- Today's model train sets use nickel silver track.toy train image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com
In 1980, most train set makers began switching to steel or nickel silver track. Brass oxidizes and eventually needs to be replaced. Steel tracks last longer than brass, but they do not conduct electricity as efficiently as nickel silver. Atlas began making model train tracks with nickel silver rails in the early 1980s. Steel and nickel silver tracks are still in use in model train kits today.
- Because of the constant need to keep it free from rust and tarnish, brass model railroad track is a thing of the past. If you want to build a new layout for an older model train, avoid using brass track. Brass rails oxidize and need to be cleaned frequently to maintain good conductivity between the train's wheels and the rails. Because of its conductivity, nickel silver is the best choice for replacement track. If cost is an issue, steel is cheaper than nickel silver. Both require cleaning, although not as often as brass.
- Examine the color of the metal when you are purchasing model railroad track. Brass rails have a gold, and often tarnished, appearance. Steel is silver with a dull finish. Nickel silver has a shiny silver look.