The companion thread includes a compelling case for why a number of hobbyists find Super "O" track to be a very appealing alternative to the other track systems available. Based on the fact that Lionel has not chosen to reissue Super "O" to date, one could logically surmise that this decision is based upon valid business reasons according to their evaluation.  

Obviously, Super "O" is not everyone's favorite, and those hobbyists  would justifiably not be interested in the track system.  And, a compelling argument can (and likely will) be made that there are already a number of competing track systems on the market.  Additionally, some will very logically point out, that perhaps it is now too late, given that many hobbyists already have committed "all in" to another track system for their layout(s). Others might counter that, in their view, Lionel sells some gorgeous "high end" locomotives and consists, and that, in their opinion, Lionel does not sell a premium track system to complement those premium offerings.  

Although I haven't followed their recent history, it is my recollection that Lionel had a vibrant licensing operation for a number of years.  Perhaps Lionel could license a quality manufacturer to commence the manufacture and sale of a full line of Super "O" track, hopefully including wide radius curves, etc.  In all likelihood,  there would have to be a willingness by both the original developer of Super "O", and the above described (and, admittedly unidentified), "quality manufacturer" to engage in such a licensing program.  Equally important, the "quality manufacturer" would likely require a compelling business interest for such manufacture.  This would necessitate evaluating the arguments: (1)  There already exists sufficient Super "O" on the market, with more likely becoming available as the Baby Boomers continue to move farther into the future: and,  (2) There are already sufficient vendors crafting wide radius Super "O" track to satisfy demand for such track.

In conclusion, licensing is at least an interesting thought.  (Given that a number of other manufacturers make product similar to postwar Lionel product, perhaps licensing may not be required.)  At the minimum, Lionel should hopefully be pleased that a number of their devoted customers still have great affection for Super "O" track, and would love to see a new reissue so that they could enjoy an even more fulfilling hobby and postwar celebration.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611
Original Post

Dennis, I would build at least one Super-O layout if the curves and turnouts were available in wider radius.  As you say, the business case would be the challenge, so this seems unlikely.   Perhaps a "crowd-funding" effort might gauge the level of interest.  -Ken

O Gauge: the IMAX of Model Railroading, and a multi-sensory experience.

Sure, Lionel could license Super-O to an outside supplier.  But since it would be competing with their existing FasTrack line, I'd be pretty surprised if they did so.

That said, if Super-O became available in the same array of diameters as FasTrack (including switches), I wouldn't hesitate to convert my FasTrack layout to Super-O.  Back in the Seventies, I had a Super-O layout, and I had no problems whatever with it.

An idea worth exploring! But also agree that Lionel has gone all-in on FasTrack as that is the track system that appeals to newbies, youngsters, and that huge part of their customer base entering the hobby by purchasing a starter set for a carpet central or 4x8 plywood set up.

Have really enjoyed that Super O thread.   Other than knowing that it did exist I really don't know much about it.

TCA, LCCA

Last edited by johnstrains

If an extinct track system would ever be re-issued, why not the K-Line Super-Snap?  It looks very similar to Super-O, but unlike Super-O, all O-gauge trains, from tinplate to modern, will run on it--even the switches. We had a pile of Super-O straight track many years ago, and the only thing it was good for was shelf track.  Tinplate trains won't run on Super-O as the rail profile is too low. The tooling for the Super-Snap track must be around somewhere, all it would take is someone willing to produce it. 

John 

Personally, I would love to see Super O resurrected.  However, just imagine the tooling costs for wide-path Super O switches which would be purchased by only a small and ever declining group of niche buyers.

I would like Lionel to consider a better track system like Super O.  Unfortunately, Lionel has determined that those who operate Legacy scale equipment appear willing to  settle for the same Fastrack system that satisfies the low end of the market.

I have also heard that this track system was originally very difficult and labor intensive to manufacture .

And then there is the matter of that "copper" center rail using a material which is anathema to Lionel due to its cost.  

And, as others have pointed out, why would Lionel permit sales of Super O to cut into the fat margins on their lousy but high volume Fastrack system?

Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER

I'm in! Although I'd like to also see turnouts using lanterns and equivalent length both routes, so as to be able drop into an expanding layout,realistic siding bumpers,grade crossings  and legacy features such as lcs. And lastly, improved rail to rail contacts.But I  won't hold my breath for this reason. I believe  lionel doesn't solicit it's customers for any product ideas. Period. It's ''here it is boys, take it or leave it''policy is doing back room damage to an otherwise fine institution. I had the opportunity to discuss this issue when at an orlando train show back in 2017. I asked a lionel rep. who appeared to be in his mid 30!s hWhy did you start then stop using a blackened center rail? His response was; we (lionel llc.) thought it was ugly. Ok, so I mentioned that growing up,walking the old Hudson to Mohawk trackage assured me that it would be prototypical to blacken the cr and roadbed out just past the running rails. His response though me back! He replied that he was aware of the coal cinders used as ballast, and that along with the oil drippings left by passing trains the center rail would be harder to detect. Good answer. So I assumed that he would have passed info/idea up through the chain and maybe he did. But somehow all we got folks is orange roadbed fastrack? Well that's certainly prototypical when you have a vat car derail while carrying orange paint? Thank for allowing me my 2cents. Lionel,are you listening?  Be awesome to run a $1000.00+ loco on lionel and not somebody else's track. 

Hudson ron1956

L.I.TRAIN posted:

Why?,  Excluding the 3 rail tinplate track, we already have Gargraves and Ross making great products with a full compliment of radaii, flexibility. The blackened middle rail of these two is much less destructive the the pick up rollers than Super-O was/is

Well, if  I'm building a PW-style, toy train layout (like the one I have now!) you can be sure I'm not going with Gargraves or Ross.

"Form over function."

TCA, LCCA

L.I.TRAIN posted:

 The blackened middle rail of these two is much less destructive the the pick up rollers than Super-O was/is

Super o doesnt damage rollers.

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Super O Bob posted:

Dennis are you referring to my Super O Manifesto?  Lol...  

 

Hi Bob,

I thought the points that you made regarding a case for reissuing Super "O" track on the companion thread were very compelling.  Quite frankly, the fortunate people who had a chance to run trains on your beautiful Super "O" layout with wide radius curves would leave with an understanding of why so many people love this track system, and would be excited to run their scale equipment on it.  

For me, the excellent point you made about Lionel selling premium equipment, particularly highly detailed, scale, fully featured  locomotives, without having a companion premium track system, really made sense to me.  (And, I do fully understand why many people would be perfectly happy with Lionel's current offerings if they fully suit their purposes.)

Forum Members,

The above posts are very enjoyable to read, and make many well considered arguments and suggestions. Thanks to each of you!

 

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611
Ron464nyc posted:

 Be awesome to run a $1000.00+ loco on lionel and not somebody else's track. 

That is my point exactly...

Yesterday it was Addams Family Super O Layout...  now we look to be heading back to ressurection of super o! 

 

This topic used to come up about once a year.  I have a barn full of super o in storage...  literally hundreds of switches and everything.  But if lionel ever did reissue it, or some NEW scale like track system, i would be all in.. 

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Super O Bob posted:
L.I.TRAIN posted:

 The blackened middle rail of these two is much less destructive the the pick up rollers than Super-O was/is

Super o doesnt damage rollers.

Only badly formed rollers from the 50's.  I would love to see it SuperO come back but sadly since my layout is already built it's too late for me.

I would be awesome though, different length straight sections, different radius curves.  Switches that look like Ross or AtlasO and didn't melt when they fail.

One thing that would be a plus, since MTH and AtlasO track is hardly ever in stock, Lionel or who ever could make a killing if they could get it on store shelves.

I would be awesome though, different length straight sections, different radius curves.  Switches that look like Ross or AtlasO and didn't melt when they fail.

One thing that would be a plus, since MTH and AtlasO track is hardly ever in stock, Lionel or who ever could make a killing if they could get it on store shelves.

Exactly... its not like you can even get the alternative...

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Last edited by Super O Bob
Ken-Oscale posted:

Dennis, I would build at least one Super-O layout if the curves and turnouts were available in wider radius.  As you say, the business case would be the challenge, so this seems unlikely.   Perhaps a "crowd-funding" effort might gauge the level of interest.  -Ken

Ken,

I didn't mention turnouts because of the likely assumed cost, but that would be phenomenal.  I hadn't thought of crowd funding, which would be a great idea if it is a feasible alternative.  (I did find myself musing about the unlikely possibility that some devoted, but unknown, Lionel enthusiast with the means could do the reissue under license, if necessary, without the same necessity for establishing a business case for the project.  He or she would likely  have to be a big Super "O" fan, and that hasn't happened yet.)

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611
Allan Miller posted:

Could they do it? Yep! Will they do it? Not at all likely.

Given the passage of 50+ years, history makes a compelling argument that you may be correct.  But licensing (if necessary), assuming Lionel would not be competing with its present track systems to a significant degree, may provide an alternative.  I suspect the reissue would provide Lionel with some great, additional promotional material for both their high-end, and, postwar inspired product.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Ron464nyc posted:

Orange'a gonna respond lionel?

Why would they?  It's pretty clear that if they were going to reissue Super O, they would have done it a long time ago.

Rusty

Would love to see “NEW” Super O - wide radius curves / switches / long straights / etc

Does anyone remember seeing the samples of 3 foot straights at York a few years ago ? 

They were done privately not by Lionel - looked awesome 

 

Plenty of old 027 and 0 gauge track out there but they still keep making more - some people want new track

Me 😎

I hadn't realized the Addams family layout was super O.  It would have been an appealing choice when building my layout right now its all built with Atlas O track. There will be other layouts in the future though.

If I reject reality and substitute 3-Rail, how does Narrow Gauge come into all of this?
BlueComet400 could very well be the future of our hobby, and their money is just as green as yours. 

John

Lets hope not...  because the hobby of scratch building a detailed hirail scale layout would be lost.  

What you are missing in this is that you have different customers for o guage product.  Lets make an anology...  consider selling cars...

If you dont provide enough market bandwidth, such as types of vehicles, like minivans, sedans or pickup trucks you have situations where as a company u are forcing your customer to buy something they dont want.  Like trying to sell a farmer a sedan.  Makes sence if you only sell sedans, but that vehicle doesnt fit the farmers lifestyle.  He needs to haul trailers, bulk goods in the vehicle, have off road capability etc, etc.  He simply goes elsewhere to buy his truck.

 

Offering only a track system that appeals to the carpet layout once a year crowd, doesnt fit the lifestyle of model railroaders with scale layouts that are permanent.

 

You have to realize the scarcastic tone of what was being said.

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Last edited by Super O Bob

Calling any fellow train enthusiast a fool for what he/she chooses to run is flat-out rude and immature. We all have our own individual interests within the hobby. None is better than the other, just different. 

John 

I would love to see superO made again but Lionel told me a few years ago that most of the tooling for superO has either been lost or destroyed. If that is true then forget Lionel ever doing it. 

If just certain pcs could be made like 30"straights, wider radius curves and better switches I think that could be a start. 

New tooling is expensive so either a company or a person with very deep pockets need to be involved and in the end how much would it cost to the hobbiest for the track. If too expensive it could kill the whole project. 

With all the negatives I still think it would be a great track system to do again. Let's hope!!!!!!!!!

Dave

romiller49 posted:

Could it be made today at the same quality of the past and still be affordable? 

I wondered that myself...  i would expect the copper in the original track would be very expensive today.  The copper quality i think was really good.

I have tried in the past to get super o made again.  Im not expecting to go there again.  I will let others try that.

I am amused this keeps arising.  Let everyone have their point of view...

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

I like and dislike Super O track.

Like: nostalgia and it is a decent track system. 

Dislike: buss bar for center rail. A minor issue, but one extra step when assembling the track. Plus accurately getting it placed on the center rail. My bigger issue is the switches, specifically the switch motor housing.  I have an FM Trainmaster that will catch on the housing if the switch is used in a curve. This is remedied by placing a short section of track prior to the offending end of the switch. Unfortunately, this increases the size of the layout, a bit of a problem if you’re trying to keep the layout compact.

Steve

Hi steve...  actually in the super o instructions, they show that straight being needed...  i think they used a #746 in the example...  i will see if i can find that.

On my custom switches, i designed them in CAD, and i placed the motors farther out to clear a postwar GG1 pilot on the adjacent track.  I was using 5-inch track center spacing.

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Super O Bob posted:
romiller49 posted:

Could it be made today at the same quality of the past and still be affordable? 

I wondered that myself...  i would expect the copper in the original track would be very expensive today.  The copper quality i think was really good.

The fact the copper in the original track would be very expensive is an interesting point.  It would also be interesting to quantify the inflation in the price of copper, say since 1960.  Using an inflation calculator online, $1.00 of Super "O" track in 1960 would cost $8.53 today.  But, that obviously calculates the general inflation rate.  The inflation rate for copper would be the important calculation for this particular material.  (Of course, if the product was made in Asia  the calculation would be different - and might be almost incalculable with any precision for the future in the present environment depending on the sourcing.)

This should be a graph of copper prices in the United States since 1960 that I located online:

       https://www.macrotrends.net/14...istorical-chart-data

Assuming I'm reading the graph correctly, the price of copper in early 1960 was about .30 per pound.  "The current price of copper as of October 25, 2018 is $2.75 per pound", according to that website.  Interestingly it looks like the price of copper decreased during 1960. [Note the drastic drop in the price of copper since 2011. That level of volatility might be concerning all by itself.]

In conclusion, this somewhat less than rigorous attempt at quantification indicates that copper prices are only slightly greater than the general rate of inflation from roughly 1960 until yesterday.

But the "affordability", question is a very relevant fact.  Built to Order?

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611

I am very unconvinced that any current, and certainly past tube rail, track system l know about is what l want, and has been an obstacle.  I would like to see an article in OGR showing all commonly used O scale track, in good clear side-by-side photos.  I want simple to use, non -proprietary, compatible, but REALISTIC track for high rail use.  I have plenty of Marx 0-27 and 0-34 tube track for a historical 1940's temporary holiday layout, and it looks funny under modern locos that can even make those curves.

 

 

 

 

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Great topic and great points by all. The one thing we can all be thankful is when Lionel DID come out with Super-O, that was (in my opinion) the start to the realistic era and your railroad can now have a sense of realism, which was and is not possible with traditional tubular track.  My first Lionel train came on Christmas 1961 and that set came with the Rio Grande 2379 and Super-O track. All my friend that had Lionel trains were WOWED when they saw my Super-O train board.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

The answer is obvious, Lionel "could" license it if they choose.  Also, depending on the age of the track, there may not be a necessity for a license, but I'm not a patent lawyer.

The patent that might have covered Super O track (here) expired a long time ago.

Anyone today is free to produce the same track without a license.

You could likely even call it Super O, since Lionel has probably abandoned that trademark.

Last edited by Professor Chaos

https://youtu.be/0PnRp8oQR40

Look at this guy!  I thought i had the largest...

Goes to show i am not the only nutty super o guy around...  i wonder if its because we (the latter half of postwar era) kids grew up with super o, we love it so...

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Last edited by Super O Bob
L.I.TRAIN posted:

My first Lionel train came on Christmas 1961 and that set came with the Rio Grande 2379 and Super-O track. All my friend that had Lionel trains were WOWED when they saw my Super-O train board.

Channelling clyde... dang!  You started out top shelf...

Thundering out of the west on super o track...

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Interestingly, Lionel filed for a trademark on the Super O name in 1997 and 2003.

 The 1997 application was abandoned.

The 2003 application was granted in 2006, but subsequently cancelled, probably because Lionel did not use the mark in commerce.

L.I.TRAIN posted:

Great topic and great points by all. The one thing we can all be thankful is when Lionel DID come out with Super-O, that was (in my opinion) the start to the realistic era and your railroad can now have a sense of realism, which was and is not possible with traditional tubular track.  My first Lionel train came on Christmas 1961 and that set came with the Rio Grande 2379 and Super-O track. All my friend that had Lionel trains were WOWED when they saw my Super-O train board.

Steve, my first set was brought by Santa on Christmas morning in 1960, and it also included Super "0" track. And like you, "All my friends that had Lionel trains were WOWED when they saw my Super-O..."  And this included my first cousin and close friend who had very large O Gauge layouts, since their dads had also become avid hobbyists.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611
Professor Chaos posted:

Interestingly, Lionel filed for a trademark on the Super O name in 1997 and 2003.

 The 1997 application was abandoned.

The 2003 application was granted in 2006, but subsequently cancelled, probably because Lionel did not use the mark in commerce.

Great work by you and gunrunnerjohn regarding the patent and trademark.  I had some vague recollection of a filing by Lionel around the time they made the track Super "O" Bob referenced.  Perhaps it was the 2003/6 Trademark you referenced.

Great detective work!

Menards?

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611

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