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A Look Inside MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club

A Look Inside MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club | Model railways |
A neat video about MIT’s TMRC: Tucked deep within MIT’s campus is a miniature world of model trains, elaborate miniature buildings and detailed sceneries.
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What is O (0) Scale ? Model Railway O Gauge

What is O (0) Scale ? Model Railway O Gauge | Model railways |
O gauge (or O scale) is a scale commonly used for toy trains and model railroading.

Via Manuela Kinne
Manuela Kinne's curator insight, January 27, 2013 4:33 PM
O scale


O gauge (or O scale) is a scale commonly used for model trains and model railroading. Originally introduced by German toy manufacturer Märklin around 1900, by the 1930s three-rail alternating current O gauge was the most used model railroad gauge in the US and remained so until the early 60s. In Europe, its popularity declined before WW II due to the introduction of smaller scales.


O Scale had its heyday when model railroads were considered toys, with more emphasis placed on cost, durability, and the ability to be easy handled and operated by pre adult hands. Detail and realism were secondary. It remains a popular choice for hobbyists who enjoy running trains more than they enjoy other aspects of modelling, and collecting vintage O scale trains is very popular - there is a market for reproduction and vintage style models also. A number of changes in recent years have addressed the concerns of scale model railroaders, making O gauge more popular.


Conversely, in the UK O gauge is popular among fine-scale modellers generally on detail rather than operation. OO scale, because of its lower price and high availability, tends to be the most popular choice for those who wish to run their models. The size of OO and O diorama is also an important factor in decision making.

 Australian O gauge model railway History and Past

The name for O scale and O gauge is derived from "0 [zero] gauge" or "Gauge 0", because it was smaller than Gauge 1 and the other existing standards. It was created in part because manufacturers realized  best selling trains were the smaller scales.


In the US, manufacturers such as the Ives Manufacturing Company, American Flyer, and Lionel Corporation used O scale for their budget line, marketing Gauge 1 or Wide gauge (also known as standard gauge) fortheir premium trains. One of the Lionel Corporation's most popular trains, the 203 Armoured Locomotive, was O scale and ran on tracks with rails spaced 1 1⁄4 inches apart. The Great Depression wiped out demand for the expensive larger trains, and by 1932, O scale was the standard, almost by default.


Because of the emphasis on play value, the scale of pre-WW II O scale trains varied. The Märklin specifications was 1:43.5 scale. However, many designs were 1:64 scale or 1:48 scale. Early Marx Trains and some entry level trains, usually made of lithographed tin plate, were not scaled at all. Made to whimsical proportions about the same length of an HO scale ("half O") piece, but about the same width and height of an O gauge piece. Yet all of these ran on the same track. And depending on the manufacturerof the cars, they could sometimes be coupled together and run as part of the same train.


After WW II, producers started paying more attention to scale. Post-war locomotives and rolling stock tend to be larger and more realistic than their earlier counterparts. This has been reflected in the change from O gauge to O scale. Gauge describes merely the distance between the rails. Scale describes the size ratio of a model as it relates to its real prototype.


Since the early 1990s, O scale manufacturers have begun placing more emphasis on realism. The scale has experienced a resurgence in popularity, although it remains less popular than N or HO scale. However, todays manufacturers including MTH Electric Trains, Lionel, LLC, Atlas and Weaver are making very exact, 1:48 scale model trains.

 modelleisenbahn-figuren.coms O scale-figures The Standards

The differences between O gauge and O scale standards can be confusing. O gauge model railway tracks typically have their rails spaced 1 1⁄4" or 32mm apart with the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) standard allowing spacings between 31.75mm and 32.64mm

 Scale and Gauge

Scale refers to the size of the model relative to the actual full-sized object being represented, while gauge is the width of the model track. Most commercially produced model track is a compromise between appearance and a trouble-free running surface.


Scale is the ratio of the model dimension to the real life dimension. O Scale in the UK is 1:43.5 or 7mm to the foot, in continental Europe O Scale is 1:45 though 1:43.5 is also used particularly in France. In the US, O Scale is 1:48. Each region tends to design models to their own scale. The NMRA and the MOROP maintain detailed standards for a variety of scales, so to help model makers create interoperable models


The Gauge refers to the distance between the inside edges of the load-bearing rails.

Various sizes of rail gauge exist all around the world.

Standard gauge is 1,435 mm/4 ft 8 1⁄2 in.


Regional model manufacturers design their O-scale rolling stock with minor regional scale differences.

Manufacturers support their rolling stock with track made to the same regional scales, so there is no universal width for O Gauge model track.

Scale models can represent the real world standard gauge track spacing of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) by choosing various spacings such as 30 mm (1.181 in) (at 1:48 scale), 1.25 in (31.75 mm) (at 1:45.2 scale), 32 mm (1.260 in) (at 1:44.8 scale), 32.96 mm (1.298 in) (at 7mm:1 ft scale), or 33 mm (1.299 in) (at 1:43.5 scale).

Model makers choose their scale based on many considerations including the existing marketplace, detail concerns and compatibility with already existing models

 Wide (Broad Gauge) or Narrow Gauge Track

A lot of O scale fans chose to model wide gauge (also known as broad gauge) or narrow gauge railways. There is no standard for wide or narrow gauge track. Modelers wishing to portray such railroad track either build their own, or accept the shortcomings of appropriately wider or narrower gauge model track.

16.5 mm (0.650 in), 12 mm (0.472 in) and 9 mm (0.354 in), are the more popular track widths used by indoor enthusiasts building narrow gauge. Differences in regional scales result in different prototype gauges to these different model track widths.


For example, using specially manufactured 16.5 mm (0.650 in) gauge track, scaled at 7 mm to the foot  under:


UK O gauge rolling stock (1:43.5), it becomes a narrow gauge track of 2 ft 4 in (711 mm), and is referred to as 'On 16.5' [modelers portray gauges between 2 ft  (610 mm) and 3 ft  (914 mm)].

European O gauge rolling stock (1:45), it becomes a narrow gauge track of 2 ft 5 1⁄2 in (750 mm), and is referred to as 'Oe' portraying a 750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in) prototype.

US O gauge rolling stock (1:48), it becomes a narrow gauge track of 2 ft 6 in (762 mm), and is referred to as On2 1⁄2 [or On30 as in 30"].


Models that are either built 1:43 scale, 7 mm:1 foot (1:43.5), 1:45 scale, or the most common 1:48 scale.

They can operate on realistic looking two-rail track using direct current (commonly known as 2-Rail O), or on a center third power rail or a center stud supply system. If modeling such a system, an external third rail or overhead supply can be employed. The spacing and height of the rails is not true to scale. While two-rail O is traditionally more popular in Europe, and alternating current powered three-rail is more popular in the US, two-rail O is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity in the USA, due to increased availability of ready-to-run models from several producers.


O scale refers to tracks that are 1.25 in (31.75 mm) apart. When used as a narrow gauge track, O gauge allows scales of 1:32 representing 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge track. 1:20 representing 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) narrow gauge railroads.

 What is O-27 Gauge?

O-27 gauge is a variant and its origins are slightly unclear. Historians attribute its creation to A. C. Gilbert Company's American Flyer, but Ives Manufacturing Company used O-27 track in its entry-level sets at least a decade before Gilbert bought Flyer.


The modern standard for O-27, however, was formalized after 1938 by Gilbert, who scaled the engines and rolling stock to 1:64 scale. After WW II, this practice was continued by Louis Marx and Company, who used it throughout its product line. Lionel, who used it for its entry-level trains. O-27 track is spaced at the same width as regular O gauge track, but is slightly shorter in height and has thinner rails than traditional O scale track. A shim underneath the O-27 track enables the use of O-27 and O track together.


The O-27 name comes from the size of the curves. A circle made of eight pieces of standard 45-degree curved O scale track will have a 31 inches (787 mm) diameter. A circle made of 8 pieces of 45-degree curved O-27 track is smaller. With a 27 inches (686 mm) diameter. Full sized O scale cars sometimes have difficulty negotiating the tighter curves of an O-27 diorama. Although the smaller, tin cars by American Flyer, Marx, and others predate the formal O-27 standard, they are also often called O-27 because they also operate flawlessly on O-27 track.


The Lionel Corporation is one of the most famous producers of O-27 trains and track. Its tubular rail is the symbol of the tinplate era.

  Die-cast models compatible with O scale

Many manufacturers produce die-cast models of cars, trucks, buses, construction equipment and other vehicles in scales compatible with or similar to O scale trains. These are available in 1:43 scale, 1:48 scale and 1:50 scale. Producers include Conrad, NZG, Corgi, TWH Collectibles and many others. These are popular with many collectors and easy to find.



 Exact Scale

Dissatisfaction with the common standards led to a more accurate standard for wheels and track, called Proto:48. This duplicates to exact scale of AAR track and wheel standards.


Track gauge normally used for 0 – 32 mm or the near-approximation 1¼ in — is correct for British O but not American.


Possibly because of the large size of American railway systems, accurate scale modeling in standard gauge O gauge is rare in the US, though narrow gauge modeling is much more common.


Four narrow gauge standards exist, and the differences among On3, On2, On30, and On18 are frequent sources of confusion.

On3 is exact-scale 1:48 modeling of 3-foot (914 mm) gauge prototypes.

On30 is 1:48 modeling of 30-inch (762 mm) gauge prototypes

On2 is 1:48 modeling of 2-foot (610 mm) gauge prototypes

On18 is 1:48 modeling of 18-inch (457 mm) gauge prototypes.

On30 is also sometimes called On2½.


Because On30's gauge closely matches that of HO track, On30 equipment often runs on standard HO scale track. While many On30 modelers scratchbuild their equipment, commercial offerings in On30 are fairly common and sometimes very inexpensive, with Bachmann Industries being the most found manufacturer.


Hobbyists who choose to model in any of these O gauge standards nevertheless end up building most of their equipment either from kits or from scratch.

 Geographical Areas
European (other than UK and Russia)

0 gauge is one of the scales defined by the NEM as 1:45 scale. However, for historical reasons they use the number 0 rather than the letter as the name for the scale.


A situation similar to that in the UK exists in continental Europe, although the market revolves less around kits and more around expensive hand-built metal models for the deep-pocketed collector. Additionally, Czech Republic-based Electric Train Systems started manufacturing and selling lithographed tin 1:45 scale model trains in 1991. Citing O scale advantages over smaller sizes for non-permanent floor layouts and outdoor layouts. The Spanish Paya company produces a smaller line of tinplate trains, based on designs dating back to 1906.


In Germany a narrow gauge train set is produced by Fleischmann, running on 16.5 mm track, this gauge is called "0e" (750 mm prototype). The model trains are marketed as children's toy trains (Magic Train), but are accurately built after Austrian prototypes and increased the interest in building narrow gauge layouts in Austria and Germany significantly. Since 2006 there are again some reasonably priced O-gauge plastic models available, produced by DCC developer Lenz

 Former Soviet Union and todays Russia

Between 1951 and 1969, a small number of O gauge train sets were manufactured in the Soviet Union. Utilizing the same track and voltage as their USA counterparts, the colorful locomotives and cars resembled pre-WW II designs from U.S. producers Lionel and American Flyer. The couplers were nearly identical to those of pre-war American Flyer. Some differences in USA and Soviet railroading were evident from comparing the Soviet sets with U.S. sets. Particularly in the design of the boxcars, which looked like an American Flyer boxcar with added windows, reflecting the Soviets' use of box cars to haul livestock, as well as merchandise.


Much like their American counterparts, Soviet O scale trains were toys, rather than precision scaled model trains.



scale ratio: 1:48, gauge: 32mm, prototype gauge: 1,524 mm (5 ft)

 British O Gauge  British outline O gauge model railway at KewPumping StationScale per foot:7 mm to 1ftScale ratio:1:43.5Gauge:32 mmPrototype Gauge:Standard gauge United States and North America

In the United States, O scale is defined as 1:48 (0.25 inches to the foot, "quarter inch scale" 1/4 inch equals one foot). This is also a well known dollhouse scale, giving more options for buildings, o scale figures and accessories. Many O gauge diorama are also accessorized with 1:43.5 scale model cars.


While 1:48 is a very common scale for modeling using the Imperial system (a quarter-inch equals one scale foot), the discrepancy between O scale in the United States and O scale in Europe is attributed to Lionel misreading the original Märklin specifications.


Although Lionel is the most enduring brand of O scale model trains, a variety of manufacturers made trains in this scale. Prior to World War I, the majority of toy trains sold in the US were German imports made by Märklin, Bing, Fandor, and other companies. World War I brought a halt to these imports, and protective tariffs after the war made it difficult for them to compete.


In between the two world wars, shorter-lived companies such as Dorfan, Hafner, Ives, and Joy Line competed with Lionel, Marx, American Flyer and Hornby. Many of these model trains operated by clockwork or battery power and were made of lithographed tin. The sizes of the cars varied widely, as the standard for O scale was largely ignored. Dorfan went out of business in 1934. Ives was bought by Lionel. Hafner and Joy Line were bought by Marx. Hornby withdrew from the USA market in 1930 after selling its factory to the A. C. Gilbert Company.


In 1938 Lionel, Marx, and American Flyer faced competition from Sakai, a Tokyo-based Japanese toy company who sold trains priced at the low end of the market. The product designs most closely resembled Lionel with Märklin-like couplers and parts that appeared to be copied from Ives. Another Japanese company, Seki, was an entirely different and independent company.


Between 1946 and 1976, the primary U.S. producers of O scale model trains were Lionel and Marx. American Flyer switching to the more-realistic S scale and the rest of the companies out of business.


Toy maker Unique Art produced a line of inexpensive O scale trains from 1949 to 1951, but found itself unable to compete with Marx. Marx continued to make clockwork and battery-powered model trains and lithographed cars into the 1970s, along with more detailed offerings that were sometimes difficult to distinguish from Lionel.


Sakai re-entered the U.S. market after WW II, selling model trains that were often nearly identical to Marx designs and sometimes undercutting Marx's prices, from 1946 to 1969.


A company called American Model Toys brought out a stock of realistic, detailed cars beginning in 1948 and in 1953 it released a budget line. It ran into financial difficulty. It reorganized under the name Auburn Model Trains, and ended up selling its line to Kusan, a plastics company who continued its production until 1961. The tooling was then sold to a small company run by Andrew Kriswalus in Endicott, New York. Andrew operated as Kris Model Trains, or KMT. Kriswalus only produced the box, stock, and refrigerator cars from the Kusan dies. On some of these cars he mounted die-cast trucks from the Kusan tooling. After Kriswalus' death, the tooling was sold to K-Line and Williams Electric Trains. Both continued to use it to produce parts of their budget lines.


From O scales beginnings up until the mid-1970s, the various manufacturers' trackside accessories would interoperate with one another. The train cars themselves used couplers of differing designs, often making it difficult or impossible to use different manufacturers' cars together. The post-War consolidation did little to improve these matters. Marx used three different standards, depending on the product line. Lionel used two. So frequently the companies' own entry-level products were incompatible with their high-end products. Hobbyists who wanted differing standards to interoperate had to replace couplers.


After Marx went out of business in 1978, K-Line bought of Marx's tooling and entered the marketplace. K-Line's early offerings changed only little from the old Marx designs, other than a new brand name and a Lionel-compatible coupler, making K-Line's stock completely interoperable with Lionel.


As O scale regained popularity in the 1990s it also started to regain manufacturers. In 2003, no fewer than six companies market O gauge locomotives and cars, all theoretically interoperable with one another.


Lionel stock retains a large collector following. Equipment from shorter-lived manufacturers prior to WW II is also highly sought after, while American Flyer and Marx are less so. Post-War Marx is gaining in popularity after years of being ignored by serious collectors. There is little collector interest in Sakai.


In the recent years there has been a new movement called 3-Rail Scale. It is three-rail trains on high-rail tracks, but with scale couplers and other more prototypical details, like fixed pilots and scale wheels. Most of the 3-Rail scale modelers use Kadee brand scale couplers.



 US O GaugeTypical US O-Scale locomotiveScale per foot:1/4 inch to 1ftScale ratio:1:48Standard(s):NMRAGauge:32 mmPrototype Gauge:Standard gauge offers O Scale Figures and O Gauge Accessories.

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Creating Railroad Model Scenery - Tough luck Simple Household Products That work well Wonders

Creating Railroad Model Scenery - Tough luck Simple Household Products That work well Wonders | Model railways |
I listen to this all the time coming from newbie model railroaders "railway design scenery's are expensive to create". Yes, this can be true, if you buy all of your model railway scenery supplies co...
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Indiana model train show attracts kids at heart - The Courier-Journal

Indiana model train show attracts kids at heart - The Courier-Journal | Model railways |
Indiana model train show attracts kids at heart The Courier-Journal Emmett Killebrew, 2, of Clarksville pushes the button to sound the whistle on a model train during the annual Southern Indiana Railroad Model Train Show and Swap Meet in...
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Hornby, Model railways, Scalextric, Airfix plastic model kits. Revell plastic kits

Hornby, Model railways, Scalextric, Airfix plastic model kits. Revell plastic kits | Model railways |
Leading model and hobby web shop. Hornby, Fleischmann, Scalextric, Tamiya, Airfix, Revell plastic kits.

Via Manuela Kinne
Manuela Kinne's curator insight, January 27, 2013 4:29 PM


Manuela Kinne's comment, January 27, 2013 4:29 PM
take a look for my OO Gauge figures
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none Creating Railroad Product Scenery - 13 Simple Household Products That actually work Wonders

# trains model railways,o scale model train layouts
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'Biggest fan' admires model train exhibit - Tracy Press

'Biggest fan' admires model train exhibit - Tracy Press | Model railways |
'Biggest fan' admires model train exhibit
Tracy Press
Monday, I was driving past the Tracy Historical Museum and noticed the sign out front about the model-train display that had returned to the museum for the sixth year.
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