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Reply to "WHAT IS 3-RAIL SCALE?"

Bob Delbridge posted:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:


Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.


Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I've seen the Lash layout AND I have seen even larger 2-rail O layouts. Both are fabulous. Tony's COULD be operated point-to-point, with most of the operator's time being spent switching out hopper cars by that fabulous coal mine. The last giant 2-rail O layout I saw was being run in a giant loop (although many trains were being run via DCC which somewhat disguised that fact.) 

Two-rail scale O looks fabulous. It really does. The dirty little secret is that the track and turnouts need MUCH MORE attention to keep things operating well. Do you want to spend a big portion of your time troubleshooting and doing track maintenance, or running trains?

The 2-railers will NEVER "like" us monster-claw-coupler guys completely. Let's face it: most 3-rail OPERATORS are round-robin "loop-runners." Many of the 2-railers attempt 100% proto operating. Some of the ones I've met ARE elitists, employing VERY expensive brass models (we have elitists in our camp too, though I'd NEVER include Tony in that camp.) Are they having fun yet? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Actually,I'd generalize by saying that most of the 2-railers I've met are HO-modelers with poorer eyesight now, or non-compromising prototypers who will never understand "the magic of Lionel trains." Maybe they started life with a Lionel under the tree, but that was centuries ago--if they'll even admit it. (More likely, it was a Tyco HO set.)

I personally can appreciate both camps without joining either.

OGR was, once upon a time, OSR. There's a sliding scale between 2-rail scale and 3 rail O-gauge tinplate trackers. Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

To quote our Webmaster at the start of this topic: "The intent in 3-Rail Scale is to continually strive for as much prototype realism as possible within the limitations of time, talent, and available space." Realism in coupler size? In rail height or number of rails? In method of operating trains (loop or point to point) ? Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

Last edited by BurlingtonBill
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