How do I tell the gauge of my trains?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Elisette, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Elisette

    Elisette New Member

    Hello all!

    My father had a train set that is now being passed onto my son. He's just a toddler and I want to use the trains as a decorative display in his room until he's old enough to really use them. I've been looking for shelving, but in order to buy some, I need to know what gauge our trains are! I *think* they are O, but I can't find a wheel gauge dimension online.

    The wheels are 1 1/8" apart.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Elisette: Are there two rails or three on the track? That's assuming that you have the track. Also is there any indication of the manufacturers name? Lionel, American Flyer etc. If Lionel, it could be what is called 027 gauge. This would be the three rail track. Another way to tell would be to turn the locomotive over and look for copper "wipers" on the centerline of the locomotive, between the wheels. If all else fails, take the locomotive to a local hobby shop and someone should be able to help you. Be aware that some train sets are quite valuable to collectors and you may want to get an appraisal.
  3. Elisette

    Elisette New Member

    Hey - thanks for the quick response! All of the trains (except one sad unmatched Lionel train) are made by Marx and the tracks have three rails.
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Marx used 027 track If memory serves me correctly. My first train set was a Marx by the way.They are a collectable too. If you have a power supply (Transformer) you might see if it runs.
  5. Elisette

    Elisette New Member

    Thanks again, it helps a lot! We do have boxes of track and accessories that I can't even attempt to go through right now, and possibly several power supplies. I'm pretty sure it will all still run since it was lightly stored.

    I'm guessing I have to bring the engines in somewhere to figure out their worth? I have a couple heavy weight trains and then some lightweight plastic (seem very cheap) trains. I don't know when my father got these, but they are all at least 25 years old, if not much older (in some cases).

    I'm just excited to have a place and way to display them (and no one is going to appreciate them as much as my son!)
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Marx was the least expensive of the 3 big American toy train firms. What I recall (from the 50s) was 2 lines -- small 4-wheel tin cars and larger plastic 8 wheelers.
    Track was compatible with Lionel O27, as was the power. Neither of the couplings was.
    You might have another brand mixed in there.
  7. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    sounds like an excellent collection!! marx went back into the 1930's. alot of the marx stuff is prewar (30's, early 40's) and the plastic trains came out after that. they are all awesome trains and they were built to last! i run my marx trains that are from the 30's daily, they have been running for ever without any problems and i expect them to last another 70! new lionels will break after 70 laps around your track :p

    if you really wanted to know what they were worth, just get some photos of them and post them here, and i can tell you what you could expect to get for them... that is if you could ever bring yourself to sell such cool trains!

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