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 LGB Track 

 Llagas Creek Track 

 Marklin Track 

 Micro-Engineering Track 

 Modelbau-Heyn Track 

Track Suppliers L - P 

 Peco Track 

 Piko Track 

Mainstream and peripheral suppliers of 32mm and 45mm track and components.

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LGB (Germany)                                                                           

 

LGB’s robust Code 332 45mm gauge track has become a de facto standard against which all other tracks are measured and although it has added few new track products to its range in recent years it still offers a fairly wide choice in terms of straights, curves, points, crossovers and accessories in addition to its 1.5m flexible track (in fact more than 36 track sections and four different radii). The company aim to offer a complete track system for easy and creative track planning offering every geometry to the large scale enthusiast. 

 

If h had an observation to make it would be that their widest radius curve is still only 1800mm when many enthusiasts are still looking for a reliable source of 10' and possibly 15' radius curves for greater realism without resorting to flexible track. I suspect that after taking a bath with their stainless steel track they prefer to avoid any risk of another failure in this department.

LGB's track geometry has remained much the same since its original introduction :

lgb-tracksystem-160_large LGB TRACK GEOM

 

Unfortunately one of the most comprehensive books on the subject  “LGB Track Planning and Technical Guide Hardcover – January 1, 1987 by Robert Munzing translated by  Vincent P. Morgan  has been out of print for many years although you do occasionally see the volume listed on Ebay, Amazon and specialist book suppliers at eye-watering sums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The company's  product range is far to extensive to do justice to here and you are recommended to visit the Marklin LGB website to see this for yourself. One of LGB's strengths is it's range of short "filler" track pieces to help you connect your track when there is a little gap to be filled. These short sections include the following straights:

  • Product No: 10040  41mm / 1 5/8"

  • Product No: 10050  52mm / 2 1/16"

  • Product No: 10070  75mm / 2 15/16"

  • Product No: 10080  82mm / 3 1/14"

  • Product No; 10090  Adjustable 88-120mm 31/2" - 4 3/4"

  • Product No: 10150 150mm 5 7/8"

 

 

 

 

Click the button-link to find their track overview:

 

Due to it’s popularity a number of UK and overseas retailers stock LGB track and will usually order it in for you if not in stock. You are advised to shop around as prices can vary. It is also readily available on the second-hand market in various conditions from mint to poor. Most of it can be salvaged with a bit of elbow grease. It is also possible to purchase Radius 1 600mm curves very cheaply and convert to straights with a bit of effort.

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Elephant on Track (2018_03_22 06_48_42 U

LGB famously published a picture of an elephant standing on their track to demonstrate it's strength. In fact, most brands of Code 332 brass track would probably pass this test.

Llagas Creek Railways (USA)  

 

 

Llagas Creek Railways (based in Pennsylvania) was established as long ago as 1987 with the aim of creating the most complete, realistic and reasonably priced track system for Gauge 1 railway modellers. They specialise in flexible track designed to closely resemble the US prototype with a choice of lower profile Code 250 and 215 rail in aluminium, brass or nickel silver with tie (sleeper) strips in two style to suit 1:20.3 Narrow Gauge and 1:32 Standard Gauge.

 

Their particular strong point is their ability to custom make virtually any type of switch (point/turnout) to order. In addition to track and switches, also have an extensive line of accessory and detail parts. 

 

Llagas Creek has rogressed from just aluminum, to add a very attractivee line of Nickel Silver track. Nickel Silver, also called "German silver" and "coin silver," is actually a brass alloy that looks like sterling silver; it has been used to make everything from costume jewelry to professional flutes. 

In addition, Llagas Creek is making some very good turnouts (switches) that aren't available anywhere else. They're actually handmade, but very reasonable in price compared to what else is out there.

 

I often recommend preformed curves and heavy-duty track for beginners or small railroads. But Llagas Creek stuff is quite useful and can be quite cost-effective on large railroads built by people who know what they're doing. If you've ever used "flex-track" indoors, this is closer to that sort of thing than any of the other brands, by the way.

To check out Llagas Creek's line of products, please click here. If you do get in contact with them for any reason, please tell them I send you. :-)

 

Llagas Creek Railways offers the finest Gauge 1 (45mm) G scale track in Code 215 and Code 250 rail sizes. Both rail sizes are available in Brass, Aluminum or Nickel Silver with your choice of ties - Narrow Gauge or 1:32 Standard Gauge.  All track comes assembled in 6 foot lengths.

Llagas Creek flex - track is designed to represent US prototype track. All tie strips are complete with cast in place tie plates, cast spike heads, and very realistic wood grain. Their track is clos to scale in that they offer realistically sized code 250 or 215 rail.

 

In actual use for 20 years, the company claim that they have found  this "scale sized" rail to be just as reliable on garden railways as the larger rail of other manufacturers. Code 250 rail is only 0.082 (82 thousandths of an inch) smaller than code 332 and looked at from that perspective it is understandable that perfromance is much the same.

 

The company's tie strips have also been designed to afford adequate flange clearance for reliable operation with all principle Gauge 1 trains; from suppliers such as Aristo Craft, Aster, Bachmann, LGB, USA Trains etc. Like most of their competitors they mould their tie strips from modern UV resistant plastic that is weatherproof in blazing Florida sun or freezing Alaska cold! 

The following chart shows the relation of code 215 and code 250 to prototype rail. The "code" of model rail is the height in thousands of an inch. Code 250 = 0.250 or 1/4 inch. Note of interest: the size of prototype rail is measured in pounds per yard.   

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Some examples of Llagas Creek Railways fine trackwork: 

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Llagas Creek 1:20.3 scale "narrow gauge look" ties measure 3.8" long x 0.3" high x 0.4" wide. Ties are spaced at 10 to the foot and slightly offset side to side for that real "narrow gauge" look. Although the tie strip is designed for 1:20.3 scale, many of their customers think it looks great with the company's 1:22.5 (G) scale trains as well. These ties accept Llagas Creek code 215 and 250 narrow base rail in cast on prototype looking tie plates with random spike heads.

Llagas Creek 1:32 scale "standard gauge" ties measure 3.18" (8.5 Ft. scale) in length. Height and width are correctly scaled at .22" x .28" ( 7" x 9" ) Tie spacing is 20 to the foot. These ties accept Llagas Creek code 215 and 250 narrow base rail. Tie plate detail is scaled from the prototype. This is the only accurately scaled U.S. prototype track available for 1:32 scale.

Below is a comparison of Llagas Creek's most popular tie styles.  The Narrow Gauge ties are on the left and the 1:32 (Standard Gauge) ties are on the right.

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Llagas Creek Railways also claims to offer the most accurately scaled rail profiles in the industry. All of their rail is formed in the United States.  Both Code 215 and Code 250 rail profiles have a 5.0mm base width and are interchangeable with all of their tie strips.  All rail is sold in 6 foot lengths. 

Llagas Creek Railways Code 215 and 250 narrow base aluminum rails are both made of super strong 6061-T6 alloy. This alloy is close to mild steel in tensile strength. Aluminum rail has been successfully used for many years on both indoor and outdoor track powered railways. To supply power to aluminum rail, feeder wires may be soldered to the stainless steel or nickel-silver rail joiners. Most of our customers who run live steam or battery powered radio control locos are choosing aluminum rail due to it's low cost.

Their Code 215 and 250 narrow base nickel silver rails are said to be of the finest quality and also made here in the U.S. with an 18 % nickel content. Nickel silver rail is very popular with  customers who run track power because of its low maintenance.  The biggest benefit of our Nickel Silver rail is that it naturally forms an electrically conductive oxide that does not require regular track cleaning.   When placed outdoors, the Nickel Silver will weather to a pleasing, realistic gray-brown color. After the rail weathers, you can polish the rail head back to a realistic shiny silver color for a very prototypical look.

New to Llagas, the company are now offering Brass rail in our popular Code 250 profile.  Brass rail has long been the favourite rail for beginners all the way to seasoned hobbyists. Llagas Creek Railways use one of the highest quality brass alloys available.  It has many advantages including its strength, ability to conduct electricity and ease of soldering.  Outdoors, the brass rail will weather to a very pleasing brown color.  It  is also compatible with any of the company's three tie strips. 

Turnouts (Switches or Points) - Code 215 and Code 250

On the prototype, the "switch" is the part of a turnout that actually moves the points and the tie bar.  Llagas Creek Railways turnouts are all custom made to order. All of the 1:32 turnouts are now built with plastic ties instead of stained white cedar wooden ties.  The 1:20.3 turnout ties are all made from the same plastic our tie strips are made from.   #3, #4, #5, #6, #8 and #10 frogs in Code 215 and Code 250 are white bronze castings.  Custom frogs will be made from machined Nickel Silver rail.  

 

Standard short and long points are cast in the same white bronze as the frogs.  All turnouts are assembled using stainless steel spikes.  All turnouts with cast frogs will be insulated using On the prototype, the "switch" is the part of a turnout that actually moves the points and the tie bar.  Llagas Creek Railways turnouts are all custom made to order.  

 

Code 215 & Code 250 Turnouts

Llagas Creek Code 215 and Code 250 Aluminum turnouts with solid plastic ties and stainless-steel spikes are available in brown tie 1:20.3 scale narrow gauge line. The 1:32 standard gauge line now uses plastic ties.

All Llagas Creek Code 215 and Code 250 Aluminum turnouts:

  • use a solid cast white bronze or nickel silver frog to ensure short wheel base locomotives will not stall, as they may do on plastic frogs.

  • utilise all metal frogs to provide years of smooth, trouble free performance.

  • come standard with an isolated frog, but turnouts with non-insulated frogs can be constructed using stainless steel or nickel silver rail joiners upon request.

  • and guard rails are positioned to accept wheel sets made to the "recommended practice" of 40 mm (1.575") back-to-back measurement.​ 

  • feature the Tenmille Ground Throw mounted on the curved side as standard equipment.

  • do not come 

 

Every Llagas Creek turnout comes standard with a Tenmille Ground Throw installed.  Turnouts do not come with rail joiners and turnout kits are no longer offered.  Due to the custom nature of these turnouts customers should allow up to 8 weeks for their turnout to be shipped (potentially longer whilst the Covid-19 pandemic is around).

 

Note: All of the dealers appointed by Llagas Creek appear to be situated in the USA and Canada so mail order may be the only route to purchase this track.

As you might expect the vast majority of their dealers are in the USA but also in Australia and Germany. One UK outlet is listed as an authorised dealer - EDM based in York - so I have included a direct link although there is no mention of G Gauge on their website.

Micro Engineering Inc. (USA)  

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Micro Engineering Inc. (USA) is a relatively small American supplier founded in 1984 and based in Fenton,  Missouri. They specialise in manufacturing an extensive range of "generic" track and accessories for HO, N, O and G scales.

 

Their ‘G-Trak™’ range, based on American railroad practice is particularly suited to large-scale operations in the garden. Each section incorporates some fine detail on the scale size spikes and ties to enhance the realistic appearance. Otherwise the track is manufactured using conventional materials.

 

Code 332 rail sections in Aluminium are compatible with most other makes. The track also comes in Code 250 in aluminium and nickel silver variants.

  • G-Trak(TM) is based on American railroad practice and is a complete system that makes it easy to create a detailed right-of-way indoors or out. Each piece is finely detailed, right down to the spikes and tie plates you'd find on the prototype. The scale size plastic ties are moulded in dark brown with fine wood grain detail and feature an ultraviolet stabilizer so they can be used outdoors without fading. Uneven placement of the ties enhances the realistic appearance, while the 1" spacing allows plenty of room to install accessories if desired.

  • Code 250 offers a more accurate scale size and profile, while maintaining sufficient clearance for wheel flanges. The rails are made of aluminum which provides better electrical conductivity than the brass rail used in most large scale track. It also requires less cleaning.

  • 18 degree curve so 20 pieces make a full circle.

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As you might expect the vast majority of their dealers are in the USA I also located some in Australia and Germany. One UK outlet is listed as an authorised dealer - EDM based in York - so I have included a direct link although there is no mention of G Gauge on their website so they may only supply smaller scales.

Peco UK  

 

Peco (‘pee-ko') - not to be confused with PIKO (also widely pronounced 'pee-ko' ) produce their SM32 and 45mm Gauge Track in the UK.  Peco SM32 garden railway track is ideal for 16 mm 1:19 scale narrow gauge models using 32mm gauge. It is also suitable for use as a coarse O Gauge track.  With its slightly irregular 'weathered' finish sleepers, Peco SM32 track captures the narrow gauge character to produce a strong, yet readily flexible track, ideal for 32mm gauge garden railways.

 

Peco G - 45 tracks, with their moulded wooden type sleepers and code 250 Nickel Silver rail, creates a more prototypical appearance than the heavier Code 332 rails of other types. Peco G-45 track can be joined to AMS Code 332 track using special Peco rail joiners. This track is aimed at narrow gauge enthusiasts.

I have included a gallery of some of their limited range of G-45 and SM32 products. Unfortunately their full catalogue can only be downloaded to Apple IoS tablets and i-pads. Their online web presence is also a little disappointing but check it out for yourself using the button-link provided below.

Examples of PECO Track

Piko (Germany) 

 

There is certainly no shortage of large scale railway track producers in Germany and Piko (based in Sonneberg) is one of the largest and best-known model train brands in Europe and exports to the United States and other parts of the world. They market an extensive range of 45mm Gauge track similar to that supplied by LGB but as they say in their advertising “not all track is created equal –ours is better”. I tend to agree with that claim as I have been very impressed with the engineering and durability of their sectional track and the same components are employed in their flexible track kits.

 

I tend to refer to this German supplier as “Pi-ko” simply  to avoid confusion with  the UK firm of Peco but I am aware that they are both often called “Pee-ko”.

Unlike some large-scale producers, who seem a little reticent to advertise or promote their trackage systems, as if it was an afterthought, Piko seem to positively relish giving their track a high prominence and are proud to feature it as so they should be.  

Track Geometry 

 

Although similar to LGB’s and other well-known European and U.S. 45mm Gauge brass track the Piko G-Track System goes back to basics using a unique proprietary geometry that makes layout easier to plan and install. This is especially helpful when incorporating turnouts on curves or creating parallel tracks.

The design is essentially based on a 600mm (23.62”) x 160mm (6.33”) grid arrived at after extensive computer aided engineering work searching for a track that would satisfy both beginners and advanced hoobyists alike and enable virtually all track designs rto be realised without the need for short adapter pieces.. This means that whilst Piko Code 332 brass track is compatible with most other makes the design can vary and you cannot always directly replace one section with another make (or vice versa) as the footprint and angles can slightly differ.

The strong, durable track uses conventional UV-stabilised high-density polyethylene narrow gauge plastic tie (sleeper) strips with imitation wood grain and plastic chairs to retain the flat-bottomed solid brass rails. these sleepers (or ties) are more appropriate to narrow gauge  but should be alright for standard gauge operation. The brass rail joiners are already fitted and are reassuringly tight ensuring minimal voltage loss across the gaps.

This track stands up to rough treatment indoors and out and I confess to being a satisfied user (and previously an online retailer) of their products.

For straight track the grid's base length of 600mm (23.62" is partitioned into two sections of 320mm (12.66") and 280mm (10.96") in length. This makes it pssible to have parallel tracks connected by two turnout (points) without using any extra customised adapter pieces and also maintain the minimum clearances - see illustration below:

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Piko Straights Geometry.PNG

Examples of Piko G-Track Geometry & Track Configurations

Piko Track geometry (Straights and Curve
Piko Track geometry - Plans.PNG

All Piko G-Trak is designed for indoor or outdoor use and features:

  • Code 332 (0.332" high) solid rails of pure, virgin brass for excellent electrical conductivity

  • Ties of ultra-violet stabilized HDPE (high-density polyethylene) for decades of outdoor use

  • Unique track geometry makes even complex track plans simple to build with only a few types of track sections

  • Compatible with most other brands of G-Scale track, such as LGB, USA Trains and Aristo-craft for unlimited trackwork combinations.

Piko Straight Track  

 

Straights come in a variety of lengths including several shorter lengths for particularly installing complex layouts. The only real difference compared to other Code 332 track suppliers is the substitution of 1 x G320 and 1 x G280 mm as optional replacements for the more ubiquitous 300mm standard length. The longer lengths are available in conventional 600mm and 1200mm sections as shown below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piko Curved Track Sections  

 

Following the demise of Aristo-craft, Piko have one of the largest election of pre-formed curved track sections from the omnipresent 600mm minimum radius right up to a sizeable 1,565mm (over 5' radius in old money). Do not make direct comparisons with the Radius Numbers used by LGB as they do not line up - more on this later. A full listing of curved track available at present is tabled below:

 

 

 

 

PRE-FORMED CURVED TRACK SECTIONS

Piko Turnouts / Switches / Points  

 

Piko's growing product catalogue also features left-hand and right-hand turnouts (points) corresponding to the same radii as their curved track selection. The construction of these turnouts is very solid and follows the same geometric grid devised for the complete range of G-Track products. Altogether, there are  four sizes of manual switch including an impressive curved switch which facilitates very smooth transitions on any layout.

 

All of these points can be easily be converted for remote operation by the addition of a waterproof electric switch machine (35271). The larger turnouts also include additional 7.5 degree sections of curved track so that they can easily drop into place instead of standard curves and are fitted with a light spring mechanism which allows even a light-weight car to push the switch blade over if it should beapproaching in the 'wrong direction' thus avoiding a derailment.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following YouTube Videos describe the points in detail:

In fact,  Piko are very good at demonstrating their products on YouTube but tend to rely on their Piko America distribution guys to shoot and post most of their extremely helpful English language videos invariably presented in jovial fashion by the ever-present Mike ..................

To complete our survey of Piko G Gauge track I should also mention their G-K-30 Crossing (Item Code No: 35240) incorporating two interconnecting straights set at 30 degrees as the name suggests.  This is rarely needed but can look impressive in a yard or where a number of parallel tracks are involved.

There are also a number of accessories available and also components to make your own track, namely:

Flexible Tie Strip (35230 and 35231), Brass Rail in 3000 mm (35250) and 1500 mm (35251) lengths, Track Bumper (35280), Track Clips (35285), Metal Rail Joiners (35292), Insulated Rail Joiners (35292), Metal Tie Joiners (35291), an Electric Switch Machine (35271), Lighted Switch Lantern (35266), Relay Contacts (35265), Power Clamp (35270).

To summarise:

Pros:

  • Extensive range of track sections, wide radius points and flexible track components

  • Solid construction 

  • Tight rail joiners (+ plastic connectors and brass clamps if required)

 

Cons:

  • None that I am aware of but the track geometry is quite different to LGB so if you are trying to mix and  match take care to check footprint and dimensions.

Sunset Valley Railroad (USA) 

 

Sunset Valley Railroad is another track supplier that enjoys a large following in there home country but may not be quite so familiar to large-scale modellers here in the UK. They concentrate on producing a comprehensive model railroad track system for 45mm ( commonly called G gauge), 32mm (O gauge) and dual gauge using code 250 rail (1/4" inch high), used primarily for garden layouts.

    

Not only do they make track but also complementary mechanical and pneumatic switch operating systems.

 

I have deliberately stressed the description ‘system’ as this track is a self-assembly job for those garden railroaders who prefer to make their own but like to rely on well engineered professionally manufactured parts ideally suited for the task.

 

With this in mind Sunset Valley Railroad (SSVR) supply packs of components sufficient to assemble into 6’ lengths of either Code 250  or Code 332 45mm gauge in mainline (1:29; 1:32), narrow gauge (1:20.3) and even dual 3-rail 32mm / 45 mm gauge.

 

Each pack comes with enough components to assemble discrete 6ft sections, and comprises 2 lengths of rail (looks as if it might be ‘pre-weathered’  from the photos), 6 tiestrips of 1 ft each and 2 railjoiners. As well as track, “packs” you can also purchase rail and ties separately. The website also list a selection of joiners  joiners and clamps to connect various pieces of track. They also supply special clamps (RJ CL LGB) to connect their code 250 track to code 332 track, such as AristoCraft, LGB, USA Trains, Bachmann, etc.

 

When ordering you need to specify the particular track configuration thet you require with the suffix, AL for aluminum, BR for brass, NS for Nickel Silver and SS for Stainless, for example TR BR is mainline brass track. 

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When ballasted these tracks can look very realistic in both narrow gauge and standard gauge versions. The third image in this sequence shows outdoor track 12 years after it was installed:

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No track system would be complete without a matching set of turnouts and Sunset Valley do not disappoint on this score either. In fact they offer no less than 37 different types of Switches manufactured from brass, nickel or stainless steel. There are no aluminium versions as the metal is just to soft to produce finely edged point rails durable enough to stand up to the impact of heavy wheels. Sunset recommend using stainless steel ones in stead.

 

You can view full details of all the switches including associated switching gear by clicking the button link here:  

 

Pros:

  • Sturdy construction

  • Four rail types

 

Cons:

  • None really but sourcing may need to be direct from the USA (and 6’ long rails are notoriously difficult -and expensive - to pack, protect and transport).

Thiel - Gleis 

Thiel-Gleis are a well known brand in Europe (although possibly less so in the UK) and have been making II metre narrow gauge track in Germany for over 30 years. As their website proudly declares their catalogue features no less than 11 different radii up to 3m together with 26 different points and switches in both pre-formed fixed tracks and flexible track conforming to MOROP and NEM standards.

Somewhat unusually, perhaps, Theil-Gleis chose to make nickel plate their track from the outset although they now offer brass as an alternative. You can check out their reasons on their website by clicking the button-link:

 

For a full list of fixed straight and curved track just click on the button link

below:

Various lengths of flexible track are also available in kit form in both brass and nickel-plate from 1m up to 3m and can be found by clicking this button-link:

 

The mechanics of point / switch design and details of the companies products in this area are to be found at the click of the button-link below:   

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An example of Thiel Trackwork

Trainline 45  

Train Line 45 are a Swiss supplier of Gauge-1 sectional track and components are are distributed in the USA by Train Li-USA. Their products observe the traditional features of virtually every other European manufacturer of Code 332 sectional track for 1:22.5 scale with brass rail attached to sturdy UV-stable brown plastic ties in a Euro sleeper style. It can also be supplied as nickel-plated.

Straight track comes in lengths of 300mm (c. 1'); 600mm (c.2') and 1200mm (c.4'). Curves are limited to 900mm (c.3') and 1200mm (c.4') radii to match LGB's R2 and R3 but are not identical or indeed Piko's R' designations so watch out if you are intending to "mix and match". The  track sections are also connected in such a way as not to leave an unsightly gap in the middle unlike several other manufacturers but this results in slightly shorter rail joiners so one has to make compromises.

They also offer moulded standard and flexible sleeper strip in two forms (both approx. 1' long) together with 5' and 8' lengths of rail in a choice of brass or stainless-steel for those modellers who build their own trackwork. They also supply a somewhat unusual 3-sleeper tie section caled a "Swiss" tie which snap together to form whatever length you have in mind. Sounds a bit complicated but once you get used to them may have some benefit.

To complete the ensemble they have matching switches which have tapered ends to the point where they join the stock rails. All in a all a useful addition to the track family but possibly more expensive coming from Switzerland.

Märklin Gauge 1 Track  (Spur 1)                                                           

                                            

Whereas it is generally well known that the German firm of Märklin now own LGB it may not be so widely  known they also have a separate line of Gauge 1 (1:32 scale) model railways products under their own badge including a range of track items.

 

Not being too familiar with the Märklin product range when I came to review their current production I was somewhat taken aback by the sheer variety of sectional curved track available but equally perplexed by the somewhat bizarre item code designations in use. Once I had created a track schematic for the 9 different radii (represented by 12 coded curved track items) it all became a little clearer but the justification for a 4 number code as opposed to a 5 number code defeats me.  

 

It suspect it may be something to do with the acquisition of track tooling, moulds and residual stocks that Märklin acquired from a supplier Hübner Feinwerktechnik GmbH (a company based in Tuttlingen - Southern Germany) when the founder, Wolfgang Huber was forced to give up his business in 2005  due to ill-health.

Hübner had produced Gauge 1 (1/32nd scale) model trains and accessories for Märklin from 1982 until 1992 when Hübner decided to sell its products under the company's own name. In 1998 the collaboration with Märklin and all tools and the remaining stocks of the company were taken over by Märklin in August 2007.

 

It it rumoured that the quality of the Hübner products was somewhat superior to even Märklin’s “unsurpassed” reputation for high quality but these ‘legacy’ items might account for the proliferation of track types now available.

 

It is also not entirely clear which items originated from which company but it would seem that Item Codes 59051 to 59080 may reflect Hübner involvement as they have a subsidiary ‘H’ number in parenthesis. If any reader can throw any light on the matter I would much appreciate it.

 

Somewhat unusually for railway track manufacturers Märklin seem a little reticent to specify the materials actually used in their track production but stainless steel rail seems to be the most likely constituent. Although this type of track is eminently suited for outdoor applications there can be problems with loss of conductivity at section rail joints. Märklin may be overcoming this by incorporating a small quantity of nickel but again it is not entirely clear from their website.

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The track itself seems primarily intended for 1:32 scale (standard gauge) and the sleeper patterns would seem to reflect this although there is no real reason to prevent one form using it for other purposes.

Märklin Gauge 1 Curves  

 

The Marklin range of Spur 1 curved tracked sections is quite impressive and covers 12 (twelve) different radii making it relatively easy to construct parallel tracks or easements:

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In addition to the curved track section collection Märklin also market a large assortment of straight track sections from a miniscule 59.5mm (Item Codes 5916 and 59051) up to a full 900mm (Item Codes 59033 and 59061 – both with 45 sleepers by my count).

               Märklin Curve 59075                    Märklin Straight 59055                     Märklin Curve 59071  

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Marklin 59071 G  #1 Scale 461mm Radius C

        Märklin Curves 5922                                                                      Märklin Straight 59057  

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The following Company Data Sheets may help to gain a better understanding of the track geometry:

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You can also construct your own straight or curved track in  lengths up to 900mm and with a radius of 1020mm or greater using an innovative kit of parts (Item Code 5998). In lieu of conventional pre-cut sleeper/tie strips you are supplied with individual asymmetrical plastic sleepers (the snap connectors are of two different sizes set  1mm apart) which may be connected in a particular sequence to create either straight or curved track with a 20mm distance between ties – ingenious! In this way larger radii can be produced up to 3000 mm which is quite impressive. See Diagram.

 

Apparently the matching rail can be bent by hand which would suggest that it is not brass which is notoriously difficult to curve accurately without bends and subsequent wastage of what is a very expensive component.

Snap Connections.PNG

I don't believe that I have come across quite this approach adopted before but there seems no reason why it should not prove a satisfactory solution to most modellers needs for authentic sweeping curves. Being all “fingers and thumbs” myself (these days I expect the phrase would be “manual dexterity challenged” ) I just don’t envy the large scale modeller the job of feeding the rails through hundreds of chairs.

Naturally the choice does not end there as Märklin also market matching points/turnouts/switches ranging from the common Radius 1 600mm Left Hand (5965) and Right Hand (5966) pair through the wider radius 1020mm Left Hand (5976) and Right Hand (5977) and 1394mm Left Hand (59088) and Right Hand (59087) forms up to an imposing 2321mm extra wide radii Left Hand (59084) and Right Hand (58083). There is even a set of useful Curved Points in a 1394mm / 1550mm combination in Left Hand (59805) and Right Hand (59086) styles.

Marklin Track Library Switches 2.PNG
Centre of a Double Crossover 59094.jpg

For those who enjoy complex track formations you can even obtain a 1394mm Double Slip (59093); a 1394mm Three Way Turnout (59091) and even a” Hosentrager Mittelteil (Centre Section of a Double Crossover - I had to look that up) which can be combined with Item Codes 59087-59088 or 59093+59092 to produce a fine piece of model railway engineering.

Märklin also produce a range of accessories for Gauge 1 including intricate switch stands and old-time ‘buffers’ as illustrated below (but make sure you get the right version) for your track installation:

MN59097 Switch Stand RH.jpg
Marklin 59098 Left Switch Stand.jpg

Märklin G1 RH Point Switch Stand                     Märklin G1 LH Point Switch Stand

Given the impressive credentials of the Märklin Group, the quality of their products, and the impressive selection of track available I am a little nonplussed as why they should wish to hide their light under the proverbial bushel as far as the UK is concerned.

 

Surely there must be a sizeable market for Gauge 1 Standard Gauge track to complement their existing Narrow-Gauge range represented by LGB (now also owned by Märklin)? Perhaps it is a case of ineffective representation in the UK marketplace rather then the company’s lack of interest but if they wish to compete with Piko they surely need to establish a more visible presence and retail outlets other than the omni-present eBay.

Incidentally Märklin use Alternating Current (A/C) to power their Gauge1 (Spur 1) trains unlike LGB who use Direct Current (D/C).

 

Link to Marklin / Hübner track: 

 

 

 

Märklin Spur 1 Website:

 

 

Pros:

· Long established who have invested heavily in Gauge 1 in recent years.

· Excellent range of sectional track

· Innovative “flexible track” offering

 

Cons:

· Availability somewhat limited

· Suffers from lack of promotion and retail outlets in the UK market

USA Trains 

And last, but certainly not least, in our quick world tour of major G Gauge track manufacturers is USA Trains who may not be as visible as some others this side of the pond still have a devoted following - mainly due to the incredible range of products they supply but also the quality of what they manage to produce.

 

I have incorporated USA Trains Code 332 track on my own layout and it mixes well with Aristo-craft, Piko, LGB and the like.

USA Trains is based in Malden, Massachusetts and is one of the major players in the large-scale model railway marketplace. It is owned by Charles Ro, one of, if not the largest model train stores in the States. The company started manufacturing large-scale models railways in 1982 when their supply from Lionel was interrupted.

 

USA Trains’ brass track is very similar to that produced by Aristo-craft but does not appear to be as widely available in the UK or come in quite the same variety of types and materials. Nevertheless there is a choice of 4 straight sections (6", 12", 24" and 60") and no less than 5 curved sections up to 20' Diameter (4', 5', 8', 10', 16' and 20' Diameter). Their range also includes wide radius and standard  4’ diameter remote controlled switches (points/turnouts).

Usa_trains.gif
r81720 Illuminated Lantern Switch
r81500 5' Curve
r81500 5' Curve
R81010 12 in Straight
R81625 8' Diameter switch LH
R81700 10' Diameter
R81615 No. 6 Turnout LH
R81100 4' Diameter
R81900 20' Diameter

USA Trains track is all made from solid brass with a traditional Code 332 flat-bottomed profile firmly fixed into UV protected simulated American pattern ties (sleepers) using a combination of strong chair “spikes” strengthened by screws from below to hold everything in alignment. It also employs much the same slide-on screw-in brass rail joiners apprach used by Aristo-craft and now Bachmann with the same tiny hex screws to improve electrical conductivity.

 

The latter prove troublesome and you are advised to magnetise your hex driver or apply a small blob of grease to the end to hold the screw in place whilst you insert same. A magnet is also useful to retrieve any un-co-operative screws that inevitably drop into the ballast – see my earlier suggestion to place a sheet of white card underneath the track whilst carrying out this type of operation.

 

The track tie strip also has small holes drilled at regular intervals along the centre of each tie strip to provide for fixing to the roadbed.

 

It is possibly worth mentioning that USA Train track also has an angled ‘lug’ in the bottom of each rail joiner to retain it in position on the tie strip. This practice is also followed by LGB. USA Trains track is compatible with most other Code 332 types although you may have to use a bit of gentle persuasion when initially joining different makes.

 

The pre-formed  Straight and Curved track sections are

complemented by three sizes of turnout (switch/point) –

a No.6 large diameter switch in right and left-hand

configuration, an 8’ diameter turnout (image left) and a

10’ diameter point for a more realistic appearance.

Unusually, they all incorporate all-metal frogs and also 

come equipped for remote control electrical operation

using simple A,B,C, D connections and red/green

indicator lights so you can’t go wrong when installing

them. The switches also feature Lighted Lanterns

showing the direction of travel the switch is set for – a

nother useful visual check and further enhancing their

value for money.

All in all, track selection is very workmanlike and should serve you well if you are able to source it at a reasonable price. Depending on the exchange rates and shipping costs prevailing at the time you may get a reasonable deal from a USA stockist (especially direct from Charle Ro although several other dealers seem to stock  Track).

 

For more detailed information on USA Trains track watch this Large Scale Online Video:           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Solid durable construction

  • Useful additional switch features

 

 Cons:

  • Hard to find in the UK

  • No flexible version

R81625 8' Diameter switch LH.PNG

or visit their website by clicking the button-link:

Modellbau-Heyn    

I had originally intended to finish this particular module at this point but during my research for more obscure track suppliers I came across a small workshop in Germany, founded by Bertram Heyn in 1983, which produces architectural models, fair displays, museum and functioning models. Since 2001 Modellbau Heyn have extended their activities to embrace model railways and now specialise in several unusual products including  a comprehensive - field railway track system ( very well suited for 1:13.3 scale modelling), 45mm gauge, 64mm gauge, and even 89mm gauge (suitable for 1:16 scale) as well as dual gauge variants and a choice of wood, concrete or even ‘Y’ shape steel sleepers.  If you seek the unusual, I recommend a visit to their website:

here are just a few examples of their fascinating range: