In 2010, I began to look into track options for my new rail-powered (track power) outdoor layout. Though on a tight budget, track that required little or no cleaning was a big priority. My knees and back aren't getting any younger; so stainless steel seemed the best option.
However, TRAINLI's nickel-plated brass (NpB) seemed a great alternative. It was less expensive, and seemed to have the same lack of oxidation as stainless. So I went all in with TRAINLI NpB flextrack. And year after year since then, I congratulate myself in doing so.
Let's talk about cleaning:
Once a year, or maybe twice, I walk the track with a damp pole-mounted cleaning pad (I use a Swiffer® with wet cloths), lightly cleaning as I go. That's it. No track-cleaning cars, no scrubbing.
What about Conductivity?
Then, there's conductivity. Brass is obviously a great conductor, and the nickel plating is as well. The TRAINLI rail clamps bite nicely into the rail, giving great joint connectivity, and plenty of opportunities to make feeder wire connections. With brass rail, I've seen various articles on jumpering over the joints with wire soldered to the rails on either side. With the TRAINLI NpB rail and its joiners, I just have not had any issues. By the way, if you want to solder to TRAINLI NpB rail, you can. With stainless rail on the other hand, you certainly cannot.
The NpB TRAINLI rail clamps involve a machined profile that locks onto one side of the rail, and two SS screws that -- as I described prior -- slightly "bite into" the rail on the other side. By this I mean that, if you torque down on the (harder) stainless screws, the underlying brass core of the rail will slightly deform to the shape of the flat head screw. This creates a very small, but effective, dished place for the conical screw to rest in the rail, making it practically impossible to slide the rail ends away from one another. The slight dishing also adds greater surface area to resist screw loosening. In my mind, this arrangement is superior to a clamping approach that relies solely on friction between the rail flange, and clamping components above and below it..
Question of Ties
Don't forget ties. TRAINLI offers US narrow gauge, Euro, black, brown, numerous options to choose from. Their brown US NG ties match LGB track and switches, in case you have legacy switches to interface with. You can pre-assembled flextrack, or assemble your own track with rails and ties from TRAINLI, or purchase lengths of sectional track. Either way, it's a great deal.
Finally, availability. I see friends on the forums trying to get stainless track, hoping to get the next lot of used AristoCraft SS track on Ebay or at a show. My question is always, Why? Why not get NpB track from TRAINLI? You get all the benefits of stainless. And, it's new; and you can keep getting it in the future from one of the most reputable and robust of all rail and track providers.
In summary, I'm very happy with my decision for TRAINLI NpB Track. The key features include:
And great support from Axel, Joane, Dan, Nico and all the TRAINLI team.