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Is it me? Peco 16.5mm Bullhead track...where's the rest of the kit? - The Lineside. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon May 13th, 2019 07:26 pm
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Chubber
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I have bought a length of the new, more prototypical Bullhead flexitrack and very nice it is too, notwithstanding its eyewatering £5 a length. My intentions are to have this trackwork 'fronting' the station/yard areas with cheaper stuff out in the sticks and hidden sidings etc., however, there seem only to be a LH and RH large radius points available at £32 each and they are too long for a runrounds, access pointwork for engine sheds etc. Moreover the thought of the price a single slip and long crossing in this range brings me out in a cold sweat!!

I wonder if you have any suggestions for

a.  Alternative manufacturers pointwork to use with the new Peco flexitrack as I do like the sleeper spacing and fine appearance
b.  Alternative manufacturers pointwork and flexitrack you'd recommend over and above Messrs Peco
c.  Alternatives to cutting out a proportion of sleepers from Peco track to achieve a better appearance as I did on Bear's End

I await the venereal vennerabble venerable sagacity this forum is a byword for.....

Douglas



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 Posted: Mon May 13th, 2019 10:14 pm
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Headmaster
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Hi there

You ask exactly the same questions I asked myself when beginning Faversham Creek.  The Bullhead track was new out, and I really liked the profile, the rail joiners and the sleeper spacing.  But there were no "points" available at all.  Now there are large ones, but for many of us modellers with limited space, it is not very helpful. It is most unhelpful to introduce a new track option, but not offer all of the components we will need.  I am certain I would have invested the extra cost if all necessary items had been available, but instead I went will the traditional, and more complete, trackwork.  As a business model it seems daft!

So….
A:   No idea, I'm afraid.  I was advised to make my own..... but I don't have those skills - nor the interest if I'm honest.  I envy those who do it, but it's not why I model and I really don't have the skills which means it would be a very expensive process
B:  I'm not  sure there is a ready to run alternative.  I explored this quite a bit when I was setting out and the alternatives seemed to be make your own.....  Others may be better informed
C: Did you do this?  I did it on my programming track, just as an experiment, and it was a nightmare trying to keep everything square and even!  Hats off to you if you managed it, although it still leaves a problem with points, doesn't it?   And I found it very trick on curves.  By very tricky I mean next to impossible! I too have found no solution, and I have scoured the internet.  Again, wiser people may know.

In the end I went with Peco track and accepted the limitations.  

I have been experimenting with my ballasting.  My usual efforts are pretty poor really, but thankfully the only section I have done at Faversham is virtually hidden.  However, my recent experiments have been much better when I have used as little ballast as possible and ensured that what I do use, fills all gaps.  Much more realistic even with the disappointing track.  I am no rivet counter and it really bothers me, so what is doing for my counting  cousins I can only imagine!  

If you, or any members, have a solution, I will be delighted - even if I have to rip up all my track.  And If anyone from Peco ever gets to read this, please, please, please release all necessary trackwork when you launch such a great new concept!

Regards

Michael



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 Posted: Tue May 14th, 2019 01:56 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Douglas,

A. Turnouts. DIY using C+L or DCC Concepts components, or Markway/SMP (I think you would have to add cosmetic chairs but the turnouts are cheaper than Peco, sleepers are thinner) or regular code 75 flat bottom turnouts.

B. C+L Code 75 flex track looks a lot better than Peco.

C. Use C+L track or SMP track (Markway). From memory the C+L sleepers are much better spaced and a bit longer. DCC Concepts have flex track as well in code 75, but in stainless steel. I use SMP code 75 bullhead track for EM. It uses a 3 bolt pattern for the chairs. All this looks a lot better than re-spaced Peco track. SMP OO in code 75 B/H is £39.50 for a box of 10 yards.
Until Peco decide whether they will or will not expand the range of Bull head turnouts it's DIY or Markway for RTR. The GWR, in the days before track standards were implemented by the government in the 1920's, quite happily used baulk road timbered bridge rail (in standard gauge, recycled from broad gauge), bull head rail with chairs and flat bottomed spiked rail as circumstances and finances dictated. Old 9 foot long sleepers were to be found in rural sidings until the 1960's. Mixing and matching is prototypical.

I would use some code 75 turnouts and stop worrying about it. Or get into the wonderful world of DIY turnouts. C+L do point kits, soldered-up frogs (#5 to #9 in B/H), point blades, chairs with various bolt patterns (2, 3 or 4, check the railway company). DCC Concepts have some interesting parts as well. If the Peco prices made your eyes water be prepared for a waterfall. Worthwhile investing in Fast Tracks point and blade jigs if you plan on doing a lot. Niagara Falls pricing (which is apt as they are upstream from the falls).

I've used a lot of C+L components, as well as their flex track, I use SMP EM flex track, and I use Fast Tracks jigs. No association with any of them (taking my money excepted). I switched to EM gauge for my GWR projects several years ago, mainly out of frustration with trying to make OO track look decent. I would have gone to P4 but most RTR locomotives require a lot of (expensive) work when compared to EM.

The fundamental issue with any of this track is that to-scale sleepers and spacing looks decidedly odd with the under-gauged OO scale rails. I know C+L OO flex has better sleeper spacing and length, but is still not quite to scale. The SMP EM track I use would look very odd with OO gauge rails. Compromises, compromises.

Nigel




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 Posted: Sat May 18th, 2019 06:34 pm
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Simonflj55
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Marcway provide a bespoke building service as well as some point kits. Making points isn't everyones idea of fun but you can at least build what you want rather than rely on the manufacturer supplied ones. 



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 Posted: Sat May 18th, 2019 10:19 pm
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BCDR
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Simon, Hits the nail. If you can solder a rail dropper you can build a turnout.

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun May 19th, 2019 03:01 pm
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Chubber
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Hurrow!

Grateful for input, on camp-site wi-fi, will reply soon,

Doug



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 Posted: Wed May 22nd, 2019 06:08 pm
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Chubber
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Thank you all for your input, I am seriously looking at Marcway OO Bullhead flexi-track and ready-rolled pointwork.

http://www.marcway.net/list3.php?col=head&name=SCALEWAY+TRACK

The smallest turnouts are 36" radius, which I think equates to Peco medium pointwork and cost £108 for an introductory offer of 4 turnouts. Their 36" flexi-track is £39.50 for a box of 10 so not that expensive.

I have yet to talk to them about compatability with the Peco stuff I have, which fishplates/joiners etc..are suitable and if changeover track units are available.

That's all for now, decisions, decisions...

Douglas



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 Posted: Thu May 23rd, 2019 01:58 am
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BCDR
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Hi Doug,

Compatibility between code 100 and code 75 can be an issue. The other issue is that Markway sleepers (and C+L as well) are thinner than offerings from Peco, so some packing will be required where they meet. Bonus is that you would use about 25% of the ballast required for Peco track.There are joiners for code 100 to 75 F/H. I am not aware of joiners specifically for bullhead rail. (But then I don't use them on the EM track anyway, just cosmetic fish plates). I just tried some code 70 joiners on the Markway code 75 track. Works a treat. Code 83 ones were a bit loose, and code 100 very loose. Peco OOn9 joiners or N gauge joiners (code 70) should be fine.

Nigel



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 Posted: Thu May 23rd, 2019 12:15 pm
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Campaman
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I have joined code 100 to code 75 by sliding the rail joiner onto the code 100 rail, then flatten the protruding bit in plyers and then solder the code 75 on top of flattened bit of the joiner.



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 Posted: Thu May 23rd, 2019 02:44 pm
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Had a chat with a Peco guy on their stand at the Derby show recently. They had pre-production samples of a diamond crossing, single slip, double slip and medium radius points. The slips are due late autumn this year and the points early 2020.

I asked why they had released large radius points first and not the more popular medium radius he replied that they thought the bullhead rail track would appeal to finer scale modellers and that they would want the larger radius points too. Peco obviously didn't do much market research before making the decision.



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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2019 06:39 am
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Chubber
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pnwood wrote:  Peco obviously didn't do much market research before making the decision.

Yup. I expect the Acme Sealing Wax Co. Ltd. went under, continuing to release new colours of sealing wax...

Those living comfortably at the top of the executive tree probably have no conception of space constraints of ordinary mortals. For a very small retainer I'd gladly be co-opted onto their research facility to give a more balance view of the needs of the average overweight, grey-haired miserable old barsteward who I seem to meet at most shows.

Douglas

[I must not eat acid-drops for breakfast, I must not eat acid-drops for breakfast, I must n.....]



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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2019 07:19 am
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Chubber wrote: pnwood wrote:  Peco obviously didn't do much market research before making the decision.


For a very small retainer I'd gladly be co-opted onto their research facility to give a more balance view of the needs of the average overweight, grey-haired miserable old barsteward who I seem to meet at most shows.

Douglas



Doug, after 'average', please insert 'smelly'.  Lots of those people whom I meet at shows haven't quite worked out that water is not just used for making tea, you can bathe in it also!


Terry

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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2019 02:32 pm
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BCDR
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pnwood wrote: Had a chat with a Peco guy on their stand at the Derby show recently. They had pre-production samples of a diamond crossing, single slip, double slip and medium radius points. The slips are due late autumn this year and the points early 2020.

I asked why they had released large radius points first and not the more popular medium radius he replied that they thought the bullhead rail track would appeal to finer scale modellers and that they would want the larger radius points too. Peco obviously didn't do much market research before making the decision.


Looks like a case of "Peco knows best". Their code 83 F/B in contrast has a better range of points with real frog numbers (#5-#8), slips, a wye, even cross overs. Unfortunately not everything is available in either electro- or insul-, so it's mix and match. The better Peco range is I suspect because of the more comprehensive RTR ranges already offered in the US by Atlas, Walthers (Shinohara) or Micro Engineering. All of which can be used together. The Walthers range covers #4 to #10 frogs for example. Plus wyes, cross overs (diamonds) and even a three way. And a code 100 to code 83 bridging track. Which makes it easy using code 100 for the fiddle yard and code 83 for the scenic bits.

It took Atlas over 10 years to introduce a reasonable range, and that was with a very much bigger market.  With a diminishing UK market proportion using bulk head and an increasing proportion using flat bottomed modern image track it could well be an orphan range. Especially as fine scale modelers (a very small market place) move quickly into EM or P4 and hand laid track of code 70-75 as soon as they realize the many issues with RTR track and points. Just lay a section of Peco code 75 next to C+L or Markway track. Or compare the pressed metal hollow point blades used by Peco with the solid rail blades used by others. Or the one frog fits all in small, medium and large radius points. Which is designed to work with radius 1-3 set track

So actually it is pretty smart marketing. 4mm scale stock running on 3.5mm scale track is primarily a UK-only market. If you ever come across Graham Farish RTR OO track (not points) you will see what could have been done years ago (it was my Damascus moment that eventually lead me to EM). Peco HO/OO track set the standard for many years. Difficult to get away from the philosophy behind it. Kudos to Peco for even trying.


Nigel












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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2019 10:22 pm
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I have used a combination of C&L track and Peco Code 75 pointwork to date, with the points trimmed about at the throat end to get rid of the gubbins that detracts from appearance and added cosmetic C&L chairs cut in half to keep the bullhead look. Here is a pic of how it turned out.

And the alterations to the switch end.ch


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