Beginner Needs Help

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by slc, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. slc

    slc New Member

    Dec 5, 2006
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    I am a beginner to model railroading. I have decided I want to start with N gauge. I have a bench built but I am struggling on what type of track to start with. I want permanently mount the track on the bench to later add scenery, etc. What's best for a beginner, Kato Unitrack, Bachmann EZ Track, Atlas Track? Thanks for any and all help.
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    May 15, 2002
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    Hi slc,
    Do you have a specific track plan in mind? I've not really used anything but flex track,
    but the Kato track, from what I've read, is hard to beat! And it will get you a good-looking
    setup in a short time. How big of a layout are you building?

    And Welcome to The-Gauge:wave: :wave:
  3. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Jun 5, 2006
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    Hello and welcome slc.
    I don't do ready made track, I handlay mine. An option you may want to try in the future.
    For now I am sure a lot of people here will be able to help you so sit back and read a ton of stuff.
    Lots of stuff to read here and on our sites:)

    Take your time and have fun. :)
  4. rfmicro

    rfmicro Member

    Sep 25, 2006
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    SLC, any of the track metioned in your post will work. As it comes with plastic balast as part of the track, you can use it as is or add additional ballast later for a more prototypical look. It is easy to work with but costs more than due to the addition of the plastic ballast. You can glue down this track onto most any surface.

    36" long flex track (Atlas or Micro-Engineering) make the best. They can come with brown or Black ties, weathered or non-weathered. It must be laid on either cork or a rubber material from Woodland Scenics. Both cn be glued down to most any surface.

    If your layout includes switches, then obtain the switches from the vendor you buy the track from. If you one day want to expand into DCC, buy the DCC compatible (insulated frog, I believe) switches from the flex track vendor of choice.

    If you intend to glue down your track, make sure your layout plan is solid as you don't want to have to rip up track that has been glued down. It can be done, but it a step you don't want to have to make if you don't have to.

    What ever you end up buying make sure it is Nickle-Silver track as this has less corrosion then steel or brass track and makes for a better conductor of electricity than steel track.

    Have fun,
  5. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Feb 24, 2006
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    The built in ballast track like EZ Track is nice for beginners but is restrictive in the fact that you are going to have to go with the shapes and lengths that can be purchased. I started using it when I got back into trains but am going over to flex track due to flexibility (pun intended).

  6. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Apr 10, 2006
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    Welcome to The Gauge slc.
    I started mith N scale 1 year ago, I built 2 micro layouts ( 36 " x 25 " ) just to test the water.
    One has Fleischmann tracks and the other one uses Atlas track.

    The Fleischmann track has a plastic ballast, electro-frogs on the turnouts so a small locomotive has less chance to stall on a turnout. Fleischmann track is expensive but I always wanted to model German prototypes, so I got a Fleischmann starter set.

    One month later, at my LHS ( local hobby shop ) I purchased a decent DC controller ( MRC Tech 4 200 ) , a Life Like GP 18 locomotive ,some Atlas track and a couple of manual #4 turnouts.
    Atlas track is not expensive, quite reliable for its price ( A Fleischmann turnout is 3 times the price of an Atlas one ). I was impressed and to me Atlas looks like a good beginner track.

    On both layouts, I soldered all the rail joiners in order to get 1st class reliability. Imho N scale tracks are very subject to faulty contacts and joint soldering is a must ( and is not that difficult after a few practice )

    I wouldn't advise beginners to go the flextrack way, but maybe a good idea would be to use sectionnal track for the majority of their first layout and incorporate a few feet of flextrack just to get the feeling of it.

    I have no experience with Kato, but a lot of people swear by it.

    As you didn't lay any track yet, if you can afford I highly recommand that you installe a 1" ( or better 2" ) pink extruded styrene on top of the workbench so you'll be able to carve rivers or/and lakes in it.