What’s the difference between one track pin and another? You wouldn’t think much, but there are important variations between the pins from Peco, Hornby and Gaugemaster.
Love ’em or loath ’em, you can’t escape track pins when laying track. Little shafts of metal from hell they maybe but just about every model railway has them.
Model railway blogger Michael Campbell recently wrote a great article on them, including a quick comparison of Hornby, Peco and Gaugemaster’s versions, the highlights of which are reproduced below.
Read the original article in full here.
At the centre are PECO pins, long and thin and frankly useless. They only really work with “Sundeala board” which is basically compressed paper, sags, disintegrates, and is generally useless as a baseboard top. Even then you need to drill the sleepers with a 0.5mm bit – never mind tedious you’ll be forever breaking bits too! If you use set-track you’ll find the pre-drilled holes too big. Also, they often protrude through the baseboard, ready to slice fingers and knuckles! The bent pin tells it all – this is a fast route to frustration.
Hornby Track Pins
So for years I’ve preferred Hornby pins (top left), these are strong enough to be hammered into most baseboard surfaces (including ply) without a pre-drilled hole and are a tight fit in set-track pin holes. They will go through a sleeper too, though pre-drilling is probably a better idea I rarely bother. The head is bigger and more visible, but when laying track on a “serious” layout I glue it, adding pins around the rails and sleepers to hold it and pull them out afterwards. So many of these Hornby pins have been used several times already!
When I was running low I popped into Gaugemaster (fortuitously quite local to us) to get more Hornby pins but saw that Gaugemaster sell their own variant (GM66 if you are interested). These are very similar to the Hornby ones but with a flatter head, and you get more in a pack for similar money. They do a “PECO” style of pin too, but these shorter ones are the ones I’d recommend.
Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? Add your comments below.
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Picture credit, Michael Campbell