Many hobbyists get started
with the loop of sectional track that came in their first train set. Then the train bug begins to bite, and they want to add more track. You can expand with the same brand of track that came with your set, but you don’t have to. You’ll find that there are plenty of track manufacturers out there and that track comes in a wide variety of scales, gauges, and appearances. Visit your local hobby shop or look through a copy of the most recent Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., catalog for your scale.
Two types of sectional track (the track the comes in most train sets) are available: regular and all-in-one. Regular track features rails mounted to
injection-molded plastic ties. All-in-one track includes plastic roadbed that represents the rock ballast under the ties. Some brands allow you to remove the track from the cast ballast base; others don’t. The big advantage of all-in-one track is that it eliminates track ballasting, a chore that isn’t particularly difficult, but can eat up a lot of time.
Manufacturers offer track in a variety of curve radii and track codes. The term “code” simply means the rail height expressed in thousandths of an inch. For example, code 83 rail has gained popularity in HO scale because it looks more in proportion to the trains than code 100 rail, which was widely used in HO scale for many years and is still common today. You can learn more in the article Model railroad track codes defined.