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Offline Labrat  
#1 Posted : 26 December 2005 07:46:28(UTC)
Labrat


Joined: 16/10/2005(UTC)
Posts: 22
Location: ,
Hello everybody out there in Marklin Land:
I hope everyone is having a most enjoyable Christmas Holiday!
My question has to do with the advantages/disadvantages of building my new layout with either the C track or the K track. I have spent a lot of time and money assembling a rather large collection of new and old Marklin locos and rolling stock. I am now to the point of having to decide which Marklin track to go with. I am very concerned about the amount of problems I have read about in the forums about the tabs breaking on the C track. And this was on track only 2 - 3 years old. I myself have always had reservations about the "plastic" composition of the C track as I am a "metal" man and enoy the metal construction of most of my Marklin locos and even old rolling stock such as the #4015,4016,4017,etc. (I am planning a Swiss layout) I intend my layout to last many years so I am thinking since I am about to buy a large amount of track it should be something very robust that should last
a long time, like my Marklin locos and cars themselves. Are there any disadvantages to building my layout with K track? The prices here in the US are about the same as C track, so price is not a concern. Is the K track capable of delivering all the same capabilities of the C track regarding the digital capacity of my two Mobile Stations? Can K track be used with the new Central Station? Any other factors am I overlooking here? Please let me know as I do not want to make a giant mistake by selecting one track over another. Thank you all for your input and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all !!!! Thanks, Labrat
Offline Timaximus  
#2 Posted : 26 December 2005 11:54:22(UTC)
Timaximus

Netherlands   
Joined: 19/06/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,412
Location: Home
C-Track is more robust then K-Track.
K-Track is more realistic then C-Track.
K-Track has more track parts variations.
K-Track and C-Track have the same electrical and digital characteristics.
K-Track has Flex-Rails (90cm track part).
C-Track has some nice options to create contact track yourself without cutting the track.
The Rail decoders for the turn-outs can be placed under the C-Track, out of sight.
The turn-out activation device is also placed under the C-Track, out of sight.
Both can be used with any Digital control or power source.
You can mix K-Track with C-Track on your layout (for example C-Track out of sight and K-Track in sight).
...
Märklin | HO | C+K Track | Digital | I+II+III+IV+V | Power and control by Uhlenbrock | Win-Digipet
Offline perz  
#3 Posted : 26 December 2005 12:11:01(UTC)
perz

Sweden   
Joined: 12/01/2002(UTC)
Posts: 2,577
Location: Sweden
Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Is the K track capable of delivering all the same capabilities of the C track regarding the digital capacity of my two Mobile Stations? Can K track be used with the new Central Station?


All three types (M, C and K) can be used with the digital systems.
The contact between rail pieces are somewhat weaker with k-track, but that can be compensated with more track feeds.

C-tracks are more robust for frequent assembly/disassembly, except for the tabs breaking problem (which I haven't experienced myself). But if you are planning a permanent layout there is no reason to worry about any of the tracks systems.

Advantages with K-track:
- More freedoms in track geometry.
- Flex track.
- Narrower (more realistic) parallel track distance
- Lower height, saves clearance on multi-level layouts
Disadvantages with K-track:
- Needs loose ballast to look good (more work)
- More difficult to hide turnout motors
- Higher rail profile (code 100), less realistic in this respect
- Not so good contact between rail pieces

Advantages with C-track
- Includes ballast (saves work)
- Very good contact between rail pieces
- Lower rail profile (code 90)
- Turnout motors can be hidden in the trackbed
Disadvantages with C-track
- Limitations in track geometry, difficult to design track plans with it
- The railbed steals some height

Personally I would go for K-track because I find the C-track geometry too limited and I haven't been fully satisfied with my C-track weathering experiments. K-track will give you more freedom, but it will also give you more work than C-track. If time is a severe restriction, choose C-track.
Offline Trainingtime  
#4 Posted : 26 December 2005 14:06:51(UTC)
Trainingtime


Joined: 09/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 315
Location: Ohio, USA
I am using C-Track on a new layout. I have not had any trouble with tabs breaking so far (fingers crossed). It has taken some extra trips to the hobby store to get the right pieces more than once. Probably the same for most track types. C-Track seems nice and robust and is quick to layout if you want to look at a few layout quickly to help in the layout decision making. Since I am new to the hobby it was easier to go with c-track as all starter kits came with it, so after puchasing several starter my mind was made up for me.
Offline rschaffr  
#5 Posted : 26 December 2005 15:42:01(UTC)
rschaffr

United States   
Joined: 03/01/2003(UTC)
Posts: 5,170
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA
I prefer K-track because of the flexibility (pun intended) of design and the more realistic look. I built a smaller layout with C-track to see how it worked. It is easy to assemble and has great electrical characteristics. You CAN mount your switch hardware underboard with K-track. Marklin sells a kit for that purpose. I use this kit with the Circuitron "Tortoise" switch machine to get more realistic slow switching on my visible switches.
-Ron
Digital, Epoch IV-V(K-track/IB), Epoch III(C-track/6021/6036/6051)
http://www.sem-co.com/~rschaffr/trains/trains.html
Offline aj1201  
#6 Posted : 26 December 2005 16:56:27(UTC)
aj1201


Joined: 15/10/2005(UTC)
Posts: 91
Location: westwood, New Jersey
Im building a layout with c track assembled and disassembled several times with no problems the breaking issues recently posted was shocck to me i am not being careful at all and have no problems. Sometimes i wish i did k track for the more realalistic bed you can make and flex track would have been nice in a few areas, the c track bed looks good at first but doesnt take long to look to fake i will try to ballast my c track. Turnouts have great advantages, very easy to mount led, motor, and decoder in one quick shot. Theres no straight answer you will have to choose or mix the layout.
Offline HueyCE  
#7 Posted : 26 December 2005 17:08:19(UTC)
HueyCE


Joined: 12/01/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,528
Location: Groton, Connecticut
First off I haven't worked with K-track, but I do work with my wife's Z scale track quite a bit and other than not being 3-rail it is similiar to K-track. For HO layouts I use C-track and must say I like using it better despite the problems of geometry and the tabs breaking on occasion. C-track is also kid friendly if that is a consideration. When ever I am working on a layout my grandson always insists on "helping" me, you may encounter the same issue.
Ira
Building German Era I-II layout(Mk IIIc).UserPostedImage

Offline rschaffr  
#8 Posted : 26 December 2005 17:24:12(UTC)
rschaffr

United States   
Joined: 03/01/2003(UTC)
Posts: 5,170
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA
Actually, WinTrack does a good job with the C-track geometry. If you give it enough space, I have yet to find a gap it couldn't close for me. It just takes a lot of little pieces sometimes.
-Ron
Digital, Epoch IV-V(K-track/IB), Epoch III(C-track/6021/6036/6051)
http://www.sem-co.com/~rschaffr/trains/trains.html
Offline HueyCE  
#9 Posted : 26 December 2005 17:35:20(UTC)
HueyCE


Joined: 12/01/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,528
Location: Groton, Connecticut
Ron does make a good point about the Wintrack program. I use it all the time and it will find a way to close any gaps, it helps overcome the geometry problem.
Ira
Building German Era I-II layout(Mk IIIc).UserPostedImage

Offline jte  
#10 Posted : 26 December 2005 17:54:39(UTC)
jte


Joined: 30/10/2005(UTC)
Posts: 117
Location: ,
I use C-track for my constantly changing test track.

For my permanent layout I use K-track. My layout is mostly shunting yard, which is more easy to ballast with K-track (no track beds in yard). With K-track you can "adjust" the position a little, C-track has to fit exactly. I haven't experienced any electrical problems with K-track, but I'm feeding it every 1 meter.
With C-tracks the ability to hide turnout motors in track bed has two sides: it is easy to build, but very difficult to service on permanent layouts.

The final choice is a matter of taste, is your focus on landscaping I would take K-track, if on running trains and maybe automated traffic I would choose C-track.

Anyway both are very good choices biggrin. And remember, the best part of building layout is the planning phase.

Juha Telimaa





Offline Maxi  
#11 Posted : 26 December 2005 19:10:53(UTC)
Maxi


Joined: 28/04/2003(UTC)
Posts: 757
Location: Wawa, Ontario
So far I have only used C track and do find that it can be limited in creating certain styles of geometry. Decoder placement does not impress me much by having it under the track, to me the more you place under something the more you have to rip up for every little problem encountered. I prefer to have the majority of items (decoders) in a common location and have more wire strung to the connecting parts (wire is cheap). There has been mention of the turnout motor causing problems when the metal housing comes in contact with the center rail on the C track turnouts. I did encounter a problem with the attaching of the turnout motors to the C track turnouts (the plasic can break or crack if the item is overtightened and this can happen easily). It has been noted that for C track the turnout motor should not be tightened completely, there should be a little play in it.

I will also be looking into using memory wire to activate the turnouts so that the action is quiet and hopefully cheaper (definetly cheaper if you are planning on changing from one track system to another, eg C to K).

A track planning program is in my opinion worth every penny and have used RR-Track but will most likely switch to Wintrack for the next layout. With a track planning program you can have multiple designes saved and modifying the design is quick (you also get the added benifet of knowing exactly what parts and how many are needed to make the design).
Offline steventrain  
#12 Posted : 06 January 2006 19:56:28(UTC)
steventrain

United Kingdom   
Joined: 21/10/2004(UTC)
Posts: 31,394
Location: United Kingdom
I have a C-track,I didnt see any problem at all.
Large Marklinist 3- Rails Layout with CS2/MS2/Boosters/C-track/favorites Electric class E03/BR103, E18/E118, E94, Crocodiles/Steam BR01, BR03, BR05, BR23, BR44, BR50, Big Boy.
Offline mrmarklin  
#13 Posted : 06 January 2006 22:15:08(UTC)
mrmarklin

United States   
Joined: 27/10/2004(UTC)
Posts: 850
Location: Burney, CA
The greatest negative to K-Track is the unrealistic rail profile (code 100) vs C-Track (code 90). Of course if you have a lot of very old rolling stock, this may be an advantage for you.

I'm using K track on my permanent layout for several reasons. One is that it is easier to weather. I spray all my visible track with Floquil Roof Brown paint to take the shine away from the plastic ties, and second to put a dark rust like color on the rails themselves. I can't do that with C track without dealing with the ballast. Or I would have to weather the rails and ties by hand. Another reason of course is flex track so that I don't have any small visible curves on my layout, but only gentle ones. All smaller curves are hidden. Next is that I use Merkur roadbed (now marketed by Noch) for a very uniform ballast effect. This roadbed is just the correct height for the installation of catenary, as well. It looks very realistic, and loose ballast is available for special situations. Switch motors are a problem with C track in that unless a lot of cutouts are made in the layout, they are almost impossible to replace. I have used the under layout kits by Marklin in the past, and find they are OK. I have seen the Tortoise machines installed, and they seem also very good to me. The important thing is that one has access to the motors without special cut outs. By using K track sleek switches, detection is much easier to deal with on a K track layout. AFAIK the rails on the switches for C track are not isolated. Being able to put digital decoders under C track switches is NOT an advantage because on a large layout, this is not an efficient use of digital power. I don't consider C track more robust than K track, actually, the opposite. There's lots of steel in K track!! I don't consider the tab breaking issue with C track relevant on a permanent layout.

Regarding contact between rail pieces, I have rendered this moot by soldering the K track connectors together and furthering soldering the center rail connector to the metal under the rails as well. That way there are NO mechanical connections between the transformer and the center rails. From my days in the RC car racing hobby, I learned that the best way to have electrical reliability is NO MECHANICAL connections between the power source and the end use. I don't think this would be as easy to do with C track. So C track connectivity is actually a DISadvantage. For a long term permanent layout you want absolute reliability. Only soldering gives you this.

Use a track planning program for design. There are several on the market. I use WinRail.

From the People's Republik of Kalifornia
Offline laalves  
#14 Posted : 21 May 2006 19:08:24(UTC)
laalves


Joined: 10/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 2,162
Location: Portugal
Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Originally posted by mrmarklin
<br />Regarding contact between rail pieces, I have rendered this moot by soldering the K track connectors together and furthering soldering the center rail connector to the metal under the rails as well. That way there are NO mechanical connections between the transformer and the center rails. From my days in the RC car racing hobby, I learned that the best way to have electrical reliability is NO MECHANICAL connections between the power source and the end use.


Hi,

Can you please elaborate on these ideas, maybe with a couple of pics? How do you solder the steel rails together, and what do you mean by "soldering the center rail connector to the metal under the rails as well"?

How do you do all that soldering without melting the plastic ties?

Luis
Offline alonso231gery  
#15 Posted : 21 May 2006 19:31:30(UTC)
alonso231gery

Greece   
Joined: 24/08/2002(UTC)
Posts: 3,946
Location: Hellas (Athens)
Sounds like a ritorical question.
An outsider.
I'm looking for the owner of that horse. He's tall, blonde, he smokes a cigar, and he's a pig!
Offline laalves  
#16 Posted : 23 May 2006 19:45:12(UTC)
laalves


Joined: 10/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 2,162
Location: Portugal
Mrmarklin, are you watching this thread [:I]?

Luis
Offline SRB  
#17 Posted : 25 May 2006 15:19:12(UTC)
SRB


Joined: 19/03/2006(UTC)
Posts: 162
Location: ,
Quote:
[size=1" face="Verdana" id="quote]quote:Originally posted by mrmarklin
Regarding contact between rail pieces, I have rendered this moot by soldering the K track connectors together and furthering soldering the center rail connector to the metal under the rails as well.


It sounds on me as overkill.

When wiring for every one meter I don’t have problems with the electric contact. Nether with M- nor C-track.
IB; C-track; DSB and SBB ep. III-V
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