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I have had an "exchange in opinions" with the publisher of a narrow gauge

oriented magazine on the merits (or lack of) of On30.  He, of course, is interested in getting anybody interested in narrow gauge in any form.  I armchair someday having a connection with a narrow gauge branch that I plan to build in On3.  A lot of resources and development costs have gone into something I consider as American as meter gauge (except for a few mine trams and other odd balls), that I think should have gone into On3.  Atlas, I think, has developed HO track with wider ties spacing, which effort should have gone into On3, etc. I don't think Atlas has flex track in On3.

Everything from Bachmann has to be regauged to On3, and there were articles on how to do this in the mags for a while.  All time consuming and totally unnecessary, to correct an unprototypical scale.  The alternative is to run expensive brass On3 locos, cars, or all kitbuilt cars. (well, you can switch the trucks on the cars, still a nuisance, but the locos...a pain)  Am I the only nut that thinks like that? (true, the interchange will be with a three rail O scale line, so that isn't prototypically two rail, either..but it is the conception in my mind that is important)

 

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Originally Posted by coloradohirailer:

I have had an "exchange in opinions" with the publisher of a narrow gauge

oriented magazine on the merits (or lack of) of On30.  He, of course, is interested in getting anybody interested in narrow gauge in any form.  I armchair someday having a connection with a narrow gauge branch that I plan to build in On3.  A lot of resources and development costs have gone into something I consider as American as meter gauge (except for a few mine trams and other odd balls), that I think should have gone into On3.  Atlas, I think, has developed HO track with wider ties spacing, which effort should have gone into On3, etc. I don't think Atlas has flex track in On3.

Everything from Bachmann has to be regauged to On3, and there were articles on how to do this in the mags for a while.  All time consuming and totally unnecessary, to correct an unprototypical scale.  The alternative is to run expensive brass On3 locos, cars, or all kitbuilt cars. (well, you can switch the trucks on the cars, still a nuisance, but the locos...a pain)  Am I the only nut that thinks like that? (true, the interchange will be with a three rail O scale line, so that isn't prototypically two rail, either..but it is the conception in my mind that is important)

 


Bachmann started their ON30 line as a way to use their already existing track and make trains that looked good with ceramic villages. They proved popular and they expanded the line into what they make today. They would not have built a ON3 line of trains so your assumption that the resources used to develop the ON30 line would have gone into ON3 is false. I have some ON30 from Bachmann and Broadway Limited and I like them. I don't care about the gauge being incorrect. They give me a chance to own some smaller equipment I like at a very resaonable cost. I have friends that have ON3 and they like the new low cost ON30 stuff as they can be regauged with a little work and are very cost effective compared to what they describe as the expensive and poor running brass models they had before. They understand that the mass produced ON30 equipment is not taking development dollars from true ON3.

The easy answer is that On30 sells...far more than On3.  On30 was popularized, not too many years ago, by Bachmann in an effort to develop a line that might appeal to the ceramic village crowd, especially during the holiday season, and that could easily make use of existing product lines (meaning HO track) if possible.

 

The products became attractive to hobbyists over and above the Dept. 56 village collector community, and the line offered by Bachmann quickly expanded into a whole range of items in On30, which simply made and still makes good business sense.

 

Narrow gauge modeling in any scale (except perhaps in Large Scale) is a small niche within a small niche, and On3 modeling is an even smaller niche.  Bachmann has done well with On30 so there's little reason for them to change course at this point.

 

If the manufacturers determined that there was a significant market for On3, you can be quite sure they would jump in with both feet.  But we all know that the market simply isn't large enough, at least a this point and particularly in these tight economic times.

 

I see that Brian made his post just about two minutes before I posted this response, and you'll see that we express rather similar views.

Originally Posted by joseywales:

maybe you guy can answer my question..what the heck is on3 and on30?i know the o.,s..ho..n..z gages unless id missed something?

Both are O Scale.  The difference is the track gauge.  On3 = 3 scale feet between the rails, On30 = 30" (2.50 scale feet)  between the rails.

 

Standard gauge track is 4'8.5" between the rails.

 

"O Gauge" track, due to an accident of history, is 5 scale feet between the rails.

 

Rusty

Coloradohirailer, as Rusty Traque has pointed out US O scale @1/48 is also incorrect if modeling standard gauge, so, does it really matter?

As a matter of interest, 30" or 2'6" is a very common prototypical narrow gauge in my country.

I think On30 as per Bachmann, gives us a relatively inexpensive scale compared to On3.

On30 has, by and large, become a "freelancer's scale" where layouts don't necessarily follow any specific prototype.  That being the case, 30" gauge as opposed to 36" gauge doesn't matter at all.  There are many advantages and lots more freedom when not being tied to any specific prototype, and in addition to that and the cost advantages, etc. previously mentioned, Bachmann's On30 equipment is generally designed to negotiate sharper radii curves than On3, so it's possible to build more layout in less space.

I agree with the O.P. - I've never really liked the idea of 30" gauge track, at least not to model North American narrow gauge - it's too wide for the Maine 2 footers and too skinny for everything else.

If I remember correctly, quite a few years ago Model Railroader had an article about re-detailing and re-gauging an Athearn HO scale switcher into an On2 locomotive. If I was going to get into O Scale narrow gauge I'd probably go that route. You'd have to hand lay all your track though...

 

Cheers,

glockr

I have learned over the years each one of us has our likes and dislikes.  And the fun lies in being free to do what you want to do on YOUR layout.  When we got this forum launched, thanks Allan and Rich, we had a lot of discussions trading ideas, pics, hints, and problems. I like ON30 as it looks well  on my tinplate Marx and uses less space.  I could go on, but instead, just read the first line again.

Al

 

Yes , it's Troels Kirk.  First off he is a great artist.  He sketchs all of his models before doing a build.  As he is doing the sketch he thinks about the story and what part this new piece well tell, and he is a great story teller.  Next he builds a foam core building and auditions it on his layout.  When satisfied with the shape he then starts the detailing which in it self is an art form and all done with very simple materials.  Lastly he photo documents every step and gives us great instructions on how to do it.  Quite the master, he is the John Allen of our time.  Check out The Coast Line on http://www.railroad-line.com and also his dated but terrific website:

http://www.modvid.com.au/html/body_troels_kirk1.html.  Yes I am a fan!  Russ

BTW the next issue of the ON30 2013 Annual will feature Mr. Kirk.

Perhaps I should clarify... I didn't mean "non-prototypical" with my use of the term "freelance", and I didn't mean it as in unrealistic or whimsical, or as a negative comment upon the quality of the modeling.    Rather, I used the term in the sense of modeling a fictitious railroad set in a fictitious location that isn't based on any particular actual existent railroad or location.  Most layouts are actually freelance to one degree or another, though narrow gauge layouts are more often than not based upon the D&RGW or RGS.

 

The Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette published a series of articles a while back by Mallory Hope Ferrell on prototype 30" gauge railroads, and there were a surprisingly large number of them that actually existed - one right here locally in the Santa Cruz Mountains - so to say that 30" gauge isn't accurate for North American railroading is not an accurate statement.  True, 3' gauge was more common, but plenty of 30" gauge prototypes did exist.

 

Troels Kirk has a Facebook page devoted to his Coast Line RR with gobs of recent and stunning photos!


http://www.facebook.com/pages/...page/127409483958090


He also sells a "how to" DVD on his use of paints and colors in model railroading (available on his FB page I believe).

Originally Posted by Dave Allen:

When were you there Ace? I haven't been for years.

Dave, I rode the Puffing Billy train in January and May of 2009, during a 5 month visit in Oz. It's one of the most impressive vintage railways I've ever seen with the operating collection of original equipment and substantial mileage of track on the original right of way. I caught a glimpse of their 2-6-0+0-6-2 Garratt loco G42, really amazing power for 30" gauge!

 

2009-7158-Puffing Billy Garratt loco

http://pbps.puffingbilly.com.a...otive-fleet/g-class/

Attachments

Images (1)
  • 2009-7158-Puffing Billy Garratt loco

Dave,

 

There isn't a thing wrong with what you're doing--whatever you feel comfortable with is the right way to go.

 

I personally think On30 is a more relaxed approach to narrow gauge, and that's a lot of the attraction of the gauge for me. I'm not much interested in modeling Colorado narrow gauge--it's been done to death by better modelers than me.

 

Jeff C

I am just getting into narrow gauge. I have had a Bachmann ON30 set for a few years, but I am just now thinking of building a shelf layout in my office. I had heard that there was much more available in ON30, but it seems that there is plenty available in ON3 from companies like MMI and Accucraft. I like the bigger equipment like the D&RGW ran. The little mine shifters and such that Bachmann has made recently in ON30 don't really do it for me. Most of their engines just look funny to me. IMHO the MMI models are a bargain! Getting all of that detail and smooth running operation for around $600 is fantastic to me. Coming from O standard and S maybe gives me a different perspective? The closest comparison I can make with S is the wonderful River Raisin 0-6-0 that sells for about $1400. I think I'd rather have A pair of MMI locos.

 

So, having said all that, what would make me want to chose ON30 over ON3? Hopefully that doesn't come off wrong... I seriously would like to know if I am overlooking something? As an admitted beginner.

jonny,

 

Most On30 engines negotiate 22" minimum radius track; many even do the typical 18" radius curves found in HO track since that is what they were designed to run on. This is accomplished by choosing very small prototypes and reducing frame and pilot detail to allow increased swing to handle these tight curves.

 

I believe the On3 engines are built more like typical 2-rail O scale engines with reduced swings of pilot and trailing trucks. Many models I have seen suggest 36" or greater radius as a minimum. 

 

In other words, more space is needed for a typical On3 layout than an On30. So one reason for choosing On30 is very similar to the main reason many of us choose 3-rail hi-rail O gauge with its tighter curves instead of 2-rail O scale.

 

Jim

Originally Posted by jonnyspeed:

...what would make me want to chose ON30 over ON3? Hopefully that doesn't come off wrong... I seriously would like to know if I am overlooking something? As an admitted beginner.

Only you can decide which of those modeling scales would best suit your interests.  I'm a big fan of small "critters," so On30 fills the bill for me just fine.  There's certainly far more available (commercially) in On30 than there is in On3, but if what you like is available in On3, then I would say go for it.  There is no real competition involved between the scales; it's just that On30 has captured a larger segment of the market by default, thanks largely to Lee Riley and Bachmann.

Quote - "

Anyone interested in narrow gauge modeling, regardless of scale or gauge, would be well advised to become a subscriber to "Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette" to keep up to date on what is available and how it is being used.  A superb publication in every respect."

 

 

Absolutely. Every issue of this fine publication is first rate. Some of the finest modeling ever displayed has been in the Gazette.

 

Jeff C

 
Originally Posted by Allan Miller:

I'll take the heat off you guys!  This thread has got me thinking of how I can make use of that extensive roster of On30 that I have boxed up and sitting in the cabinet behind me.  There has to be a pizza layout in my future!

Well Allan, enter the micro layout competition. I too, have had a considerable amount of On30 in the cabinet for a very long time and this is the perfect opportunity to put it to use.

Originally Posted by Jim Policastro:

jonny,

 

Most On30 engines negotiate 22" minimum radius track; many even do the typical 18" radius curves found in HO track since that is what they were designed to run on...

Ironically, those are wider curves than our typical O27 and O31 curves for 3-rail. Has anyone tried sharper curves for On3 or On30?

 

I've done 8" radius curves for HOn30 with kitbashed equipment.  

I've had good success running On30 on Kato 16 7/8" radius curves. all of my On30 equipment will go around with no problem, including my Bachmann 4-6-0 and 2-8-0.

Obviously, these two locos look a bit silly on such small curves but two things can help mitigate that situation:

 

1. Use those curves only in areas where the scenery or structures helps to hide the sharpness of the curve...

 

2. Remember it's a hobby, and leave the rivet counting, proto-fidelity aspect of your personality upstairs when you go down into the basement...

 

I find that I relax much more when I use both of the above remedies to help me deal with my chronic lack of space for a layout. I think I'd be in On3 or Sn3 if I were more of a realism junkie...and On30 is well suited to people who take a more whimsical approach.

 

I think the one loco that needs a bigger curve to operate would be the Bachmann Forney.

 

Jeff C

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