O Scale Trains
O Scale Trains
Two of the top manufactures of O Scale trains is Lionel and MTH Trains. Atlas O , Weaver, and Williams also makes O Scale rolling stock product .
O Scale Track is made by the following companies: Lionel, MTH Trains, Gargraves, AtlasO. Lionel and MTH track is the most popular since the starter sets are purchased with the track and you simply add on more track as your layout grows. Gargraves and AtlasO Track are sometimes chosen when building advanced layouts. If you have questions on AtlasO or Gargraves track, please call us.
What is gauge?
Gauge is the width of the track. Only trains that fit the track will run on it. Gauge is the distance between the outside rails (the ones the train rides on). O and O-27 will have the same distance between the rails (1 1/4"). O guage track sits up slightly higher that O-27 track but this makes no difference in operation of the trains.
Gauge on the real railroads as well as toy trains refers to the distance between the outside rails of the track. Lionel O gauge track systems which include O, O-27, and FasTrack all measure 1 ¼" between the outer rails. Any O gauge car or locomotive can ride on Lionel O gauge track, as long as the curve track used on your layout can accommodate your particular cars (see Minimum Curve section below).
Scale measures the relationship between a model and the real thing. Most Lionel & MTH cars generally measure about 1:48 scale. This relationship is approximate for the Lionel Traditional line of cars and locomotives, which typically can run on layouts with tight curves (like O-27 or O-31). Lionel Standard O and MTH Premier freight cars and engines, which are made to be as exact as possible to 1:48 scale, often require a wider minimum curve, such as O-36 or more.
Minimum Curve -This measurement is very useful in purchasing track, locomotives, and rolling stock that are compatible with one another. For example, assemble O-72 curved track into a circle and you will have a 72" diameter layout. Assemble O-31 curved track into a circle, and you will have a layout 31" in diameter. A locomotive with a Minimum Curve requirement of O-31 will run on a layout with O-72 curves, but a locomotive with a Minimum Curve requirement of O-72 will not run on a layout with O-31 curves.
For more information on easy layout planning, see The Lionel Train Book. Recommended Minimum Curve locomotives and rolling stock are thoroughly tested to determine their Minimum Curve requirement. In some cases, a car or locomotive may be able to easily negotiate most, but not all, possible track configurations for that Minimum Curve. For these products, a Recommended Minimum Curve is also given. This larger measurement allows for all combinations of our track and switches.
What is the difference between O and O-27?
O-27 gauge track will have tighter curves than in O gauge. That means that some of the very longest O gauge cars and locomotives are too long to turn the tight corners of O-27 gauge layout. Therefore, not all O gauge cars and locomotives will run on O-27 but all O-27 gauge cars and locomotives will work on O gauge track.
*O27 track is an older system and generally only produced currently by Lionel. It is a metal track with brown ties and has no roadbed.
All Lionel train sets are now packed with Fastrack which is O gauge, but is equipped with 036 radius track. MTH train sets are also equipped with O gauge track, RealTrax, but MTH sets start with the 031 curves.