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I have bought some Weaver Brass Steam Locos (3R) and like them.  All have been purchased online.  I have only bought a small percentage of those I have seen listed. On some of the boxes it is indicated that 2R versions were available.  In 3 years I have seen maybe three 2R versions (total) for sale vs 100's of 3R.

With Williams there are slightly more, I have purchased 1 Pacific and 1 Niagara 2R Loco.

So where are they??  I "believe" production quantities were lower for 2R?  Were all 3R locos offered in 2R or just a select few?  I have heard people mention O Scale Yard Sale, but when I look at that site, have no idea how you can see what is for sale?  That site is nothing like this one!

I would appreciate anyone that can help explain this to me?  Thank you.

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I’m a 3 railer and bought a few brass items in the late 80s early 90s. You have to remember. Many were models never seen in 3 rail and were at the forefront of those wanting affordable scale models. There was no MTH yet on the horizon. Lionel offered a Mohawk and their scale Hudson well north of a $1000. ROW Industries offered some large steamers as well. These were affordable compared to new Lionel offerings or buying Postwar.
Most of these produced were already available from past years in 2 rail with a lot more detail. So these really weren’t anything new to them as far as the models being offered.  I’m guessing this is  is why so much more was produced in 3 rail.

The old MG/USHobbies/KTM series of brass steam loco's were/are great. I love my KTM I1 Decapod, only 60 odd years old and it runs like Swiss watch.

But... I appreciate those later Williams and Weaver's later low-end steam efforts too. They often can be make into decent runners and are fairly easy to convert to DCC if not already having that set-up from the factory. It's a consensus for some that we'd like more of them available too,  second hand or otherwise, especially  Weavers as some of those models were generic enough prototypes to easily re-detail to ones own chosen prototype road version,  I personally would love getting that one of those UP-ish Weaver 2-8-0's as it matches multiple second hand engine classes that wound up on the NdM or FcP which is my transition era niche right now

So yeah Jim, you ain't the lone ranger there, when they get listed they' sell.   

I agree that Williams and Weaver 2 rail steam is not easy to find.  The production numbers are certainly less on the 2 rail models, especially the Williams one as the Samhongsa produced brass was some of Williams first ventures in the scale sized model world. 

They are friendly on the budget for sure even if they lack some of the details. I have had mixed luck with Williams.  Some run like fine machines and others need help.  I feel like the quality control wasn't as good on those as some of the higher end Samhongsa product produced for other manufacturers.

All of my Williams and Weaver steam locomotives are 3 rail.  At one time I had hope to convert some of them, but I have no skill with a lathe and sadly most of the people who did these conversions are no longer with us.  I did recently pick up a Weaver 90P75 PRR tender in 2 rail, but it was missing one key component - the locomotive! 

All of my 2 rail steam is either vintage 40's, 50's and 60's or Sunset product outside of an MTH Pacific that I am piecing together after finding a 2 rail chassis for mine.

I also agree that Max Grey, US Hobbies, and KTM can be had for decent prices if you are patient, and the quality is superior to Williams and early Weaver.

Best of luck on your search!

Thank you to all your responses, I need to "refocus" my search.  This is one reason I like the forum, I have been able to learn so much!

What is interesting to me is the Williams Niagara 2R I have (only have seen one other than the one I bought), I also have in 3R (which are very easy to find).  The 2R version actually came with additional detail, but no smoke unit.  If I get the ambition I may take pictures comparing them.  The neat thing it gives me a "blueprint" of what is needed to do a conversion.

BTW - You guys that helped me I am sure know this, but for others looking at this, with Williams the box says "O Scale"  for 2R and "O Gauge" for 3R.

Thanks again!

@Dave_C posted:

I remember seeing an ad in OGR way back. I remembered the dealer name and they did upgrades on Williams.

A big benefit of being a digital subscriber. When your not sure you have it right. You can go back in time.

BA92D063-31DF-4A69-B5C4-55D0E470BA09

Thanks for the information love to learn about the history of the hobby.  Though I have to confess, if I was able to buy New O Locomotives back at that time, they would have all been 2R.

I strictly buy 3-rail steam because it’s more available, it runs on curves that are within the scope of what might be possible in any layout I’ll ever be able to build in my remaining time down here on Good Old Planet Earth, and I can ditch the 3rd rail track and the locomotive pick up rollers by going to Blunami/battery power and by hand laying two-rail track and turnouts that will handle 3-rail wheelsets.

All of my locomotives and rolling stock will eventually have Kadee style 2-rail couplers along with deep flanged wheels. It may be kinda weird, but I really like fixed pilots on my diesels and 2-rail track, along with steam locomotives that can run on curves that don’t require a Downton Abbey sized mansion to hold my layout…

Jeff C

@leikec posted:

I strictly buy 3-rail steam because it’s more available, it runs on curves that are within the scope of what might be possible in any layout I’ll ever be able to build in my remaining time down here on Good Old Planet Earth, and I can ditch the 3rd rail track and the locomotive pick up rollers by going to Blunami/battery power and by hand laying two-rail track and turnouts that will handle 3-rail wheelsets.

All of my locomotives and rolling stock will eventually have Kadee style 2-rail couplers along with deep flanged wheels. It may be kinda weird, but I really like fixed pilots on my diesels and 2-rail track, along with steam locomotives that can run on curves that don’t require a Downton Abbey sized mansion to hold my layout…

Jeff C

Jeff thanks for posting.  Maybe what you suggest is what I should do, rather than trying to convert (or replace) 3R to 2R Locos.

@leikec and others who are eager to jump on the idea of battery powered 2-rail conversions: You probably already thought of this... But when you hand-lay the track you'll still be obliged to use the tall "Code 215" rail that Atlas, Ross, etc., use for their 3-rail track.  Especially if your track plan will include 36" radius (O72) curve-replacement switches, the large flanges on your 3R Williams Niagara and much 3-rail rolling stock may not operate reliably on lower, more prototypical rail heights normally associated with 2-rail O scale and Proto:48.

Folks who are less ambitious could start with 3-rail track and physically remove the center rail.  Two-rail sectional track (is there any?) will lead to frustration because the high flanges originally designed for 3-rail track will probably have issues with the turnout frogs, even if they don't dig into the spikes and ties.  My $.02.

Last edited by Ted S

In the limited testing I’ve done so far, I’ve had no problems using Code 148 Micro Engineering rail with a combination of soldered pc board ties and glued wood ties. Using the pc board ties gives the track work strength to hold up, and with no spike heads sticking up everything is ok so far, even with deep flanges…

Jeff C

Thanks for the posts.  Any information about the track that can be used with 3R equipment is very helpful.

I asked the question a few months back but only had 2 Forum Members reply.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...nt-on-code-148-track

"Strummer" also did some experimenting a while back (adding a center rail) to early atlas 2R track.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...some-old-atlas-track

Anyone that can help share their experiences with this would be very appreciated.

Last edited by MainLine Steam

Thanks for the posts.  Any information about the track that can be used with 3R equipment is very helpful.

I asked the question a few months back but only had 2 Forum Members reply.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...nt-on-code-148-track

"Strummer" also did some experimenting a while back (adding a center rail) to early atlas 2R track.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...some-old-atlas-track

Anyone that can help share their experiences with this would be very appreciated.

I haven't done much lately (due to some house upgrading), but I can report that the little experiment I did (and mentioned here) has proven to be surprisingly reliable and workable; several set ups and tear downs show (much to my surprise and delight) this actually works!  Whodda thunk? 

(...also, no problems with the larger flanges of 3 rail stuff...)

Mark (still) in Oregon

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