Howdy Everybody. So, I am planning an O-Gauge model railroad of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina (ET&WNC) "Tweetsie" Railroad, specifically the Johnson City to Elizabethon, TN portion of the line, which had dual gauge iron (track to accommodate both standard and narrow gauge stock), and my desire is to model this dual gauge track in order to accommodate both O and ON30 Scale trains. however, there is a big issue with my idea: I use 3-rail O-Scale like the the majority of people in this hobby do, so I'm worried about providing enough clearance for the underside of both trains, and to prevent either train from causing some sort of short. My plan is to use either Lionel Super O or Gargraves track due to it's thin 3rd rail. Can any of y'all help me figure out how to make dual gauge iron with 3-rail, O-Scale track? Thanks!

Howdy Folks, And Welcome Aboard the Tweetsie Railroad! 

“What Responsible Driver, would stop, as if he were at a roadside lay by? It's Rule 55, you can't do it!”

Original Post

It's fairly easy if you don't need switches:  get Atlas 2-rail O-gauge track and lay a third rail off-set to HO gauge.

The finescale guys lay their own dual-gauge switches, but it's a process that needs practice and planning.

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

Why not use 2 rail standaard Gauge?    It will look so much better and you have more options for control systems.   

In either case you are going to have to handly the narrow gauge rail.    Since HO is closer to 32 inch gauge and O standard for most hobbiests is 5 ft or 60 inches,  you narrow gauge rail is going to be almost on top of the center rail.

Are you planning on running down the middle, or use one outside rails for both gauges?  I assume you want to use a common outside rail.

I remember trying this as a kid with my o gauge trains and my brothers' ho stuff.  As stated above, the scale is really close but doesn't quite work out, my brother's trains would always get lopsided and start falling between the rails. 

If you are will to relocate the center rail however, I think the small offset needed to make your ho stuff work would not bother the wide pick up rollers on most 3 rail equipment.  I am not away of commercially available track to do what you want, but I think you are headed in the right direction talking about a thin center track, but if you need to move the center rail I think you are much better off with mth scaletrax or atlas O.  The reason I say this is that Gargraves and super O both have a center rail that is embedded in the tie. Otherwise I think you are totally into custom track from the get go.

Check out this thread for some views of how the various track systems are constructed.

May God Bless us all.

You might consider using Atlas O 3-rail track and re-gauging the wheels on your On30 models. To run the On30 equipment you would then need to convert the AC power into the middle rail by rectifying it to DC within the locomotive (probably difficult) or you could supply DC from a power pack directly across the center-rail and an outside rail (probably easier). Atlas O 3-rail track might be a good choice because the precise flat-top rail cross-section shape might be the most compatible with the small On30 wheels and flanges. You could first test this by re-gauging an On30 locomotive, supplying DC across the center and outer rails, and running... This approach, if it works, would let you run your 3-rail O gauge and On30 equipment without any modification to the track.

MELGAR

Last edited by MELGAR

Gargraves used to make track that would run O gauge and HO. It was just a slight shift of the center rail to one side. They made it for Steve Williams in the 90's. He was a dealer. They can probably still make it as they may have kept the tie making fixtures.

RoyBoy

Last edited by RoyBoy

I have tried this in the past without success.  I'm curious to see what kind of results you achieve'... Best of luck'...

  Ted 

 

One other possibility just brainstorming,another possibility comes to mind. It won't be very realistic if your goal is to look like prototype standard/narrow gauge dual trackage, which would have 3 rails, though the inner rail would not be centered as it is on O gauge 3 rail track, then my idea won't work. You could do dual gauge by having 4 rails, with the HOn3 track centered around the middle rail. Obviously, this would cause problems with switches, but given that the middle rail to outer rail is not exact for HO gauge (.625 is O gauge 3 rail spacing between inner/middle rails, .65 is HO gauge track), you might have problems with binding and other issues with the HO gauge wheelsets using the outside and middle rail. 

The other problem with using the middle rail is the  obvious one, HOn3 uses DC. You could put a rectifier in the HOn3 engines, you also would need to be careful with speed control given that AC transformers put out a max of 18v, 12V DC for scale trains. If you wanted to run command control using the shared third rail using DCC I would hazard a guess is possible, but likely would be complicated, too. a 4 rail approach would allow basically isolated power, but allow dual running. The tough part of 4 rail would be switches, not sure if that is even possible (Haven't tried sketching it). 

In any event, I suspect any implementation would require a lot of trial and error and custom fitting. If someone did this commercially, there may be existing track out there at the very least to act as a pattern. 

 

 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

jhz563 posted:

Are you planning on running down the middle, or use one outside rails for both gauges?  I assume you want to use a common outside rail.

I remember trying this as a kid with my o gauge trains and my brothers' ho stuff.  As stated above, the scale is really close but doesn't quite work out, my brother's trains would always get lopsided and start falling between the rails. 

If you are will to relocate the center rail however, I think the small offset needed to make your ho stuff work would not bother the wide pick up rollers on most 3 rail equipment.  I am not away of commercially available track to do what you want, but I think you are headed in the right direction talking about a thin center track, but if you need to move the center rail I think you are much better off with mth scaletrax or atlas O.  The reason I say this is that Gargraves and super O both have a center rail that is embedded in the tie. Otherwise I think you are totally into custom track from the get go.

Check out this thread for some views of how the various track systems are constructed.

My plan is to put each HO/ON30 Rail in between the center and outside rail, as I figured that would be the easiest thing to do, and it would allow me to minimize the modification needed to the track, but like I said, my biggest worry if I do this would be clearance for the underside of either locomotive. if the Narrow Gauge rails are too low, than the ON30 engine won't sit correctly on the rails. if the rails are too high, then my O Gauge Engine won't sit on the rails properly. 

Howdy Folks, And Welcome Aboard the Tweetsie Railroad! 

“What Responsible Driver, would stop, as if he were at a roadside lay by? It's Rule 55, you can't do it!”

Why not go for DCC? DCC typically uses 19v AC. 

Run either the centre, or the common outer rail as one feed, the other as the return and let the O gauge only, outer rail look after itself. 

Regauge the On30 locomotives and stock to suit. I don’t know about in the USA, but O14 is a thing in the UK, with specialist trade support for 14mm Gauge axles and wheelsets.

tweetsie12 posted:

My plan is to put each HO/ON30 Rail in between the center and outside rail, as I figured that would be the easiest thing to do, and it would allow me to minimize the modification needed to the track, but like I said, my biggest worry if I do this would be clearance for the underside of either locomotive. if the Narrow Gauge rails are too low, than the ON30 engine won't sit correctly on the rails. if the rails are too high, then my O Gauge Engine won't sit on the rails properly. 

Use the same size rail.  If you buy 2-rail Atlas, buy enough extra to strip the rails off some of the sections and glue tot he ties at the right gauge.  You'll need to get an HO gauge tool (or 3), but they are cheap and plentiful.  Again, it's the switches that create the complications.

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

Rockershovel posted:

Why not go for DCC? DCC typically uses 19v AC. 

Run either the centre, or the common outer rail as one feed, the other as the return and let the O gauge only, outer rail look after itself. 

Regauge the On30 locomotives and stock to suit. I don’t know about in the USA, but O14 is a thing in the UK, with specialist trade support for 14mm Gauge axles and wheelsets.

My plan is to use DCC. My lone ON30 locomotive (for right now) is already equipped with a DCC Decoder, so that's something I'll take into consideration.

Howdy Folks, And Welcome Aboard the Tweetsie Railroad! 

“What Responsible Driver, would stop, as if he were at a roadside lay by? It's Rule 55, you can't do it!”

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