|Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm) and Garden Train Store(tm)|
Track Order Form - Updated for 2017This page is a cross-reference list of track products that are especially useful to people who are beginning their garden railroads. When we started this page back in 2006, only two major brands were widely available, and we had several sources for many of the products. So we listed AristoCraft and LGB track numbers and linked to several vendors. In the intervening years, both LGB and AristoCraft have experienced business setbacks, and and several of the stores that used to sell their track have gone out of business.
For this version of the page, we are still linking to Amazon listings where we can - Amazon's treated most of our readers right most of the time, which I can't say about all suppliers. We're retaining the product ID listings for all the track we used to list, and many new pieces. That way, you have the information you need to help you keep things sorted out, whether we have a supplier to link to or not.
You may notice that we have removed listings for aluminum and stainless steel outdoor preformed track. The major provider, AristoCraft has gone out of business, and no one else is building a full line of the stuff. If you're looking for track that can't possibly corrode, check out Llagas Creek's Nickel Silver flextrack (described under the Llagas Creek header below). That said, complaints about brass track corroding are WAY overstated, in my opinion. So don't be afraid to try it for your "starter" railroad.
Track manufacturers in this list are:
In addition to the products listed on this page, if you click through on any of the Amazon links, you can easily find other track products by the same manufacturers - we only have listed the most popular products.
Note About Amazon: We're not saying you have to buy your track through Amazon. In fact, if you can find it at a local dealership, buy it there. However, for our pages, we only link to stores that A: we trust to give our readers good service and B: give us explicit permission to set up these links. One additional feature of Amazon is that if several companies are selling the same product, you can comparison shop right on the same page.
Note About Other Manufacturers:
Llagas Creek Track - A great manufacturer who had delivery issues for a short spell a few years ago is back, big-time. Llagas Creek is under new ownership. They are best know for introducing cost-effective aluminum-rail flextrack years ago. They make their track in more realistic profiles than the big brass track manufacturers like LGB. Let's face it, LGB chose code .320 for strength, not for looks. MOST garden trains will run just fine on Code 250 track, by the way.
For people modeling short lines who are really concerned with realistic appearance, Llagas Creek also makes its rail heights available in Code .215. Products designed with close attention to scale (and relatively narrow wheel flanges) will run on it just fine. Some starter sets won't.
Llagas Creek has moved on from just aluminum, to add a very nice line of Nickel Silver track. Nickel silver, also called "German silver" and "coin silver," is actually a brass alloy that looks like sterling silver; it has been used to make everything from costume jewelry to professional flutes. If you want to know how well it holds up and whether it tarnishes or rusts, dig out the oldest nickel in your pocket and examine it for any sign of corrosion.
In addition, Llagas Creek is making some very nice turnouts (switches) that aren't available anywhere else. They're actually handmade, but very reasonable in price compared to what else is out there.
I often recommend preformed curves and heavy-duty track for beginners or small railroads. But Llagas Creek stuff is quite useful and can be quite cost-effective on large railroads built by people who know what they're doing. If you've ever used "flex-track" indoors, this is closer to that sort of thing than any of the other brands, by the way.
To check out Llagas Creek's line of products, please click here. If you do get in contact with them for any reason, please tell them I send you. :-)
Others? If you come across some other brand and want to know more about it, please contact us
For more information about different kinds of garden train track, please check out the Garden Railroad Track Options page.
Please contact us with any questions.
What Not to Buy
Track Made for Indoor Use - Bachmann garden trains come with track you can't use outside. To be honest, it's not that great inside, but at least it conducts electricity. That said, there are a lot of products that are much, much worse. The so-called track that comes with the battery-powered Lionel "large scale' trains, for example. Or the track that comes with those New-Brite or other toy plastic trains that the hardware and department stores get in every Christmas and sell for half-price the day after Christmas. It is actually scary that many of these manufacturers make the same track that comes with their trains available as an "add-on" purchase.
If you have any intention at all of running your trains outside, take the plunge and pay for a circle of solid brass track from LGB, Bachmann, or Piko. Yes it costs money, in some cases more than your train. But some of the plastic toy track costs quite a bit, too, and it's an investment you will regret.
Narrow-Radius Track - "R1" track is what comes with LGB and PIKO Large Scale train sets. It's fine for what it is. But unless you need to have things fit in a very tight space, there's really no point in buying more of it. ALL trains, even the cheap battery-powered ones, look better and run better on wide curves. In fact, many of the battery-powered toy "large scale" trains barely run on the "track" that comes in the box, and the tight curves are part of the problem.
When you go to buy "real track" your train can run on outside, consider R2 curves (5'-diameter) or PIKO R-3 churves (6'-diameter). Your trains will run smoother and you'll have fewer derailments - in come cases a LOT fewer.
By the way, for a very short time in the 1980s, Lionel made brass-plated track that looked like LGB track, but on closer examination, it had hollow rails. It's okay for indoors (except for the tight radius), but outside it won't last more than a year. Remember, "solid rails, bigger radius."
Hartland Locomotive Works (HLW) has changed their track format to an indoor-only version that is the same size as the standard R1 (~48"-diameter) track. So I won't recommend it as garden railroad track. However, it is better designed than most indoor-only track, so I would recommend it for anyone who has bought large-scale trains to use indoor only for small setups, such as around the Christmas tree, etc.
Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the trains and other products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)
Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically
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