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FWIW...I just want all u 2 railers to know...  The big manufacturers that have been selling 2 rail, are telling me that their demand for 2 rail is down.  I am still pushing to keep up the availability of new 2 rail.    Just so you all know....

My personal feeling is that most of the new people coming into the hobby (most of whom are in their 50's or so) , are going with 3 rail, as its what they see available the most, and many ppl are introduced to the hobby thru clubs, most of which are 3 rail.   If you want to spread the word about 2 rail....my thoughts are that it might be a good idea for 2 rail modular club layouts to set up at some of the big traditionally 3 rail shows.  I think the shows pay for layouts to show up (idk for sure)   I think a lot of ppl dont know that 2 rail exists.  Just my .02

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FWIW...I just want all u 2 railers to know...  The big manufacturers that have been selling 2 rail, are telling me that their demand for 2 rail is down.

Maybe selling the same tired stuff to what is a small community (relatively) doesn't work like it does in HO? Also, the 2 rail community is not driven to buy, buy, buy anything and everything that does get produced.  I for one have not seen anything new produced in the last decade that I found compelled to buy.

I think a lot of ppl dont know that 2 rail exists.

Possibly true.  Maybe the "big manufacturers" could try advertising.

Ive seen plenty of cool stuff in 2 rail come out in the last decade. 

PRR GRa gondolas,  the H30 covered hoppers.  MILW ribbed side box cars, and of the Atlas USRA hopper cars, 8000 gallon tank cars, or AC-2 covered hoppers.    All the golden gate passenger cars...and our special run of the 64' woodside coaches.    Engines....MTH did big boys in 2 rail 6 months ago, but now they are all gone.   2 rail diesels...Ive been pushing for this..and hopefully some day it will happen.  2 rail road diesels..there are plenty available.

I'm getting MTH steel drop bottom gondolas done in 2 rail (as well as 3 rail) . They are really nice highly detailed cars.    The remarks I get from 2 railers when they see some of the nice MTH stuff is...."i had no idea this stuff was that nice".

Im also going to have a program introduced on the website maybe in a month....where if u buy an MTH freight car, 2 rail trucks for it will be available for $19.95 .  I know its not 5.00 bucks, but best I can do right now.  Part of the probem with the MTH cars is that the bolster screws go in from the top down, and u have to take the car apart to change the trucks, and I dont have time for that.  If it was an easy truck change, I could do them and charge less..

What would u want that has enough mass appeal to make the project economically viable?  Id say of course diesel switchers (like an alco S-2) and consolidations, but what else.  

FWIW... The last time Atlas offered the SW series switchers, they cancelled the run due to low order numbers.   You cant expect the manufacturers and dealers to take all the risk, and then have the hobbyists sit back and decide.  "well maybe I'll get it after I see it. "    The marketplace has spoken...and dealers are saying "im not stocking any 2 rail". Im only ordering what customers order.  And the numbers  are coming up short for production.

I wish I had the answer..other than more publicity for 2 rail

my .02 again

MTH and Lionel have been doing spectacular work.  Lionel has the definitive Alco PA, and some of their die cast steam models are as detailed as the brass imports of the last century.

Problems I see - a lot of it is plastic, and some 2-railers don't really care for plastic.  And you are competing with the used market, which, with eBay, now offers just about anything one could want.

I do like the MTH drop-bottom gons, and have two of them.  But again, plastic - not my thing. If they did the SP G-50-9, even in plastic, I would have to have five.

IMHO...the plastic with metal and plastic detail  is as nice as anything ive every seen.  The 2 best in my opinion being the 8000 gallon tank car, and the USRA 2 bay hopper car.   The AC-2 ACF covered hopper car is really nice too.  

What is an SP G-50-9 anyway?  The wood beet gonds with the high sides?  The gonds have been made in SP, but not with the high sides.  Some ppl have fabricated their own high sides for them

I guess I'm lucky, pretty much every thing I want I have.  There are a few things I would purchase but they are all contemporary and the amount of good contemporary stuff on the market is a niche within a niche.  Atlas, Lionel and even MTH have made some very nice contemporary things but nothing new in the past several years.  My WAG is that few people considering switching to 2-rail 1/48 from HO don't see much they'd be interested in.   The last time I asked a hobby dealer he said most of the HO and N stuff he sold ws 1980's and newer.  He didn't even carry any steam any longer.

Last edited by rdunniii

I have at least a few of all the cars mentioned above - - except the PRR GRa gondola.   As a PRR modeler, I would buy at least a few.    If you are referring to the Weaver woodside gon - IT WAS NOT A PRR GRa however they painted it.    Among the errors, the major one was that it is 2 scale feet TOO SHORT - which is noticable.    Also Weaver did that car with cast on detail, which compared to the more detailed stuff I have been migrating to, it does not stand up well.     I do have 6 of the H30 covered hoppers and Weaver did a great job on them.   I have a pair of the Milw cars too, but how many rib sides can a non milwaukee layout have?     I also have all the Atlas cars mentioned.

As for the SW from Atlas - it is a very nice loco, I have two. 

I wonder as I read this and comment if the market is a bit saturated - especially with generic stuff.    Modelers are getting more knowledgeable and want models that represent specific prototypes in my opinion.

The G-50-9 is kind of arcane, and I seriously do not expect a reasonably priced model of it within my lifetime.  It was done by a high end brass importer about 20 years ago, and sold for over $300 each.  It is a drop-bottom car used primarily by the Harriman roads, and initially made by the Enterprise Car Co.  It differs from the MTH steel side mostly by having sides that slope inward well above the ratchets for the doors.  Ulrich made them in HO out of die cast - not 100% accurate, but still under four bucks, so I kept a pair:

Ulrich G-50-9

Reference: Southern Pacific Freight Cars Vol 1, Anthony W Thompson, pp 94-108.

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You know what? I have photos of the MTH cars - herewith:

Drop bottomDrop Bottom 10

Well, the top photo has a brass import (USH) on the left.  The lower photo shows an unmodified MTH on the left, and a car with proper frame extensions and ancient sand cast trucks on the right.  Both are handsome models, and if you like plastic cars these have to be among the best.  In fact, MTH has done definitive work in both freight cars and wood side passenger cars, all in plastic, which is probably the best medium for faithfully reproducing detail.  Me?  I am sticking with sand cast bronze.  Or built-up brass.

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I think you're partially right. I was in this hobby about 4 years before I heard of 2 rail. It doesn't get much exposure but I think the decline is due to many factors and not just one thing. Some of them are: the myths about 2 rail keeps guys away, older guys aging out of the hobby and/or reaching a point where they have all they need, and 2 rail guys are more likely to stick to the roads they collect or model whereas 3 rail guys are more likely to buy stuff that strikes their fancy.

I do not have the budget for a fleet of brass rolling stock. I wish I did the stuff is gorgeous so plastic is good enough for me. Last year I bought 3 MTH plastic passenger cars from you (Beth) in 2 rail and this year I have a MTH scale wheel locomotive on order with another dealer. At this point I have almost everything I need. I would someday to purchase a Niagara or a Ten Wheeler in 2 rail. I know USH did a Niagara that is nice but I am in no rush.  I would be very tempted by RailKing SW if it had fixed pilots, Kadees and was 2 rail but most 2 railers wouldn't want it due to the China drive.

All opinion.

Ill try to be brief.  I like 2 rail, but im not picky, and when it comes to models, close is good enough for me.   If you like things exact, then u have to go to the short run companies and pay the price.  I realize that may be what many of u want.   Unfortunately, thats not the world of larger run, much less expensive production.   I worked with Weaver on the GRa gondola, and the 1st run was in the correct circle keystone scheme.   I also did a special run of them in Raritan River (they bought some from the PRR, and i was going to do NYO&W if weaver didnt close.

No, its not exact, and it may be 2' short, but personally, i find it a nice looking wood side gondola.  Weaver already had a 40' flat car, and I suggested to Joe about making wood sides that could attach thru the side pockets. The ends were slotted into the sides, and u could remove one or both ends if u wanted to for MW use or whatever.  The fact is, it was that car, or nothing, and i think its a nice car. Im not that picky, and i think it passes the "looks good" test.

There is so much out there that is so far off, im happy with anything thats close and  looks good.   I guess i'll find out if anyone buys the drop bottom gondolas im having done in 2 rail..  Atlas cars in 2 rail still seem to be selling OK.  2 rail comes and goes.  Few orders in 2 rail for a while, and then a whole bunch of orders....

****,

i just think, we are at the point in 0 scale ( in Europe/Germany also), were a manufacturer have to decide

1. develope Transition era stuff (in Germany Epoche 3), to make money with the customers they have the money and the age...( guess- Lenz develope each year 2 big steamer each 2000 bucks, other manufactureres goes into 0 with the same price range with this era) and the things will be sold out. They know, how to make money with their customers, but can`t generate new. This will work for a few years, then there are no customers, who are interested in this stuff. But with this stuff, no new customers ( age 45+) can be excited.

2. with a painting version of an Atlas beer ( or others) car nobody wants to order, when you own 300 or moore. Or sw 900?, they are around, easy to get. Manufacturers can use there patterns, developed several years ago and make reprints--but how long will this work-are were no at the point, were this business model won`t work?

Look into H0, plastic engines with etched/brass parts flooding the market, but most modern stuff ( perhaps a few F`s) . And-they are almost sold out. Even the roling stock. New manufacturers (like scaletrains or rapido) came around with this stuff. No market for modern stuff ? ehh In Germany the same--modern european stuff is sold out. The customers, youngsters an 45+, the grew up with this stuff. Look around, small companies with GP9 rebuilts or other older stuff doing daily work with modern cars..

In 0 scale, try to get a MTH high cube boxcar or other modern stuff. Kits from small manufacturers, who make modern stuff.sold out...

I think, the problems is to generate a market. Perhaps it`s to late now..and they are beating a dead horse. The risk, to use a lot of money to develope some engines are very high.  And even the owners are older guys, and perhaps this way will work to their retirements. And after that--so what, see, whats happen to  MTH-from his point of view-so what..

just my thougths



kindest regards from Germany



Elmar

MTH has done some very nice accurate models.    The PRR R50B is as good or better than any brass one I have seen.    I have about 7 of them all converted to 2 rail, and lowered to proper height.    The Fishbelly hopper is also a very nice car and appears accurate.    Since it is not Pennsy, I did study it in detail.   I do have about 10 of these.  

I have nothing against plastic.    I think you can get better detail   An example is the PRR H21 done by Atlas.    It has the rivet and structure detail on both the outside and inside of the body.   The brass ones I  have seen have very accurate, perhaps better detail on the outside, but the inside of the body when it is empty is devoid of detail, it is the reverse of the rivets and stuff from the outside.

On the other hand, Plastic generally requires larger runs of the same piece to cover the costs of tooling and design to be able to sell at a target price.    Brass lends itself to unique models and detailing because of the shorter runs.    However the shorter runs also mean significantly higher costs and prices.

Well in 2 weeks the 2 rail Stout Auctions is ending. I see a LOT of modern stuff in there. Perhapse a guage as to what items command more, the 1940's- 50's stuff like the Ferdinand Magellon or the 1980's stuff including Overland Amtrak superliners and F40ph's.

Regardless 2 rail or 3 rail, there is a darth of 1970's-1990's loco's [esp non EMD types] and vehicles - M.O.W. service vehicles, Tractor Trailers & 4 door cars.

FWIW...I just want all u 2 railers to know...  The big manufacturers that have been selling 2 rail, are telling me that their demand for 2 rail is down.  I am still pushing to keep up the availability of new 2 rail.    Just so you all know....

My personal feeling is that most of the new people coming into the hobby (most of whom are in their 50's or so) , are going with 3 rail, as its what they see available the most, and many ppl are introduced to the hobby thru clubs, most of which are 3 rail.   If you want to spread the word about 2 rail....my thoughts are that it might be a good idea for 2 rail modular club layouts to set up at some of the big traditionally 3 rail shows.  I think the shows pay for layouts to show up (idk for sure)   I think a lot of ppl dont know that 2 rail exists.  Just my .02

I agree with Beth.  There are no O Scale 2 Rail (OS2R) modular layouts at most general interest train shows such as the NMRA national train shows.  All the other scales and gauges are well represented by modular layouts including Lego, 3-rail O, and On30.

Yes, there are OS2R only shows that are well attended by people already in the segment but this is not an indication of where this hobby segment is going.  I am going to O Scale National that is being held in Denver in June.  I expect that the convention will be well attended but that the majority of the attendees will be in my age group - 60+.  I am in my mid 70s.  

OS2R is invisible to most people who are in the smaller scales and who are entering the hobby.  There is an ongoing effort to increase the visibility and popularity of OS2R.  This effort includes developing an OS2R Freemo modular layout standard and making the scale more visible on the web.  You can reach the O Scale Central Website here:  https://oscalecentral.com

The O Scale Central Website is the place to learn about everything that is happening in OS2R.

I believe, however, that until good quality OS2R modular layouts become regular attendees at general interest train shows, that the hobby segment will continue to remain mostly unknown to most people who are new to the model railroad hobby.  NH Joe

Demand is down?  Lets look at this. You've got one company (atlas) who delivers things 7 years after they announce it, if they didnt outright cancel it. Sure they make some really nice stuff if they eventually deliver it, but why tie up the funds on things when theres no chance it'll be delivered in a timely manner. Orders are low? Maybe prove you can deliver and more orders will come. Forgive us for not bothering to order stuff and wait a lifetime to get it, but clearly the demand is there for what has been made, as I've watched time and time again 2 rail diesels go on that auction site in excess of $400 or $500, and some of them were $250 Trainman models!

The other guy (MTH), is on the way out the door, and sold a bunch of stuff to the first guy.  Will Atlas make use of the new factory capacity and deliver? Time will tell. While they made some nice stuff, the electronics are a turnoff for 2 rail. In 3 rail, DCS is no big deal, as the sound files are better than lionel's tired and worn out repeats, but compared to something like ESU's files... its basic at best. I bet they sell more "Scale wheel" diesels to 3 railers who want fixed pilots than 2 railers who run them on 2 rails. When they ran out of the sporatically stocked conversion wheelsets, i'm sure demand dropped off (even though they work just fine on 3R track with scale wheels).   I started off doing that, now that i have a 2R layout too, I just pulled the rollers off and flipped the switch.

I'm in agreement with the people above... it seems like modern stuff disappears, yet they havent rolled more stuff out. I would think in modern times with stuff like additive manufacturing, the setup costs to make something new would be less. There are plenty of things in Atlas' HO catalog that they obviously have CAD files for and could just add 181% to them...

Or just re-engineer and reuse existing tools! I've taken apart enough Atlas locos to know they're in a bunch of pieces... offer the GP9 as a chop nose (yeah, sure you can just build one), turn an F7 frame into a CF7, make the tweaks to the long end of a U23b to get a B23-7 out of it.... Anything new is going to cause a stir these days, assuming they can deliver it.

Let me just say.....I didnt start this topic in search of a ***** session.    Im trying to get the major manufacturers to keep making 2 rail.  Its an uphill fight, as they are telling me qty's being ordered are light.  I'm telling them I'll help increase the orders, just to get more things made in 2 rail.

If the response from the 2 railers is  " i dont care if any more 2 rail is made or not, ,  if its not one of the few very particular things i want",  well then so be it.   2 rail O gauge will descend into the realm of aftermarket sales, and expensive short run manufacturers, as it was pre-1990.

For those who would like to see a future for ready-to-run 2 rail O gauge products..., I just want everyone to know that Im trying, and spreading  the word will help.

Last edited by Beth Marshall-The Public Delivery Track

By all means... continue to push for it to be made. I'd love to buy something new. I dont necessarily "have enough stuff" nor am I "old"... but asking for it and taking orders is one thing, getting it delivered is a whole different ballgame, and its hard to create orders when there's no definite timeframe for making it. That has to be frustrating for you too.

Last edited by Boilermaker1

I'm telling them I'll help increase the orders, just to get more things made in 2 rail.

Maybe finding out what folks really want and will pay for could help.  If they keep making stuff that very few really want and/or are willing to pay for, then it's all downhill.

If the response from the 2 railers is  "im old and i dont care if any more 2 rail is made or not, ,  if its not one of the few very particular things i want, well then so be it.   2 rail O gauge will descend into the realm of aftermarket sales, and expensive short run manufacturers, as it was pre-1990.

Age is not relevant (and a wee bit insulting to even put into play), and more would be good if it's stuff that people want and not recycled with different lettering failed stuff from the past, but that specific want/need is a critical component to very seriously take into account. There's zero use for a late 20th century car on a 1920s era layout,   Decent moderate switchers of several varieties with good horizontal drives should be fairly broad in interest....maybe.

For those who would like to see a future for ready-to-run 2 rail O gauge products..., I just want everyone to know that Im trying, and spreading  the word will help.

Keep trying and maybe educating the companies since selling O scale is wee bit different than selling HO to the masses.

One of the reasons Im writing here is to find what ppl want.   Unfortunately, there no real consensus.   Some ppl are saying they want new tooling for cars that have never been made before. 

Totally new tooling, from the ground up, just isnt in the cards right now, with the companies i deal with.    Partial changes, like making a 40' slide/plug door box car, might be doable.  Also re-running of some things that havent been done in 10 or more years.   The Atlas USRA 2 bay panel side hoppers are super nice.   There are a limited number of roads that had them, tho.

I would imagine a large part of the reason is actually getting things made and available.  Atlas is the worst offender.  There is still demand for their 5161 hoppers, their 53' well cars and their 53' containers .  Not only has Atlas not made them in several years with no delivery in sight but there are Ebay sellers that want as much as double retail for the few that remain.  If an early MTH car from Atlas was their 50' hi cube boxcar might be interested.  Not holding my breath.  I'm not expecting to actually see any MTH stuff from Atlas for at least 2 years.  HO and N are their priority and that is good but there ability to scale up overall production doesn't exist.  Will it with MTH's factory?  We shall see.  I bet they are moving their HO and N tooling over first.   Reminds me of Ron Sebastien and Des Plaines who bought up all kinds of really nice O scale tooling and then did nothing with it and in some cases didn't even know here he put it.

Whatever happened to the Bowser 53' trailers/roadrailers that Weaver bought, did nothing with, went out of business and the tooling went... somewhere that has never been seen again.  Lionel has made some awesome freight cars, but 3-rail only and conversions are annoying because of the way they mount things.  3rdrail has said no more freight cars,  too many people have said they want unusual or weird type X cars and then no one buys them.  I told him to make cars that anyone can go down to the tracks and see many of them go by and he just says no more.

Last edited by rdunniii

The manufacturers might be bringing this on themselves.  One has been out of stock for some time of 2 Rail locomotive wheels, one is being aquired, but has been historically stubborn about re-running 2 Rail conversion pieces and parts.   And one has had back orders for their 2-Rail flex track for some time.  Looks to me like there is a supply problem to keep railroads from expanding, building, and growing.  If I have to wait until a locomotive is released in the future to get the benefit of parts such as 2 Rail wheels that turns me away.   I see a supply problem with future purchases.  I find it incredibly interesting considering all of the additional modeling time with the COVID scenario the last year.  Where is their marketing and listening ability?  I don't recall seeing them at the O Scale Meet last year prior to the pandemic. 

RTR locomotives and cars seem to take much longer to get stateside than normal and that's probably part of it too.  It may behoove them to come out in the open and ask how they can improve and what products we would like to see.  They are bringing it on themselves when they gamble with even the simplest things such as new roadnames on existing models.  I'm only speaking for me, but sometimes I would buy a lot more over time, if they weren't produced in a ton of roadnames at once in a limited production, but filtered in batches.  This would likely conflict factory production schedules.

The absolutely critical thing is going to be model detail and paint accuracies.   If the details are wrong such as a hood door that shouldn't be there, a missing stanchion, fans not centered, inaccurate paint and the price point is $200 more than a competitor sales are not going to repeat as the customer begins to think prototype accuracy doesn't matter. 

Also, I know there are a lot of factors, but maybe figuring out a way to lower prices so more O Scale 2-Rail converts can cross over.

Beth's website if fairly easy to navigate and see what's in stock.  Other sellers however are not, just a written description of the item.  Better, faster, easier to use internet platforms could assist with sales volumes as well.

There are also other outside factors that could be limiting sales, such as the ridiculous price of plywood - $56 at Home Depot on Friday night when I checked... 

These are not at all meant to be gripes or stubborness, but discussion of ways to new opportunities. 

I like modern 2 rail RTR stuff. Atlas mainly for cars and MTH for engines. I am not in the majority here.

I have bought from most every company's offerings, but mainly in modern. I have boxes of unused stuff just laying around. I can't fit it all on the layout.

I just plainly got tired of swapping out trucks and converting stuff.

I dabble in the steam era and I don't want or need anything more there.

I would have ordered the MTH BNSF 2 rail ES44 from you. I ordered a UP SD70ACe in G scale instead. After I did, I found the BNSF version that I originally wanted. I couldn't justify both. I did buy the MTH 2 rail Bigboy.

I just can't justify spending so much every couple of months  in toy trains. I am not rich. I don't know how some brass guys buy so much. Maybe they don't have the big quantities yet? Plastic is fine for me. I am like you Beth in that close is good enough for my old eyes.



.....There is so much out there that is so far off, im happy with anything thats close and  looks good.

FWIW... The last time Atlas offered the SW series switchers, they cancelled the run due to low order numbers.

And, wasn't the run before that also cancelled? They lost their factory, or something? Maybe I'm wrong. Regardless, I don't understand the lack of interest in these switchers. Haven't been available for some time, fantastic running O-scale model, and prototypically very popular. I know I'm jonesing to preorder two ... preferably undecorated.

I think a lot of ppl dont know that 2 rail exists.

Certainly many HOers that do admire O scale ... are not aware. Reading their message boards, many only know of their grandfather's semi-scale trains around the Christmas tree on 3-rail tubular track. Not very knowledgeable of how far O scale has come. And completely unaware of 2-rail (so many of them deplore, mock the third rail) ... with it's DCC components.

I always promote 2-rail O with them. I've made a short, poor-quality video of my Atlas MP15 endcab switchers ... a 2-rail O and a HO. They're always super impressed with the O scale version. I'm trying.

It would be a real shame if these 2-rail SWs just fade away.

Last edited by EBT Jim

Let me just say.....I didnt start this topic in search of a ***** session.    Im trying to get the major manufacturers to keep making 2 rail.  Its an uphill fight, as they are telling me qty's being ordered are light.  I'm telling them I'll help increase the orders, just to get more things made in 2 rail.

If the response from the 2 railers is  " i dont care if any more 2 rail is made or not, ,  if its not one of the few very particular things i want",  well then so be it.   2 rail O gauge will descend into the realm of aftermarket sales, and expensive short run manufacturers, as it was pre-1990.

For those who would like to see a future for ready-to-run 2 rail O gauge products..., I just want everyone to know that Im trying, and spreading  the word will help.

I don't consider myself old but I certainly am not young. I do very much care if 2 rail is made or not. I cannot buy a lot of new items just for the sake of supporting the hobby. If I was rich maybe I would but I am not. I spend on what I can afford that is within my budget. I do appreciate your efforts and what you're doing for 2 rail. I am really going to miss being able to buy a scale wheeled steam locomotive. Even if MTH sticks around they could always drop the scale wheeled versions like they did in many of their latest special runs. This is why I ordered the Reading T1. It could be my last steam locomotive from MTH.

Maybe you are right and if more people saw how good trains look that are the same size as scale Lionel trains but have smaller flanges and couplers and ride on track with more scale sized rail that doesn't have the center rail maybe just maybe 2 rail would grow.

You had to know that by starting this topic it would start a good conversation.

Beth, thanks for what you are trying to do.  I like the MTH 2 rail steam and diesel locomotives and I have bought several during the past year.  I don't want to convert to DCC since that is an unnecessary expense when I already have DCS and Legacy and neither is compatible with DCC (unless running Proto 3  locomotives in DCC mode).  I think MTH got it right when they introduced the 3-2 convertible trucks.  For diesel locomotives, there are not that many different parts (pilots, wheelsets, handrails, couplers) that are required to manufacture 2 and 3 rail versions.  For steam, many of the latest MTH premier locomotives are electrically equipped to run either 2 or 3 rail, so all that is generally is required is to manufacture versions with scale wheelsets and (potentially as a bonus) to provide a shorter drawbar.

For me, these locomotives are adequate.  It would be nice to have two sets of screw holes in the 3-2 trucks to move the truck side frames inwards for 2 rail operation and a variety of other improvements, but it's better than having to wait decades for a specialty manufacturer to consider producing something I am looking for now.  Also, offering undecorated versions would allow modelers to customize for the more obscure railroads or for railroads that are not commonly represented, such as Illinois Central.

Just a quick response.  I am in an O scale club that does have younger members (<60).  The issue is two fold IMHO.   MTH has not a lot of respect among the 2 railers as some of their products are quite nice and some aren't that good as far as scale accuracy.  With all its issues Atlas for value and Sunset/3rd rail are far more popular among the membership.  Last I heard was that nearly half of Atlas' sales were in 2 rail.

I think I'm the only one in the club who has purchased MTH engines, which in the case oft he GP7/9 is too high off the trucks and has handrails painted wrong and starting in the wrong locations - I could go on but I have the skill so correct and build a scale pilot.  On the other hand the 2 rail MTH Trainmaster was excellent as was the 3 rail only Alco S2 (which I had to convert with MTH scale wheel sets which are set up wrong for the S2 and must be modified to fit.)  The other issue is that the vast majority of 2 railers are DCC and are never going to be interested in DCS.  The early MTH PS3 modules didn't work well with DCC but they have improved though they are still no where near Soundtraxx or ESU.  She time ago an MTH sales person actually came to club to demonstrate an early version of PS3 on the club's HO layout, it was a disaster.  I know it is now improved.

Atlas cancelled some O Scale locomotives because of problems with their vendor(s).  Their current vendor is supposed to expand and rectify the problem in the near future - we shall see.  The instability of the US - China relationship of recent years is not helping.

BTW, Beth I'll go for an Atlas SW in either B&M or SP if you can get Atlas to make them (2 rail with DCC).

J2M

What fun!  When you post on a forum, expect discussion to ensue - unless your topic is simply uninteresting and irrelevant.

I am now officially ancient.  I remember when all O Scale had was All Nation and Walthers.  Sure, older Lobaugh and Scale Craft was available, but Max Gray didn't hit the market until I was in high school.  I used to dream about a string of Budd cars.

Almost anything I can imagine is now available in O Scale - for a price.  That, plus if I want something obscure, I know how to make it.  Life is good, if somewhat short.

If manufacturers would commit to making locomotives that are 2 and 3 rail compatible AND include the parts to fix the pilots, I think everyone would have a better time.  

MTH sort of did this with DC compatibility, DCC included and the ability to buy 2-rail wheel sets to convert the trucks.  But, I never saw a way to buy the fixed pilots or handrails.  

And how about if they just threw a set of two rail trucks in with their rolling stock? I know they are usually like $25-30 but what would it add to the cost if they were just factored in and included?  

Maybe what I’m suggesting is too wasteful?

I come at this as a 3-railer who used to be in HO.  I love the realism of 2-rail, and I would consider replacing trucks and couplers on rolling stock, and even pulling up the center rail or re-laying track (eventually).  However, I have a lot of money invested in 3-rail motive power, only probably 5-10% of which is convertible.

I don’t know, it’s a tough problem in O gauge... two different track systems, electrical differences, command control differences. Not sure how to solve or streamline it.

I'm not looking for any new models in 2-rail although it would be nice. But, when Atlas goes over 10 years since their last run of GP9's, GP35's, Dash 8-40B's, MP15DC's, SD40's, etc. then that's a problem. I'm pretty sure a run of Alco C424's would sell out quickly in 2-rail and 3.

Just reissue past models in motive power and rolling stock. If that's too much to ask then maybe Atlas should focus their efforts on accessories like track and buildings. Atlas acquired tooling from Weaver for the VO1000 3 years ago and they've done nothing with it so you'll have to forgive me for being skeptical about their capacity to produce MTH Premier trains not to mention their own (GP7's...7 years and counting).

@rplst8 posted:

If manufacturers would commit to making locomotives that are 2 and 3 rail compatible AND include the parts to fix the pilots, I think everyone would have a better time.  

MTH sort of did this with DC compatibility, DCC included and the ability to buy 2-rail wheel sets to convert the trucks.  But, I never saw a way to buy the fixed pilots or handrails.  

And how about if they just threw a set of two rail trucks in with their rolling stock? I know they are usually like $25-30 but what would it add to the cost if they were just factored in and included?  

Maybe what I’m suggesting is too wasteful?

I come at this as a 3-railer who used to be in HO.  I love the realism of 2-rail, and I would consider replacing trucks and couplers on rolling stock, and even pulling up the center rail or re-laying track (eventually).  However, I have a lot of money invested in 3-rail motive power, only probably 5-10% of which is convertible.

I don’t know, it’s a tough problem in O gauge... two different track systems, electrical differences, command control differences. Not sure how to solve or streamline it.

Atlas sold F units with a fixed pilot in the box. Thats the only time Ive seen it (probably because it did not require different handrails).

There was a time where you could buy a 3 rail atlas locomotive, make a call to Bill Seratelli and he'd sell you the parts to fix the pilots. Its been so long since they've made these engines, the parts aren't available anymore, so now if you want to do it, you need to come up with a 2 rail locomotive and a 3 rail donor locomotive for the trucks (and sometimes the electronics) and figure out how to combine them (which isnt always 100% straight forward). I have done this. It is not the cheapest way to get an engine the way you want it, but if you see a 3 rail basket case on ebay, sometimes its worth it for the parts pile, but the 2R ones have gotten so insanely expensive, its not going to be an easy value proposition.

Atlas trucks are 3-2 compatible also (they did this before MTH did, all the way back to the B40-8, 2001?). Swap the wheel sets and exchange the pickup wipers and insulators for the rollers and its associated insulator bucket. If your track is good enough, then all you need to do is put on rollers, the 2 rail wheels run fine.

Some of the MTH pilots found their way into the parts catalog and you could buy them, but not all of them and they were not plentiful. I never saw handrails available. They were probably considered part of the shell, and not a separate item.

@rplst8 posted:

I come at this as a 3-railer who used to be in HO.  I love the realism of 2-rail, and I would consider replacing trucks and couplers on rolling stock, and even pulling up the center rail or re-laying track (eventually).  However, I have a lot of money invested in 3-rail motive power, only probably 5-10% of which is convertible.



@rplst8 Just curious but when you went from HO to O did you consciously choose 3 rail or did you not know about 2 rail back then?

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