Please note that Peco Track is currently only available from our Australian store.
While it is not an accurate model of ANY national railway networks track and is a hybrid of OO and HO, we DO like using Peco code 75 LIVE frog pointwork for our test tracks – and besides, many of our clients also choose this range.
We have tested and also quite like the new code 83 US prototype trackwork. We also like Peco’s O scale track very much… it is very much more of a model of real trackwork!
So – we do stock, offer and recommend Peco code 75, 83 and O scale track. However we will only supply it in “Electrofrog” because we do not agree with the use of insulated frog pointwork!
Here is how we think about track…
The days when retailers really learned about the products that they sell seem to be disappearing, and now, the easy path is taken and modellers are given nothing useful in the way of advice (or in fact more often than not no advice at all) so I am not surprised that there is so much frustration in some of the ‘please help’ emails we receive.
The following is typical of the half-truths we often see promoted on many websites:
(Quote) “Insulfrog (dead frogs) or Electrofrog? – Which to Choose: Insulfrog electrical system is extremely simple, making it particularly simple for the beginner or less experienced modeller. That said however, Insulfrogs are very popular among experienced enthusiasts as well.”
No, they are not. No serious modeller would ever consider adopting dead frog pointwork so why should beginners to the hobby be told they should – and be sold something that will not give the best possible results!
(Quote) “Wiring instructions are almost unnecessary and, provided locomotives are fitted with sufficient current collectors, and the wheels have correct back to back to back dimensions perfect operation will be achieved.”
That could be partially true (it needs no special wiring effort), however loco and rolling stock makers RARELY EVER either adjust pickups properly OR get the back to backs right.
Adjusting the back-to-backs of driving wheels takes a lot of skill and some courage even for an experienced modeller… so what change has a new modeller got?
(Quote) “Insulfrog turnouts incorporate the minimum dead section due to the tapered frog rail design. Each Insulfrog turnout is “switched” so that only the track for which the blades are set is electrically alive*. *Except OO and N Single and double slips, Gauge 1 and G-45 R/H and L/H turnouts.
Uh huh… and? Some facts and some not so factual content there… By the way, that small dead section is all-too easily closed by an out of adjustment wheel, creating a momentary short, and that is the cause of MOST stalling on point-work, NOT lack of loco pickup!”
Therefore we just cannot support that approach at all.
The simple truth is few loco’s really have perfect pickups and code 100 Insulfrog Point-work frequently creates short circuits at the frog tip because the back-to-backs of driving wheels are hard to adjust and are often not ideally placed – Simply because the ‘standards’ to which the locos are made are not all the same!
So… to get even close to reliable running it takes modifications to the point OR a change in wiring to effectively make them ‘live’ to even begin to fix the problem. NEITHER of these things is easy for a novice, and a more experienced modeller will simply not use Insulfrogs anyway!
Even when the frog and pickup issues are settled, there is another weakness in Insulfrog points… The blades often fail to make reliable contact with the stock rails increasing stalling problems even more.
The same can be said of ALL insulated frog points of all brands and we will never offer them because we really do only sell things we might be prepared to use on our own layouts.
So… Whatever you do, DON’T use Insulfrog points if reliable slow running and switching/shunting are important to you!
The next bit, also present on many websites, is MUCH closer to reality, however there is still a need to modify ‘Electrofrog Point-work’ to make things as they should be and so they can give the results that you need!
But… it still gives only half of the story and that is a shame, because once it is done properly AND the right sort of point motor is added, they can be a far better product than they will ever be if simply laid ‘as is.’
(Quote) “Electro (live) frog: The Peco Streamline Electro (live) frog system provides maximum continuous electrical pick-up assuring perfect smooth running even at very slow speeds – Provided of course, that current collectors and wheels are always kept clean.”
Electro (live) frog turnouts are slightly more complicated to wire, however, it is not hard to do and once the basic principle is learned – ie: ‘current must always be fed to the toe of each live frog turnout’, the rest is not so very difficult. Like Insul (dead or insulated) frog turnouts, all Electro (live) frog types are ‘switched’ or self-isolating, so that the track for which the blades are set is the only road electrically active.
There it is – We DO agree with most of this and it isn’t hard to do.
You can do just a little or a lot – it is up to you – We only ever use and recommend live frog point-work and we can show you how to get the best realism, best reliability and best operational quality from your Peco Point-work very easily – We guarantee that if you purchase live or electro-frog point-work, then follow the instructions provided OR our guidance step by step, your points will operate reliably and layout will work the way it should.
We do NOT stock code 100 track in any brand. Wheels have been made with finer profiles to run on code 75 or 83 track for nearly 50 years now… and given that code 75 and 83 look more realistic and are easier to lay well than code 100, especially for novices, we see no positive reason for code 100 to exist!
By the way – we DO appreciate that you may have some code 100 you are reluctant to dump and that is OK. It is VERY easy to join code 100 and code 75 – simply file away about 5mm of the code 100 rail, leaving only the foot, so that code 75 sits on it with the rail heads in line, then solder them together!
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