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I love Lionel Trains and The Lionel Train Company. It just occurred to me that Lionel could capture the train market by reintroducing OO gauge trains instead of HO. All that they have to do is produce post war Lionel and American Flyer sets made little boys happy years ago.  Digital kit form would bring parents to the product to get their sons away from non developmental video games

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Big John Henry, You're not crazy by any means,nor are you alone in your thinking either!  I've wondered this myself.

If OO was already established before WWII, why was HO developed in the first place?  NUTS!

I believe OO is 1:76 which makes the gauge of 16.5mm about 4' 1" in the prototype.  HO faithfully represents standard gauge at 4' 8.5" to within 4 thousandths of an inch.

Prewar American OO (1/76 scale)  was established to accommodate the larger AC electric motors needed at the time.  After the "big one", technology had progressed and model makers had perfected the DC small motor that would fit into the HO (1/87 scale) units and OO went the way of the Dodo bird.  Lionel (and everyone else for that matter) seems to struggle in selling S scale, I cannot imagine the cost of remanufacturing OO and the VERY limited market it would hold.  Lionel only manufactured one locomotive and four freight cars in OO. Competitors like Scale Craft, Nason, Schorr, et all had a wider variety but they were all kaput by the mid '50s and their offerings would be considered very crude by today's standards unless one wanted to spend undue hours super detailing them.  I have a few collector pieces in OO and in a perfect world would LOVE to see it reintroduced but we have O gauge manufacturers leaving in droves, I cannot imagine a "new" scale coming into the mix.  In my years of playing with toy trains we have lost Marx, Atlas Tool Company (Rivarossi), Williams (Jerry's company, not WBB), Frank's Roundhouse, Crown Model Products, AMT,  Weaver and now Mike's not to mention Lionel changing hands at least 4x.  I am sure I left someone out of the mix, I apologize in advance for that.

Since no one else has asked (maybe I'm just clueless ? ), what does "Digital Kit Form" imply?  Some sort of connection to apps/devices, even though the general intent is to get them away from that and onto something with physical reality?

Also, I suspect the premise that a lot of parents care about getting their kids away from the phone stuff may unfortunately be flawed for a large percentage.  Obviously all parents are different, and hopefully some would be of the mindset you suggest. Unfortunately though, I think a lot today look at the phone as a more high tech version of the old TV being the babysitter to keep the kids out of their hair.


Last edited by Dave45681

Lionel (and everyone else for that matter) seems to struggle in selling S scale, I cannot imagine the cost of remanufacturing OO and the VERY limited market it would hold.

You hit the nail on the head, Mike.

Plus, market conditions being what they are, introducing (or reintroducing) a "new" scale is unlikely to increase any grand interest, particularly as OO is only moderately larger than HO.


Brendan: Right you are!  I was just wondering if OO would stand a chance today.  Much like TT, almost forgotten.

TT is fairly active in Europe.  Roco, Tillig, Piko and Arnold to name a few are producing European TT.


As a long time N-scaler, I have to wonder why TT-scale didn't take hold and flourish here in America.  Had it done so, I would have undoubtedly been into it big time.  At 1/120 scale, it is almost exactly half way between N-scale and HO scale.  It would be an excellent compromise to allow both small and large prototype model trains in a compact space.

OO scale is far too close to HO scale to be viable for a manufacturer to pick it up today.  Not sure why OO scale didn't take off, I saw some at the toy train museum in Strassburg several years ago while on vacation, and thought it was pretty neat.

If S-scale was more abundant and widely available, I might almost seriously consider it instead of O-gauge.  But at this point in my life, I guess I will stick with O-gauge.  Still not as great a variety in motive power and rolling stock as I'd like to see, but I guess I can live with what's out there.  Barely.

Well, that's MY givens and druthers, yours may vary (insert emoji of 'booger-picking guy with finger up nose' here).

I to would love to see OO return, but sadly that ship sank when WWII happened.  Lionel was, back then, trying to do what they did with Standard gauge and create their own market along side a few other companies.  Double O came about for Lionel in a couple ways, one, J.L Cowen felt threatened by Scale Craft and their dominance in the smaller than O scale market.  Combined with needing the space to fit a robust motor.  Small electric motors with the torque to run trains was in its infancy at that time, hence lots of HO models from the Reading Railroad with their huge Wooten fireboxes to hide the bigger motors available at that time.  The Lionel sets were a jewel, especially the full scale NYC Hudson (001 and 003). Had WWII not happened or been delayed a few more years, OO might have grown a bit more, Lionel might have expanded to a second locomotive, more cars(especially passenger cars) and more track options.  Dick Kuhn even wanted to bring it back during the LTI era, but was brought back to reality by the board that the market was not there to support production of them.  The vintage stuff is out there, takes some looking to find it though.  Here is my 1938 version of the 001 and 001w aka the mini 700e.  I have the rest of the set along with the correct 1938 track.  I plan to recreate the dealer demo layout and take it to shows once they return.  BTW, the static models of the NYC F3's from Hallmark are OO and can be powered with self contained power trucks from NWSL.  I am doing this as I type this.  AD



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Last edited by artfull dodger

What we really need to help out those wanting to run what OO is out there is a fresh batch of sectional track.  Gargraves makes some, but with no matching switches.  The track is also massively over scale as they are using their S gauge rails.  This takes away from the scale look that OO has.   For 2 rail you can use On3 flex track and turnouts, even hand lay the 3rd rail if you have those.  But that gets complex at switches.   A fresh run of sectional track based on the original Lionel stuff in both 2 and 3 rail, along with switches would probably get a few folks to add OO to their layout.  It works great on a O scale layout as a forced perspective on an upper level.   There is a nice American OO blog on line that covers what a few OO modelers are doing to this very day.  Excellent referance site as there was way more than Lionel to OO, from tracks, buildings, other locos including brass imports and sand cast brass made in the states.   Its a hidden gem in the model railroad universe, seldom seen, but still out there.  Great scale for those that enjoy scratchbuilding from plans or bashing models into something totally different.   AD

I think they did the operating horse car.  From my reading, that car and the tender from the Turbine(both with replacement trucks) are good OO options to add to the limited freight cars.  I know the Berk, Turbine and Hudson are way undersize and not really suitable to use in OO.  But the F3's, with diecast shells, are the hidden jewel.  I plan to use a pair of powered NWSL Stanton drives in the lead unit, and nonpowered Stanton drives in the trailing unit.  They are a bit of a pita to get apart as they really torqued the screws in. They are a very soft metal screw, so it doesnt take much to strip out the head.  I got one of my two apart so far, its ready for the power truck as soon as funds allow.  The display case is nice for setting any OO item on your desk at work of the mantle at home.   AD

For those that are into the scale, or have parts stashes.  I am looking for parts to bring my 002 Hudson back to life.  He is missing motor/reverse unit, pilot and trailing trucks, middle rail power pickup and mounting parts.  I know where a few parts are, but the motor/E unit and pilot/trailing truck are a bit harder to find.  It was a parts engine originally, maybe one day it can run again. AD

Some troop cars pulled by one of Lionel's NYC Hudsons would be something I would sign up for.  With the advent of 3d printing, anything is possible, just set the scale you want it to print the object it, be it OO, HO or whatever.  I would like some shorter passenger cars that can go around my tight 3 rail curves.  The diecast scale craft ones need big curves to operate.  I might do a 2 rail OO layout at some point.  But right now, the market to sell my Postwar is dead locally.  No takers yet of my nice 2343's or the 2035 complete set(no boxes).  I would like to do an around the room layout of the NYC thru Indiana(area east of Indianapolis) and passenger coaches and troop sleepers would be great.  There are many niches within model railroading, such as 7/8ths scale on G scale track, live steam in several scales on G scale track, even On30 was a niche till Bachmann blew the lid off the pot with their line of models.  A good supply of ready to use track and switches would be the first step, even if its just proper ties on On3 flex track and turnouts for 2 rail.  AD

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