around the room (up high) setup. O vs G scale discussion

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by kfh227, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    I have been granted permission to do an around the room setup in a boathouse. So, the train will be about 8'-10' in the air. The total track distance is about 150'. So, now the debate is O scale or G scale.

    I want to review several topics.

    ---- NOISE
    I'm mostly concerned with how loud the setup is. I want to minimize noise, even though I want the total length of the train to be about 20'. Does O scale or G scale have an advantage in this category?

    ---- TRACK COSTS
    From what I've observed, G scale track is much more expensive than O scale track. I'm estimating my track costs for 150' of track to be i nteh $250 ball park. With G Scale I'm estiamting $500+

    I find the G scale trains to be less costly, especially when I can get what I truly want for $999 (A 2-8-8-2):
    2-8-8-2 Mallet Steam Locomotive
    The engines from Lionel I like start at $700, but I really want a 2-8-2 or larger. a 2-8-8-2 is preferred but the costs are excessive.

    ---- CAR COSTS
    This could be the spoiler. I don't know what to expect for car costs for G scale. COuld someone give me a range (just for simple box cars and the like). Box cars from Lionel can be had for $30-$40 or so.

    The trick with cars is that I want 20' (maybe 30') of cars. Since G scale is obviously larger, I'd require fewer cars so I might actually spend alot less here.

    So, what should I expect for car costs?

    The thing I have noticed is that Lionel is available everywhere. G scale is not as available.

    In particular, I want flashing railroad crossings for some areas and I know Lionel makes these among other nice little track side treats.

    The other thing I kinda want is some street lighting.

    ---- GRADE
    I took a look. With O scale, I'm probably looking at a 2-3 degree grade. Doable I suppose, but I might have to shorten my track with O scale.

    So, lets keep this simple. Does either O or G scale have an advantage in terms of pulling power up grades?

    I'm being pulled away for a game of scrabble. I will try to check comments later on. I might have missed some talking points.
  2. I'll kick a little info in here . Either your going to have to do some type of sound defeeting to get it quiet. now which is quieter I'm not sure as i've heard some real quiet O gauge now if you go O gauge don't be afraid to check out all the manurfactures thats out there, heres a list of the most know ones Lionel, MTH (Mikes Train House) Atlas, Williams by Bachmann, weaver, K-line by lionel, theres more but most of them get real expensive.

    Cars same thing also don't forget to check Ebay as you can get some good deals there also there a number of companys (hobby) that can give you a fair discount over sugested retail if you check them out and some offer both. Charles Ro Supply Company, America's Largest Train Store I believe Trainworld - 718-436-7072 is O or smaller only. but there is others out there for G Bachmann is one but not sure about a 2-8-2 or larger as acually Bachmann does mainly narrow gauge in G or as they call it large scale.

    O gauge you need to watch when buying is it scale , semi scale or is it O-27 some of the other can explain this part better but basicly your talking anywhere from 1:43 scale to 1:60 scale and it does make a difference to a lot.
  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Actually, I'm surprised that you find Lionel to be more readily available. My local hobby shops either carry HO & N only, or HO, N, O, and G.

    You actually can get the G scale cars just as cheap as O. You can get passenger cars from Bachmann for $40 and boxcars for $30. Bachmann's track would cost you around $450 for 150 feet. You can get Aristo craft's 2-8-8-2 for more along the lines of $500.

    As to pulling power, I think my little 0-4-0 and my 4-wheel diesel could handle a 20' long train on a 2% grade...and from what I've read about aristo craft's 2-8-2 and 2-8-8-2, I'd suspect that it could pull far more than you're looking at.

    Generally speaking, going larger is going to lead to better trains. The problem is that it also results in greater real estate requirements than smaller scales. G scale is intended for gardens, christmas trees, and around the room layouts. 3-rail is best when used in spaghetti with zillions of accessories. 2-rail O-scale is for a complete model railroad...but really is more suited as a club size. Unless you really want Lionel, I definitely get G scale.
  4. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    I think that G scale does make the most sense. I think I'll end up going that route, especially knowing that I can find a 2-8-8-2 Aristocraft for $500 or so.

    There are also some responses in the G scale thread that were appreciated.

    As for sound deadening, any thoughts? My only thought is to use a foam or cork road bed to absorb some of the vibrations.

    It's also looking like that G scale would actually save me some money.
  5. jesso

    jesso Member

    One thing that I have noticed about O Scale is that all the O layouts that I have ever seen the trains are running fairly fast and they make a LOT of noise doing it. I have heard some O Scaler's say that their engines have three speeds: off, fast, faster. This does not apply to the proto48 layout that one of our club members does, but he rebuilds everything to run the way he wants. I have seen G scale stuff running at a crawl, so the slow speeds will definately quiet things down. to be honest I have never seem anyone running their G trains at the speeds I have seen O scale running at.
  6. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Sound is relative to the beholder. There are enough ways to certainly try and lower the sound level of your trains. One easy way is to run them SLOW. Probably the best way is to add some type of a foam board between 1/2 and a 1 inch below your track. Most people suggest not screwing your track down through the foam into the wood.

    Other people have had success at using some type of a cork material below the tracks or even a rubber material. I personally used Anderson ceiling tiles. The option are endless but I think you have a understanding that placing the track directly on top of the wood is bad.

    G scale or 0 scale is just a matter of taste. The height again is a matter of taste but I fail to see the value of putting highly detailed expense trains at a height that you can not appreciate them. If that is what your going for then I would consider some of those track systems that are nothing more than metal hangers for the track system. This permits full viewing of the train since there is no wood base to block the view. However again it is your personal choice when it comes to height.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about pulling power with a good engine. I can't think of any except the single motor engines that would give you any problems with a small 20 car consist. Then again you can offset any problems with some weight or clean traction tires. (Note curve size can affect longer consists.)

    There are many companies that make flashing crossing signals and other types of lighting. Each are nice so don't limit yourself to one mfg.
  7. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    :mrgreen::mrgreen: You can run 0 scale trains where they crawl so slow you don't think they are moving. All of the newer modern trains do this real well because of there electronics. However even my 50 year old post war can back it down after a good clean and lube job.

    Some people have very dirty trains thus they need to run at a higher speed. Others have track issues combined with poor power to certain sections of the track.
  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Renovo's hit the nail on the head (IMO). Put an inch of foam (insulation board) under the track. Attach the the track to the foam and the foam to the support...if you attach them to each other, it won't be sound deadening.

    My on3 layout is handlaid track on top of 1/2" with cork & 3/4" foam (without cork). It is quite quiet...aside from the noisy open frame motor of my South Park mogul (I'll be replacing that with a can motor and some new gears from NWSL).

    Btw, the aristo craft 2-8-8-2 requires at least 8' diameter curves (4' radius)..and they recommend 10' diameter. If I recall correctly, Bachmann's 4-4-0 required an 6' diameter...but there are mod kits to reduce it to a 4' diameter. Aristocraft's pacific requires a 6.5' diameter curve (and wow! They look great with a string of heavyweight passenger cars)
  9. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    Wow, more awesome responses.

    I think all my questions have been answered. I do hope to get pictures up once everything is done.

    The diameter in the corner isn't much of an issue. I think a 5' radius will look fine.

    The inch of sound insulation might be a bit much. I was thinking 1/2" or so. This is something I'll have to figure out on my own though.

    What kind of height clearance does G scale require?

    Also, brand mixing ... Do the various brands all use hte same type of couplers? And in terms of appearance, do the brands mix well?

    The one thing I do want is a car that has a spotlight on it. I haven't found one yet in G scale. Can anyone give me guidance on this matter?
  10. ASH630

    ASH630 New Member

    I model O scale 2 rail, and I have one of those Babbitt 4-4-0s that runs very quiet and pulls a good amount. Like people have said the slower trains make less noise, although I don't recall seeing 3 rail going slow. Another advantage to the foam is you can usually get some good foam pretty cheap. I used the blue builders foam for an HO layout and just used hot glue for the flex-track. I would now recommend using the pre-formed track if you lay on top of foam. Also if you use the foam you might be able to build the entire thing out of foam, although I would have some sort of wood on the very bottom just to be safe. The foam is very strong though especially when you get up into the 1"+ thickness.
  11. Geno

    Geno Member

    If you're worried about track noise suppression, go to Home Depot and get some 1/2" Sound Board- it's about $9/ 4 x 8 sheet and it does the job. I have this material on top of my layout over 1/2" OSB, and I don't get any of the 'drum effect' noise common with 027 tubular track laid directly on plywood.

    You could even use basic 1 x 5 's for your subroadbed, put a layer of the 1/2" soundboard over it, and leave a 1/2" thick x 3/4" wide space at the edge for fascia. Glue or tack a strip of wood on it to hide the sound board, mount your shelf where you want, and you're good to go.

  12. kfh227

    kfh227 Member


    By soundboard, are you referring to the drywall-like product that is used to absorb sound so sound doesn't go to surrounding rooms? If so, i think that is a pretty darned good idea for a roadbed.

    Designing the supports system and roadbed is going to be half the fun :) Something quiet and attractive is the goal.

  13. Geno

    Geno Member

    Soundboard is made from some type of cellulose fiber(couldn't tell you to be sure) and it's tan to brownish in color- it is designed for sound absorbtion between rooms. But it's definitely not Gypsum-based. It is however, sold at the Depot, so it's an approved building material. It cuts with either a knife(cleaner) or saw (messy), and you need to wear a mask when doing it.

  14. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    USE ANDERSON CEILING TILES, there is nothing better if your looking for availability, cheapness and easy to use. It is the only know material to tame Fast Track in addition.:thumb:
  15. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Another added tip is that when stacked it will make one of the most realistic mountain cuts you could possibly model.
  16. dbaker48

    dbaker48 Member

    One more vote for soundboard, I have it on my table top O Scale layout, and on the G scale running around the top of the room. Works great, inexpensive, little messy to work with but worth it! Foam is to stiff, and can have a tendancy to transmit sound or even amplify it. IMO

  17. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    I am looking all over for "cheap" G gauge track.

    It seems like Bachman has almost no selection.

    When looking at Aristorcaft brand track, I get numbers along the lines of $5-$8/foot. (UPDATE: Wow, this track is expensive .... not buying this stuff. Bachman is much cheaper)

    npk174 said I can do 150 feet of Bachman track for $450. The thing is, I can not find the track sections want. I'm looking for 8-10' diameter curves and straight track. Whenever I look at Bachman offerings, I only find curved or straight track. The thing is, what is the diameter of Bachman curved track? Am I missing something or is there more than one sized curve track from Bachman?

    Looking at the costs of track alone has me rethinking things if the best I can do is $5/foot.

    So, where can I get O scale track for $3/foot?
  18. Geno

    Geno Member

    Your best deal in O gauge will be Gargraves track- a 3' section of stainless track w/ the phantom (darkened) center rail is about $5.75/ ea. The regular tinplated phantom track is $4.75/ ea, but I'd get the stainless if you're setting up your track in a high moisture environment.

  19. kfh227

    kfh227 Member


    Thank again.

    I went to gargraves web site:
    GarGraves Trackage

    Seems to have what I need. That is, a diameter equal to or greater than 96" and the price is right!

    I have a question. Where can I buy it online? There is a local brick and mortar store that sells it, but I doubt they carry all diameters. charlesro doesn't even carry it.

    Oh, the strange thing. Gargraves sells the track at their web site, but they don't list G scale as for sale? AM I missing something?
    What category do I want:
    GarGraves Trackage - prices
  20. Geno

    Geno Member

    Justrains lists No.1 size track (they call it G gauge, but you'll have to confirm the width between the rails first). They list the straight sections but not the curved (probably have to order those).



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