Peco Track

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AndrewC & Secondhandmodeler,

Considering I am neophyte at this hobby, is it likely I will experience benefit of Peco track? Or will I be better served by using Atlas?

Finally, should I use Code 100 track? and what's the difference between coded track?

Happy New Year,



Fleeing from Al
ST, I think I explained the difference in track code sizes in another post. Code 100 track just means the rails are .100 inches high. Code 83 is .083 inches, and so on. Code 83 is becoming more popular becuase the cross section is closer to the average mainline rail. Code 100 represents about 215 pound prototype rail, which would only be found on very heavy duty mainlines.

If I was building a layout today, I'd use Atlas code 83 switches and sectional track and Model Engineering code 83 flex track. The ME flex track is easier for a newcomer to use because it holds it shape better in curves. The Atlas and ME tracks with the brown ties are very good looking and look even better when they are ballasted and weathered. Peco track and switches do have some advantages but, if I have to explain them, it's probably not worth you spending the extra money on them. :)


I would advise against using Code 100, the size it represents doesn't really exist on North American prototypes. Plus, it is hard to bury on industrial spurs and hard to raise your roads to cross it.

Code 83 has become more popular in recent years, I use Code 70 myself. In my opinion, you can't really go wrong with Peco or ME. CVT makes the best turnouts (they are in kit form, and are curvable). I stopped using section track and started using flextrack to make my spurs and such, the stuff is just so much better than Atlas' rather static segments.


Peco vs/ Atlas

Peco track is made in the UK, and as others above have noted, the price is higher than Atlas and varies a great deal. Try some UK stores, if you buy enough the shipping cost would be well worth the price savings over most US sellers.

Track vs. track: the Peco is in my opinion, better made with more realistic detail; however, the plates and details are European prototype in nature. The concrete tie flextrack is outstanding, and I do not believe that Atlas has anything like it.

Turnouts vs. turnouts: no contest, the Peco are true, positive locking, and work very well with Tortoise switch motors. I've never hade to file the points on Peco switches; Atlas switches, depending on which plant in China they come from, require lots of tuning, in my opinion. However, you pay for that quality - about 55% more for the Peco. (Same observation regarding the details at the tie/plate level as noted above.)

And if you run European prototypes rolling stock and engines, then the extra depth of the Code 100 Peco will give more than adequate clearance for the rather large-flanged NEM equipment. I've had a lot of rolling stock that won't run across Atlas turnouts without a lot of work on the frog on the turnout with a Dremel tool. (To me, not having to perform that work effort is worth the premium price for Peco.)


Thanks for the info. Were I to go with Peco turnouts, what model should I select? I like the idea of remote switching, so maybe Electrofrog might be the way for me to go. But what about length? And streamline???

Happy New Year,



Mostly Harmless
Switchtrack. 'Electrofrog' means the frog is live electrically. It doesn't mean they are remote controlled. Insulfrog means the frog is plastic. The main difference is that you need to be more careful in wiring and placing of insulating gaps when using electrofrogs. The advantage of them is they give you better running with smaller locos as there is no gap in them electrically speaking. Streamline is just a range of products. The alternative is their 'settrack' range which is very small radius switches and sectional track.

I'm moving on to hand laying track but in the past I've used both Peco and Atlas. Personally I prefer the Peco product as the softer plastic they use for the flex track is practically indestructable. Their switches are also better looking than Altas's. I've still got Peco switches that are over 20 years old and have been salvaged from numerous layouts. Having said that, most of the code 100 stuff is pretty old and the tooling seems to be wearing slightly as the last couple of switches I picked up had loose rails.

I guess for you the decision is going to be one of balancing realism, robustness, and cost. Another consideration is that with Peco they offer 3 different ranges in code 100, 83, and 75. Not all switch types are available in each range. If I was starting again, most likely I'd be looking at the Peco newer code 83 range.
peco switches a alot better but you will pay for it. I have a layout at home with about 15 Atlas switches. over 3 years use I would say I have had to tweak about 10 of those switches to get them to work flawless. The most troublesome were replaced with peco and I never had to mess with them again.



Active Member
Just a word of caution about Micro Engineering Code 83, particularly their pre-weathered rail: it is difficult to manipulate into flowing curves. It is hard to get it to conform to a smooth eased curve unless you develop some facility with other words, practise. The best approach is to start at the middle of the three-foot sections and slowly bend them into a curve toward each end. This must be done over a series of many tiny tweaks to get the right curvature that is also not kinked.
I chose Peco for a few reasons. I don't plan to use switch machines, so I like the fact that the turnouts have a 'locked in' feel when thrown. I also wanted to us a few curved turnouts, so once again, Peco. Then to have a uniform appearance and height, I used Peco flex track. It doesn't spring back into position after being shaped. It still moves a little, but I found it easier to use than Atlas. I used code 83, North American style insulfrog turnouts. I know it's more expensive than Atlas, I've been extremely pleased with Peco so far. We'll see in the long run!


Browsing the web, I found a company called "Central Valley" that makes curvable switch kits... I have yet to try them but I think I will order one switch (only $7.99) and see how they do. They appeal to me because they are the only reasonably priced manufacturer that provides Code 70 turnouts. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to