Atlas makes HO Scale track in a variety of flavors. Here is some information that explains some of the differences:
- Code 83 - Becoming more popular due to its more realistic appearance. The railheads are slightly lower than Code 100. This track comes with brown ties.
- Code 100 - The old Atlas standard. This track comes with black ties.
- Atlas True Track - Code 83 track built into pre-formed roadbed. This allows for quicker and simpler assembly of your layout. The downside is that there aren't as many track sections available in True Track as there are in the other two varieties.
Some frequently asked questions:
Q - What does code mean?
A - Code refers to the height of the rail in thousandths of an inch. This means that code 83 track has a slightly lower profile than code 100.
A - I've heard that a lot of rolling stock will not operate properly on Code 83. Is this true?
Q - Not at all. Just about everything made in the past 20+ years will work fine on this track. In fact most older stuff will, too. The most likely incompatibilities involve some old imported items that had very deep wheel flanges. I have some 40+ year old HO gear that works just fine with Code 83 track.
Q - Can Code 83 be mixed with Code 100?
A - Yes. Some modelers use the Code 83 for secondary lines while they use Code 100 for their mainlines. To connect the two types, you need to purchase transition rail joiners which help ensure the railheads are level.
Q - I want to use Atlas True Track to get started in model railroading, but will I be stuck with it later on?
A - No. Atlas True Track is actually Code 83 track that fitted into plastic roadbed. The track can be removed to use without the formed roadbed.
Q - I have some Life-Like (non-Power Loc) track laying around. Is this compatible with Atlas track.
A - Yes, Life-Like track is Code 100 and can be used with Atlas Code 100 or Code 83 with transition joiners.