What is flexible track? It is the most common form of track used with model trains railways today. Flexible track can be used with Lionel trains and just about every other brand because it is made by the majority of model trains manufacturers. Most flexible track pieces are three feet long and are indeed flexible, yet still fairly rigid. If you bend them one way to begin with, that is the shape that they will pretty much stay in from that point on.
The Super-Flex, however, from Atlas, works in a somewhat different way – you can bend it in to pretty much any shape you like, but it always spring back; this is due to the fact that the Super-Flex has both one floating rail and one fixed rail. Which style you prefer is entirely based on personal taste, though both have their advantages and disadvantages.
There are four advantages to having some form of flexible track for Lionel trains or any other brands of model trains to run on.
First, there are fewer joints in any given run of track. With just one three foot section of flexible track, you instantly cut out the need for four nine inch pieces of sectional track, thus giving you far fewer connections and a lot less potential for any problems on the track.
Second, you can curve flex track into any particular radius you want. It can also be shaped into a much easier kind of curve for your trains to run on than would otherwise be the case. The curves can also be shaped into the kind of curves you require to fit the area, rather than be stuck with a fixed shape that might not work for the space you have available.
Third, flexible track pieces can be cut to any length you require. This helps make your layout work because it can be adjusted to fit into whatever space is available.
Fourth, when trying to find the best layout for your track, it is helpful to mark the lines you want the track pieces to follow before nailing them down. With normal track this can be very challenging to get it right. However, with flexible track it is easy because you can use pieces of flex track as a template to draw around and mark the track locations. There are some tools available to buy that have been specifically designed for this purpose, but you may find they are not entirely necessary – a yardstick, pencil and a few extra track lengths can do the job just as well and cost less.
The advantages of flexible track are clear and unequivocal. All things considered, flexible track for your model trains to run on is unquestionably the way to go.