In the last blog, I mentioned that all my acquisitions of track will be from PIKO. Here's why.
PIKO has a larger radius offering (R7 = 1565mm = 61.61 inches) than the LGB 1600 curves (1195mm = 47.05 inches) that were the standard on my last layout. We all know that the broader the radius, the better the trains look and run.
While I don't need them on my layout, PIKO offers curved turnouts specifically designed to move from one radius of their track to another with stock pieces - no cutting and filing.
While both the tracks are manufactured from code 332 (0.332 inch tall) brass rail, PIKO users higher quality virgin brass, as opposed to LGB's lower quality recycled brass. The rail profiles are identical, so clamps and other devices are interchangeable between the two, as well as with other code 332 brass track.
If you have ever had LGB tires rot in the sun, raise your hand. PIKO tires are thicker, more durable, and very sun resistant. In fact, we have been using them on the PebbleCreek club layout to replace rotted LGB ties. Sun resistance is very important here in Arizona, where we get rail temperatures up to 160°F in the summer.
The R7 turnouts, that I am using, are designed around the 600mm (about 2 foot) basic length. LGB 16050-type are 440mm long, requiring cutting and filing to have a piece to build into the layout with the idea of replacing it with a turnout later. Also, the diverging route on the PIKO turnouts are made in two pieces, Use the extra piece of track supplied with the turnout to replace a R7 curved track in its entirety. If you leave the extra curved track piece out, you can have shallower crossovers, since the turnout itself is 1/2 of the R7 track.