What is 3-Rail Scale?

 

3-Rail Scale is an approach to model railroading that strives to achieve the most true-to-prototype realism possible with locomotives, rolling stock, paint schemes, scenery, operation, and other aspects of the hobby within the context of using 3-rail O gauge track.

 

Regardless of the scale you choose, be it 1:48 on the North American continent, 1:43.5 for France and the UK, and 1:45 for Germany and Switzerland, the overall idea is to get as close to the prototype as you can in your pursuit of the hobby with the talents you possess.  This would include but not limited to the use of scale couplers, and other conversions that make the model as close to prototypical as possible.

 

 

3-Rail Scale is an attitude toward the O gauge hobby that derives satisfaction and fun from using the prototype as its guide. The intent in 3-Rail Scale is to continually strive for as much prototype realism as possible within the limitations of time, talent, and available space.

 

More than any other single thing, the desire for realism in miniature distinguishes 3-Rail Scale from other segments of the 3-rail hobby.

Alan Arnold
CEO/Publisher
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Original Post

Looks like a good working definition.  It would be nice if posters to the new, expanded 3-Rail Scale Forum could refrain from using derogatory terms toward one or another aspect of someone else's modeling efforts, too.  For example, some of us who have chosen to retain the standard 3-rail couplers don't appreciate them being referred to as "lobster claws."  My layout has a point-to-point track plan.  I certainly wouldn't refer to the well-designed and executed layouts of others as "loopy goopy roundy round the Christmas Tree" or some other equally disparaging term.

 

Hopefully by including the elements of powered and non-powered rolling equipment, scenery, operation, signalling, etc. we can have some good discussion on how all of these elements come together to form a 3-Rail Scale railroad.  It's about a lot more than the couplers.

Count me in!

 

This is a great hobby (Some say the THE world's greatest) with lots of room for expression in many different ways. This forum (OGR) in general has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the hobby and I find that my personal tastes have gravitated more towards realism for the past couple of years. Recently I have haven't even noticed the middle rail as 'unusual' and occasionally found myself looking at prototype photos and wondering where the missing rail is!

Originally Posted by Martin H:

I think Kadee couplers and fixed pilots warrant a mention in the description.  Also scale wheels

While not explicitly mentioned,

 

"...to achieve the most true-to-prototype realism possible..."

 

should be adequate to address that desire.


Not captains of industry, not makers of things, keep your vulgar monies! We are a justice sandwich, no toppings necessary. Living rooms of America, do you catch my drift? Do you dig?

Just so folks will know:

 

The description was written by Ed; revised slightly and edited by me; discussed between Rich, Ed, and me with final revisions added; and approved and posted by Rich.

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

There are many ways to approach realism in the 3-rail world, and each approach has its merits as well as limitations.  It's the end result that counts, along with the enjoyment and enrichment individual hobbyists gain in working toward their respective goals.

So that big honking layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan? His layout is/was head and shoulders above a number of 2 rail scale layouts I've seen.That's what a majority of us would consider as a 3 Rail Scale layout even tho he had un-fixed pilots, tinplate profile wheels and "lobster claw" couplers. 

So in a nutshell, if the layout has a realistic design, top notch scenery and buildings and realistically weathered rolling stock/motive power but you could still plop down an old Lionel 1666E and a string of sheet metal passenger cars on it and run them if you wanted that could possibly considered as a poster child of 3Rail Scale?

Man, I'm gonna have to up my game for my next layout!

 

Jerry

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Originally Posted by Bob Delbridge:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I tend to agree with Bob. As impressive as Tony Lash's HUGE layout was, it was simply just too sanitary for me, i.e. absolutely nothing weathered, not even the track.

Originally Posted by Hot Water:
Originally Posted by Bob Delbridge:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I tend to agree with Bob. As impressive as Tony Lash's HUGE layout was, it was simply just too sanitary for me, i.e. absolutely nothing weathered, not even the track.

I'll "third" that. Large with a huge investment doen't make it good.

Nothing we do here will ever be all things to all people (a futile effort at best because that is an unrealistic and unattainable destination).  We're striving to do our best to make this forum--all aspects of it--as inclusive of the many varied hobby interests in the O gauge world as we can, but there is a limit.  For some, what we try to do will likely never be enough, and I guess my advice to those fine folks would be to seek out an alternative place where they can find more satisfaction.  There's a big world out there!

Originally Posted by sulafool:

Sounds like "hi rail" to me; what's the distinction, if any?

As originally practiced, hi-rail was 3-rail trains running in realistic scenery.  It was all about the layout.  A postwar scout pulling missile and helicopter launching cars on a layout with Gargraves track, ballast, hills and ground cover was hi-rail.  As defined above, 3-rail scale is about making everything from trains to scenery to weathering to operation as realistic as possible.

Come on guys, this isn't 027 on a nice layout. This is taking scale trains to the next level and making them look as close to the prototype as possible.


nobody wants to wade through threads about "toys vs models " or any of that other meaningless stuff for this sub-forum.  It's all about scale fidelity on 3-rail track. That's basically it. Scale fidelity that has the realism factor. 


Show us some realistic trains and make the eye the judge. I enjoy these types of trains just like many of us do.

Jeff Sohn

Jeff's right.

 

Thus far, 3RS has been an amazing forum with extremely talented, helpful individuals posting awesome stuff.  What this forum lacks in quantity of threads, the quality easily makes up for it. 

 

You are opening it up to a bunch of silliness and egomaniacs arguing that only they know what constitutes a toy train and how much MTH/Lionel stuff is a ripoff compared to the massive Chinese corporate mega-machine that is Bachmann.

 

But Rich and Allan own this forum and pay for it, and we do not.  Of course it is their call.

Originally Posted by Martin H:

 

You are opening it up to a bunch of silliness and egomaniacs arguing that only they know what constitutes a toy train and how much MTH/Lionel stuff is a ripoff compared to the massive Chinese corporate mega-machine that is Bachmann.

 

But Rich and Allan own this forum and pay for it, and we do not.  Of course it is their call.

I for one never posted over here due to the fact that I am not bothered by the "lobster claws"   Besides that, my interests at this point are scale.  I guess I'll see how others are received here before I participate.

Charlie a.k.a MichiganRailRoad714 - D3R - NMRRC


 

 

Show us some realistic trains and make the eye the judge. I enjoy these types of trains just like many of us do.

 

I'll second that sentiment too.

 

There are a bunch of talented people that I hope to see post here because I would like to learn from what they are doing and I think that many others could also take away new ideas from some of the most creative people and layouts in the hobby.

 

I don't know if anyone else here has seen Tony Lash's layout in person.  I was able to get to see it first hand on an OGR tour a couple of years ago.  Some elements of the layout were out of the best of the toy train tradition.  And other elements rank among the best I have seen from a prototype modeling perspective.  The large coal mine, power plant and rail to water transloading facility gave all those N&W hoppers a reason to be or, as I heard Ross Custom Switches Steve Brenneisen put it, made the layout a model transportation system.  If Mr. Lash would like to post here I'd love it!

 

I have also learned from operating at Pat Marinari's layout.  Pat had a fully kadee equipped roster on his layout but his diesels had, Oh the Horror, swinging pilots.  Anyone in any scale could learn from what Pat is doing for prototypical operations.  And we here could benefit from his knowledge on coupler conversion on 3 rail O rolling stock.  Anyone who saw a swinging pilot in a photo from Pat's layout and complained about it would really be silly and missing out.

 

I am really glad to see that Norm Charbonneau is interested in posting here.  He is doing some of the best modeling in any scale. 

 

If anyone here hangs a big emphasis on any one element of modeling and a post by someone else doesn't contain enough of you favorite thing just look at what is there.  You know, that "glass half full" kind of attitude.  Or, from a modeling viewpoint, if weathering is a high priority for you and someone else posts photos of unweathered models just think of them as a can of krylon primer away from being just your style.

 

As I understand it from the definition above and the comments from some of you....the only difference between this forum and 2-rail scale is the use of 3-rail track.  And if that is the case, I think this is a good thing.  While I probably will never reach the same level that members here will achieve, I am going this direction over time.  I have converted some rolling stock over to "scale" couplers but most likely will not do a lot of weathering to my locomotives, etc.  So....hopefully I will be able to participate over here every once in a while. 

 

Model railroading is much like many other hobbies.  While everyone in the hobby likes trains, there usually are sub groups..."cliques" that form where members have in common more specific goals and / or ways to enjoy their hobby.  The unfortunate thing about this is that many times it causes splits among those that were once friends or at the least sometimes evolves into labeling...like "lobster claws", etc. Lets hope that will not happen here.

 

Still, I believe that the "new" definition may bring more folks over here where they can benefit from the already great modelers that are regular posters in this forum.

 

Finally, just read Ted's post above as it is written in the true spirit of the future of this forum and what it could become with the help of all of those involved.

 

 

Alan

I look forward to what this newly defined sub forum will offer. It will be my first stop each day. I am a beginner, but will strive to be as true to the prototype as I can be. That is what interests me. This will include many aspects- track, rolling stock (that will include weathering and couplers), scenery, and operations. The journey is the fun part. I'm going to experiment, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. That's OK, I have a lot to learn. I'm not overwhelmed, but anticipating each phase with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning. I've felt that way for several years now, as I've done research, worked on my track plan, and now as I've started my bench work. And I'll keep looking at all of the great work here on the forum, and incorporate (steal) the secrets of the masters

 

Andy

I spent this past weekend, Thursday through Sunday, touring 25 layouts as part of of an NMRA regional convention. And while there wasn't a 3 rail O layout in the lot, I feel a greater connection to that group than to the collector / toy group that most people tend to associate with 3 rail trains.

 

It was very interesting to see that even among 2 railers, different aspects of the hobby were favored by various people. Some layouts were super detailed with relatively simple track plans. Some people were serious prototype modelers with layouts designed to be operated by large crews.

 

When you get down to it, 3 rail scale, is just model railroading with an extra rail.

 

Next time the NMRA regional comes to town, I'd like have my layout on the tour.

I agree that the NMRA is a great local source for realistic modeling ideas.  We just had an NMRA regional convention here (actually hosted by the Dayton, OH division) last week.  I hosted an operating session on Thursday, an open house on Friday, taught a clinic Friday night (part of an "Operation Boot Camp" class), hosted another operating session Saturday morning (for the Boot Camp participants) and another open house on Sunday.  It was an absolute blast.  I had help from some of my regular operating crew (one models in HO, one 2-rail O and one N) for all sessions. 

 

Operators and visitors were very complimentary on the trains, the scenery, the trackwork, the operating scheme and how smooth everything ran.  (One nice thing about our large flanges is that the stuff stays on the track REALLY well.)  This is the fourth time my layout has been included (all other layouts were always HO or N) in convention activities: an NMRA regional based in Cincinnati, the Cincinnati NMRA National Convention in 2005 and a PRR Technical and Historical Society convention.  It is a lot of fun to show these other model railroaders what can be done in 3-rail today.

 

I am looking forward to participating on this forum and getting new ideas.  

 

Ted,  I agree with your thoughts on the two layouts,

 

I have seen Tony Lash's layout in person with my local round robin club.  It has a lot of neat scenes that are scale and others that have a toy train look.  I enjoyed it and hope he contributes to this forum.  Keep in mind, the majority of the work was done around over 13 years ago.  I do not know how much 3rs was in place back then, but I wonder what his layout would be like if it was built now.  

 

I have been privileged to see Pat's several times since it was started.  I think people on this forum can learn a lot from layout like Pat's.  Until the reboot of this forum, anyone with swinging pilots and big couplers would be excluded.  

 

 

 

Great comments all. Haven't seen any photos as yet.

Would this one be apppropriate?

Supposedly a scale model of the Mighty PRR T1 with a decent coupler and weathered track.

This is at our club layout where we will definitely have to deal with both extremes of the 3 rail hobby.  

With selective focusing I may still be able to depict some realistic scenes among the plasticville structures, Mel's Diner, and Superstreets!

DSC07210

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I feel my GOAL for my layout will be 3RS. (room prep still ongoing) As an HO scale convert I want the same SCALE look I had in HO. Full scenery, scratchbuilt or kitbashed structures, no 'operating accessories' or over sized items like crossing watchman. BUT I will use Gargraves track, Ross switches, ballested and weathered, will this knock me out of the 3RS category?  Is GG to 'toy like'?? And while I have plenty of pure scale locos and rolling stock will having 'traditional size' operating sessions not allow me in 3RS club?? THX

 

My latest 3RS loco........

PRRT1D

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I've thought for a while the forum needed a shot in the arm and maybe this is it.

 

I do think the comparisons and discussions scale couplers, scale flanges, and discussions about the elimination of swinging pilots, scale track (even with the center rail), or anything about scale should not be discouraged at all if the ultimate goal of the section is to be 3RS. In that regard, the group here really had a good thing going.

Originally Posted by Big_Boy_4005:
 
Originally Posted by Bob Delbridge:

(One nice thing about our large flanges is that the stuff stays on the track REALLY well.)

That's the truth and from 3 feet away can hardly be seen.

Bob, that brings to mind this quote from the Shawshank Redemption:

 

"I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man's shoes?"

 

Insert "train's flanges".

 OK great. You guys changed the name. So can I point out a great Buffalo modeler's layout without causing a war now?? What if he has something he hasn't changed the couplers on yet and someone sees it????

 Will I get kicked out because someone counts the rails on my layout??

I think a lot of damage was done and people left for their own reasons.

SAD.

I'm running into it on all the divisions. Wasting my time I guess.

who's the next one I have to prance around??

 Makes me want to leave the hobby all together.

 

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

I don't understand, Joe.  The tinplate guys have their own forum.  The S scale guys have their own forum.  The 2 rail guys have their own forum.
 
Why can't the fixed-pilot kadee-coupler guys have their own forum?
 
I feel like the 3RS guys has been unfairly criticized in this thread. 
 
Would you really quit the hobby over what people post on an internet message board?  This hobby was around long before Al Gore invented the internet!
 
Originally Posted by Enginear-Joe:

 OK great. You guys changed the name. So can I point out a great Buffalo modeler's layout without causing a war now?? What if he has something he hasn't changed the couplers on yet and someone sees it????

 Will I get kicked out because someone counts the rails on my layout??

I think a lot of damage was done and people left for their own reasons.

SAD.

I'm running into it on all the divisions. Wasting my time I guess.

who's the next one I have to prance around??

 Makes me want to leave the hobby all together.

 

Originally Posted by Martin H:
 
Why can't the fixed-pilot kadee-coupler guys have their own forum?
 

My feeling--and I mean this sincerely--is that those who are focused almost exclusively on the equipment end of things should seriously consider forming a National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) 3RS Special Interest Group.  The NMRA is the one entity in the hobby--all scales--that works with industry to develop Standards and Recommended Practices.  They are the one organization with a proven record in that regard, and they are best equipped to meet the needs of those who are concerned with the more technical aspects of the hobby, including motive power and rolling stock, control systems, track standards, compatibility issues, etc.

 

And I don't want to see anyone write that the "NMRA isn't interested in 3-rail."  If that's true at all, it's because the 3-rail hobbyists themselves have not shown much interest in making themselves a part of the organization and because they have chosen to remain on the outside looking in.  It's their fault, not the NMRA's fault.

 

I have been a Life Member of the NMRA since the late 1970s and have participated, at various times, as a hobbyist involved in Z, N, HO, O, and Large Scale.  Yes, the majority of NMRA members are involved with HO and N scales because those are the largest segments of the overall hobby.  But it still is an inclusive organization that welcomes ALL who are devoted to sharing this hobby and improving modeling standards and the products offered.

 

If my personal modeling interest was in the pure scale aspects of O, I would probably do one of two things:  I would sell off all of my 3-rail and go with 2-rail (the most logical albeit expensive route), or I would remain with 3-rail but would align myself closely with the group that is most apt to help affect productive changes that would bring 3-rail closer to my level of expectations.  That group is most certainly the NMRA.

Originally Posted by BradAARR:
I Model lionel and mth and I have been buying 1:43 scale vehicles is that not the right size vehicles I'm supposed to be buying a friend of mine told me that the scale I need for vehicles is 1:43  scale or do I get 1:48 scale someone help please. Lol

1.  Learn to use punctuation.

2.  US O scale is 1:48, or more conveniently for the mathematically challenged, 1 scale foot = 1/4".


Not captains of industry, not makers of things, keep your vulgar monies! We are a justice sandwich, no toppings necessary. Living rooms of America, do you catch my drift? Do you dig?

this brings back memories of why I got out of the hobby before when I was an ho modeler, I just got so tired of the rivet counters and the color analysts and the coupler fanatics and the idiots that had to have the ballast just the right height and weight and depth and it got to the point that we spent so much time trying to get all of the so called prototype stuff just right that we forgot that after all, we were there just to enjoy playing with the trains. you know when it comes right down to it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what looks good to me may not suit you but if it makes me happy then that's all that matters. I agree that we can all strive for a little more scale realisam in our layouts but lets still have some fun doing it and don't let ruin the hobby for us. 

Originally Posted by nomthever:I can relate to nomthever.We are PLAYING.We all have fun in this hobby in a little different way.One guy is asking how wide should the floor boards be looking inside one of his buildings and is stressing out about it.Meanwhile everybody ELSE is picking it to death!I would be thrilled if my trains would stop uncoupling and crashing back into the caboose when I'm not paying attention lol.Cmon people lets have fun.

this brings back memories of why I got out of the hobby before when I was an ho modeler, I just got so tired of the rivet counters and the color analysts and the coupler fanatics and the idiots that had to have the ballast just the right height and weight and depth and it got to the point that we spent so much time trying to get all of the so called prototype stuff just right that we forgot that after all, we were there just to enjoy playing with the trains. you know when it comes right down to it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what looks good to me may not suit you but if it makes me happy then that's all that matters. I agree that we can all strive for a little more scale realisam in our layouts but lets still have some fun doing it and don't let ruin the hobby for us. 

 

No such thing as over kill-do it RIGHT.                                                                                                                             

Originally Posted by rockstars1989:
Originally Posted by nomthever:I can relate to nomthever.We are PLAYING.We all have fun in this hobby in a little different way.One guy is asking how wide should the floor boards be looking inside one of his buildings and is stressing out about it.Meanwhile everybody ELSE is picking it to death!I would be thrilled if my trains would stop uncoupling and crashing back into the caboose when I'm not paying attention lol.Cmon people lets have fun.

this brings back memories of why I got out of the hobby before when I was an ho modeler, I just got so tired of the rivet counters and the color analysts and the coupler fanatics and the idiots that had to have the ballast just the right height and weight and depth and it got to the point that we spent so much time trying to get all of the so called prototype stuff just right that we forgot that after all, we were there just to enjoy playing with the trains. you know when it comes right down to it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what looks good to me may not suit you but if it makes me happy then that's all that matters. I agree that we can all strive for a little more scale realisam in our layouts but lets still have some fun doing it and don't let ruin the hobby for us. 

 

Fellas,

 

The purpose of the 3RS forum IS for those reasons and I expect most of us who post here ARE having fun with it.  If you're not having fun you're in the wrong hobby.

 

Nobody is forcing you to do anything you don't want to do, but calling folks, who like discussing the extra detail, "fanatics and the idiots" isn't going to give them a warm and fuzzy all over feeling.  Do you go to the 2-rail forum and trash them because they use only 2 rails?

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Hi guys,

I wanted to introduce myself to the forum. I am completing what one would term a 3 rail scale pike. It's about 14 ft by 22 ft around the walls so I can enjoy broad radius operation. I'm utilizing scaletrax and it looks pretty good ballasted and I use NWSL semi scale wheels on all my pilot trucks with no problems at all through the scaletrax turnouts. I'm even converting some brass 2 rail steam locos to 3 rail. I like the 3 rail for the simplicity of operating Lionel Tmcc, rail sounds and simplicity of wiring. At some point if the 3rd rail bothers me, I'll convert to battery rc and strip the middle rail. I'm still debating the need for Kadee couplers for my purposes.

 

I've posted some pictures of the ballasted painted rail, semi scale pilot wheels on a scale K Line Hudson and a scale lionel reefer.

 

I hope to learn a lot from ya'll.

 

Regards

Pilot wheel Hudson

reefer

track wk 1

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I'm pretty sure that in 2-rail scale, the track is not 1:48, nor are the couplers 1:48, nor are the wheel flanges 1:48.  
 
Am I wrong?
 
Originally Posted by Sam Shumaker:

In 3 rail scale basically everything is in scale except the track wheels and

couplers and that is why I'm in 2 rail scale.

 

Technically you are correct for standard 2 rail o scale, however, they are much closer to scale than 3 rail. Now in proto 48 all this stuff is pretty much 1/48 scale i.e. wheels, flanges, rail size and head and couplers.  Sam

Originally Posted by Sam Shumaker:

In 3 rail scale basically everything is in scale except the track wheels and

couplers and that is why I'm in 2 rail scale.

OK, so what is the issue you have with the couplers? As a 3RS modeler, I use nothing but Kadee couplers, and I'm now starting to use 2-Rail wheel sets.  Do you "2-Raile modelers" use lots of different couplers, rather than the Kadee brand?

Oh yes I knew a guy who put kd couplers on all of his 3 rail stuff. A nice improvement but you got to be careful about getting the cars too close for sharp curves. There are several scale couplers to choose from as  KD, Weaver, Atlas etc and they work well. Some of the true to scale couplers are available but require a little more effort to couple trains with. The KD is the most popular and now since they redesigned them they look more like the real thing and yet still operate as well as the original.

I totally agree with Bob.  But I sure wish Tony would adopt me.  Tony spoke the most true and accurate words that I've ever heard to the dream layout...he said something to the effect of have a great dream and A LOT OF MONEY!!!!!!!!
 
This layout is super impressive and that's the understatement of a lifetime.  However, it is not realistic nor is it based upon a prototype. 
 
Originally Posted by Bob Delbridge:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

 

THIS TOPIC GETS TOO MUCH PLAY...simply put...the third rail is not real. the couplers are horribly oversised..and the flanges are well..you get it.....now every thing else can be made to look totally real as good as any in ANY scale...so the sub total is 3-rail scale .even my wife thinks that makes sense ! conrail john

Question? I know this will be opening a can of worms, but being new to the sport, who makes the best 3 rail track, switches, etc.  When I bought some of my engines, they came with different tracks, don't even know is they are compatiable.  I know old Lionel, but what about the stuff from Atlas, Mth, etc.  Do I throw it all away, or is it of use?  Most of my engines require 72 or larger curves.  As for arguing about who has the correct scale, etc, etc, layout, wouldn't you just allow each builder to love what he has made, and let it go at that.  I left a local car club for the same reason, it ceased to be fun, it just turned into a ***** session.  We got away from building and cruising, the point of the whole thing in the first place.  Let's keep this wonderful hobby open and ready for new thoughts and new people.   Just one old mans opinion.

First you ask us who makes the "best" track, and then you criticize us three sentences later for discussing the different options for modeling?  Huh?
 
As for your question, search the forum.  There are many threads discussing the pros and cons of the various track systems.
 
 
 
Originally Posted by Oregoncowboy:

Question? I know this will be opening a can of worms, but being new to the sport, who makes the best 3 rail track, switches, etc. 

 

As for arguing about who has the correct scale, etc, etc, layout, wouldn't you just allow each builder to love what he has made, and let it go at that.  I left a local car club for the same reason, it ceased to be fun, it just turned into a ***** session.  We got away from building and cruising, the point of the whole thing in the first place.  Let's keep this wonderful hobby open and ready for new thoughts and new people.   Just one old mans opinion.

 

Perhaps I from the wrong side of the tracks, but what I said was not meant to criticize, just stating a fact as I read through all the comments.  Some folks seem a bit thin skinned, but read them yourself..I'm from the west coast, and we have learned to cut people who are doing the best at what they love some slack.  I can't paint or draw worth a ****, but there are some things I do truly well.  I going to need a lot of help with this project, I can lay track, building and such, not so much.  And yes, I read and read the threads, great information, but they are all opinions.  As they used to say, I just want the straight scoop.  Perhaps I should just keep my thoughts to myself.  Nah, ain't going to happen.  Back to the Extra Board and await the call.

 

God bless you all.

Oregon cowboy welcome to the world of O scale. Anything you need to ask or need to know is welcome here. You can SEARCH a wealth of information here. A lot of good guys ready to help, but some snots also.

 

Ignore the snots and enjoy the good guys which are the vast majority.

 

Best wishes,

Ron

Thanks Ron.   This what I was hoping for.  I just want to try to get whatever I'm doing right the first time.  Much better to spend your money moving forward, than tearing up mistakes and starting again.  I can't wait to get back home to see if my new,used engine has beat me there.  Bought my first brass engine, a UP Challanger, hope I did the right thing.  Sure did look good, if not as advertised it will make a great paperweight.

Oregoncowboy.  Welcome.  To answer your question, to give you a top level starting point in the context of 3RS (which is really not supposed to be about the track, but, well ..... I think it is), you can't go wrong with Ross Switches and Ross or Gargraves track.  Or Atlas O track and switches.  Also MTH Scaletraxx although harder to work with and limited in options. Then there's the more "toy train" (no disrespect intended) track systems like the new Lionel stuff and the MTH Realtraxx.

 

As suggested in other posts above -- spend some time searching and reading past forum topics on this subject.  It's been thoroughly discussed by the true leaders in this part of the hobby -- and is all there for you to research.

 

There is no simple answer and this is a topic where it is truly "different stokes for different folks" and you can really get mired down in opinions on this topic.

 

  For what it's worth I think you've got the right idea in doing the research before making a huge investment in track.  It never was cheap. But, now it's getting more and more costly.  One track brand has just about doubled in price since I bought it 10 or so years ago.

 

Good luck.

 

Austin Bill

Austin Bill

 

 

 

I think defining what constitutes scale by the comments I have read so far is a matter that's best characterized as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and that seems to fit the wiggle room there is for what is, in reality, is a definition that is not set in stone so one could say: "this is scale and that is not scale.. I think HO and it's influences has permeated O scale that led to Hi-rail and now.."scale." 

For the buyer who has bought this philosophy of modelling, I think will find that satisfying themselves in  reaching this high bar will result in more parsing over new product..as well as more modifications to out of the box models...and increased cost. 

I think some of the concern expressed here is that those who find this form not particularly attractive sense that they will be dragged into this if the manufacturer's follow their lead of scale realism dominating the O hobby...In other words if what constitutes O significantly changes. 

I suspect it won't....if there was a really big desire to go this route, two rail O scale should have taken off like rocket. It hasn't. At the same time from what I see everywhere I read this or that, there is a "sameness" to what is published..less variety of modeling styles..you could make the argument that what is published is an influence I suppose.

Its ( scale three rail ) a nominal sub grouping of interest that has it's own merits but frankly I do not see this as a big trend..it has its own limits. 

Take traction modeling for example..if you want a large variety of product, there is O scale realism as two rail O complete with high cost, brass models, a lot of scratch building, detail parts to be added..on and on. Again, this is a nominally small segment of the hobby. In scale traction,there are few if any alternatives. I just don't see "scale" really taking off to this extent...where choices become shrunken to the point of exasperation. As for me, I never saw a model train that I didn't like in some manner....

 

 

Will someone please clarify if "3-railscale" excludes those who purchase MTH Premier, Atlas and Weaver engines and cars that have the correct dimensions and details but use "oversize couplers", oversize rails and wheel flanges?

 

I scratchbuild many railroad cars based on prototype drawings and dimensions but are designed to operate with my existing 3-rail engines. If I change to Kadee couplers and scale wheels would they now be classified as "3-railscale"?

 

Samples attached.

 

 CPOX 820 O SCALE MODEL [10)

hepx 200 photo 004

CEBX 100 O SCALE MODEL [3)

000_3697

100_4634

KRL depressed center flatcar 005

SIEMENS KWUX 10 FLATCAR

WECX 202 schnabel

THRALL 65 foot mill GONDOLA

KRL 16450 SCALE MODEL 3

MEPX 20100 depressed center flatcar

Attachments

Photos (11)

See the definition in the first post by Rich.

 

...3-Rail Scale is an attitude toward the O gauge hobby that derives satisfaction and fun from using the prototype as its guide. The intent in 3-Rail Scale is to continually strive for as much prototype realism as possible within the limitations of time, talent, and available space.

 

More than any other single thing, the desire for realism in miniature distinguishes 3-Rail Scale from other segments of the 3-rail hobby.

 






It's a term to "weigh", (pun intended), the options available in O gauge to create a model RR  that is representative of the real world. Even though most trains produced are 1/48, the track is 1/43 due to the spacing, so true scale is not possible unless track and train are modified or hand laid and custom built. Do what we like, and we can be happy. Perfection is unattainable, so close counts.

Don

I can't think of everything         

God'sNot Dead

Pro Hobby. To answer your question and keep it simple,  is yes. 3RS implies that your cars are prototype and to 1/48 scale. Kadees yes. 2R wheel sets optional providing that your track will support them.

US Army retired

Suncoast Regional Coordinator 

First Florida  Chapter of the MVPA HAZMAT SME(RID,DOD,IATA,ADR,CFR 49)  

 

suzukovich posted:

Pro Hobby. To answer your question and keep it simple,  is yes. 3RS implies that your cars are prototype and to 1/48 scale. Kadees yes. 2R wheel sets optional providing that your track will support them.

So, is converting to Kadees .... pretty much .... a hallmark of 3RS? Prototypically correct equipment (scale, era, and locale) with Kadees?

I ask because all the rest seems so subjective to me, such as how much scenery detail.

I don't know. I don't even think I understand what hi-rail is. lol

Happy Railroading.

Matt Ryan

Denville, NJ

It's actually more then that. Alot are also running fixed pilots on their engines. The weathering of engines and rolling stock. Detailing of engines and rolling stock above what comes from MTH, Lionel, and Atlas. 3RS all equipment is scale. Think of it as 2R with a center rail.

US Army retired

Suncoast Regional Coordinator 

First Florida  Chapter of the MVPA HAZMAT SME(RID,DOD,IATA,ADR,CFR 49)  

 

Some interesting thoughts. I have long understood that 'scale' modelling when using 3 rail pickup was confined to stud, outside third or overhead, unless you were modelling a centre third electric line.  

Essentially the  layout used couplers, track and wheel standards similar to existing 2 rail layouts but used a less intrusive 3rd rail to enable them to keep the advantages they saw with using 3 rail pickup. The Canandaigua Southern layout comes to mind as one example of a scale 3rail layout.

regards

 Bob

 

Running NSWGR O scale in the Australian sun ( and wind ,and rain and snow.......)

Bob Delbridge posted:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I've seen the Lash layout AND I have seen even larger 2-rail O layouts. Both are fabulous. Tony's COULD be operated point-to-point, with most of the operator's time being spent switching out hopper cars by that fabulous coal mine. The last giant 2-rail O layout I saw was being run in a giant loop (although many trains were being run via DCC which somewhat disguised that fact.) 

Two-rail scale O looks fabulous. It really does. The dirty little secret is that the track and turnouts need MUCH MORE attention to keep things operating well. Do you want to spend a big portion of your time troubleshooting and doing track maintenance, or running trains?

The 2-railers will NEVER "like" us monster-claw-coupler guys completely. Let's face it: most 3-rail OPERATORS are round-robin "loop-runners." Many of the 2-railers attempt 100% proto operating. Some of the ones I've met ARE elitists, employing VERY expensive brass models (we have elitists in our camp too, though I'd NEVER include Tony in that camp.) Are they having fun yet? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Actually,I'd generalize by saying that most of the 2-railers I've met are HO-modelers with poorer eyesight now, or non-compromising prototypers who will never understand "the magic of Lionel trains." Maybe they started life with a Lionel under the tree, but that was centuries ago--if they'll even admit it. (More likely, it was a Tyco HO set.)

I personally can appreciate both camps without joining either.

OGR was, once upon a time, OSR. There's a sliding scale between 2-rail scale and 3 rail O-gauge tinplate trackers. Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

To quote our Webmaster at the start of this topic: "The intent in 3-Rail Scale is to continually strive for as much prototype realism as possible within the limitations of time, talent, and available space." Realism in coupler size? In rail height or number of rails? In method of operating trains (loop or point to point) ? Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

BurlingtonBill posted:
Bob Delbridge posted:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I've seen the Lash layout AND I have seen even larger 2-rail O layouts. Both are fabulous. Tony's COULD be operated point-to-point, with most of the operator's time being spent switching out hopper cars by that fabulous coal mine. The last giant 2-rail O layout I saw was being run in a giant loop (although many trains were being run via DCC which somewhat disguised that fact.) 

Two-rail scale O looks fabulous. It really does. The dirty little secret is that the track and turnouts need MUCH MORE attention to keep things operating well. Do you want to spend a big portion of your time troubleshooting and doing track maintenance, or running trains?

The 2-railers will NEVER "like" us monster-claw-coupler guys completely. Let's face it: most 3-rail OPERATORS are round-robin "loop-runners." Many of the 2-railers attempt 100% proto operating. Some of the ones I've met ARE elitists, employing VERY expensive brass models (we have elitists in our camp too, though I'd NEVER include Tony in that camp.) Are they having fun yet? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Actually,I'd generalize by saying that most of the 2-railers I've met are HO-modelers with poorer eyesight now, or non-compromising prototypers who will never understand "the magic of Lionel trains." Maybe they started life with a Lionel under the tree, but that was centuries ago--if they'll even admit it. (More likely, it was a Tyco HO set.)

I personally can appreciate both camps without joining either.

OGR was, once upon a time, OSR. There's a sliding scale between 2-rail scale and 3 rail O-gauge tinplate trackers. Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

I don't have to do anything to my 2 rail layout! It has been down for years. I don't know why you would say that it is hard to maintain???

Does three rail do something for self maintenance????

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

BurlingtonBill posted:
Bob Delbridge posted:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I've seen the Lash layout AND I have seen even larger 2-rail O layouts. Both are fabulous. Tony's COULD be operated point-to-point, with most of the operator's time being spent switching out hopper cars by that fabulous coal mine. The last giant 2-rail O layout I saw was being run in a giant loop (although many trains were being run via DCC which somewhat disguised that fact.) 

Two-rail scale O looks fabulous. It really does. The dirty little secret is that the track and turnouts need MUCH MORE attention to keep things operating well. Do you want to spend a big portion of your time troubleshooting and doing track maintenance, or running trains?

The 2-railers will NEVER "like" us monster-claw-coupler guys completely. Let's face it: most 3-rail OPERATORS are round-robin "loop-runners." Many of the 2-railers attempt 100% proto operating. Some of the ones I've met ARE elitists, employing VERY expensive brass models (we have elitists in our camp too, though I'd NEVER include Tony in that camp.) Are they having fun yet? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Actually,I'd generalize by saying that most of the 2-railers I've met are HO-modelers with poorer eyesight now, or non-compromising prototypers who will never understand "the magic of Lionel trains." Maybe they started life with a Lionel under the tree, but that was centuries ago--if they'll even admit it. (More likely, it was a Tyco HO set.)

I personally can appreciate both camps without joining either.

OGR was, once upon a time, OSR. There's a sliding scale between 2-rail scale and 3 rail O-gauge tinplate trackers. Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

This post couldn't be further from the truth.  There are a lot of rash generalizations that are simply wrong.  Maintenance is the same since it is mostly the same manufacturers who make a bulk of the 2 and 3 rail product.  It is simply a question of what someone enjoys in this vast big umbrella of model and toy trains.  I do not personally see magic about postwar Lionel Trains.  Never have and never will.  However I have lots for respect for fellow TCA members and friends who have spent a lifetime collecting and operating Lionel.     

However the post is correct in one manner, my first set was Tyco.

Modeling in 2 and 3 rail O there are reasons to enjoy both.  Am I having fun?  42 years of continuously playing with trains in HO, N, O and standard gauge might be a clue that is all fun and I'm not even 50 yet. 

Regardless, this forum is about modelers who enjoy prototypical realism.  Why make false judgements about others who model differently?  

Jonathan

 

Burlington Bill.  Seems to me model railroading in general and O scale in particular plays out something like the old Barnum and Bailey 3 ring circus.  Lots of different types of acts in the rings and all around the sides all doing their thing appealing to a variety of interests.  Like the circus there's something enjoyable for everyone no matter which scale and number of tracks.  So why not just sit back and enjoy the variety various modelers bring your way?  Huh?

I regret that I do have one issue with what you said.    I think you're totally wrong above on the relative reliability between 3RS and 0 scale 2 rail.  Until 2012 I was a 3 rail scale guy using Atlas O 3 rail track and Lionel Legacy, TMCC and MTH DCS.  In 2012 re-using only the benchwork sub structure I completely re-did my layout and switched to 2 rail 0 scale using Atlas O 2 rail track and a major brand DCS system.  Five years later I can objectively say that both both layouts were/are equally reliable in all categories.   I feel compelled to say your wrong because I think there are a lot of guys out there who would really like to switch to 0 scale 2 rail but they hear guys like you and it discourages them from switching.  I never looked back and am really happy.  I still greatly enjoy my friends' 3RS layouts and greatly admire their modelling abilities and they seem to enjoy mine.  Same for our HO buddies.  It's all good -- like the circus.  

Burlington Bill.  Seems to me model railroading in general and O scale in particular plays out something like the old Barnum and Bailey 3 ring circus.  Lots of different types of acts in the rings and all around the sides all doing their thing appealing to a variety of interests.  Like the circus there's something enjoyable for everyone no matter which scale and number of tracks.  So why not just sit back and enjoy the variety various modelers bring your way?  Huh?

I think you're totally wrong above on the relative reliability between 3RS and 0 scale 2 rail.  Until 2012 I was a 3 rail scale guy using Atlas O 3 rail track and Lionel Legacy, TMCC and MTH DCS.  In 2012 re-using only the benchwork sub structure I completely re-did my layout and switched to 2 rail 0 scale using Atlas O 2 rail track and a major brand DCS system.  Five years later I can objectively say that both both layouts were/are equally reliable in all categories.   I feel compelled to say your wrong because I think there are a lot of guys out there who would really like to switch to 0 scale 2 rail but they hear guys like you and it discourages them from switching.  I never looked back and am really happy.  I still greatly enjoy my friends' 3RS layouts and greatly admire their modelling abilities and they seem to enjoy mine.  Same for our HO buddies.  It's all good -- like the circus.  

I have a huge scale 3 rail collection and have built a pretty large layout that runs primarily scale 3 rail although it's a hybrid toy train layout with opportunity for operation but gets the loop running in full effect. I love my 3 Rail stuff and I love running our layout. I flip that switch, grab a remote and bring that 58 foot by 16 foot behemoth of a layout to life and the worlds shrinks to 1/48 scale with the third rail powering the fun. But there are certain things about 3 rail that drive me nuts and push me towards 2 rail. Mostly it's the track and the compromises to the model to make em 3 rail. If I'm going to get all this nice 3 rail scale stuff, why not go all in and do it in 2 rail and get rid of all those silly compromises

I can't believe this discussion or argument, 3 rail scale is as it is described. Look at Norm's layout. I've seen very few layouts two or three rail that rival it for ambience, scenery and operations. Look at laid off Sick's layout, very very good. I've invested a lot of time on custom 3 rail track and making my locomotives scale, but it is for my enjoyment, my pleasure and my time as is everyone else who participates in this hobby. I just like it all when it is well done.

Ron, I've thought about doing the custom 3 rail track too. I love the 3 rail and I love the scale equipment. There's some beautiful 3 rail layouts out there. I've just deciding that if I'm going to eliminate the compromises of the 18" tall rail, the compromises to the model, I might as well get rid of that center rail as well. 

Matt,

That is the same place I've arrived, I've just had a hard time finding the time to implement the layout portion.  Been slowly collecting the equipment since 2012, but need to find the time and figure out how to fit a 2 rail layout into my space.  I do so hate duck unders and all the 2R is roughly mid 50's NY&LB based - CNJ / PRR.  I think I can get away with an 48" radius on the inside track.  That might work.  And since it is a commuter road, It will be a loop with two mainlines like the real road with the various turnouts that served some of the industries along the way on the minimal freight service the PRR and CNJ provided. 

I picked up an old Brass Alco NE5 New Haven caboose at a show a many years ago for $50.00 and it is gorgeous.  The scale flanges sold me. 

My home 3R layout is just simple modules that were given to me.  A nice running layout, but nothing special in terms of the true art of model railroading.  Since I won't be able to build what I want for a while, my 3R club has a wonderful scale oriented layout that is very enjoyable regardless of how many rails it has.  It is not Kadee friendly though.  I've dropped a few too many passengers at prior to their destinations in the dips.  

Jonathan

 

I've got designs on an around the basement dual track main that runs on a shelf about 42 inches hit or so with a few industries here and there and a small yard at one end of the basement but I plan on buying another property in a few years so maybe I won't even get there. My 2 Rail collection is in its infancy. I got some locos on order and a GGD 37 Super Chief I got off Richard plusc a few Atlas freight cars. I've got the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum I can go run my 2 Rail at so I'll work with that for now but I've got plans to convert my 3rd Rail diesels all over to 2 rail eventually 

My 2-rail layout has been operating reliably for almost 20 years without any problems related to the track or switches. All freight cars are fitted with Intermountain wheelsets riding in Athearn trucks, which don't require lubrication. I don't think I've ever had a Kadee coupler fail, and the worst mechanical problem in recent years was a loose eccentric rod that fell down on the ballast struck and stopped the engine because the small screw holding it to the eccentric crank had fallen out. Fortunately, I located the screw a few feet down the line and was able to put it back in place and secure it with a tiny drop of Loc-Tite. This was on a Sunset/3rd Rail model, so the same thing could have happened with a 3-rail version. Of course the engines need a little oil and grease from time to time, just as their 3-rail cousins do. 

GG1 4877 posted:
BurlingtonBill posted:
Bob Delbridge posted:

layout built by Tony Lash would by definition qualify as 3 Rail Scale then, correct Allan?

I've got a DVD showing his layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said here:

 

Again, the intent is to make this designation inclusive of those striving to achieve a high level of realism with their 3-rail equipment, layouts, and operations, without including details that would, in effect, once again make things overly restrictive.

 

Sounds like there's more clarification needed. Maybe I'm missing something, but I hope this isn't the direction this sub-forum will take

I've seen the Lash layout AND I have seen even larger 2-rail O layouts. Both are fabulous. Tony's COULD be operated point-to-point, with most of the operator's time being spent switching out hopper cars by that fabulous coal mine. The last giant 2-rail O layout I saw was being run in a giant loop (although many trains were being run via DCC which somewhat disguised that fact.) 

Two-rail scale O looks fabulous. It really does. The dirty little secret is that the track and turnouts need MUCH MORE attention to keep things operating well. Do you want to spend a big portion of your time troubleshooting and doing track maintenance, or running trains?

The 2-railers will NEVER "like" us monster-claw-coupler guys completely. Let's face it: most 3-rail OPERATORS are round-robin "loop-runners." Many of the 2-railers attempt 100% proto operating. Some of the ones I've met ARE elitists, employing VERY expensive brass models (we have elitists in our camp too, though I'd NEVER include Tony in that camp.) Are they having fun yet? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Actually,I'd generalize by saying that most of the 2-railers I've met are HO-modelers with poorer eyesight now, or non-compromising prototypers who will never understand "the magic of Lionel trains." Maybe they started life with a Lionel under the tree, but that was centuries ago--if they'll even admit it. (More likely, it was a Tyco HO set.)

I personally can appreciate both camps without joining either.

OGR was, once upon a time, OSR. There's a sliding scale between 2-rail scale and 3 rail O-gauge tinplate trackers. Where you are along that continuum is up to you.

This post couldn't be further from the truth.  There are a lot of rash generalizations that are simply wrong.  Maintenance is the same since it is mostly the same manufacturers who make a bulk of the 2 and 3 rail product.  It is simply a question of what someone enjoys in this vast big umbrella of model and toy trains.  I do not personally see magic about postwar Lionel Trains.  Never have and never will.  However I have lots for respect for fellow TCA members and friends who have spent a lifetime collecting and operating Lionel.     

However the post is correct in one manner, my first set was Tyco.

Modeling in 2 and 3 rail O there are reasons to enjoy both.  Am I having fun?  42 years of continuously playing with trains in HO, N, O and standard gauge might be a clue that is all fun and I'm not even 50 yet. 

Regardless, this forum is about modelers who enjoy prototypical realism.  Why make false judgements about others who model differently?  

Sorry Jon, I respectfully disagree. Electrical contact with a smaller railhead, plus one less, to begin with, IS a problem for some pretty large 2-rail layouts I have been around. The DCC signal peters out pretty easily if the rails aren't fed more often then most of us 3-rail guys usually do with our track feeders. The motors on a lot of 2-rail equipment can be more delicate.

There are other issues I won't mention. On one very big layout, the MTH engines (modern ones that came out in 2-rail, NOT modified 3-R engines) seemed to be some of the most reliable.

Go back and re-read my post. I was careful to compliment both camps, but there ARE differences and I think it's naive at best to expect the dyed-in-the-wool modeler to completely respect how most satisfied 3-railers operate. Remember, I was responding to a comment by Bob D. that was being somewhat critical of earlier attempts at defining "3-rail scale."

To wit: "I've got a DVD showing his {Lash's] layout and I wouldn't consider it anything but a toy train layout packed full of animation.  Nice and big for what it is, but not what Allan said..." 

Austin Bill posted:

Burlington Bill.  Seems to me model railroading in general and O scale in particular plays out something like the old Barnum and Bailey 3 ring circus.  Lots of different types of acts in the rings and all around the sides all doing their thing appealing to a variety of interests.  Like the circus there's something enjoyable for everyone no matter which scale and number of tracks.  So why not just sit back and enjoy the variety various modelers bring your way?  Huh?

I think you're totally wrong above on the relative reliability between 3RS and 0 scale 2 rail.  Until 2012 I was a 3 rail scale guy using Atlas O 3 rail track and Lionel Legacy, TMCC and MTH DCS.  In 2012 re-using only the benchwork sub structure I completely re-did my layout and switched to 2 rail 0 scale using Atlas O 2 rail track and a major brand DCS system.  Five years later I can objectively say that both both layouts were/are equally reliable in all categories.   I feel compelled to say your wrong because I think there are a lot of guys out there who would really like to switch to 0 scale 2 rail but they hear guys like you and it discourages them from switching.  I never looked back and am really happy.  I still greatly enjoy my friends' 3RS layouts and greatly admire their modelling abilities and they seem to enjoy mine.  Same for our HO buddies.  It's all good -- like the circus.  

I'm glad that you are happy. I agree that Atlas track is superb and the differences are narrowing to a degree. As I said, I really like the look of the 2-rail layouts I've seen. They are beautiful and if you come to feel that it's time to switch over, great. There are more choices now in the 3-rail world than ever before, that's for sure. I just have too much invested in 3-R and I'm too old to switch over myself. I don't want to be crawling underneath my 2-R layout when I'm 85 !

Bill, I disagree, with the exception of high end brass models most production 2 rail Models these days have the same drive as the 3 rail. The motors are no different. The difference is the control system and DCC has different wiring requirements than TMCC/Legacy or DCS. DCC is a much better system in my opinion and is designed to follow a standard, is universally compatible and specifically suited to running large to very large model railroads. When building large layouts there are certain criteria that need to be met for either 2 rail or 3 rail and wiring is complicated on either camp. I do not think that a smaller rail profile has anything to do with conductivity or current flow and it most certainly does not have any mechanical deficiencies. Track is track and if you do it right it'll be trouble free for life, do it wrong and you'll wish you took the time to do it right

Ted Hikel posted:

Show us some realistic trains and make the eye the judge. I enjoy these types of trains just like many of us do.

 

I'll second that sentiment too.

 

There are a bunch of talented people that I hope to see post here because I would like to learn from what they are doing and I think that many others could also take away new ideas from some of the most creative people and layouts in the hobby.

 

I don't know if anyone else here has seen Tony Lash's layout in person.  I was able to get to see it first hand on an OGR tour a couple of years ago.  Some elements of the layout were out of the best of the toy train tradition.  And other elements rank among the best I have seen from a prototype modeling perspective.  The large coal mine, power plant and rail to water transloading facility gave all those N&W hoppers a reason to be or, as I heard Ross Custom Switches Steve Brenneisen put it, made the layout a model transportation system.  If Mr. Lash would like to post here I'd love it!

 

I have also learned from operating at Pat Marinari's layout.  Pat had a fully kadee equipped roster on his layout but his diesels had, Oh the Horror, swinging pilots.  Anyone in any scale could learn from what Pat is doing for prototypical operations.  And we here could benefit from his knowledge on coupler conversion on 3 rail O rolling stock.  Anyone who saw a swinging pilot in a photo from Pat's layout and complained about it would really be silly and missing out.

 

I am really glad to see that Norm Charbonneau is interested in posting here.  He is doing some of the best modeling in any scale. 

 

If anyone here hangs a big emphasis on any one element of modeling and a post by someone else doesn't contain enough of you favorite thing just look at what is there.  You know, that "glass half full" kind of attitude.  Or, from a modeling viewpoint, if weathering is a high priority for you and someone else posts photos of unweathered models just think of them as a can of krylon primer away from being just your style.

Ted, I absolutely LOVE what you said. My "sin" was not starting at the top of this topic and slogging thru all that was said up to your post. You NAILED it.

OGR started from OSR and back in that day there were far fewer 2-railers out there. When it became "OGR," you should have heard the squawking! I have loved, from that day forward, what Myron (and now Rich et al.) in guiding the 3R community towards more realism.

Overall, the way I view it is as a continuum with "O27" at one end and pure 2-rail O (weathering, scale wheels, couplers, fixed pilots, DCC, the whole 9 yards) at the other. Where you are along that line is up to you. I have seen the Lash layout and consider it prototypical to a huge degree. He's happy with it and I would be as well. There is no such thing as "perfection" when it comes to a railroad!

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
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