Tag Archives: Peco Streamline FB HO/OO

Peco code 75 FB v. BH

I’ve been asked more than a few times whether it’s worth going over to Peco BH track. FB being “flat bottom” profile rail, and BH being “bull head”, a profile found in the UK until the 80s.

Given that OO gauge is a fudge there is always going to be a compromise about track standards. But it has to be said that FB definitely looks superior, even given the restraints.

Streamline FB top; BH bottom
Streamline FB top; BH bottom

Peco Streamline Code 75 Flat Bottom was not designed for the UK market. The track is modelled on HO standards, understandable given the worldwide market for HO, OO being an almost exclusively UK peccadillo.

As you can see from the above image, the sleepers on the FB rail are correctly spaced for 1:87/HO rail, but look too close and narrow for 1:76/OO. The BH has correct spacing and width for OO layouts, given that the rails are too close together for a true scale model. Therein lies an interesting discussion on “gauge” v “scale”. But that’s for another day.

Getting closer to eye-level, the difference appears more like this:

Comparing Peco OO BH - left - to Streamline FB HO/OO - right
Comparing Peco OO BH – left – to Streamline FB HO/OO – right

On a practical note, Peco FB seems to be more fragile than Streamline, so that might be a consideration, and the range of turnouts is restricted at the moment, although given FB’s reception in the railway modelling world this should change soon.

I don’t know that I’d rip up a lifetime’s work on my model railway to install FB, but I’d certainly use it on any new project, even where, technically, BH wasn’t appropriate because its looks outweigh any conflict with FB rail being actually more authentic, and any compromise is far less than the HO/OO thing.

I have some original Streamline left, but in future it will be consigned to tunnels and fiddle yards