How BIG is 0 scale?

Hi guys. I'm in need of assistance. My main modeling interest is NKP at Delphos, Ohio and the adjoining ACY, HO scale.

However, I've 'discovered' 0 scale! So, I'm hoping to have a go at it, very modest due to cost and other constraints, plus I don't want to drift to far away from my HO project. The trouble is, I've no idea about track planning. Firstly, my track layout has been more or less chosen for me, because my Delphos project is proto-based. Secondly, just how BIG is 0-scale? Lol

Now I know the actual dimensions, but just how much layout can you fit in a given space? Hence my appeal. I've got a modest location, 16 feet by 10 feet, the only obstruction being a doorway at one end that opens out. I'm after some ideas please, on a switching layout to go in that space. I'm currently being drawn towards the dark side (P:48), so a straight-ish 16 x 3 up one side, or maybe slightly longer diagonally across the room might seem most suitable, but I'm open to suggestions. Period and location are open too, but early diesel on a short line appeals most. I'm also very much against 'toy train' layouts as opposed to 'proto-' styled ones (does that make sense? I don't want a circle, passing loop and two Spurs type of layout, more like something a real railroad might produce). So far, ideas for engines are pointing in the RS3 and SW7 direction -cheap!- but livery could be real or fictional, as long as it's believable. I'd like the layout to be the same. As an example, albeit HO, I like Lance Mindheim's industrial spur layouts, but maybe aged a bit -1950's- but just don't know what I can fit in.

To sum up, 16x10, P:48, switching, two locos, perhaps twenty freight cars. 1950's, believable. Complex enough to maintain interest, simple enough not to overwhelm me, or the space available. 

So that's it. Suggestions, observations, locations, maybe a fully annotated detail drawing(!) most welcome!

Malcolm Smith,

 

Eclectic railroad tastes!

Original Post

O Scale is twice the size and 4 times the volume of HO.

A good reference is if an HO Scale railroad built on a 4'x8' framework, the space needed to build the same railroad in O Scale will need 8'x16'.  All dimensions (Height, Width, Length) are doubled be it rolling stock or structures.

It can be hard to imagine the space requirement's in your mind.

Pick up a pre-owned freight car or two to get the feel of O, that way the investment will be minimal.  Look at them, poke at them, compare them to their HO counterparts, roll them back and forth on a section of track to become comfortable with them.  That's what I did when I transitioned from HO to S Scale.

Rusty

For the rivet counters:

O (1:48) compared with HO (1:87)

Linear dimension 1.8125 times the length

Square footage (2D) 1.8125 squared = 3.28515625 times the area

Volume (3D) 1.8125 cubed = 5.954345703125 times the volume

 

Bob

gettin' my geek on 

I respectfully disagree with those above.  Technically, what they are answering  is correct from a mathematical viewpoint.  However, the reality is this.  As a "standard" for years, HO sets come with 18 radius curves.  O sets come with a 36 diameter curve.  Guess what?  A 18 radius curve is a 36 diameter curve--IDENTICAL--yes the O track is wider.  I can put the identical set layout on an 8 by 4 surface in either scale.

Obviously the VOLUME of "O" scale stuff is greater and an the average O scale boxcar from a set is 10 inches long compared to the HO 7 inches.  Still, this is a difficult question to answer without SPECIFIC facts.

You could have an AWESOME O scale layout in an 8 foot long by 2 foot wide area if you had a small switch engine and ore cars, but if you wanted huge steam engines or scale passenger cars you wouldn't be satisfied in either scale in an area this size.

It all depends on specifically and exactly what you want!

And if you are talking about 2-rail "O"....then YES you need larger radius curves....

Lastly, you have 16 by 10 which is MORE than the average person regardless of scale.  What is it you want to do?  You have room for either scale.

 

John C. posted:

I respectfully disagree with those above.  Technically, what they are answering  is correct from a mathematical viewpoint.  However, the reality is this.  As a "standard" for years, HO sets come with 18 radius curves.  O sets come with a 36 diameter curve.  Guess what?  A 18 radius curve is a 36 diameter curve--IDENTICAL--yes the O track is wider.  I can put the identical set layout on an 8 by 4 surface in either scale. 

I don't know where you shop but, I have not seen ANY O-Gauge "starter sets" with 036 track included. Everything at our hobby shop has 027 or 031 O-Gauge track included.

I’ve noticed what appears to be two different sizes for O scale. First, there’s the actual 1/48 scale stuff which technically is correct. Then, I supposed due to the toy train/3rail types, there’s more of a 1/43-ish size. You can go to a good hobby shop and see figure sets that are clearly two different sizes for O.

I have plenty of O scale figures that tower in every way over true 1/48 scale figures. I bought/painted a set of WW2 GI’s in 1/48 (for airplane and military modelers) when I was still building the layout and I found they simply look way too small for O. I’ll probably sell them or maybe stick them in the back of the layout for forced perspective. Otherwise, they’re useless.

1/43 works okay for me as they make my narrow-gauge trains look even smaller, which I’m just fine with.

Hot Water posted:
John C. posted:

I respectfully disagree with those above.  Technically, what they are answering  is correct from a mathematical viewpoint.  However, the reality is this.  As a "standard" for years, HO sets come with 18 radius curves.  O sets come with a 36 diameter curve.  Guess what?  A 18 radius curve is a 36 diameter curve--IDENTICAL--yes the O track is wider.  I can put the identical set layout on an 8 by 4 surface in either scale. 

I don't know where you shop but, I have not seen ANY O-Gauge "starter sets" with 036 track included. Everything at our hobby shop has 027 or 031 O-Gauge track included.

Don't Atlas and LionChief sets come with O36 curves?

RRDOC posted:

OK John.   You got us off of our ivory towers.   You had to go and get practical.  

Good analysis.  Much more helpful to the OP.

Bob

Which is why in my first response (in spite of my bad math) I suggested to the OP to get a couple of used O scale cars to poke and prod at.  You can do all the good math you want, but nothing beats holding something in all 3 dimensions to really get a feel for it. 

He mentioned about being drawn to Proto:48 and not into the toy aspect of O.  That makes any discussion about what's in Atlas (Do they even offer 2-rail scale sets anymore?) and LionChief train sets, or any 3-rail track system useless banter.  I don't think there anything in the Ready-To-Run O Scale world that's Proto:48. 

Rusty

RRDOC posted:

OK John.   You got us off of our ivory towers.   You had to go and get practical.  

Good analysis.  Much more helpful to the OP.

Bob

Thank you Bob.  I hesitated because I didn't want to unnerve anyone--not my intent.  Guys are always saying to me "O scale takes too much room!"  And I point out the reality as above.  Technically it is significantly larger than HO; even the undersized stuff.  But, 3-rail was made to turn VERY sharply in order that people would have room for the oval of track.  In my day, the sets I saw were O27--that under a super-sharp HO scale 15 radius curve!  O looks awkward on O27, but it works.

 

Reading the OP's post again, I get the impression he might be referring to O-scale without traditional O-gauge track or equipment. He used the word "realistic", which could imply both wide track curvature and 2 rails.

It would be helpful if the OP clarified further.

Just re-read---there are specifics, my mind goes blank too quickly.  If you are doing P48 switching you are gold.  You won't require super sharp curves.  2 rail curvature, generally speaking, you do need for it to be wider...

Just make certain you can reach EVERYTHING.  Nothing should be more than 30 inches away and if that thing is a turnout, I'd have it in 24" or less.  No area should be five feet wide---assuming you can access it via aisleway from all sides!--- if NOT you will need access openings.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and arrange your track in a manner that allows you to walk right up to it unobstructed.  

You may want to check the appropriate historical society for blueprints, track diagrams to replicate something....duplicating is tough unless it's is a very small switching area...please post pictures and progress.

I have written a design process book and I recommend having a plan prior to starting.  You are on your way.  Still, plan everything out carefully before diving in.  

PS:  I don't know.  BUT, I believe Rusty is on the right track.  I have personally ONLY seen a very small offering for P48.  Maybe there's more.  I'm a 3-rail highly realistic guy and choose the 3 rail because of availability.

Because of Rusty's comments, I would suggest the OP research the P48 market.  My experience is I know 1 man who has it and he is a highly skilled craftsman who "adjusts" everything he buys to Proto48 standards.

I wish I possessed a 1/100 of the skills he has. 

What I know about H.O. track and O gauge track is that with O gauge track you have a curve diameter of 031(31 inch curve) to start with and H.O. uses a curve size of 30 inches or 15 inch radius for their smallest curve section, these are factory made size.

Also Lionel made 027 track with a curve size of 27 inches, so it is about 3 inches smaller in diameter then the factory H.O. curve of 30 inches or 15 inch radius.

There are many sizes in both O gauge and H.O. size tracks and switches. However side by side you may get more H.O. track in the same area for the corner of a layout.

Lee Fritz

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

Ok guys. Maybe I haven't explained properly, although one amongst you hit the nail on the head. I know the dimensions,  1:48 scale, twice the width, twice the height, twice the length and eight times the cubic capacity etc etc. What I don't know is how 0-scale feels. The answer, play with a coupe of freight cars and a bit of track is what I need to do. It's not the maths, but the feel.  Plus, as another post suggested, 2 feet is plenty of 'reach' distance. Why not 4 feet? That's twice HO. But it makes sense. Your arms haven't grown. I'll look at the suggested railroads you can model series, see what I can find. Thanks all for your time. 

Malcolm Smith,

 

Eclectic railroad tastes!

I would think the "feel" has quite a bit to do with the length of the equipment you are running. Passenger cars (especially the usual prototypical 80 ft cars), and some modern freight that in the 60ft to 80+ft range won't feel right in restricted area. But you mentioned RS3's and SW's in the early '50's, where freight is usually between 35 ft and 50ft, which should "feel" better in smaller space. 

Ultimately, the "feel" is in the eye of the beholder, so you'll need to build it first to see it yourself, IMO.

Malcolm, here's two pictures of an O scale switching layout that a gentleman brought to a local train show in 2003.  He never came again.  Pity.  I found it elegant in it's simplicity.  I don't know if it was part of a larger layout or just his way of enjoying the hobby.

But hopefully, this will help give you some idea as it seems similar to what you would like to do.

I believe his sections were 1' wide and 18" wide:

030314LT030315LT

Rusty

Attachments

Photos (2)

Malcolm:  The only way to gauge the "feel" is you yourself.

I came by my "feel" by chance.  I had a huge basement that I was going to put HO in.  I put up a 12 x 10 "O" layout for my son, hoping to get him interested in trains.  I took one look at those O scale trains in my basement and that was all it took.

Check out and subscribe to my Youtube link to see the Glacier Line in action below.  It is on OGR Great Layout Adventures #13 and in the OGR magazine in the Aug/Sept 2016 edition.

Keep us updated.  I'm curious to know what you will decide.

My last comment is that unless you are a very highly skilled modeler, I would stay away from P48.  Don't get me wrong, it's awesome stuff.  I love it.  I just don't possess the skills to do it.

Malcolm,

Shoot me an email (address is in my profile)  I'm very interested in what you have done concerning the NKP and AC&Y in Delphos.  I live in Delphos just a couple of blocks west of the old NKP/ACY tracks.  The local historical society (Delphos Canal Commission) has just completed a small rail display and layout.  They might also be interested in what you have done.

Tom

Welcome to O gauge!  I just got into this myself a few months back and know what you're going through.  Things you'll want to consider:

  • DCS by MTH or Lionel's Legacy system:  Go with DCS, I went Lionel because of the name recognition.  It's great, but everything Lionel costs 20% to 25% more.  Kinda sucks when you want to expand your locomotive roster.  You can get top-notch MTH engines (slightly used) for $200 to $300 that are equal if not greater in quality.
  • "Traditional" vs. Standard O:  STAY AWAY FROM TRADITIONAL!  It looks way too toy-ish.  Coming from HO, you're probably used to nice, scaled versions of your rolling stock and locos.  The traditional or O-27 stuff looks almost kiddish (no offense to those that like it).  You'll especially want to stay away from Lionel's rolling stock as it's way too difficult for a newbie O scale person to tell if it's scale or traditional.  Kinda sucks when you order a piece, then you receive it in the mail and lash it up and it looks way too small compared to your other stuff.  O scale stuff is supposed to be big, so why buy small O gauge stuff????
  • What track to use?  Go with Atlas, looks very realistic and is very low noise.  O gauge trains are heavy and can make quite a bit of noise (which is awesome btw).  You're choice of track can help mitigate this. 
  • Power:  I recommend the MTH Z-4000.  Is about $200 bucks cheaper than Lionel's equivalent and will let you expand without having to upgrade anything later down the road.  You can even find used ones for around $150 to $200.

As far as your layout is concerned, I'm too new to chip in here about different layouts but if you can, try to incorporate a nice long straightaway into your layout.  These big o scale engines sound awesome rumbling down a straightaway.  O scale diesel's typically weigh around 5 lbs. and sound great with all that weight sitting on metal wheels ontop of metal track. 

Additionally, you can always make a "shelf train" if space is an issue.  That's what I did as my office is full of kid toys, computer desk and furniture etc.... 

Here's a video of my shelf train.  You can see the HO train car sitting on-top of the O scale flatcar for a sense of scale and size.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpKtws1fAuw

If you have any other questions, you're in the right spot.  Everyone here is very friendly and eager to help us "newbies" out. 

Since you mentioned your interest in Proto-48, the thread from the 2 rail forum below may be interesting to you.  Proto-48 is very much a modelers world in O scale and something you may enjoy.  As you obviously have an interest in scale equipment as well as scale operations, you may consider putting your post in the 2 rail forum.  Proto-48 is very different from 3 rail O and also much more challenging (and to some more interesting) than the standard 2 rail wide gauge 5' rail spacing that is the accepted standard in the US.

The best advice I've seen so far is to get some used scale starter cars and locomotive and experiment.  Used O scale is often very affordable.  Best of luck to you!

http://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/t...-are-building-in-p48

Jonathan Peiffer Modeling the NY&LB in Arizona

Proud TCA Member, rivet counter, and operator of all scales of scale trains.

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