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 2-rail vs. 3-rail O scale
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Author Previous Topic: ATSF Northern 2921 and coach  lengths. Topic Next Topic: Help Please: SW DCC Problem
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cmu3rd

Posted - 2011 November 15 :  3:14:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am starting back up in the hobby and have decided to start with O scale. I have done a lot of reading on the internet but haven't been able to form an opinion on 2-rail or 3-rail. If you had to do it over again what would you start with? Do you have any pro's or con's for either?
Thanks,
Chris

Country: | Posts: 11

bxcxdan

Posted - 2011 November 15 :  4:51:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit bxcxdan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Chris,

I worked for Lionel and worked in 3 rail for 7 years while there and still, while there, I just couldn't get over the fact that there was a 3rd rail.

I would choose 2 rail as well, when you go track side and then come home and play with your model RR, you are 2-rail.

Also, since you haven't started buying anything in O. The 2 rail is the way to go. Although, 3 rail is a large part of the market, it's only advantage I see is the ability to design a model RR with much tighter curves.

I would ask myself these questions,
-how much room do you have?
-do you care about more scale products?


Dan


Daniel M. Bigda
Boxcar Services L.L.C.
North Brookfield Railroad

Country: USA | Posts: 610 Go to Top of Page

CBQer

Posted - 2011 November 15 :  6:21:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With respect to three railers, stay in 2 rail. Most cars can be converted to 2 rail if necessary. Atlas products are maunfactured to 1/48th scale. That cannot be said about much of the three rail market.

If you only have room for say, a switching layout or really tight curves stay with the 4 axle switchers such as an SW8 or the SW1500, GP15 GP9, etc.

Welcome to the sight and feel free to ask questions.

Dick


Milwaukeerailroadshops.org

Charter Member Golden Spike Club.
Nebraska, Dakota, & Western Railroad.
Veteran, Viet Nam 1968

Country: USA | Posts: 1215 Go to Top of Page

cmu3rd

Posted - 2011 November 15 :  7:24:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Guys,
It looks like 2 rail it is. Does this eliminate any venders like MHT? They seem to be all 3-rail. I should add another post for this question but is DCC the way to go for 2-rail? I like this over some proprietary control system like DCS.
Thanks,
Chris



Country: | Posts: 11 Go to Top of Page

3railguy

Posted - 2011 November 15 :  7:55:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The decision really depends on available space. 5 ft radius curves (10 ft dia) is what you really want for reliable operation and plan to run 6 axle diesels and 50 ft boxcars with body mount couplers. 3 ft radius is fine too but has its limitations.

Recent MTH Engines can be ordered with low profile flanges and will run on 2 or 3 rail track (there is an electrical switch for this). MTH rolling stock is easy to convert to 2 rail and comes with mounting pads for Kadee couplers.


John Long

Edited by - 3railguy on 2011 November 15 7:58:48 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 709 Go to Top of Page

jgtrh62

Posted - 2011 November 16 :  12:04:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chris,

Most Atlas and MTH 2 rail four axle locos and rolling stock will operate fine on very tight radius track and now with MTH offering PS3 in upcoming locomotive releases it will make DCC operation with them possible. Atlas has been there for a long time.

2 rail loco's also have fixed pilots and scale wheels and couplers however it is an option to have these on many of the 3 rail loco's.

Everyone has their opinion on this topic but IMHO good looking track work is as every bit as an important component to creating a great looking layout as the locomotives, rolling stock, structures and scenery are so the decision really depends on what level of realism you are wanting to achieve.

O Scale 2 rail has a great variety of really nice looking "RTR" and hand laid track products that one can incorporate into a their layouts that really enhance the overall appearance of the model railroad. I've used a hybrid approach of using Atlas, ME and PC flex track but choose to hand build my own turnouts and some other track components simply because of the amount of detail parts that are available to do so. The following link is to some photos of examples of some typical handlaid track components that I build using ROW and AS&S castings.

http://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff478/jgtrh62/ROW%20Turnouts/

IMHO as well if space is a primary concern then I would choose a theme that would be acceptable for the amount of space I have to work with and if I couldn't make that work I would consider modeling in a smaller scale but I've found O Scale 2 rail to be the all around best Scale I've dabbled in.

John





Edited by - jgtrh62 on 2011 November 16 12:19:49 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 426 Go to Top of Page

Bud

Posted - 2011 November 16 :  1:31:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John, your turnouts are exquisite! Can you tell me the full names of ROW and AS&S?

Thanks.


Bud Rath
Colorado USA

Country: | Posts: 507 Go to Top of Page

mdeberg

Posted - 2011 November 16 :  2:44:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bud,

Definitely agree John's trackwork is fantastic and second to none.

Even some of the more recent 3R locos and rolling stock releases are scale and very prototypical in appearance. For example, some of the newer Lionel modern diesels utilize a pivoting pilot not attached to the truck, which allows for a more prototypical appearance while still allowing for operation on tigher radius curves.


Thanks,

Mike

Country: USA | Posts: 827 Go to Top of Page

jgtrh62

Posted - 2011 November 16 :  3:28:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Bud and Mike, I appreciate your comments.

ROW - Right-O-Way - 559-665-1001
AS&S - American Switch & Signal - 574-946-7667

I have pdf copies for both catalogs and I can email them to you if you wish. Just send me a note off line if so.

Thanks,

John

quote:
Originally posted by Bud

John, your turnouts are exquisite! Can you tell me the full names of ROW and AS&S?

Thanks.




Edited by - jgtrh62 on 2011 November 16 3:30:26 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 426 Go to Top of Page

UP6903

Posted - 2011 November 16 :  9:30:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit UP6903's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thinking back as coming from HO and 2 rail it was an obvious choice. Thinking ahead and what Atlas should have done,
I think, is gone the detail route as they did in the master series but offered locos in a slotted pilot like 3 rail
and tight turn track like 3 rail so one could easily work a 2 rail layout in a room. That would have been my choice
to compete with others.
Phil



Country: USA | Posts: 1994 Go to Top of Page

Ken Rice

Posted - 2011 November 17 :  09:49:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ken Rice's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cmu3rd
I should add another post for this question but is DCC the way to go for 2-rail? I like this over some proprietary control system like DCS.



Chris,

DCC is clearly the way to go. You get way more options and possibilities. A lot of the smaller O scale locos (like the MP-15, SW-8, etc) can use larger HO scale decoders, which gives you even more choices.

Ken.


My blog: http://rices-rails.blogspot.com/

Country: USA | Posts: 1093 Go to Top of Page

UP6903

Posted - 2011 November 17 :  11:16:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit UP6903's Homepage  Reply with Quote
en, I don't know about that DCC as I now am looking at track at constant power like DCC but going RF so little is done through the rails
except power.
Phil



Country: USA | Posts: 1994 Go to Top of Page

cmu3rd

Posted - 2011 November 17 :  12:15:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I visited a local O scale retailer last night. He is also an online dealer. He said he doesn't sell 2-rail anymore because there is no demand for it. All of the layouts I have visited lately are all 3-rail. I am starting to have my doubts about 2-rail. How much of the hobby is focused on 2-rail? Is this a recent transition?
Thanks,
Chris



Country: | Posts: 11 Go to Top of Page

jgtrh62

Posted - 2011 November 17 :  3:16:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No demand for 2 rail, hmm... that's pretty interesting. Come to think of it... I think there's only 27 of us 2 railer's left out there.

Seriously Chris, ultimately you'll have to decide on what you'll be happy with and what will work in your environment. If you're okay with the way 3 rail looks then by all means go with it and enjoy, that's what it's all about anyway.

John



Country: USA | Posts: 426 Go to Top of Page

Rob de rebel

Posted - 2011 November 17 :  4:12:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I'd like to know who was the ()*&)&(^&$^$#@#@) genius whom made the O scale 2 rail 5 foot vice 4' 81/2 inches?. What the heck was that about???

Rob



Country: USA | Posts: 5025 Go to Top of Page

Ken the guy from AR

Posted - 2011 November 17 :  6:17:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is more of a demand for three rail than two rail. The nice thing is that if you local hobby shop sells three rail you are good. There are lots of three rail scale cars out there and all are easy to convert to two rail. I enjoy the two rail but have seen some banging three rail layout. I just cant get over the third rail and non-fixed pilots.

Ken the guy from AR

Country: USA | Posts: 155 Go to Top of Page
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