What has happened to O Scale?

JCater Mar 15, 2008

  1. JCater

    JCater TrainBoard Member

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    Seeing the number of posts in different threads here on TB and certainly following the trends I see in the hobby I am wondering what has happened to make O scale slip so far behind other scales in popularity? Is it some stigma the O scale trains = toys? Or is it a question of space? I know that I read a lot about how folks go to N and even Z these days because of limited space or they want to get more model bang for their buck. Just curious what your take on it is...
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    John-

    Just my impressions- Two reasons. Space available. And cost.

    It seems like a good number of people are moving into smaller quarters these days. Retirement, or the expenses of housing today.

    A lot of O seems to be above what I could ever afford. Tinplate, or scale. Especially motive power. I'm sure it's the same for many people.

    On30 may be popular, partly due to what can be done at a lesser price, in a reduced sized area.

    We do have a decent number of O scale members here.

    Boxcab E50
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2008
  3. John G. Adney

    John G. Adney Passed away May 19, 2010 In Memoriam

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    I agree with Ken. Space and expensive keep me out of O. If I did have the space, I still couldn't afford it. I remain with N, which suits my space (small) and budget.
     
  4. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    O scale is still very popular. O scaler's don't come to TrainBoard for some reason. A very active O scale forum is The OGR On-Line Forum - Powered by eve community . When I have an O scale question I post it here because we have some excellent all-scales folks, but I also post it there because I'll get a number of varied responses from hard-core O scalers.

    Space and expense keep me out of O scale except for prototypes of my favorite roads that I've never found in smaller scales. Still my friends and I love to throw a FasTrack oval on the table and run them from time to time.
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As I noted earlier, we do have a good number of O scale members aboard. If only they'd stop lurking. And join in!

    Boxcab E50
     
  6. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    There are plenty of O scalers in the world. Just not many on TB.

    I go to the O scale forum Lownen goes to because it's very informative. It is divided by 2 and 3 rail sections with many people reading and posting in both, they have a photos section too.

    If you look at the magazines and products being released you'll find that O scale is alive and thriving. Perhaps more than S scale. It's also big money. A loco can run from 200$ to well over 1200$ who only has just one loco on their layout?

    I still look at and drool over the O scale stuff. Although the difference between seeing it in a magazine and actually seeing it in person can really give you a jolt as far as how big O scale is. I was just looking at an MR review of the atlas alco century. The thing is about 14 inches long. It has both trucks powered and it has a smoke generator and sound. Gotta have a smoke generator on an alco. LOL So in my day dreaming I guess I hadn't realized just how big O scale is. A two rail switch is about 18 inches long. Even a time saver layout is going to have to be about 10-12 feet long. It's big and that's why it's cool.

    I also have some Lionel 50's era stuff. It runs on tight curves and it smokes and whistles and makes a special racket of it's own. I keep dreaming of building an O27 layout somewhere. I just had it out the other night and was fitting track together to see what kind of trackplan I could come up with. I still don't have the space for it though. lol

    Maybe someday I'll move to larger quarters.
     
  7. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Cost and space, just like a lot have said. Tina and I have had the O guage Westfield layout for over five years now and at 4 x 16 it is probably close to the minimum size to have a decent layout that is hi-rail. Tina is having me rebuild the layout this spring from two hollow core doors to two 4X8 layout tables. She is converting the track to Lionel Fastrack. Turnouts are $300 alone, where code 55 N scale turnouts are around $15-$20.00. Using the MTH DCS cost us around $500.00, my Digitrax for my small N scale layout was $150.00. Locos are the biggest expense for us. My Chicago Central Geep 30 cost $350.00 vs a DCC N scale loco around $100.00. But I like the size and noise and the kids love it too.

    Jim
     
  8. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman TrainBoard Member

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    O scale to me is Lorell Joiner and the Great Southern. I never saw the layout, but it was very large and in a separate building from the home. I agree that the limit is size and expense.
     
  9. SCRS

    SCRS TrainBoard Member

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    JCATER.

    1/4 INCH HI-RAIL OR 3RS is alive and well. 2 rail scale is also moving right along.

    BNSF7173

    You are right about the 'size, noise and that kids love it'.

    The SCRS is a 1/4 inch scale hi-rail bridge line operation. Other than the Union Station, little or no switching takes place - for room size problems.

    The SCRS is located in a space about 14" by 20', has two levels connected by two grades. The upper level has a double track main line, a crossover and three sidings.

    The lower level has one main line, a wye, a loop, one through siding and the Union Station trackage.

    Long trains do operate over the systems. The passenger trains have E-8 A-B-A's up front (one has an A-B-B-A lash up) and at least eleven cars on each train.

    The heft and size of these trains are great, which makes it great for staying on the rails.

    It is also big enough to see the details, which for me is an asset as I have entered the 70's - pressing on for the 80's.

    I pre-order 97% of SCRS' rolling stock and utilize only MTH built Primier Line locomatives for power. Cost is there for what ever scale you model.

    I do have some HO trains which I take to other model railroaders home who has HO layouts. I enjoy seeing them run with their trains.

    Most of the model railroaders who visit the SCRS has had Lionel built trains in years past and still want to see them run. They bring them over to the SCRS and we run them.

    Yes. We do have a large basement, however the SCRS has to share space with the family laundry and way too much space being allocated for familiy storage (left behind kids items).

    As Lownan said, the OGR On-Line Forum and OGR magizine is a major source of O gauge information.

    Larry @ SCRS
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Larry-

    I've enjoyed viewing your past photo uploads. If there's anything SCRS new and exciting, would you share it here?

    Boxcab E50
     
  11. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I sort of qualify as an O enthusiast.

    Although, I don't have a layout of my own I do build in the "O" Treble Track arena. I'm currently working on a good sized O layout which includes a section of S scale. I started working on this layout a number of years back and actually I'm getting a second chance to finish it. I work on it as my health and budget allows. The layout was built as a joint venture between Doug Parcel and myself, for a former employer.

    The fun part, is the ability to hook up a type of CTC signaling system that doesn't require relays or solenoids to make it work. On the control panel I have lights that indicate where the train is and which block it's occupying.

    The layout occupies an attic space of 14" x 100". The mainline has a loop over itself, 2% grades, two each removable lift out bridges, a 4 track stub end yard, a two track industrial spur and a single track stock yard. One of the layouts focal points is a working "Y". No special wiring required. Basically the layout is three dog bones tied in to produce a fun operation.

    I used the Atlas three track switches and a mix of Atlas pre-fab sectionals and Gar Graves flex track. No canned sound is needed as the locomotives all have sound. You can even hear the crew of an Amtrak Genesis talking to the DS.

    Over the top of the O layout is a S scale, two track loop. With a set of double crossover's utilizing the original American Flyer switches...(you'l get whip lash riding through those switches) and one working industrial spur.

    I borrowed from the world of HO model railroading to build a control panel for both scales. It is a map style control panel. I utilize DPDT toggled electrical switches to direct current to the designated block, from one of two transformers. The railroad has a single main line but it appears to be double tracked due to, two fairly long sidings. I can operate two trains at once and never switch transformers. Throw the DPDT toggle in the direction of the transformer you are operating from and you have the "Highball" to move a train.

    It's an amazing layout and I will need to get some pictures of it and share them here. The owner is looking at a type of RC control to operate some of the trains...won't this be fun!

    More news later as the layout progresses. Now back to my N scale layout... I've got to get my Kato #6 Unitrack switches wired in.

    Having fun and wishing you the same!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2008
  12. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    For me, it's space! No space means smaller trains, smaller trains means Z and T Scale in my future.

    There is an O club in my area, but they all build modules and only run trains at the shows, due to lack of layout space.

    No stores sell Z, or much of it anyways, so we need the internet, which is where all the small scale people meet these days.
     
  13. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    That has got to be a typo. Lionel Fastrak O36 manual turnouts are around $30 and remote are around $60.
     
  14. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think that O scale is alive and well.

    Just like everything else in our modern world, more choices means different
    folks segment into different communities based on their interests. IMHO O scalers
    have enough differences in their specific interests compared to HO or N, that just like
    N scalers who clump together because they all do N.... the O scalers tend to go where the other O scalers are. And it's true, I don't think most O scalers have much interest
    in N scale. Two worlds quite different... yet both joined by love of trains.

    Here's a photo album of the fine scale 2-rail O Scale West 2008 train show room:

    o_scale_west_2008 Photo Gallery by atsf_arizona at pbase.com

    Clearly, the vendors and the sellers were having a good time - many things
    were sold out by end of convention.

    There were also probably 20 O scale layouts on layout tour in during the
    convention (I've no photos of those due to respecting privacy of the
    owners and their valuable trains), and they are as friendly and avid and
    talented a set of model railroaders as you'll find anywhere.
     
  15. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Flash, et. al.;

    I have always felt that way about John Armstrong. How appropriate that the author of "Eulogy for John Armstrong" has posted here.

    Thank you for this page John. I love the images and your comments.
     
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow. Some eye popping stuff!

    By any chance, do you have more views of the YSL layout?

    Boxcab E50
     
  17. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Kind of, I meant over $300.00 total cost of turnouts for her 4X16 layout.

    Jim
     
  18. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

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    Ah, that makes sense. But then it's always the turnouts that make a layout expensive. If you spent $300 for the turnouts I'm guessing another $50 - 75 for the track. I look at it this way Jim, it would be really nice to have a complete O scale layout for under $400. That's less than one N scale BigBoy with sound. :)
     
  19. JCater

    JCater TrainBoard Member

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    This is great stuff guys...more than I expected!! To pick up on something Lownen said, I beleive that cost can't be much of a factor when compared to higher end models in other scales (eg. $400.00 for an N scale Big Boy). And even if you can, there is the ecomomy of space: the more space you have on the layout, the more you spend on scenery (i.e. Z and N and larger HO layouts) so don't you think that in many cases cost evens out in the end, all things considered?

    Space is of course a major factor...it seems these days there just re not that many basements available for an entire O scale layout!
     
  20. L Lee Davis

    L Lee Davis TrainBoard Member

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    As I see it several factors come together to lead your decision in takeing up O scale. SPACE: (The final fronteer!) This is where less is more with O scale. In addition narrow guage seems to strike a cord allowing believeability with one or two locos and half a dozen cars keeping things in perspective to the avalibale space. COST: as a rule one brass locomotive in O scale is equal to between 4 and 12 in HO or N so each one is a major purchase, and that brings us back to Less is More. MASS: (Father forgive them for they know not what they do.) O scale excells at weight on the rails and detials become quite clear and glareing with large scales. This also leads to easy to handle parts where you are not envloved with micro surgery. AVALABILITY: What ever your bent in O scale wether it be three rail (Toy) or two rail scale (In all of it's nurososiss) as a rule you will find very little that is correct to ARR Standards, if you can find standards at all. O scale carries a long history of roll your own which entials investing in more shop tools than the useual like mills, lathes, and the like. Lately the fidelity has gotton better in the smaller scales (and to some extent O scale) as well as running ability thuss more people are leaning toward the smaller scales (HO and N). I WANT IT ALL: Or FOCUS: (FEED me Seemore) We tend to want to model the entire right of way and the compleat roster of whatever railroad strikes our fancy. Take the UP (Please!) Just doing one section of this mega giant is a daunting task. So the smaller scales stand out here as does the outlay of funds to do it. It's almost a five to one between O scale and HO in aquisitions of stuff! Also scenery is more in perspective with the smaller scales, and this is one aera where they excell. INFORMATION: Sites like O scale kings, Proto 48, and O scale trains are most efficitive in gleaning information about O scale in a more narrow feild of expertise. Where as sites like Trainboard are very good at over-all information and putting a finger on the pulse of the hobby in general. there are many things that transends scale in this hobby the likes of scenery, benchwork, electrical, artwork, decaling, painting, and most important of all KINDSHIP! in a common endevor toward a common goal, and that is haveing a fun pleasurable experence in this hobby. The pillar upon which all this is built and that we strive for.

    "Still Training After All These Years"
     

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