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PECO Summer Update 2021


Graham_Muz
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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

When I built a module for the modular layout at the RMwe Taunton members' day some years back I used Formoway flexitrack - recovered years earlier from a layout I had built in the 1960s.  Formoway's sleeper spacing was far better than the H0 spacing of Peco's offering

I was under the impression that HO sleeper spacing was correct for 16.5mm track gauge.

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I think Peco's approach is very defensible. We all have our personal wish lists, but the reality is a business needs to concentrate on their core products first. The good thing about Peco is generally their products are available... "for ever". This is stark contrast to many others where even a pre-order is no assurance of actually getting what you want.

 

A complete new track system is not something that many manufacturers want to tackle. Just think how old many of those out there are. For example Fleischmann is still selling its N scale Profi track from around 1970, as well as the old Roco track that started off being manufactured for Trix, and Trix's own track of about the same age. The Roco and Trix tracks really don't look that good by todays standards.  In the USA Atlas has a fairly modern code 55 system, but their code 80 is ancient. Where's the state of the art N-scale trackage system...(Peco? Kato?)

 

In HO Shinohara was around forever, pretty much unchanged. Atlas code 83 is ok, with a very limited selection -  no slips for example - but this is also around 20 years old. and "British Standard Set track" AKA Triang Hornby System 6. In Europe we have Rocoline, (probably 30 years old by now), Tillig code 83 fairly recent, and the newest of the lot, PIKO code 100.

 

I'm thankful that I can actually buy Peco. (Covid shortages etc notwithstanding).

 

Would I like a comprehensive system of bullhead track? Sure I would but when you start looking closely at prototype bullhead and the vast variety of custom formations you start to realize how hard it would be to satisfy everyone. 

 

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Does that mean we should just be satisfied with something that doesn't look like anything in this country?

It's probably the British attitude of "make do" that has kept Peco HO track going in this country. Now that we have something better (Finetrax), any Peco track I have will be confined to the fiddle yard.

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7 hours ago, RBAGE said:

Does that mean we should just be satisfied with something that doesn't look like anything in this country?

It's probably the British attitude of "make do" that has kept Peco HO track going in this country. Now that we have something better (Finetrax), any Peco track I have will be confined to the fiddle yard.

We have had something "better"  for as long as I can remember if you want to make points from kits.  The Finetrax 00 points might be easier to make than earlier kits but they are still kits. Just one point (so far) and no flexi track doesn't make a track system. Finetrax N gauge has been around for some time and it is excellent from what I have seen but it needs plenty of work to make the track. One day, if I build a small N gauge layout with just one or two points in the scenic area I would like to try Finetrax but for a decent sized layout Peco will be my first choice for the foreseeable future. Peco track works well and lasts well, I don't see how it can be described as "make do". If anything the choice of modelling in 00 (rather than EM or P4 or even H0) is "make do".

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8 hours ago, RBAGE said:

Does that mean we should just be satisfied with something that doesn't look like anything in this country?

It's probably the British attitude of "make do" that has kept Peco HO track going in this country.

No not necessarily but slating it isn’t the way to go either. Providing polite information to them about issues means they can take it onboard for future products. It does mean making direct contact not just posting on a forum though. Have our track experts here ever written a letter saying ‘we like your products but have a few suggestions because they represent rarely found examples’? 
Personally I have made track in O but for me it sucks the fun out of modelling, and the thought of doing it in 4mm is worse, so I choose to use rtr track because it represents what I see outside my window at work every day and allows me to concentrate on the aspects I enjoy in the time I have. 

So Peco provides a simple system and for many it is indeed ‘good enough’ because their focus is the trains or operation. 
 

8 hours ago, RBAGE said:

It's probably the British attitude of

Nit picking too ;) 

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1 hour ago, Chris M said:

We have had something "better"  for as long as I can remember if you want to make points from kits.  The Finetrax 00 points might be easier to make than earlier kits but they are still kits. Just one point (so far) and no flexi track doesn't make a track system. Finetrax N gauge has been around for some time and it is excellent from what I have seen but it needs plenty of work to make the track. One day, if I build a small N gauge layout with just one or two points in the scenic area I would like to try Finetrax but for a decent sized layout Peco will be my first choice for the foreseeable future. Peco track works well and lasts well, I don't see how it can be described as "make do". If anything the choice of modelling in 00 (rather than EM or P4 or even H0) is "make do".

Modelling in 00 gauge is a choice, not a "make do". Make do is all that's really been the option if you choose to use that scale and if you find kit building a challenge too far from the point of skill or time.

You're quite correct, Finetrax have a very limited range at the moment, but based on their n gauge range, I'm confident that it will expand far quicker than Peco's one turnout in 00 bullhead.

The turnouts are quick and easy to build so the two constraints that might limit their use (time and skill) are taken care of.

However, as I said earlier, they are infinitely more flexible in terms of being able to manipulate a formation rather than making do with set track points.

I have built layouts with my own hand made formations in EM and 00, using many techniques but for this layout I opted for Peco bullhead because they look convincing, because of the speed of the build and because of the promise  of an expanded range.

That promise was long before the pandemic so to cite the difficulties of the last 18 months is being selective with the fact. More than two years ago I fitted Peco current diamonds as a temporary measure. However good the running and operation, I think they look aweful.

So, as I have said, I have already ripped up the Peco bullhead and will rebuild with Finetrax because of my confidence that the range will grow very quickly and because of what I expect will be a more flowing set of track formations that better reflects the real thing.

Just my humble opinion but at the end of the day, it's only a train set. No more or less important than most other things that make life enjoyable.

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The guy behind Finetrax is a good guy doing some great work for the hobby. He has done a lot of work to get to where things are today and salute him for his efforts. I also look forward to seeing developments.
 

One thing I would say though - about a couple of years ago this business was so small that the turnover wasn’t big enough to register for VAT. That’s not a bad thing (I would say a good thing) but  it just shows that Finetrax is a very small business and won’t have a team of developers. I have no knowledge of current status.

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39 minutes ago, Chris M said:

The guy behind Finetrax is a good guy doing some great work for the hobby. He has Dane a lot to get to where things are today and salute him for his efforts. I also look forward to seeing developments.
 

One thing I would say though - about a couple of years ago this business was so small that the turnover wasn’t big enough to register for VAT. That’s not a bad thing (I would say a good thing) but  it just shows that Finetrax is a very small business and won’t have a team of developers. I have no knowledge of current status.

From small acorns.

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17 hours ago, RBAGE said:

Does that mean we should just be satisfied with something that doesn't look like anything in this country?

Presumably you’re referring to the rails being too close together?

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19 minutes ago, truffy said:

Presumably you’re referring to the rails being too close together?

Well, there are differing degrees of wrong. But if it's wrong, it's wrong. No matter how close to right it is, it's still wrong.

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Bullhead is a waste of effort.

I bought some Peco O gauge bullhead and it is the same as flat bottomed with different chairs. 

Bullhead should NOT be flat bottomed.

It looks ridiculous. Maybe not so much in N scale but then, why bother?

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You dont know what you have got until its gone .I was planning some dual gauge H0n3 track using Shinohara switches and now they have stopped being made Some  should stop trolling others .Track is a choice as indeed is degree of  accuracy .Dont forget everyone else on the planet thinks we are daft including Mr Rod Stewart.

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18 hours ago, Chris M said:

We have had something "better"  for as long as I can remember if you want to make points from kits.  The Finetrax 00 points might be easier to make than earlier kits but they are still kits. Just one point (so far) and no flexi track doesn't make a track system. Finetrax N gauge has been around for some time and it is excellent from what I have seen but it needs plenty of work to make the track. One day, if I build a small N gauge layout with just one or two points in the scenic area I would like to try Finetrax but for a decent sized layout Peco will be my first choice for the foreseeable future. Peco track works well and lasts well, I don't see how it can be described as "make do". If anything the choice of modelling in 00 (rather than EM or P4 or even H0) is "make do".

Just to clarify and inform.  You can make a Finetrax  B7 turnout in under an hour for EM, OO and OO-SF.  Unlike the N gauge range, no chairs to glue, couple of solder joints for wires.  I have build 3.  A base, a cast frog, 2 preassembled switch rails, tie bar, 2 stock rails and a length of rail to make the check and through/diverging rails.  Like the N gauge range, no gauges required, simple and easy....!  Not as quick as getting a PECO turnout out of the packet but if you want to use tortoise motors or similar you have to modify the PECO point, and that's your warranty gone..!

 

Oh, and pre production images of the EM gauge 1:7 diamond from Finetrax have just been shared on RMWeb, with OO and OO-SF versions likely to appear shortly after.

Edited by NFWEM57
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7 hours ago, NFWEM57 said:

Just to clarify and inform.  You can make a Finetrax  B7 turnout in under an hour for EM, OO and OO-SF.  Unlike the N gauge range, no chairs to glue, couple of solder joints for wires.  I have build 3.  A base, a cast frog, 2 preassembled switch rails, tie bar, 2 stock rails and a length of rail to make the check and through/diverging rails.  Like the N gauge range, no gauges required, simple and easy....!  Not as quick as getting a PECO turnout out of the packet but if you want to use tortoise motors or similar you have to modify the PECO point, and that's your warranty gone..!

 

Oh, and pre production images of the EM gauge 1:7 diamond from Finetrax have just been shared on RMWeb, with OO and OO-SF versions likely to appear shortly after.

Plus the Peco unifrog bullhead turnouts are known to suffer from shorting at the vee with some stock. I have experienced it and there a tales of woe reported elsewhere and possible remedies with the likes of nail varnish. Peco don't appear to have picked this one up. Not an issue on Finetrax.

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9 hours ago, NFWEM57 said:

Just to clarify and inform.  You can make a Finetrax  B7 turnout in under an hour for EM, OO and OO-SF.  Unlike the N gauge range, no chairs to glue, couple of solder joints for wires.  I have build 3.  A base, a cast frog, 2 preassembled switch rails, tie bar, 2 stock rails and a length of rail to make the check and through/diverging rails.  Like the N gauge range, no gauges required, simple and easy....!  Not as quick as getting a PECO turnout out of the packet but if you want to use tortoise motors or similar you have to modify the PECO point, and that's your warranty gone..!

 

Oh, and pre production images of the EM gauge 1:7 diamond from Finetrax have just been shared on RMWeb, with OO and OO-SF versions likely to appear shortly after.

What's a 'frog'.  Surely if it is new and sooper dooper really useful it would be given the correct term and not one used by long established model railway track manufacturers who have spent years getting it wrong?:scratchhead:

 

BTW I always like to hear about layouts which are correctly signalled, run properly formed trains in the correct manner, and operate as the prototype they are following does.  Once you've got that lot right - a great rarity - than I'm sure incorrect track gauge would really stand out. :blink:  But it usually seem to be the case that incorrect track gauge is a very minor thing amongst all the other things which are incorrect on the vast majority pf model railways.  And oddly using the correct track gauge doesn't seem to automatically put everything else right.  In fact virtually all of the best layouts I have seen in other respects such as accurate portrayal of the railway scene, correct signalling worked correctly, accurate train formations, and so on, have used track of a gauge which is less than a 100% 4mm scale reduction of British standard gauge. - maybe there is a message there somewhere?

 

I wonder if this thread will ever get back to talking about Peco and other things can be consigned to where they rightly below?   I'm still waiting for the bullhead single slips where - having spoken to a Peco rep some while back another interesting thing emerges.  Despite the extremely widespread use of single slips in British prototype track layouts Peco have found from experience that double slips  (rarer beasts in the real British railway world)  massively outsell single slips.   Which also might say something about track layout modelling apart from any comments about the popularity of a particular gauge?

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17 hours ago, DLT said:

I expect Graham is regretting starting this thread.....

I expect that Graham is hardly surprised, accepts it for what it is, and is doing something far more productive with his time.

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10 hours ago, NFWEM57 said:

Just to clarify and inform.  
 

snip

Not as quick as getting a PECO turnout out of the packet but if you want to use tortoise motors or similar you have to modify the PECO point, and that's your warranty gone..!


This is incorrect, so to inform and clarify. There is no need with Tortoise point motors to modify the Peco points in any way. Mine are wired through a DPDT switch with no modifications whatsoever. 
 

You can also run the points with Tortoises without switching the frog using them as a simple left/right switch. See video below prior to frog wiring.


There have been some anecdotal reports of some stock shorting through these points. In the dedicated point thread there is a list from me of around 70 (I think) RTR models that haven’t shorted on these points, ranging from very short wheelbase to pacific steam locomotives, and diesel prototypes of various configurations. It would help to determine if there is a problem which specific models have given a problem.

 

Edited by PMP
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PMP is correct. Also Peco actually suggest modification for certaing situations and tell you how to do it, but mostly their stuff is RTR with simple switching but relying on the blade  contact so how does affect warranty? AS for Unifrog I have no idea but they look OK to me.

This thread is a Pedant's paradise and it should have been put to sleep and out of its' misery ages ago, however it is fun watching the handbags and spittle flying around.

Dr. Froggy Wentacourting. 

 

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On 23/06/2021 at 08:17, Chris M said:

I'm a bit surprised by the animosity towards Peco here. Here's why I think Peco are a great company:-

1. They are a British  family owned company that are still run mostly by later genertions of the family that started it.  They have not sold out to anyone.

2. The owners really do care about model railways as a hobby and are very supportive. I know this because I have spoken with a few of the directors over the years. Yes I'm sure making a profit is important and I hope they continue to be a successful business.

3. When everyone was shifting production to China Peco kept most of their production in the UK which is good for the British economy (especially that of South Devon).

4. Most of what they make is of good quality and at a very reasonable price.

5. Aside from track Peco make a very large range of all those little things that are so important to us layout builders. I'm thinking products by Ratio, Wills, Parkside, Model Scene, Dundas, Harburn Hobbies and Tracksetta. Maybe one day we will all be buying 3D prints for these accessories but I think that is some time away yet. I wonder how many photos of layouts that we see include at least one product from the Peco stable?

6. They make the Peco N gauge wagons both ready to run and kits. Yes the chassis are chunky by today's standards but in a passing rake of wagons from various manufacturers the Peco ones look absolutely fine. The great thing about these wagons is their price compared to a certain other manufacturer who make everything in China.

7. They publish the best UK model railway magazine. Apologies to the mods for this but it is my opinion. I do recognise that all of the model railway magazines are very good and that all the staff work very hard to produce great magazines.

8. They publish a range of "shows you how" booklets.

 

I have made my own bullhead track back in the 1980s. It looked great and, despite the points being kit built by me, it worked very well. I reverted to Peco track in all subsequent layouts and am very happy with it. I do N these days and have been tempted by Finetracks but decided that life was just too short to make my own track again. I admire those that do make their own though.

 

Bearing in mind that they had some very big problems last year its good to see them moving forwards again. Long may they continue.

Agreed in total. Some people are just never ever satisfied and like a dog with a bone.

P

P

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19 hours ago, RBAGE said:

Well, there are differing degrees of wrong. But if it's wrong, it's wrong. No matter how close to right it is, it's still wrong.

However, if you model well then the not quite right looks a damn site better than many a "oh so correct stuff". It is called theatre.

Just my opinion.

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

Despite the extremely widespread use of single slips in British prototype track layouts Peco have found from experience that double slips  (rarer beasts in the real British railway world)  massively outsell single slips.   Which also might say something about track layout modelling apart from any comments about the popularity of a particular gauge?

Hence my earlier reference to 'convenience turnouts'. We all know a double slip and a three-way point each save precious space, so they get snapped up like manna from heaven. Replicating prototype track layouts is less accommodating, and may make operating the layout more complicated. Some of us prefer to lose a facility rather than use an unlikely combination of turnouts. 

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I think the last couple of posts illustrate that building a model railway is always going to involve a lot of compromise. We will see things differently, some will be ok with slightly compromised track and some won’t. For me things like geologically impossible land formations are a much bigger problem than Peco track.

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