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I have been an occasional lurker on this site, though I currently model in HO scale. However, I anticipate switching to hi-rail O gauge in a couple of years. I have slowly been buying stuff I like, and read the odd O-gauge magazines, but can't say I am familiar with the scene.

I see lots of stuff I like at train shows, but then I go home and forget it. I would also like to know what has been made over the past 15-20 years by all the big manufacturers (Lionel, MTH, K-Line, Atlas O, Williams, WBB, etc). Does anyone publish a guide listing stuff that has come out? It doesn't necessarily have to list value, but engine or car types, road numbers, item numbers, and perhaps year produced would be really helpful.

Thanks.

PS: this is my first post, so if it is in the wrong place I appologize.

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Your quest is for the Holy Grail of model railroading, and you aren't going to be any more successful than Monty Python or the Middle Ages crusaders.  Over the years, price guides (and most agree that the prices listed are useless by the time the guide is published) have been printed for a few select (popular) manufacturers, but that leaves out a lot.  Some manufacturer's catalogs and/or production lists are available either on-line or through E-bay purchases, but a lot are not.

I have, over the last ten years, acquired info on over 40 manufacturers and/or distributors, but most of that is incomplete and includes some info from within that group which is not O gauge.  There are multiple fora that deal with model railroading, and I belong to several of them.  The best you can hope to do is read, learn and save the useful data to a computer for yourself.

Chuck

Last edited by PRR1950

Both MTH and K-Line published a book detailing production in their early years.  MTH went up through year 2000 which leaves the last 20 years.  K-Line's book went up through 1998.  Generally their later catalogs are for sale on ebay.  I have had difficulty trying to fill in the gaps for k-Line production.  MTH, a lot of catalogs out there.  There are sites that list a lot of the Lionel production.  There is not  a one site answer all questions that I know of.

As Chuck pointed out, a comprehensive list of O scale trains is the Holy Grail.

Here are links to sources for the major O gauge manufacturers:

3rd Rail: Catalogs from 2004-2008 and 2011 and 2017 are online.

Atlas:  The web site has an all scales Archive that can be browsed or searched.

K-line:  Catalogs 1999-2005 and a searchable database are preserved at LegacyKline.com

MTH:  Their Product Locator is searchable database of all MTH products past and current.  It has advanced search features.  Also Catalogs from 1993 to present are on their web site (for now) .  A few years ago there was a vendor at York in White Hall who sold a CD with a complete inventory of MTH products.  I imagine he scraped the data off of MTH's website.  If anyone has knowledge of this product, please post.

Lionel:  Similar to MTH, they have an Archived Products searchable database.  It uses a very basic "dumb" search.   I searched for PRR K4 and got 24 pages of Pennsy Locomotives of all types and and PRR rolling stock.  Be sure to check the Products tab and the Archives tab in the results.  Catalogs from 2011 to present are online.  I also stumbled onto several Catalog Product Lists where you can quickly scan all the SKUs and product names in individual catalogs.  The SKU/Names link to each product page.  I am not sure if these are available for more catalogs, or how to find them.

Weaver:  Fortunately The Internet Wayback Machine (archive.org) never forgets.  I have attached 2 spreadsheets  below that Weaver provided documenting its product history:  Ultra Line Production.xls lists 500 Weaver Locomotives and passenger cars (no freight) and Gold Edition.xls lists over 1800 pieces of rolling stock.

Here are links to 11 years of Weaver catalogs from Archive.org (be patient - they load slowly):

  Spring 2004  Fall 2004  Spring 2005  Fall 2005   Spring 2006  Fall 2006  Spring 2007  Fall 2007  Spring 2008 Fall 2008  2009  Fall 2009  Spring 2010  Fall 2010   Spring 2011  Fall 2011  Spring 2012 (attachment)  Fall 2012 (attachment) Spring 2013 Fall 2013  Fall 2014

Williams:  Williams by Bachmann catalogs from 2008 to present as well as a few older Williams catalogs are online.   Also the Parts pages lists most locomotives and some passenger cars and boxcars.

My son (who is a programmer) showed me how in about 30 minutes, he could scrape all the product data from a few of these model train web sites.  Others, notably Lionel, are much more difficult.  I have thought about compiling this "Holy Grail" master list, but there are unresolved issues such as ownership of the data and cost and logistics of making it available to other hobbyists.

Bob Glorioso

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Last edited by RRDOC

RRDOC

Thank you for posting your extensive list of sources of catalogs and information on most model train manufactures products over the years.  I now know where to go to fill the holes in my stacks of old catalogs.

It would be great if someone would complete the train guides that Greenberg and Doyle did so well for Lionel and Marx for prewar and postwar trains.  For recent times it should include Lionel after 1991 and 2000, MTH, Williams, K-Line and others.  I would be happy with someone just scanning information from catalogs into an on line book for each manufacturer.  It could include just one scan for each item not a scan of the whole catalogs.

Charlie

Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

As others have noted, there is no comprehensive guide to all O gauge manufacturers/production over the past couple of decades, nor is there likely to be one in the near (and perhaps distant) future. It would be a major and very time consuming--not to mention costly--undertaking for any individual or firm. Even if it was strictly an online publication, those same limitations would still hold true. In large part, that is because some manufacturers, in particular, have been very productive since around 1990 or so, and an accurate presentation of what has been made (and items that were supposed to be made, but never actually were) would encompass a huge volume.

My advice, if O gauge is your new interest, would be to decide on the specific roadnames and era you might like to model, and then to research those specific, and presumably more limited, items online on a manufacturer-by-manufacturer basis. That would certainly be a less intimidating approach.

Ben,

Welcome.

From my experience a pad a pen is a good start, but you'll be graduating quickly to something much larger.

After a good 10 years away from this hobby I wandered back in in 2016 and found myself at an auction in a small town about 2 hours away.  The large collection of a long-time buff was being auctioned off after his passing.  I looked around the room and saw a few people like me, but I noticed mostly what I would call "serious enthusiasts".

A number of these folks were carrying 3" or 4" binders, which turned out to be books holding their wish lists and related details.  One fellow actually had two volumes for his.

Aside from being intimidated, because my list was a mere 8 items long at that point, I decided to find a more modern way to build my version of the binder/set of binders.

On that day, October 29, 2016 I started an electronic version with a single entry, using an application called Evernote.  As of this morning there are now 7125 more entries, and Evernote has come to consider me a 'power user'.  Yet I can access any item in my important items list from my phone, anywhere, and at any time, as well as my laptop.  There is now no need for me to carry any paper whatsoever.

In the middle of this screenshot you'll see a list of 10 of those 7126 entries, a short subset of the entire database.  To the right are the details for one of the 10, the highlighted one, including text and pictures.

Pay careful attention to the list in the black column to the left as it contains a special list of keywords, many more than you can see.  The secret to Evernote is the ability to add keywords to each entry (like most software), but it also carries the relationship between those keywords.  This is very, very powerful for finding things later.

2021-05-03 11-51-47

I started this effort to make sure that I'd never forget anything anymore, and I now don't -- as long as I don't forget to enter it.  When I go to a train show, or an auction, or while surfing the web for deals, all I need is my phone.

Good luck with your new effort.  Being organized is helpful.  Whether you use paper or software O Gauge/Scale will bring you many hours, days, weeks, months and years of enjoyment.

Mike

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  • 2021-05-03 11-51-47
Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

I did a search of the Internet Wayback Machine and found 14 catalogs and a complete listing of Weaver locomotives and rolling stock.  The Weaver catalogs (and products)  were beautiful.  I added them to my compilation of O Gauge manufacturer's products above.  The Internet never forgets!

Bob Glorioso

Great!

The Internet Wayback Machine is a little awkward to use and some of the catalog links were dead, but it is a great resource if you are persistent.   If you have actual links, post them here and I will add them to my post above.  If not, when I get a chance, I will search for additional catalog years.

Bob

I have the Spring and Fall 2012 Weaver catalogs in PDF.  I have attached them for anybody that wants a copy.

I also downloaded the Weaver Ultra Line Production file from above, but it looks like many items in that list are linked to a group of related pictures.  Any chance those can also be linked here?

Chuck

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Last edited by PRR1950

Since so much progress has been made with the Weaver materials I decided to revisit a more complex question that I had about Lionel catalogs online, between 2000 and 2008.  A number of folks have mentioned in posts over the last few years, on this Forum and others, that Lionel had changed to a new website at some point prior to 2010.  One result of this migration was apparently that catalogs for the years prior to the changeover were no longer accessible.  Having been out of the hobby between 2002 and 2016 I do not recall what earlier version of the site looked like, or how it may have hosted the catalogs.

A little digging over the last few days has provided some answers.   Back in September of 2016 I stumbled across a broken, and oddly-coded, web page that came to me in a Google search.  You can see this page here:

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/products/catalogs/

It turns out to be a partial list of Lionel's post-2000 catalogs hosted online.   Broken and oddly-coded because you enter the page in the middle, and there's no way to scroll up to it's top (the scroll bar won't let you).  Partial because, given what you are able to access, it's still not complete.  Years 2006 and 2007 are missing.

However it is a start for finding the contents of the 2000 to 2008 catalogs because, although everything is not there, you can click on what is there and it will take you to the previously missing catalogs, as long as the year is listed.

Here's the kicker -- what you will see is for 2000 to 2008 are not PDF copies of the actual print catalogs, but web representations of them.  In other words Lionel created a set of web pages, for each of its paper catalogs in that range of years, representing the corresponding catalog's contents so that it could be read using a web browser.  Each of these sets has a cover page, a table of contents, a "Letter from the CEO" page, etc., followed by web pages showing the products that are in that paper catalog, just like the corresponding paper catalog, but formatted for web browsing instead.

On the other hand, what you see for 2009, 2010 and apparently part of 2011 are links to the PDF format files we've become accustom to, and which are accessible elsewhere on the current site.

Lastly, more good news -- using Google's "Site Search" I was able to locate the missing web catalogs for 2006 and 2007.

Here are the missing links:

2006

  Volume 1

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...05D-B71E34759BC76E19

  Volume 2

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...5A5-9867DF780CEE5190



2007

  Volume 1

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...7BB-605AF73EF3FFFDB8

  Volume 2

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...05D-B71D2ABDCD39E6E7

  K-Line by Lionel Volume 1

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...A0D-239EF3F064174F26

  K-Line by Lionel Volume 2

  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...05D-B76749AC1290C30D



Be aware that a small number of pictures are missing from the web catalogs, largely in the later years in the sequence 2000-2009.  These are generally not the product pictures that would be so important to each of us, but the ones on the cover page, the welcome page, and the "Guide to Product Features" pages.

Many thanks to @rplst8 for pointing out the availability of, and syntax for, Google Site Search in his post:

  https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...4#154730474064924244

Go at it and have fun!

M.H.M.

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

Mike

That is a great find.  With the 2009 through 2015 catalogs you have an option of an actual catalog and "view as HTML." The HTML version is simply a page of links to the product page of each item.  Unfortunately, for those years Adobe Flash is required to view the catalog.   Flash reached end of life in January due to security concerns.  For several months users saw prompts to uninstall Flash when visiting a page with Flash.   I am not sure but I believe eventually many browsers uninstalled it for you.  You can no longer download the Flash Plugin.  I just tried Safari and Chrome and neither would display the catalogs.  

Bob

Hi Ben,

I think you will find that O gauge Hi-Rail is a lot more of plain fun, and a lot more forgiving in operation, than HO.  At least, that has been my experience.

Another way to see what is out there, is to go to the "Bay" website, and go to Model Trains, O-Gauge, and select locomotives, cars, accessories etc.  You can even select these items by manufacturer.

If you browse through the listings once a day, you will new and used products dating from 1920 or so, to last week.    Most engines and rolling stock items have several close up pictures, plus good descriptions.    Pretty soon, you are going to start seeing things that "catch your eye", and you'll be saying "Wow, I really want to get one of those."  And, you can write it down.

The prices listed are almost always too high, but they definitely give you a context for the price, especially if there are two or three sale listings with different prices for the same item in different conditions.   If you go to a small show and find the item for 10% to 15% less, then I think you got a good deal.  Is the lowest possible price?  No, but your goal is not to search for years for the lowest price, but to get what you want.

And, if you check the For Sale topic on this Board every day, you can also find good sales.

Also, if you really want a used item, at a fair price, you can always put it in the Wanted section of this board.  I have done this three times, and other Members with extensive collections have sold the items to me a very very fair prices.

I had to laugh when I read about guys at train shows with 3" thick notebooks containing there wish list.   My wish list is generally  3 items written on a single piece of paper.

On the other hand, if you are interested in getting into the O-Gauge hobby as a serious collector, and wanting to collect rare sets or items, then I think you are on a totally different "track" than what I have described above.  And, you will be destined to the joy of attending lots of shows, occasionally finding these things, and having to do some serious negotiations and laying out some serious cash (the same as with HO).

Hope this helps.

Mannyrock

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