Handlaying track for non cosmetics

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by sayulitas, May 11, 2005.

  1. sayulitas

    sayulitas New Member

    hello all
    so my question is this
    I want to handlay track but care little about the cosmetics. this track will not be used for a realism layout.
    more it will be for tranporting things around the house and just because we like the idea of trains literally going everywhere in our place.
    would it be cheaper to built track from companies like atlas
    or would it be better to fabricate our own track
    are there bars of metel
    could i just get a router and make a trench in a plank of wood and put flat bar in there?
    or would i just be better off buing "lots" of lionel track off ebay and is there a better market place to be looking in
    -James ;)
  2. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Handlaying track is time consuming but some people do it. The people who do are aiming for realism, not cheapness. The rail for doing so is available, but it's not as easy to find as track.

    I know of some people who buy Lionel O27 track, remove the three metal ties, and replace with their own wood ties. This isn't as cheap as using it as-is, but I suppose it might be less expensive than buying, say, Gargraves track ready-made.

    Ultimately you have to decide whether cost, realism, or ease of use is the most important thing to you and base your decision on that, buying the track that is the best compromise of the three. Lionel Fastrack or MTH Realtrax are certainly very easy to set up, but you might not like the looks and neither is cheap. O27 is cheap, moderately easy to set up, but a lot of people don't like its looks. If adding ties to it or replacing all the ties makes it suitable for your tastes, then go for it. Gargraves and Atlas are high-end track and a lot of people use it, but it's expensive and not as easy to set up as Fastrack or MTH Realtrax.

    Does that help?
  3. sayulitas

    sayulitas New Member


    so yeah i think that was very helpful
    thank you
    so yeah what is the difference between o and o27
    i have my eye on some ebay auctions and ill have some photos to post of my space soon
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Keep in mind that you'd have to set down hundreds of pieces of wood, carefully align the rail to whatever curvature you want, and then carefully spike the rail in over its entire length, using a pair of needle-nose pliers--vs. just setting down the track and snapping it together. As mentioned above, handlaying track is done by people who want more realism--in O scale, that typically means folks who do two-rail O rather than three-rail O gauge.
  5. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    James, it's the same track gauge, but different height and different curve radii. A straight section of O27 track is 7/16 inch high and about 8 3/4 inches long, while a straight section of O track is 11/16 inch high and 10 inches long. A circle of 8 pieces of curved standard O track measures 31 inches in diameter, while 8 pieces of O27 curves make a circle 27 inches in diameter, hence the name O27.

    O27 track is a lot cheaper and more common, and while it's still much taller than real-world track, it's closer to scale than O31. You can get wide curves in O27 profile. The layout I'm building now for myself uses O27-profile O42 track on the outer loop and O34 inside. So I use wide curves so I can take advantage of dirt-cheap O27 straights, and O42 curves in O27 profiles cost about the same as the standard 31-inch O gauge curves so an O27 layout still costs less money in the end even if you go with wider curves.

    And don't even get me started on the price of standard O gauge switches...

    If you post a couple of Ebay auctions you're looking at, I should be able to tell you pretty quickly whether they're O or O27. Private message me if you wish. I promise I won't bid against you--I've got more track than I need. Don't pay more than 25 cents apiece for O27 curves and 50 cents for straights (before shipping), and if it looks dirty or rusty, halve those prices. O27 track is common as dirt. You can clean track with a green kitchen scouring pad and some white vinegar. This takes the dirt right off and also does a good job on light rust (and can even take care of heavy rust). But it's much easier to buy clean track in the first place. I don't mind cleaning a couple of track sections but if I have to clean more than about 10 I start getting annoyed.

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