The appearance, some fifty years ago, of nickel silver rail has been hailed as one of the hobby’s great milestones. Not only did it present a more realistic appearance than the brass rail of the day, but when it tarnishes, it still conducts electricity reasonably well. Aside from cost, there was no drawback to choosing nickel silver over brass. Because cost plays a bigger role in the hobby than anyone cares to admit, it took another decade or two for brass rail to vanish from the market, but vanish it eventually did. You can’t give the stuff away now.
Okay, I’m lying. You can. Somebody just did.
I woke up yesterday morning to find a box of brass-railed Atlas code 100 flextrack on my doorstep. (To be fair, Bob did email me about it first, before he dropped it off. Thank you, Bob.) What with a pandemic raging all around us, the entire state shut down, and me into my fifth week of unemployment, this is the perfect time to play with free supplies. I’m still deciding what exactly to do with it, but he did throw in a box of cork roadbed, and there’s a bundle of code 175 rail, too. (Code 175? Even the O-gaugers don’t use rail that tall anymore, at least not the 2-railers, and I’ve never heard of a 3-railer running Lionel on handlaid track.)