GardenRailway

Edit:14 déc. 2016, Cre:03 nov. 2010

Peco track

Flexible track

Peco (UK) manufactures a track named G-45 in silvernickel code 250, say a rail height of 6,35 mm (1/4"). At around 16 Euros per meter it is yet the lowest cost track available (setting aside aluminum track). The rail height lower than ordinary G track (LGB and others are code 332: 8.4 mm height) is more realistic and aesthetic.
It is the ideal track if your network is aboveground. Its strength is anyway largely sufficient for ground use.
The flexible sections of a length of 914 mm are supplied by 6 in the UK by miscellaneous suppliers, notably Track-Shack (75 £ for 6x914mm length). These tracks could be joined to code 332 tracks with special joiners compensating the height difference. Take into account 30 Euros for shipping of 4 to 5 boxes (20 à 25 m of track).
Beware, PECO also distribute a track with a width of 45mm for gauge 1 trains, which is not compatible with 'G' trains. This track with rail code 200 is too low to accept all 'G' equipment.

Peco flexible track after bending.
Note that if the rail is normally shining, the track shining is only due to flash.

Rail material

Silvernickel is in this particular case done with less 10% Nickel, which give a slightly yellow color to the Peco rail (if not yellow colored, this is probably 18% nickel content, more costly). Silvernickel is around 20% more stiff than brass. Its main quality is though lower oxidation and the oxide is conductive.
Silvernickel is a very elastic material used for springs. It is required to use a rail bender or better, a track bender (The only track bender model adapted to code 250 is Train-li bender). You could also build the track bender.

Welding

Silvernickel is less conductive than brass, either electrically or thermally. For an electric network, it is, as for brass track, required to have intermediate supply from a main feeder cable every 3 to 4 meters. The good new is that due to low thermal conductivity, it is very easy to weld cables on rails (without burning the ties) with a 100 W iron welder (tin weld). You could even weld the rail joiners (without forgetting to let thermal expansion gaps, for example at each feeder supply).

Switches

There is only one switch size (with Peco), with an average radius of 1200mm, radius not being quite constant with straight ends and central part bent at 600 mm radius. It does not seems to influence running of rolling stock but could be questionnable for long locomotives. Aesthetic is less good than switch having a constant radius.
Grinding of the switch points is very neat and running is quite good.

Switch frog

The angle is relatively low and rails are close. In theory, there is some risk of short-circuit by the locomotive current skids. Practically, there is no problem.
Though, short locomotives as the LGB O&K shall have sufficient speed while running on the switch, because they are no longer electrically supplied while they are on the frog.

The switch points are maintained by a spring, so if the switch is run through in reverse while in the other position, the weight of the vehicle shall be sufficient to move the switch points. If this is a heavy loco, no problem, but if you are going wagons first, you may be in trouble, with the wagon climbing on the rails. Ballast first wagon if you operate such way.

Manual control

The low cost manual control (to be ordered separately) needs assembly by gluing (glue not supplied). It give a good visual indication of the switch position at distance. It is a lever moving from one side to the other (travel is ~8 cm), so setting labels visible at distance is easy.

Switch motors

Peco does not supply motors for the switches in 'G' size, so you could use either LGB12010 or Piko PK35271 motors with an adaptator plate (to be ordered separately, ref PL8). For other motors see the page tracks. The point switch need good power because of the point spring. Motor supply voltage shall be sufficient (transfo 24VAC is better than 18 VAC).

Small length

Straight length of 314mm and curved length (radius 600mm: 12 length per circle) are available.

Crossing

No crossing supplied by Peco, but you could find code 250 junctions (and other accessories) at Sunset Valley (USA). Though the rail height is the same, the bottom shape of the rail is not identical, so rail joiners shall be adapted. You could also use code 332 crossings (or other accessories with the special joiners designed to compensate the height difference.

Track bumpers

Peco supply low cost track bumper style 'rail assembly', which shall be assembled directly on track by gluing (glue not supplied). After assembly they remain removable from the track by sliding (with the locked ties).

Track accessories

For the traditional analogic control:

  • The LGB interruptions 1015U or 1015K could be replaced by insulated rail joiners and diodes. The easyness of welding on nickelsilver helps this job.
  • Magnetic switches type 1700 /17100 (no longer supplied by LGB) shall be replaced by reed contact to be installed in the ties, for example here: Shourt-line
  • Decouplers (type LGB 1055 or 1056) could be unscrewed from LGB track and reinstalled on Peco track. Some filing to compensate height difference could be required.

Nota: This is this track that I bought at Track-Shack (who I recommend as a supplier).

(c) Pierre ROUZEAU
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