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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

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Okay, I have an ON30 Climax loco that I am wanting to use in a lumber mill setup.  The majority of my layout is O-scale.  I love the Shays and Climax loco's so I broke down and got one.  Question:  What is the best size of HO track for the ON30 loco's and rolling stock?  What is the best power pack for an ON30 loco below $200 dollars please.  The train will not be going long distances probably an 8 X 8 area, but it will be pulling log cars loaded with real tree branches for logs.

Loco is is an ON30 28 ton two truck with sound by Spectrum (Bachman) Item number 28603

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First of all , you dont use HO track , use On30 track from ME, code 83 and  code 83 HO switch kits , which are hand spiked ,on wooden ties. I spiked all my track by hand on wooden ties , easy to do and it looks great .  HO track is not O scale The tie spacing is wrong, the tie length is wrong and the code 100 rail to high .(there are plenty of video's on you tube to learn how

With the limited function of the decoder you could do very well with an MRC Prodigy Express 2 which is currently out of stock at MRC, but which should not cost more than $169. MRC also has a wi-fi plug-in module for the Prodigy (a little under $100) which creates it's own network allowing you to control the loco with your phone or tablet.

You can pre-order it.


NCE Power Cab is also a good choice if you don't need the WiFi capability.

If you feel like building something you could build a DCC++EX system for under $100.

Arduino Mega with WiFi built in and a motor shield should be pretty readily available.

Finally, the On30 will run on HO track, but the Code 83 looks better, but there may be availability problem this time of year.  If you already have HO track, start with that.


Last edited by Craftech

ON30 is O scale 30 inch gauge actually measures to 32 inches in O scale.     All the rest of your stuff is O Scale "standard gauge" representing models of things built to run on the current standard gauge track in the USA.    Gauge and scale are 2 different things.   Scale is the relative size vs the prototype - O scale is 1:48 which means each foot on the models represents 48 feet on the real thing.    Or conversely the model is 1/48 the size of the prototype. Another measurement is that 1/4 inch on the model represents one foot on the real thing.    A 6 foot tall man in O Scale would be 1 1/2 inches tall (6 quarter inches).    Gauge is the distance between the rails on the track regardless of scale.

ON30 means it is O scale narrow gauge such as the East Broad Top or the Colorado narrow gauge companies and many, many logging companies.    Most were actually 3 ft or 36 inch gauge but Bachmann wanted there stuff to run on readily available track.

As Mentioned, PECO also makes track and switches ready to lay for ON30.    Again the gauge is the same as HO track but the scale is not.    Mostly the tie spacing and size make it look funny.    Some people have used HO track and cut out every other tie or 2 out of 3.    The ties still look too small for O scale.

Any HO, or N gauge transformer will run your engine fine..  Also, you can weather and ballast your HO track so it looks like the real more expensive Tracks out there.  However, The hand laid is more authentic and does look great, but it is not necessary.

I have incorporated  an ON30 short line in with my O Gauge layout.  I had to dismantle as I moved.  However, I will be starting a new layout shortly with both O and ON30, and the ON30 will be enhanced and have more real estate.   Have fun and good luck'.. with your project...

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