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

    It is looking more and more like I'll have to buy gargraves flex track.

    That leaves one question. How much can I bend G gauge gragraves flex track?

    EDIT: I did a search and found this thread:

    I don't know how much I like Gargraves at this point. Sounds pretty junky and I want something that will last (even if it is indoors only).

    I can buy direct from gargraves:
    GarGraves Trackage

    I have to say, $7 for 3 feet of flex track sounds good. 150 feet would cost about $150! NOT BAD!!!

    My local hobby shop carries gar graves, so I guess I'll just go and start talking to the people there.
  2. Geno

    Geno Member

    Gargraves is hollow, but how can you compare it to solid rail track? I wouldn't use it on a modular layout that is subject to constant tear-down and build up, where the track would end up getting damaged due to modules being stacked on top of each other and the framework hitting the track.

    I can assure you it is very durable even though it's tubular- a company founded in 1940 doesn't stay around long if its' product isn't good. AGHR (Angel's Gate Hi-Railers), a 3-rail club I belong to down here in L.A. has a 20' x 100' layout- much of the trackwork was laid down in 1995, all of that was Gargraves. The layout sees alot more use than a home layout, and the GG track has held up very well over the 13 years. Newer sections have been reworked with Atlas 3-rail, but much of it is still original Gargraves.

    If you prefer solid rail, be prepared to pay for it.

  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    No1 and G are the same's just a reference to the scale. No1 gauge is 1:32...G is 1:22.5. Meter gauge track in 1:22.5 is the same gauge as standard gauge in HO & On30, Nn3 & Z, or true OO & On3.
  4. Geno

    Geno Member

    Makes me glad I know what trains I'm into- O gauge 3-rail scale, with some 2-rail cars thrown in for fun. I guess you could still have fun in G Gauge if you stuck to one or two manufacturers, and could be sure what you're buying is all the same size.

  5. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    If it weren't for the around the room setup, I probably wouldn't do G gauge. If it is cost prohibitive, I will have to do something else with O gauge. Probably something that is waste high if I go O gauge but I could do a nice run along 1 or 2 of the walls. So, it would be a 40-80 foot run. It wil require alot more thought though.
  6. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    If I do go with gargraves, should I tap in with a power bus? If so, how often? Every 10 feet?

    Since you have experience with it, is the traction you get with gargraves as good as solid rail track which would have a flat surface for traction as opposed to round?

    Besides power to the rails, will I need any other track connections?

    Does gargraves track come with connectors to join the track together?
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    It's actually kind of funny, but...

    "O", "HO", and "N" all have their own issues as well! The track in 1:48 O scale is actually 5' gauge track. Not to mention scale vs. high rail wheels...and the obsolete third rail on the side scale. There used to be another scale that operated on O scale track...but larger so that the track was correct. Then there are also different O scales for the NA, UK & Europe...and the same holds for N scale. HO gets confusing as well. IHC's 4-4-0s (as well as a number of other models) are actually OO scale (1:76) but work on HO track...much like British OO trains...which scales to 4'1" gauge track. While there are other american OO trains that run on On3 track which is correct...and the British have their own version which is EM and uses OO trains on On3 track as well. G/F/No1 are actually the only ones which are completely compatible with everything that operates on their track.

    Most people just aren't aware of the issues with the smaller scales. Here's an interesting subset of O scale...the fine scalers... Proto48 Modeler There stuff is not compatible with any of the other O scale/O gauge modelers. Despite that, there stuff looks far better than anyone elses just takes extra work and REALLY wide curves :mrgreen:
  8. Geno

    Geno Member

    You're overthinking the whole process- order your track, trains, and transformer ans set up a small oval to get a feel for it. After you do that, and you're ready to go big, then get your wire, lumber, and GG track and start building your overhead line. BTW, do you have any carpentry experience (you made no mention of that)? If not, find someone who does and get help. The same would go for the wiring- try to find a local G club, or ask at the LHS.

    nkp-I know about Proto48- that group is a little too tightly-wound for me, if you know what I mean. And as for all of the other 'narrow' gauges in O scale, as long as people are happy doing their own thing, more power to them. I may run the 5' O scale, but I too have issues with 'tight' curves- I'm planning a new layout in my garage with 55" and 60" radius curves (better than 36" and 40.5" curves popular in 3-rail).

  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    We all have our own concept of what is an acceptable degree of selective compression. I'm definitely willing to sacrifice the look of my trains on the curves for the sake of having the cars the right length. I'm also more than happy to skimp on mainline length to have more scenery. I built my own brake parts, but yet I chose not to include the nut/bolt detail on the brake cylinders/reservoirs...for me it is the point of diminishing return. To each their own!

    I look forward to seeing updates on the large scale boathouse layout!
  10. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    As for carpentry skills, I ripped my kitchen down to the studs and rebuilt it, including the installation of the cabinets and all trim. I have some skill :) I can plumb and do electrical also :) I haven't sat down with an exact-O knife to do model work in over 10 years though.

    I guess what is coming down to is a couple of things. I don't want to buy some of the track and some trains, then decide that G gauge is a mistake. And visa-versa with O gauge. I am pretty much decided on G gauge though, but the track costs are scary. I think I might be able to do track for under $500 in G gauge. The thing is, for less than $500, I could do 2 O gauge runs around the boathouse. But, I view G gauge as less likely to derail.

    I guess I am also waiting a bit. My wife said I can not spend a dime till her day care business starts which is probably a few weeks from now. She wants the extra cash flow prior to my "project" starting. Not to mention, that "tax relief" thing that is coming in May will be well over $1000 in my pocket. i think it is my duty to stimulate the economy with it :)

    Regardless, I do want to start the woodworking process soon. Make some nice wall brackets out of oak. But I need to do that, then stai nthe oak and probably do a coat of polyurethane. So, I have to decide on a layout plan (I'll explain this later, but it's not a simple square room. I have some "issues" to deal with, explained in the following paragraphs:

    --- G gauge issues ----
    The big one is how to deal with a 4"-6" elevation change when I only have about 8 feet of length. That is an inch or more every 2 feet. In short, I have to go up and over a section of the room where the doors are. Some solutions to make the transition more gradual will require father-in-law approval. I think the solutions might look wierd and so will he.

    --- O gauge issues ----
    Now, those G gauge issues above still exist, but I probably only have a 3" elevation change to deal with since the G gauge trains are so much taller.

    --- other things
    If I go with O gauge, I can probably do 2 trains. With G gauge, I'll only be able to do one. But if I do one, I might want to plan for the future.

    ---- I guess the point of this is ....
    I want to start the woodwork soon. Because of this, I need to finalize my plans soon. I might grab some things soon (like track), but for the most part all the track track, trains, transformers, etc will be purchased later.

    ---- and yes ...
    ... I am starting to overthink things. I did some work on a drawing to show the rooms dimensions. Why I never took pictures is beyond me. I'm not to worried about wiring. I don't plan on using any digital controls.
  11. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    why not both O and G scale around the room? run G next to the wall on the outside loop, then O on the inside loop.
  12. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    Yet another option!!!! I have lots to think about. luckily, I have some time to figure it out.

    I could also go O gauge on a track under a G gauge loop. I should add that the walls are 10 feet high. If I did this, I could do the G gauge first, but I'd know in advance that I should plan for the later addition when making all the wood platform parts. Not to mention I have a 11 foot long bridge to make. The bridge alone will require that I determine what gauge(s) I am running and how many.

    Next time I am at the boathouse, I'll snap some pictures. I'll toss up the drawing of the room layout tomorrow.
  13. Geno

    Geno Member

    Alot of people do run both scales, put the G up high because it's bigger and the O at eye level- I've seen that set up more than once.

  14. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    The plan

    I started planning. I'm really starting to think about running two O gauge tracks around. The major reason is that I need to go 4-5" (EDIT: I measured my Lionel and with track, it is almost exactly 4" high) up hill over a span of 7'-10' if I go O gauge. If I go G gauge, I'll probably have less length than 7'-10', due to a larger radius, and I probably will need to go up hill about 7" (EDIT: I just researched this and 7" is about right) or so due to the larger scale.

    It's even getting to the point that I am realizing that O gauge will resolve alot of the issues I have because of the smaller scale. One of the two tracks will be a short logging train. The other will be a much longer freight train that will grow in length over the years.

    The other thing about O scale is the cost of track. I'll need twice as much track, but it will probably cost half as much as it would for G gauge track.

    There are two attachments below.

    The first shows the room layout. Most importantly, I put in two cross sections that show why I need to have the grades. I have to go up and over the entry way, which is open to the room. I could suspend the track from the ceiling, but I want to keep things mounted on the walls since there are no moldings. The track and woodwork I am planning will act as a sort of crown molding.

    There are two ideas shown in the corners (labeled in 1 and 2). 1 probably will be the way to go, since it will allow for a less steep grade. It will also allow me to make it so that the grade only exists on a straight away. If I go with option 2, I'd probably have to cehat a bit to help reduce the grade.

    I saw some 2-8-8-2s running this weekend. I decided I do not like them that much. I think I was attracted to the idea of a 2-8-8-2.

    Attached Files:

  15. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i think you should scrap the around the room idea all together, and have a layout along one wall or 2 walls.

    i think this just because i had a around the room set up and i was board with it in 2 weeks, all the train did was go around the room,,, that got old fast.
  16. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    Due to windows, games (its a game room), doors etc, I could probably get a 4x8 layout in there at best. If I did that, I'd probably go HO scale. I've thought about trying to take over 1 wall, but it isn't realistic. If I did take over 1 wall, I could use maybe 30' of it, leaving some room for an existing fooseball table. It would allow for a nice 20' long run though. I could probably do this in HO and eventually make it well decorated. Seeing how I am not there often, I don't want this to turn into a 5 year project. I want to get it mostly done in 1 week. There really is only one unused corner right now and eventually, there are plans for a pool table. The tihng is, the sitting area would be right where the train would go. so it, would be nice for people to observe that way.

    Doing this would probably save me some money. And it would probably be alot more fun. I'd probably convince myself to go DCC o something though ... so it might end up costing more.
  17. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    I thought about this more today. I am pretty much convinced that I will do around hte room train. I am still debating G vs O gauge though. I think the issues with grade are great enough that I might be forced into O gauge. The thing is, I came up with a great plan for doing 2 individual tracks. Now the question is, should I plan for a third track upgrade a few years down the road?

    I have to keep in mind that this will double as a crown molding as the room currently has no crown. I took a look at red oak today and I think it will all be made out of that. I'l probably do brackets about every 3 feet and each will hold 2 tracks.
  18. kfh227

    kfh227 Member

    Nickel track from LGB can be had for about $5/foot. Not bad. Second best price to gargraves.

    I have a good question. When it comes to track, what is best in terms of maintenance. I suppose I want the properties of stainless steel since it will be nice and conductive even with some rust. I think brass is out since it can have connectivity issues at the wheel/rail connection. What about nickel though?

    I think I am going to go G gauge. I !finally! resolved the issues with how to get the grade I need. So simple, I feel stupid for taking this long to realize it. A trip to home depot and the wood aisle made it easy to figure out.

    So, I think I am doing two laps of G gauge around the room. I'm betting that I can easily get under a 2 degree grade.

    I'm getting giddy. All I have to do is gain final approval from my father in law. The fun part will be fabricating everything here and then transporting it to a location 5 hours away. Thank god for my father in laws ladder rack. I plan on getting 10' or 12' sections of wood to limit the number of seams.
  19. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I suspect it is nickel silver.

    Steel rail gives the best adhesion, but has terrible conductivity properties. Steel on steel reminds me of older lionel engines sparking all over the track.
    Brass has excellent conductivity, but corrodes easily,
    Nickel silver is the middle ground for both adhesion and conductivity...and is the lowest maintenance. This is the standard rail type for Z, N, HO, and O (2-rail).

    Commonly, locomotive tires are made of either steel or nickel silver. I prefer nickel silver for its conductivity.

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