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O or HO... that is the Problem...


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After a fantastic Saturday two days ago, when over 6 months of modelling in O all came together and my lad and I had 6 wonderful hours playing O Scale Trains at TVNAM, I now find myself with a bit of a dilemma...


I've been building a layout up in my loft, in HO, with DCC. Today I put my O Scale stock back up there for safe & warm storage, but couldn't help myself...






Now I'll admit that when I was planning my loft layout, I considered the "O or HO" question at the time, but went for HO because of several reasons - I had just had a load of HO stock donated to me, my lad had OO trains he could also run, and I liked the idea of longer trains in HO than I would get in O.

My lad no longer has any OO; he likes N scale, and also O Scale. One 'reason' gone.

Another reason - curves would be very tight in O... this is the tightest corner of the HO layout, over the central heating boiler. I went and put some O Scale stock on some old Lima O Setrack, which is a tad over 2ft radius...



From a lower angle it doesn't look too bad...



I mentioned about the lure of longer trains... but O Scale does have some heft & presence...



...and O train length isn't actually too bad in a similar space to HO either...



Having had what can only be described as a flippin' good play with my O Scale stuff this weekend has helped me truly appreciate it's size...

I think I foresee some drastic re-working of my loft, soon!! :O The trackplan will need simplifying somewhat, but be quite similar, and the boards will need some strengthening in places to take the weight of O Scale locos & stock, but what I have discovered in the past, when I had both N & HO, still holds true today - spreading your modelling over too many scales and interests can significantly reduce the amount you accomplish in any of them... :(


I may be listing a lot of HO in the Classifieds, soon....

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The question is, Jordan - can you bring the HO layout to TVNAM next year? Probably not, so stick to O and bring us another beauty next year!! ;)

ANOTHER one...??!!??? :O 


I was just planning on extending Portway Center... possibly....

Having seen how people liked looking down the track from the one end, I'm rather loathe to restrict that viewpoint, now... :scratchhead:

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It sounds as though O scale is the one that gives you the greatest "up close and personal" pleasure. So go for it.  You can focus on having fewer, but far more realistic, individual models. (which you already have). And, if your loft space is set set up as a "roundy", you can always have a "moebus" like hidden second track behind the backdrop (with a diamond in a scenic gap) to double your coming/going running distance and allow for longer trains.


Only difference that would hit me would be the equally close up appearance of the track. You might find yourself wanting that to be equally good looking. P48 is an option here, as reliability and fiddly-ness isn't an issue in the larger scales.



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Hi mate,

I've had the exact same problem for a long time now! The only thing was, I found that I do like to have a bit of everything and that would have been almighty expensive in 0 scale, so I got rid of the bigger stuff!

Wait for it, that was German outline, not US! My American stuff nearly went too but I have found that it is just too nice to get rid of AND there is a pretty poor market for it in the UK.

Whereas with H0, there is a good market so I lost a lot of my US H0 and kept the faith with 0.

It sure looks to me that you get the most enjoyment from 0 scale so stick with it and get that H0 gone!

Funnily enough, I have many times thought that the ideal compromise is N for full trains and 0 for detailed models.


John E.

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What you need is a compromise, it's called s scale. Bigger than HO smaller than O but very nice and a little different.


Yes, a bit like the classic directions: "if I was going there, I wouldn't start from here..." ;)


S Scale would indeed be ideal for the space... the "but" in my case is that I want to use what I have, as it's taken me a while to get what I have - S would mean an entirely fresh start, plus from what I can see, prices are similar too, or even exceed, O scale...


As for P48, again it's additional expense. Detailed track, hand-spiked even, yes. P48? No....

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I like the bulk of the larger scales, but in terms of creating a scenic layout in the space I have available, it has to be HO. It can also depend on what you model, I soon found out that there is more trade support for what I liked in O than HO (in still looking for a Weaver Yellow UPFE reefer).






Modelling Traction is another way to get away with short trains and tight curves, as long as you want to do it (although the overhead is easier...).

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Who still makes/supplies 2 rail fine scale RTR gauge 0 for North American prototypes?Dava

Mainly Atlas & Weaver, in terms of plastic models. Some Lionel, MTH & K-Line stuff is also suitable, once the 3-rail trucks have been changed. There are brass R-T-R models available (Overland for one) but at a price.

There are also other sources, such as P&D Hobbies in Michigan, who do F-Unit bodies & drive systems.

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Stick with O 1:48 scale Jordan. I really like what you are doing, inspiring even. Plenty of short trains around even now.

I’d be tempted, to avoid having to search out a particular railroad, to model a shortline that needs its own livery. After all the freight cars can remain the same general mix.

Then I’d probably make my own track too - it’s a bit easier in O - then you’d get over the BH situation too and you would not be building a mainline...


Best, Pete.

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Joking aside, Jordan, you don't need a lot to enjoy the larger scale.


You can also use code 100 rail (recovered from your H0 flex track) if you are modelling a backwater.........


There's nothing here that you can't do: give it serious consideration.

I agree Simon, in fact there's nothing I haven't done before, really;  on Schiller Point, which used Code 100 rail, spiked with Peco N-scale track pins through balsa strip ties (I did use pcb strip as well every 8" or so for strength) as per the "Prof Klyzlr Method" ;)


I well remember the New Castle Central that you linked to - such a shame the blog just 'stopped' after Jan 2011 - I wonder why? :(

... although I do seem to recall it was 25ft on it's longest side. I have 17ft x 8ft to play with.


I'm not going to do anything drastic just yet; I have some Marcway point templates to play with, & am still considering the trackplan. I won't get two loops around the room, but I do like the idea of a diamond in there somewhere. There's also the consideration of doing buildings - most likely very low relief - Pikestuff don't do O Scale.... :O

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I’d be tempted, to avoid having to search out a particular railroad, to model a shortline that needs its own livery. ...


Then I’d probably make my own track too - it’s a bit easier in O - then you’d get over the BH situation too and you would not be building a mainline...


Best, Pete.

Hi Pete, thanks for the comments.

If I can just pinch one of Steve Williams' pics from the Trent Valley Thread...



.... you'll note my fictional Short Line, the Portway Terminal is copying what some of the Class Ones are doing these days, with "Heritage" liveries.

It may look like a Delaware & Hudson RS3; closer inspection will reveal it actually belongs to Portway Terminal... ;)

As the Portway Terminal interchanges these days with CP Rail - who took over Soo Line completely in 1992 ( :mad: ) the link is that CP Rail also did the same to the D&H, hence why Portway Terminal went for that livery. :sungum:

(okay, the reality is it was a bargain on Ebay..!! :sarcastichand: )


As for hand-building track, yes, as above I've done it before. I used the Peco bullhead track on Portway Center purely because I had it and it was a quick way to get trains running & the layout ready for the Show... Quite a few people there actually asked me what track I'd used, so it can't have been immediately obvious it was Peco. I was quite pleased about that! :)

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It doesn't have to be an exact copy, Jordan.

Yes, I get that now, & I did misunderstand a bit - I realise that 'don't need a lot' refered to stock, rather than space....

Again, totally agree - I have about 20 cars in O - I've actually lost count in HO but in the smaller scale they're almost there just to 'fill space'. With the O scale ones I want to enhance the ones that need it with more/better weathering, coupler cut bars, proper grab irons, mesh walkways etc - and that work would also be of some purpose for any future exhibiting I might do; with the HO cars I lack that sort of motivation....

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For an interchange siding, and a crossover, have you considered having a hidden gradient into under-board staging tracks? This would limit the impact of the staging on the visible section of the layout, allow it to come up at the back of the layout, cross the branch running line and into the interchange siding. Could be interesting, no?

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Sorry Dan - far too complicated for me... I subscribe to the principle of K.I.S.S.

I really just want to lift the HO track & lay O scale track. The layout has open staging anyway - not much point in hidden sidings on a home layout...?


Never mind my situation, have you tried using under-board hidden staging? A nice idea in theory that planners love, but it has to drop enough for you to get at your stock with the Mk1 human hand, & you can't get a good view of what's there either - certainly not an overhead view of everything....

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