N scale: code 40 rail and wheels

NashvilleGuy's picture

Let's suppose that I am an N-scaler who wants to play around with hand laying track and let's further suppose that code 40 rail has caught my eye. What sort of headaches can I anticipate regarding wheels? Do wheels that meet the NMRA RP-25 spec run okay on code 40 track? It's easy enough to swap out trucks on rolling stock, but locos can be a bit more involved. Do you code 40 folks slave over locos to get them to ride the rails and not the ties? (I've recently seen the manufacturer write ups for a couple of locomotives proudly state that they can run on code 55 rail! Hmm...) Are certain manufacturers of rolling stock and/or locos known to be good out of the box and not need modification?

Like I said, just supposin'...


ChrisNH's picture

I am interested too

I recently bought some code 40 rail, ties, and pc ties to try putting down some track but have not had a chance to get to it.

My understanding is that commercial code 40 rail is problematic because of the height of the plastic nubs that hold the rail to the ties. However, my understanding is that hand laid track hand laid with a combination of PC ties and glued wood ties doesnt have that problem and has a much higher compatibility. This is all heresay to me until I actually get some track down and run some trains on it. Once I get some heat into my basement I plan to give it a try.. right now I stick to doing more "active" activities down there. 

My best resource thus far has been the San Diego Society of "N" scale club. A shame they are on the wrong coast. Anyway.. the site is http://www.sdsons.org. They use code 40 throughout their layout.

Specific sections..

For track standards: http://www.sdsons.org/Club%20Documents/standard.html

Turnouts: http://www.sdsons.org/Club%20Documents/turnouts.html#generalinformation

It would be interesting if someone made a product for code 40 like peco code 55 rail where the rail is sunk into the tie rather then attached with nubs to get around the wheel bump problem..


“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”           My modest progress Blog

NashvilleGuy's picture

Thanks for the info

Thanks for the information, Chris. I had a gut feeling that if folks had to rewheel everything in their fleets to use the code 40 rail I wouldn't see nearly as much interest in it as I do. I imagine that as long as I stay away from cheap-o locomotives and rolling stock things ought to work okay.



bkempins's picture

You will make a great straight man as....

 I address this topic in my column in the first issue of MRH. Please check it out when it comes out in 10 days.



Bernard Kempinski
Personal Layout Blog: http://usmrr.blogspot.com/


Chris, it would be even more

Chris, it would be even more interesting if Atlas and Intermountain installed low profile wheels on their engines. This would make them run smoothly on commercial code 40. That said, I can't wait for Bernard column :)

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