Bachmann sectional track

Code-332 track
Marc Horovitz
Gauge-1 sectional track
Bachmann Trains
1400 East Erie Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19124
Prices: See text

Code 332, gauge 1, sectional track; variety of radii available; brass rails; plastic ties; screw-secured rail joiners

Pros: Solid brass rails; compatible with track by other manufacturers; UV-stabilized plastic ties; secure rail joiners

Cons: None
Bachmann has taken a fair amount of heat over the years for the cheap plastic track included with their starter sets, which is generally useless outdoors. The company has now come out with a line of beautiful new track that should dispel all of those concerns.

Bachmann’s new track is similar to that of other manufacturers and is compatible with them. The code-332 rails are made of solid brass. The profile is a little unusual, though. The visible part is pretty standard but the bottom has a V-shaped concavity running along its length, whereas most rail would have a flat bottom. The reason for this is unclear but it should not affect the performance of the track.

Ties are heavy, dark brown, UV-stabilized plastic. Each tie is about 38" wide x 31316" long x 516" tall. Ties are spaced roughly 11/16" on center. These dimensions vary somewhat from those of other manufacturers but there are no standards—everyone does it their own way. Bachmann’s track is visually compatible with that made by others, though tie size and spacing may vary a little. The plastic lugs that secure the rails to the tie strips are strong and robust. Each tie strip is screwed to the bottom of the rail from underneath, preventing them from sliding on the rails.

Rail joiners are made of heavy brass sheet and are the usual slide-on kind. There are a pair of slots in one web for tiny stainless-steel screws that secure the joiners to the rails. These screws may be used or not, as the end user chooses. Our review samples came with the joiners screwed onto the rails. The opposite ends of the rails had the screws already installed, so you have to remove them to be able to assemble the track. A 564" Allen wrench is necessary for this task—a ball-end wrench makes it a little easier. Even without the screws, the connection between sections feels strong and secure. For those who have a penchant for dropping their screws in the ballast, additional screws are available separately in bags of 25 ($8/bag). Rail joiners are also available separately—$16.50 for 24.

The track comes in three different radii—2' (12/box, $145), 212' (12/box, $195), and 4' (16/box, $300). Also available are straight sections in 1' lengths (12/box, $145) and 3' lengths (12/box, $385). No switches have been announced at the present time.

This is an excellent new track system. Any garden railway built with it should provide sterling service and last for many years.


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