Beginner Questions About 0 & 027 Track

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by DJTrains, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. DJTrains

    DJTrains New Member

    Im just getting back into Lionel trains after selling my old layout back in 1962 (I was 14.


    1. Can I mix 0 and 027 track together when running a 027 Hudson train?

    2. Is there an advantage in the old 50's track stamped Lionel?

    Thanks much.
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi DJ and welcome to the Gauge and Zealot.

    Lionel O and O27 are similar and the same trains will run on them, but you can't plug one into the other. At least not easily. There never has been a straightforward way to connect them. There is a connector between Fastrack and O (but not O27). O27 was regarded by Lionel as a starter or cheaper track although they made the same variety of pieces. They hoped you would upgrade to O.
    (there is a restriction on trains because some require wider curves.)

    Not sure about the second question. Do you mean old track vs new track, or the metal track against Fastrack? The metal track can be cut into special-length sections more easily than the plastic track. I think the metal track is pretty much the same over the years; older track may have developed problems but nothing that can't be cured unless it's deformed.
  3. DJTrains

    DJTrains New Member

    Thanks David,

    I've won the bids of several lots of old metal Lionel track so I'll just have to wait and see what it all ends up being (0 or 027).

    My question about the old track had to do with the desire many seem to have for track stamped Lionel. I noticed that on ebay auctions stating the track is stamped usually go the highest on bids.
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Actually, you can mate O and O27 track, but it's not fun. Use the O track pins and gently and slightly enlarge the tube in the O27 end. I use an awl for enlarging the hole. Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to reuse the O27 track that has been enlarged as anything but a transition piece. the good news is O27 track is the cheapest.

    Then, you have to deal with the height mismatch. I like to use pieces of 1/4" ply or masonite to shim up the O27 track. On spurs, I often use one length of O27 track to get it down to normal O27 height, putting the rest of the spur at a lower level.

    I commonly use O27 on spurs, with the O and O switches on the main line.

    Hope this helps.
  5. DJTrains

    DJTrains New Member

    Thanks Fred but what's a "spur?"

    I need to locate a site that explains all this model railroad lingo. I'm still calling those wheels on the rear end of my LOCO those wheels on the rear end of my LOCO :confused:
  6. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    A spur is a dead-end track that come off the main track, or another spur....Also called a "siding".
    The small wheels at the front of a steam loco are generally called "pilot" truck/wheels...The rear wheels are called "trailing" truck/wheels.
    Hope this helps you get a handle on the lingo....
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I assume that "stamped Lionel" means it's genuine Lionel track. Other makes are less in demand (At least in the USA). There's probably a lot of Marx track out there; it sold for less than Lionel (a lot less for switches) and usually did as good a job.
  8. k- line made the same o-27 tube track as well before lionel took k-line over.

    marx, lionel , and k-line 0-27 tube track will all work together.
  9. DJTrains

    DJTrains New Member

    Thanks for the lingo help and all comments about the tracks.

    I'm really amazed at the deals on ebay for high quality trains. I checked out the new trains from Lionel and the prices blew me away!

    Buying used is the way for me to go.
  10. Geno

    Geno Member

    I used to use both Lionel and K-Line 027 -profile track before I went to scale track for many reasons, but used the 054 and 072 curves and 042 K-Line low profile switches since I run scale 3-rail engines and rolling stock. Despite its' toy train appearance there is still a very simple and traditional look to it, and it's fairly cheap to pick up new or used.

    Ebay can still be a good place to buy both new and used trains, but their attempt to make more profit by forcing some sellers and buyers to use Paypal (their paysite) has turned away many buyers and sellers. The OGR Forum's Buy-sell section is also a good place to shop- just remember anytime you buy trains online or outside of a brick-and- mortar hobby shop it's buyer beware.

  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Fun observation

    In O gauge, the prestige is to move up to the larger track. In Scale modelling the prestige is to move to smaller and smaller rail.
  12. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    It's a buyer's market on eBay right now. Ebay's desire to turn into Amazon is destroying the collectibles market there (the Amazon model doesn't work well for that), which is lowering prices. That's great for buyers, but not so great for sellers.

    The trend in the hobby right now is leaning towards realism at all costs, which is driving down the cost of older and less-realistic trains, while increasing the cost of the new ones (the economies in China and Korea and the cost of shipping new product from there are also affecting prices). But some people just like running a train around the track. If you fall into that category, that's all good news for you.

    As for track, several companies other than Lionel have made track in both O27 and O gauge (also called O31) profiles over the past century. The advantage to having it stamped Lionel is purely cosmetic. I have Lionel, K-Line, and Marx track on my layout. While Marx admittedly cut some corners in the design of its track to keep costs down, as long as the track is clean, there's no discernible difference in any of it.

    When you get your track, be sure to clean the surface of it with a cloth and some denatured alcohol (buy a can at a hardware store; it's in the same section as paint thinner). Even track that looks clean can have dirt on it that affects how well the trains run. Another trick I learned recently is to buy a bottle of a product called Rail-Zip. Any hobby shop that carries model trains or slot cars probably has it. After you assemble your track, put one small drop of Rail-Zip on the pins where the track pieces join and let it sit for about 24 hours. Don't bother putting any on the rails itself like the instructions say--too much of it does more harm than good, and whether a little of it helps is a matter of heated debate. The Rail-Zip on the pins improves electrical conductivity and protects the pins from corrosion.
  13. lumberjaque

    lumberjaque New Member

    Differences in 0 & 027 Track

    The biggest difference between O-27 and O is the size of the connecting pins. O-27 pins will go into O gauge track but not vice-versa. The fit is loose. I used flat toothpicks to make up the difference. All others can be adjusted.

    I know there were adapter pins for this purpose. One side was 0.11 diameter for O and the other was 0.096 for the O-27 track. The two side were offset so when installed properly the tops of the rails were in alignment.

    I had both in my youth 1953. The O-27 track ties were then flat squares, like shoe box lids and black. A piece of current O-27 has brown ties and the long edge of the tie has a curl like the O-track.

    Lionel does make a Fastrack adapter section, but it's pins are .11 for the O-gauge track.

    I have some Fastrack, but have switched to Atlas 21st Century track. It has solid T-rail with a black center rail. It is a little more difficult to assemble than O-27, O, or Fastrack. It has no roadbed, but does have prototypical tie shape and spacing.

    I have never had a trainset. My first electric train came set up on a 4x8 table with an O oval and an O-27 oval. the ovals were connected by a cross over with with electric switches but the two yard switches and the two spur tracks were manual. I had six switches total.

    At one time O-27 was the standard for trainsets. Now it is O-36. In some old literature O-27 was touted to fit on a 30" wide door which in turn could fit under a twin bed or placed in a closet.

    Today O-36 seems to be the norm. Most likely because manufacturers like K-line, MTH, Williams etc are producing near scale sized equipment. Older Lionel was closer to S-scale than true 1/4". The longer equipment needs the larger curves. I have a Lionel 40-foot box car that is just 8" long and 2" wide. My K-line version of the same car is 10.5" long and 2.5" wide.

    I have four MTH standard pasenger cars that are each 12" long. Lionel's cars are shorter. The MTH cars are rated for O-27, but operate better on O-36, and look better on O-54.

    I have an old Walthers O-scale executive car kit from the sixties which will make a car a whopping 22" long.


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