Every now and then I run across a Super O track reference. I always liked its look much better than Lionel's tubular track. Any thoughts on why it didn't become popular like their later Fastrack?

George

Original Post

No idea why it wasn't continued. I wish it was because that's all I would have!    I know they didn't make any bigger radius than O31. And some people said the thin rail made grooves in the rollers which I don't really think was that big an issue. Not enough to discontinue such an awesome looking track.

Train Nut posted:

No idea why it wasn't continued. I wish it was because that's all I would have!    I know they didn't make any bigger radius than O31. And some people said the thin rail made grooves in the rollers which I don't really think was that big an issue. Not enough to discontinue such an awesome looking track.

To my understanding that was from a softer metal that Lionel began using for the rollers. When that problem was discovered they went back to a harder metal, fixing the problem.

Bill

Super O is still fabulous looking track and it was 36" diameter, if I'm not mistaken.  I know from reading Lionel history that their people were working a long time on finding a nice looking replacement for tinplate track.  The composite materials they developed for that track seem to have stood up well and is why the track took so long to perfect.  Those were times when an item didn't leave the factory if it had any detectable flaw.  My feeling is that they were at least 5 years late in producing Super O.  The tide had turned against O gauge trains by the time it was released, but I'm another who fell in love at first sight when that '57 catalog came out.   Always have loved the look of it and I think I have read in another post here that there are a few people who have been able to re-curve it into wider a radius.  There's still a lot of it kicking around on the bay and train shows. 

Len Caparelli will bend it to o72 and restore it to like new condition- for a price. Unfortunately I need a half circle of o66 and a full circle of o84 so I am prob going to stick with Gargraves. I plan to use Ross switches because the super-o switches are problematic. Still my favorite track though.

Train Nut posted:

No idea why it wasn't continued. I wish it was because that's all I would have!    I know they didn't make any bigger radius than O31. And some people said the thin rail made grooves in the rollers which I don't really think was that big an issue. Not enough to discontinue such an awesome looking track.

It was 036 not 031. Also there was never a problem with the rollers. The middle rail never did put grooves in the rollers. That was started by some dealer and from there it took on a life of its own. It is all hear say.

Dave

I like Super O track too.  My dad used it for a layout he built.  I still have the engine he used, and the rollers still have grooves in them.  It is NOT hearsay.  I seem to remember the buss clips coming off a couple of times that may have contributed a little bit to making the grooves.  However I was less than six years old, so I really don't recall if that happened very much.  I know my dad soldered a lot of the wired connections, so I can only assume he must have also soldered the buss clips too.  My dad dismantled the layout when we moved, and then we seldom used that track anymore.  We had a lot more O27 track, crossings, and switches, so that's what we used for our annual temporary Christmas layouts under the tree afterwards.  Connecting and disconnecting O27 track was a lot easier for me as a kid, so that's a big reason why I didn't opt to use Super O track.  I never stopped liking its look, though.

For years, I'd never known anyone else who'd used it.   A couple of my friends had Lionel trains, but they only had O27 track.

The diameter was, in fact, 36" for a circle of Super O track.  That's why it was possible to run an HO train beneath it in the father and son set shown on the cover of the 1960 catalog.

Back in the mid 1990’s, I sent an email to Lionel requesting to remake Super O track. I was in the planning stage of building a layout and hoped to add to the Super O I already had. Of course, they created FasTrack instead. 

I grew up with Super O and always and still love it. Had they reissued it, it’s the only track I would’ve used. I ended up using the Super O I had and mixed in Gargraves with mixed results. 

When it was time to create a new layout I went with the new Atlas O track for the entire layout as it was similar in appearance to the Super O. On my near future layout I’ll be using the Super O on subway lines. 

I wonder what it’d be like had Lionel reissued and expanded Super O. 

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

phrankenstign posted:

I like Super O track too.  My dad used it for a layout he built.  I still have the engine he used, and the rollers still have grooves in them.  It is NOT hearsay.  

Yes it is, it was a rumor started by a dealer and always has been. 

I run superO on my layout and never have I seen any groove or mark on any roller  on the time I have run both post war and modern scale diesels.

Dave

david1 posted:
phrankenstign posted:

I like Super O track too.  My dad used it for a layout he built.  I still have the engine he used, and the rollers still have grooves in them.  It is NOT hearsay.  

Yes it is, it was a rumor started by a dealer and always has been. 

I run superO on my layout and never have I seen any groove or mark on any roller  on the time I have run both post war and modern scale diesels.

Dave

Hate to burst your bubble, but where there is contact, there will EVENTUALLY be wear. It may take a LONG time to happen, but it WILL happen. I've seen 3 rail rollers nearly cut in half from extensive running. That said, my locomotives and rolling stock do NOT have roller wear, they're 2 rail. They do have wheel wear. If things touch and there is friction, there is wear.

Simon

david1 posted:
phrankenstign posted:

I like Super O track too.  My dad used it for a layout he built.  I still have the engine he used, and the rollers still have grooves in them.  It is NOT hearsay.  

Yes it is, it was a rumor started by a dealer and always has been. 

I run superO on my layout and never have I seen any groove or mark on any roller  on the time I have run both post war and modern scale diesels.

Dave

I just stated I still have the engine that has grooves in its rollers.  I am NOT lying.  It is NOT a rumor.  What reason would I have to make it up?  I have nothing to gain by stating a fact.

The worst roller wear is mostly caused by arcing from dirty track.  I've replace a lot of rollers that were only run on tubular track.  Lionel did make them out of a softer metal for a while which worsened the problem.  Even with clean track there will still be wear if you run a lot.  Fortunately most rollers are easy to replace.

IMO Super O track is the best sectional track out there.  Still pretty easy to find.  Switches are a problem, but Gargraves & Ross are pretty close in profile so can be used.  The curves are the main restriction at O-36, but there are tutorials on how to bend it.  I've tried it and it's not too to difficult to do.

It looks pretty good with ballast.

CNW FMs -Super O 027aCNW FMs -Super O 032

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John23 posted:

The worst roller wear is mostly caused by arcing from dirty track.  I've replace a lot of rollers that were only run on tubular track.  Lionel did make them out of a softer metal for a while which worsened the problem.  Even with clean track there will still be wear if you run a lot.  Fortunately most rollers are easy to replace.

Arcing caused by dirty track may be one reason for roller wear, but it doesn't negate the fact Super O does cause additional wear.  I don't know what kind of metal was used to make the rollers on my engine, but perhaps it was that softer metal you mention.  I do know the wear has been minimal since my dad took apart his Super O layout, and we switched to using Lionel's O27, O, FasTrack, and later K-Line's SuperSnap and Super K track.  I'm surprised you've had to "replace a lot of rollers".  I've never replaced any---not even the grooved ones.

phrankenstign posted:
John23 posted:

The worst roller wear is mostly caused by arcing from dirty track.  I've replace a lot of rollers that were only run on tubular track.  Lionel did make them out of a softer metal for a while which worsened the problem.  Even with clean track there will still be wear if you run a lot.  Fortunately most rollers are easy to replace.

Arcing caused by dirty track may be one reason for roller wear, but it doesn't negate the fact Super O does cause additional wear.  I don't know what kind of metal was used to make the rollers on my engine, but perhaps it was that softer metal you mention.  I do know the wear has been minimal since my dad took apart his Super O layout, and we switched to using Lionel's O27, O, FasTrack, and later K-Line's SuperSnap and Super K track.  I'm surprised you've had to "replace a lot of rollers".  I've never replaced any---not even the grooved ones.

I personally haven't had to replace any rollers on my own equipment.  I have been running trains on Super O track since 1958, wear has been minimal.  I did replace a lot of rollers on a club layout that did public shows.  Some were worn almost halfway through.  It used tubular O gauge track for about 14 years.  It  was replaced by a Gargraves layout and the wear time on the rollers has improved.  As far as arcing damage, there are other threads on this forum that talked about that at length.  I don't recall what the period was that the softer rollers were used, but maybe that is what you had.  My two 1958 engines show very little wear, and they've been operated mostly on Super O.

c.sam posted:

Peter, is that you and your family in the video?

You had/have that set if I remember correctly...

That is yours truly.....and, here is a more recent picture (20 seconds ago).....

MbXLevOdRSyip7dXn5hxwA

Still have all the boxes (a little worn). Still have the track and my original boxed ZW. The set box unfortunately disintegrated many years ago.

Peter

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I had a Super-O layout in the Seventies, and loved the stuff.  Why Lionel didn't continue with it in larger diameters, I have no idea.  I have no problems with FasTrack, but Super-O looked much better.

As for the old "cutting the rollers" refrain, I can only say this: The only roller grooving I've ever had is on the tender of my 1951 2026.  And that locomotive has never run on anything but 027 track.

I first started with a Super O circle in 1966. It was 1976 before I had enough straight track and switches and a house in which to have a layout. I ran on Super O until Lionel brought O72 switches back. I never developed grooves in rollers. I did run the trains often. I would tear out my Atlas O track this afternoon if Lionel committed to manufacturing Super O wide radius curves and switches 

S. P. Stanley

The concern about pickup rollers wearing on Super O is a myth.  Worn rollers are caused by arcing-either dirty track or rollers.  I have standard gauge that has rollers that look like hour-glasses from running on dirty track-obviously they have never been run on Super O. 

I have been running Super O since 1960 with no worn rollers.

RAK TCA 94-3880 TTOS C45 Southern California DCS Demonstration Team Angels Gate High Railers LCCA

I recently updated a layout to all Super O, which is incredibly inexpensive if one is willing to spend time refurbishing rusted track.  Even the switches are relatively inexpensive, but most need a fair amount of work to get them working reliably again.  Below is a photo of it before I had completed the wiring.  I'm now working on the control panel and block controller.

SGLayout_0818-1

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david1 posted:
Train Nut posted:

No idea why it wasn't continued. I wish it was because that's all I would have!    I know they didn't make any bigger radius than O31. And some people said the thin rail made grooves in the rollers which I don't really think was that big an issue. Not enough to discontinue such an awesome looking track.

It was 036 not 031. Also there was never a problem with the rollers. The middle rail never did put grooves in the rollers. That was started by some dealer and from there it took on a life of its own. It is all hear say.

Dave

It's like to old saying, "a lie will circle the earth twice before the truth gets out of bed".

 

Keep Your Rails Polished!

NJ HiRailer

(Just Picture The Image)

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