Thursday, July 22, 2004

Which Track do you use?

Originally uploaded by mrkuffler.

Ok, I am hoping to get some posts and discussion on this -

I just picked up some of this Gargraves Track that works with O Gauge and Standard Gauge. The quality is really very nice.

Here is my problem - I have a limited amount of space. I need wide curves. I want to run my standard gauge race cars and an oval of 2 7/8 gauge as well.

Bending this Gargraves Track makes me nervous. Bending any track makes me kind of nervous. Also, I can kiss switches goodbye with the Gargraves track, they don't exist (spoke to one of the guys at Gargraves).

I have a ton of O Gauge stuff I really like to run as well as standard gauge. So what do I do?

3 ovals of track - Standard, O and 2 7/8? Buy a bigger house? Use the Gargraves and get a nice big oval for O gauge and standard? Where am I going to put my brass mountain and my 116 station and 840 Powerhouse?

Which track works best for everyone else? What track plans have you seen that work well for places that aren't huge.

Most standard gauger's seem to have 3000 square foot basements that are finished. I just don't have that.

Any ideas?



Anonymous said...


I have been experimenting with making my own 5-rail track for O and standard gauges. So far I made a "proof of concept" straight section. I intend to make a full loop. I use standard gauge tubular track (from Lionel, MTH, or another old maker like Ives or AF), and O gauge tubular track. The rails are the same size (not length always) and use the same pins. What you do is take a piece of standard track, lay the OUTER rails from O track in between the 3 standard rails, and then fasten the O rails using O ties in between the standard ties. That's it.

You have to be careful on curves to use the same radii: so 42" diameter curves from O and standard are both needed.

The only waste is the center rails from the O. One can use the uncoupler track center rail in this setup. Hope this idea is useful.

I have another idea I haven't tried yet. It would be creating a switch for the 5-rail system that would split O from standard gauge trains. This would allow you to have O or standard sidings. It's complicated on paper, but it least it has no moving parts. You just have to be careful if you get wild and pull a standard train with an O engine, or vice versa!

Sean Lev-Tov

OldTrains said...


I happened to be leafing through an old TCA Quarterly and stumbled upon something that might be interesting to you. In Fall 1997 (V24#1) pages 27-29, a method for splitting o gauge and standard gauge trains (coming off 5 rail track) was offered. Essentially, a Lionel standard gauge switch is modified so that standard trains run straight through and o-gauge trains cut off to the side, It isn't a switch - it permanently sorts trains in this fashion. You would need to make 2 of these in order to bring the trains back together onto another section of 5-rail.

It seems to me that an easier way to achieve this would be to use Gargraves track and "splice" an o gauge curve into the 5-rail straight with many of the same rail cuts suggested in the article. At least I would give it a try, since I'd like to run both gauges, too.

On the issue of bending the 5-rail track, I remember that there was an article in one of the magazines on making jigs for curves of various radii. I'll look for it if you need it.