Mixing Peco/Atlas Code 100/83

SDVike May 4, 2021

  1. SDVike

    SDVike TrainBoard Member

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    So a couple of weeks ago I asked on my build thread about switching from Code 100 Atlas to Code 83 Peco. I was hoping to get some feedback if the improved appearance (100 vs 83) and operations (Atlas vs Peco) was worth the significant cost to replace all the Atlas track that I currently have. I have almost 150' of code 100 Atlas flex track and about 10 Custom-line turnouts from 20 years ago. I set up a temporary layout which was enough to make me realize I did not want any of these older turnouts on my mainline. They work well enough for sidings and switching areas.

    Originally, to save money I decided to stick to the code 100 atlas track and order the new Mark V turnouts for the mainline. They were still cheaper than the Peco and I thought it would be great to test out their new turnouts on my test layout.

    Well, my test layout is starting to feel more like a permanent layout that I will expand off of. If that's the case, I would prefer code 83 for appearance. Since I don't have any code 83 track, I don't feel the need to stick to any one brand. Today, I found out that the Atlas Mark V switches have been delayed. When I ordered them over a month ago, the website said they would ship May 1st. Now the website is reporting Sept 29th. I don't want to wait that long to save a few dollars. Atlas has essentially made my decision for me.

    Here is my question.
    Has anyone successfully mixed Code 83 with Code 100?
    How about mixing Code 100 Atlas flex track with Code 100 Peco switches?

    My plan is to make all visible track Code 83 Peco. I was thinking of making a future staging yard out of the Code 100 Atlas Flex track that I have but using Code 100 Peco switches for the yard ladder. This would allow me to get some use out of all the flex track I have. I will probably sell all my atlas switches as I wouldn't want to install them somewhere that isn't easily accessible.

    Can anyone think of a good use for the older Code 100 track? I would love to hear stories or experiences of mixing track sizes and brands. Thanks.
     
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Mixing code 83 and 100 track is possible, but you will need some transition rail joiners to do it. Connecting code 83 and code 100 directly together will result in a large vertical misalignment because code 83 is shorter than code 100. Transition joiners lift the code 83 track higher so the railheads are at the same level.

    You may also need to shim underneath the code 83 ties in case they end up floating in the air after you join them to the code 100. As long as you are careful, the transition should be fine. If you are sloppy with your trackwork though, this seems like an invitation for derailments and other issues. Make sure all height transitions are gradual, that way you minimize the risk for uncouplings.

    Using code 100 in staging yards is reasonable, and I think using code 100 switches in the yard is a good idea too. Try to minimize the number of transitions between different types of rail, especially where your trains will be hitting that joint at high speed. Sometimes it's realistic to use multiple types of track, such as on sidings and industries, but I wouldn't do it on the mainline.
     
    SDVike likes this.
  3. SDVike

    SDVike TrainBoard Member

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    I put in my order for Peco code 83 last night. It was more expensive than I was planning but I’m excited to use quality track. Now I need to figure out how the unifrog and electro frog will work with my Smail turnout motors. YouTube for the win.


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