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Mixing Track Types

Jerry posted this question and would like feedback from others:

“Can the different types of metals be combined on the HO same track? (steel alloy, nickel silver, brass)”

5 Responses to Mixing Track Types

  • Glenn Gardinersays:

    Yes. However, my preference would be all nickel silver. That being said, I have a mixture of nickel silver track and turnouts and some brass turnouts. Shortly after beginning to lay track I decided to only use nickel silver. I could not afford to discard the brass turnouts I had already installed, so I left them. They have not been a problem operationally, or maintenance wise. Everything is Atlas code 100 and I don’t clean it more than twice a year, if that. If I’m being truthful, it is probably only when I’m in the mood. The mixture of metals has not been an issue. I have no experience with steel alloy. Glenn

  • Geoffsays:

    As Glenn says, yes they can. You would want to make sure that the rail code is the same, otherwise you could get derailments. And different brands are sometimes difficult to mix as they may have proprietary joining methods. It’s true that they will expand and contract different amounts with temperature changes, but I wouldn’t expect that would be more problematic than what you might get with all the same metal.

  • SteveBsays:

    The only thing I can say about nickle-silver and brass track mixing is what I know from plumbing. In plumbing, mixing copper pipe with galvanized steel pipe requires an insulator to keep them from corroding due to galvanic interaction. I do not know if nickle silver and brass will have a similar problem. Any knowledge on this point would be appreciated.

  • Frank Bsays:

    You would generally want the track to be all the same material and make to give a consistent appearance. Nickel-silver rail suffers negligible corrosion, and its oxide is conductive anyway, so it needs much less cleaning than other types.

    In plumbing, the water in the pipes provides an electrolyte for the chemical reaction, in the same manner as a battery.

    So different metals would be no problem for indoor track as it remains dry, but garden railroads could certainly have a problem with different metals when track gets wet. Go with all stainless steel for that.

  • Jerrysays:

    That’s what I needed to know. Eventually I will replace everything to nickle silver.

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