't start out with code 100 and a couple of years from now wish you had used code 70, it does happen.

trainman