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Code 55 & working with it.


Bernard

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One of my reasons for adding a Tram line on the layout was to get the chance to work with code 55. Well, it's been an experience! I am very happy I didn't make my layout entirely code 55 or I might still be laying track.

I compared all the types I know of, Atlas, Micro Engineering and Peco and decided on Micro Engineering.

This stuff is very fragile and not forgiving. The best thing about it is that it holds it's shape but getting it into shape is another story. Unlike Atlas you can bend the track in either direction, but you have to do it very slowly. Cutting the rails to size is also a chore, since the rail is thinner, it isn't as strong as code 80, and rail joiners are very tight. (be prepared to have bandaids for bloody finger tips.) One last thing to mention, because the rail is thinner, the gauge you are going to use on your feeder wires will also have to be thin. I compared 22 & 24 gauge wire and went with the 24 because it was the best fit on the side of the rail. I read somewhere where a modeler soldered the wires on the underneath side of the rail. I debated doing this because if for some reason the feeder wire became lose over time, it would be hard to access, so I went with side mounting.

 

Okay, I've listed all the negative BUT, in the long run, after you go through all these problems, the stuff does look great. I am glad though that I worked with code 80 before trying code 55. I post some photos in the future. 

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Leo - Someone actually made code 55 Unitrack, but it will add to the cost of your track work. What he did was take the Unitrack and remove the code 80 rails, then he bought just the code 55 rails and slipped them into the slots where the Unitrack was. He claims it works and it did look great but working with the thinner rail is very fragile and you have to be careful when you cut it. Here is a link if you want to purchase just the rails. (This is geared towards modelers who plan to hand lay their tracks:

http://www.nscalesupply.com/MEE/MEE-Track.html

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I would love to take a look at how s/he does it.  I am also curious about how it looks since Code 55 is also different because of the track ties.

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