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 HO Track: Code 100 or Code 83
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Bob Elton

Posted - 2005 June 10 :  11:11:43 PM  Show Profile
I'm creating my first HO layout, and I'm undecided about using Code 100 or Code 83 track.

Does anyone have some advice?

Bob Elton
Bob Elton

Country: USA | Posts: 1


Posted - 2005 June 10 :  11:35:30 PM  Show Profile
I think it all depends how prototypical you wish to be. If you just enjoy running trains, and have fairly straight forward track plan then save a few pennies and code 100 will be just fine. I would also suggest code 100 if you have old rolling stock with large wheel flanges.

If you are someone who wants a more realistic appearance then go with code 83.
Code 83 seems to be the standard choice, now that Peco make code 83 I would use Atlas C83 flex track with Peco C83 turnouts. But I am not sure how much extra I would be willing to pay for those new C83 Peco turnouts.

You will get more enjoyment if you spend a little extra and buy quality turnouts, cheap ones will cause derailments and be frustrating.I suggest you avoid used ones also.
I like Peco, thats my choice, there are other good brands out there.
Me, I have code 100 because I wanted Pecos and the code 83 wasn't around.

It's all scenery.

Country: USA | Posts: 2672 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 10 :  11:38:40 PM  Show Profile
Would agree with the above. My layout is large, and it was started in 1988, so code 100 is the standard. A lot of it is handlaid.

The investment is large, and there is no way I would go back and rip it up for code 83, but if I was starting out today, code 83 and code 70 would be the standard.


Bob Miller
Modeling the Santa Fe
in Oklahoma 1989

Country: USA | Posts: 2962 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 11 :  1:19:19 PM  Show Profile
When I started my new layout over two years ago I went with code 83 and am not sorry. It looks great. I used Atlas flex track and Walthers-Shinohara turnouts (after comparing them with Atlas and MicroEngineering). The ties on the turnouts are slightly thinner so sometimes need to be shimmed. The curved turnouts tend to be quite pricey, but are great when you don't want to wait for a straight section thus saving space.

The prior comment about flanges on old equipment is true. However, I have only one car I've bought in the past three years that doesn't like code 83 turnouts or bridges. It is an IHC heavyweight coach. Guess I need to replace the trucks.

Country: USA | Posts: 762 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 11 :  5:54:56 PM  Show Profile
I'm going to be perfectly honest. I went with the more prototypical code 83. It looks good however code 100 would have been easier. I think code 83 makes ballasting more difficult. Because code 83 sits lower, there's more potential for the wheel flanges to hit the ballast resulting in a bad clickety sound. This can also lead to derailments. I also had to make a lot of rail transitions to code 100 turnouts. Doable but more work..


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Posted - 2005 June 11 :  6:40:06 PM  Show Profile
The code 83 looks good, but it wuickly mad me switch to 100 when I realized I woul dno be able to run some other locomotive on it that are worth running. 100 have pretty much ben an industry standard, now if Atlas coule update the code 100 track with the code 83 ties, I would really not be able to tell the difference between the rails. I looked at both 83 and 100 when I came to that conclusion.

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Posted - 2005 June 11 :  7:22:34 PM  Show Profile
I don't see any reason not to use Code 83 track. It just looks better.

As for operation, some friends did a test on the Walthers/Shinohara Code 83 track when it first came out, and they couldn't find anything that wouldn't run on it, including older Rivarossi. I'd be curious if anyone has equipment that won't run on Code 83 track.

Chris Johnson

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Posted - 2005 June 11 :  7:39:07 PM  Show Profile
MY vote is code 83 !

BETWEEN ATLAS, WALTHERS, PECO,and a few others You get lots of choices for turnouts(switches) , Crossings, crossovers, bridge track, & wye turnouts!

Our club uses Code 83 on our modules!

I plan to use it on my permanent layout. Rite now I using Atlas TrueTrack ( which uses code83 in the roadbed (which comes off if need be ! )

Have a great weekend


Country: USA | Posts: 567 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 11 :  7:46:46 PM  Show Profile
I'd be curious if anyone has equipment that won't run on Code 83 track.

I have a Hornby 0-6-0 diesel / electric shunter OO guage, it won't run through my code 100 Peco turnouts. I don't know if it has anything to do with the code or the width of the opening between the guide rails. I haven't really looked into the problem to figure a solution.

It's all scenery.

Country: USA | Posts: 2672 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 12 :  09:16:39 AM  Show Profile
I have an old Riv 2-8-8-2 that runs fine on Walther's code 83 track and turnouts, but it hits slightly on some Atlas track and on all of their code 83 turnouts. Walther's "spike" heads are thinner.

What could have happened... did.

Country: USA | Posts: 577 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 12 :  1:05:12 PM  Show Profile
I think if you paint and ballast code 100 the right way it looks pretty good. When I started my new layout a couple of years ago I already had a lot of code 100 track and code 100 peco turnouts, so couldn't rationalize a whole new investment in code 83.

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santa fe 1958

Posted - 2005 June 12 :  2:42:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit santa fe 1958's Homepage
I used Code 100 on my previous layout. Suitably painted and ballasted it doesn't look to bad. However, I'm now using Peco Code 83 and I prefer it, although at the moment its only been painted. Not quite sure how it would react on old Hornby or anything similar though.

Brian W.

It's my railroad, and I'll do as I please!

Country: | Posts: 169 Go to Top of Page

Don Gibson

Posted - 2005 June 12 :  3:05:50 PM  Show Profile
I think

Most of us with (Old) code 100 would buy code 83 if starting out today.

Im putting in new code 83 for all secondary track such as passing siding's, and code 70 for yard's. TODAY's equipment runs on it, and it looks more REALISTIC.

Don Gibson
                       I I__()____||__| |||||
                          ((((|__|----------|  |  ||||||||||
                     //---O O O O--OO oo oo

Country: USA | Posts: 1441 Go to Top of Page

Jim from Valencia CA

Posted - 2005 June 12 :  7:23:39 PM  Show Profile
Had this thread been posted a couple of years ago, I would have definitely said go code 100 for cost, that availablity of Peco turnouts which are DCC friendly and the fact that the larger rail probably does a better job of carrying current. Most of my layout is code 100. I am delighted with it operationally. However, I have installed code 83 on several branches and if I had to do it over again, I would go code 83.

Country: USA | Posts: 1531 Go to Top of Page

2nd telegrapher leverman

Posted - 2005 June 12 :  11:19:29 PM  Show Profile
Hi All,

I used Atlas code 100 for my heavy main lines and Atlas code 83 for sidings and branch lines. Sometimes I put rips of pegboard under the code 100 to elevate it. It gives it a well drained look.

- .... .- -. -.- ...
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.- -.. ...- .. ... .

Country: USA | Posts: 4 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2005 June 13 :  12:02:16 PM  Show Profile
Originally posted by Bob Elton I'm creating my first HO layout, and I'm undecided about using Code 100 or Code 83 track.

Does anyone have some advice?

If cost is not a big issue, Code 83 is the way to go. May cost a bit more but it will eliminate any regrets in the future about not making that choice now.
If you are going to have any hidden staging yards, I have seen where several layout owners have used Code 83 for primary track and code 100 for the hidden staging yards since scenery and ballast aren't needed.

Lower Arizona


PRRT&HS 7555
OERM 2133

Country: USA | Posts: 1551 Go to Top of Page
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