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Author Topic: choosing n scale track with roadbed.  (Read 7211 times)
trackman23

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« on: January 18, 2012, 03:23:04 PM »

I'm looking to start a layout in n scale.  i want to get track that comes with roadbed.  i've heard some say ez track and some say kato unitrack. which is the best?
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GoCanes

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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2012, 08:16:32 PM »

I ballast and weather roadbed track anyway, so Kato track is not worth it to me (It does fit together well, and I heard the switches are great).


The EZ track works great, is a little frustrating if you have odd numbers of turnouts (you have to make a "switch" piece, using 4.5" straight and that small section from the 90 crossing).

I did all sorts of modificvations, adding in Atlas snap track, and cutting away the road bed to make bridges and grate crossings.

Atlas True Track, BTW, is really nice looking.  I would go with that before Kato, if I wasn't going to add my own ballast.
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James in FL

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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2012, 09:43:08 PM »

The best track for you is the one that most closely meets your requirements at a price point you are willing to pay.

That saidÖ

Atlas, Bachmann and Kato can all be made to run flawlessly.
Turnouts may require minor tweaking.
I would rate the three equal as far as reliability, performance and electrical continuity.
I have not had any gauge issues with any of them.

A few issues Iíve encountered with all 3Ö
Flatness (vertical bowing) of rails.
Burrs on the ends of the rails.
Limited selection of pieces.

Itís not my wish to sway your opinion one way or another.
Some people like Ford, some like Chevy, and some like Toyota.

IMO the bottom line comes down to aesthetics.

Good luck with your choice.

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Country Joe

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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 03:07:03 PM »

I use Kato Unitrack on my layout. Kato's Unijoiners are far more robust than either Atlas or Bachmann joiners. Kato offers many more track sections and curve radii than either of it's competitors. Kato makes #4 and #6 switches, a double crossover and just came out with a wye switch. They also make a few bridges and other accessories, like a road crossing that can be used for single or multiple tracks.

Kato makes the most complete line of track. You can build just about any trackplan you can think of with it. The only way to have more flexibility is to go with flex track.
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GoCanes

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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 04:20:09 PM »

I use Kato Unitrack on my layout. Kato's Unijoiners are far more robust than either Atlas or Bachmann joiners. Kato offers many more track sections and curve radii than either of it's competitors. Kato makes #4 and #6 switches, a double crossover and just came out with a wye switch. They also make a few bridges and other accessories, like a road crossing that can be used for single or multiple tracks.

Kato makes the most complete line of track. You can build just about any trackplan you can think of with it. The only way to have more flexibility is to go with flex track.

Joe, are you ballasting the  Kato stuff?  I saw they sell ballast that is identical to the look of their roadbed.  Might look better if the raodbed had some ballast along it's edges to give it a more natural, uneven look?
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Xibalba

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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 07:06:41 PM »

Was wondering which would be best myself, was thinking of staying with ez track but am tempted by the selection of unitrack. Anyone know if bachmann will be adding any new pieces to their n scale  track like bridges?
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James in FL

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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2012, 01:14:33 AM »

I agree with Country Joe, the number of different pieces available in Unitrack make it much more versatile track system over its competition.
Bachmann continues to add pieces to theirs, and hopefully there is more yet to come.
Atlas got into the game late, and has lotís of catching up to do.
With Kato and Bachmann, the plastic roadbed track is the only track system they offer, not so with Atlas.
I donít like the track/roadbed to stand out on the layout. Iíd rather it to be inconspicuous where my eyes are not drawn to it, but rather to the train itself and/or the scenery and structures instead.
The naked plastic tends to draw my eyes.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 01:24:02 AM by James in FL » Logged
Country Joe

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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 01:25:47 PM »

I use Kato Unitrack on my layout. Kato's Unijoiners are far more robust than either Atlas or Bachmann joiners. Kato offers many more track sections and curve radii than either of it's competitors. Kato makes #4 and #6 switches, a double crossover and just came out with a wye switch. They also make a few bridges and other accessories, like a road crossing that can be used for single or multiple tracks.

Kato makes the most complete line of track. You can build just about any trackplan you can think of with it. The only way to have more flexibility is to go with flex track.

Joe, are you ballasting the  Kato stuff?  I saw they sell ballast that is identical to the look of their roadbed.  Might look better if the raodbed had some ballast along it's edges to give it a more natural, uneven look?

I started my current layout in December 2010. The previous one was from 2006-2010. The scenery was pretty far along but I hadn't ballasted yet. I like to ballast last, after all the scenery is done. I make my own ballast mixture with Woodland Scenics fine ballast. I use gray and mix in a little black and buff. I don't have a formula and just do it by eye. I have a picture of my T-Trak module and a friend's as well. He made the same mixture as I did and ballasted the sides. I ballasted between the tracks but not the sides yet. I will try to attach a couple of pictures.

This is my module with ballast between the tracks but not on the sides. I still have a little more scenery work to do:



This is my friend's module. The sides have been ballasted:



Hopefully you'll be able to see the ballast.
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Albert in N
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2012, 10:20:08 PM »

Nice work, Country Joe!  Like you, I also use Kato UniTrack.  UniTrack (as well as Atlas) offers magnetic uncouplers, vehicle traffic road crossings, turnouts that work, as well as competitive pricing.  Previously, I used Atlas but track cleaning and dust were issues on my ballasted track over cork roadbed.  Then, I tried Bachmann EZ Track, but was disappointed with derailments over the sharp standard turnouts, as well as lack of magnet uncouplers, etc.  Yes, the E-Z Track derailments were using Bachmann locomotives equipped with Bachmann's dummy knuckle couplers.  Now, I rarely run trains with the dummy knuckle couplers, since have mostly converted to MicroTrains magnetic working couplers.  Even though I run trains, I sometimes like switching cars without picking them up by hand.  Attend a train show and watch display layouts and then decide.
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GoCanes

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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 10:34:55 AM »

Nice  work, Joe.

The Bachmann magnets work great under EZ track, BTW, with EZ Mate magnetic couplers and my Micro Trains cars with magnetic couplers.

(I have converted all my older bachmann cars with the roller freight trucks that include magnetic EZ Mates)

I just saw some Atlas N True Track up close, and I have to say it looks GREAT!  The code 65 track is nice, and the mottled ballast look of the roadbed is really something.

My EZ track main line, though, has worked just fine.  Looks good ballasted and weathered, and no problems with the turnouts (even the transition to snap track for the sidings and spurs is smooth).
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Country Joe

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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 04:12:16 PM »

Nice work, Country Joe!  Like you, I also use Kato UniTrack.  UniTrack (as well as Atlas) offers magnetic uncouplers, vehicle traffic road crossings, turnouts that work, as well as competitive pricing.  Previously, I used Atlas but track cleaning and dust were issues on my ballasted track over cork roadbed.  Then, I tried Bachmann EZ Track, but was disappointed with derailments over the sharp standard turnouts, as well as lack of magnet uncouplers, etc.  Yes, the E-Z Track derailments were using Bachmann locomotives equipped with Bachmann's dummy knuckle couplers.  Now, I rarely run trains with the dummy knuckle couplers, since have mostly converted to MicroTrains magnetic working couplers.  Even though I run trains, I sometimes like switching cars without picking them up by hand.  Attend a train show and watch display layouts and then decide.

Thanks Albert. In my experience Kato track rarely needs cleaning. I'm not really sure if it's a different alloy that inhibits corrosion or that my layouts are now build in cleaner environments. In the past, rails seemed to oxidize more and needed a lot of cleaning.

I use a Rix Pix uncoupling tool and uncouple manually. I have never had much luck with the magnets. I mounted one on a small flashlight so I can see. I just slip it between the couplers and twist and the cars are uncoupled. In the past I got the magnets to work fairly reliably, but the most important word there is "fairly". I may try electromagnetic uncouplers some day.
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Country Joe

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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 04:18:25 PM »

Nice  work, Joe.

The Bachmann magnets work great under EZ track, BTW, with EZ Mate magnetic couplers and my Micro Trains cars with magnetic couplers.

(I have converted all my older bachmann cars with the roller freight trucks that include magnetic EZ Mates)

I just saw some Atlas N True Track up close, and I have to say it looks GREAT!  The code 65 track is nice, and the mottled ballast look of the roadbed is really something.

My EZ track main line, though, has worked just fine.  Looks good ballasted and weathered, and no problems with the turnouts (even the transition to snap track for the sidings and spurs is smooth).

I have never gotten magnets to work reliable so I use a Rix Pix and uncouple manually. The Atlas TruTrack looks great, though I prefer gray ballast. Track here in the Hudson Valley uses gray ballast (it's CSX, formerly New York Central) so gray looks better to me. The code 65 rail definitely looks better than the code 80. If Atlas ever offers more track sections and switches it could be an excellent product.
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GoCanes

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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 05:34:26 PM »

Knock on wood, my magnetics set ups are working fine, with EZ Mates and Micro Trains.  That will probably change once I set the magnets permanently on the layout  Shocked

In Florida, at least in my area, we have very light colored roadbed, like white granite rocks or something, very close to Atlas' chosen look.  (I used Woodland fine light gray for ballast)
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Albert in N
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 07:57:34 PM »

My earlier comment about cleaning dust off track and layout relates to living in dusty Texas.  Even with the layout inside a tight house, it is necessary to dust household furniture and clean the layout train track at least weekly.  For the train track, I use the old method of cloth rag and dampen with rubbing alcohol if needed.  Wiping track with a cloth rag is much easier over Kato UniTrack or Bachmann E-Z track, than over ballasted track.  Also, hand wiping reveals any rail joiner gaps.  Layout planning is also very important.  I recall my first N layout (40 years ago)  had a screen wire and plaster tunnel, so I had to use a pad on a stick to clean the tunnel track.   Lesson learned, plan on access for hidden track!
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GoCanes

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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 08:36:13 PM »

My earlier comment about cleaning dust off track and layout relates to living in dusty Texas.  Even with the layout inside a tight house, it is necessary to dust household furniture and clean the layout train track at least weekly.  For the train track, I use the old method of cloth rag and dampen with rubbing alcohol if needed.  Wiping track with a cloth rag is much easier over Kato UniTrack or Bachmann E-Z track, than over ballasted track.  Also, hand wiping reveals any rail joiner gaps.  Layout planning is also very important.  I recall my first N layout (40 years ago)  had a screen wire and plaster tunnel, so I had to use a pad on a stick to clean the tunnel track.   Lesson learned, plan on access for hidden track!

LOL, never hurts to stick a rerailer in the hard to access portions of your tunnel as well.  I learned that the hard way once.


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention:   Take your sidings and spurs into consideration when deciding on a preroadbedded (is that a word?) track.  How will I get flat sidings off a high mainline?is the question.  (My answer, a gradual decline from EZ track to snap track on all sidings)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 09:57:15 AM by GoCanes » Logged
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