A Railroad with Relevance

No Going Back Now

Written By: Alan - Apr• 08•11

This week marked a significant milestone in the creation of the LK&O railroad. Orders were placed for all of the track needed to build it. There should be some smiling online hobby shop owners out there right now because the orders were significant. Model railroading may be the World’s Greatest Hobby but it sure isn’t the World’s Least Expensive Hobby!

I selected Walthers/Shinohara Code 83 brand of track for my layout. While this brand is rather spendy compared to other brands it offered some advantages that really appealed to me:

  1. Very realistic looking ties, plate, and spike detail
  2. Largest selection of turnouts (switches)
  3. Made in Japan rather than China

My track plan relies on several curved turnouts. Walthers/Shinohara is the only brand that makes available all of the different frog angles of curved turnouts that I need. I love the look of a curved turnout and they really save space compared to using a straight turnout in conjunction with curved track.

There are some in the hobby that hand lay track just like real railroads. They lay ties, cut rail, and spike it down one spike at a time. They even make their own turnouts often using a FastTracks jig system. While I appreciate their craftsmanship I just can’t imagine myself doing that. The time required to hand lay the LK&O would be totally out of hand. The hobby is all about having fun and to me hand laying track, while rewarding when finished, would not be a lot of fun in the process. Besides, I want to run trains sometime this decade! So, production track it is for me. At least Walthers/Shinohara is some mighty fine looking production track.

LK&O Track Components

Description Pt # Qnty
Flex track – 1 meter 948-815 338
Bridge track 948-886 2
#6 LH 948-8803 20
#6 RH 948-8804 15
#8 LH 948-8805 14
#8 RH 948-8806 13
#4 Wye 948-8807 1
#6 3-Way 948-8808 3
#8 RH Curved 948-8829 2
#10 LH 948-8884 4
#10 RH 948-8885 1
#7.5 RH Curved 948-8889 1
#5 LH 948-8891 1
#5 RH 948-8892 2
#7 LH Curved 948-8894 1

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  1. Bill Or says:

    That’s a lot of track Alan….maybe one day I’ll have the pleasure of seeing it in person….

  2. Scott Lindquist says:

    I’m building a small switching layout. Hand laying the track with code 70/55 rail. If my layout was as big as yours I would by the track as well. I look forward to your progress!!


  3. I am just starting a large HO layout and have salvaged many Shinohara turnouts from my previous layout and have elected to purchase more for the new ones.

    question; what are you doing to make them DCC friendly, and what are you using to control them all – tortoise, push/pull rods, ??


  4. alan says:

    Scott, All of my Shinohara turnouts are the DCC friendly type (88xx series). Here is some good information about converting the old non-DCC friendly types (8xx series):

    I am controlling my turnouts with Tortoise machines.

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