O-27 vrs "O"

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Byrone, Dec 30, 2001.

  1. Byrone

    Byrone New Member


    This Christmas I received a Lionel O-27 gauge Santa Fe Hudson setup from my wife. I also received an MTH "O" gauge caboose(Central Jersey Line)
    from my brother. The MTH caboose seems to be of a larger scale than the one that comes with the Lionel setup. Is there actually a size variance between the two "O's?" If so, how can I tell the difference when I go to purchase additional rolling stock? (I do not see any differential markings on the Lionel boxes)
    On another note, I have been currently limited to a 4'x8' setup. If anyone knows of some interesting layouts limited to 4x8, let me know.
  2. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Hi, Byrone!

    O-27 has something to do with the minimum curve radius on which the train will operate. The "27" stands for 27 inches, the minimum radius of the loop. I think that regular "O" locomotives aren't guaranteed to work in that small of an area. The scales between O and O-27 are the same (1:48 proportion).

    I think that the main things you need to look out for (as far as locomotives are concerned) is 2-rail vs. 3-rail. Also, On2 and On3 use a different gauge (distance between the rails). The "n" stands for "narrow gauge."

    Make a visit to www.atlasrr.com and download Right Track Software, which is a free layout design program. It comes with several O-scale track plans, a few of which fit into a 4 x 8 space...


    P.S. - I just tried Atlas' web site, and it appears to be down. Keep trying, though. It's worth a visit!
  3. Byrone

    Byrone New Member

    Thanks Rory!
  4. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Lionel trains use a different method for describing circles than the scale trains do. O-27 does not indicate a 27" radius, it indicates a 27" DIAMETER for a circle of track made with the 8 pieces. This is very sharp, and the O-27 equipment in your set is especially designed to go around these curves. For that reason, the equipment is made undersize from scale, as well as having modified wheel spec's. The reason your MTH car looks bigger, is that it is. It is closer to 1/4" scale, and may not go around the sharp curves too well. Lionel makes both kinds of equipment, "O-27", and "O Gauge". The Lionel catalogs I have seen, tell you which CURVE DIAMETER is required for each engine and car.
    There is a 54" curve available to fit your O-27 track, which looks better, but you need a board at least 56" wide, and 60" is best.
    Lionel O Gauge track is heavier in section than O-27, and is available in 42", 54", and 72" circles.
    Try to find a train store that is thoroughly familiar with Lionel, and will not sell you incompatible items for your railroad. Good Luck and regards...Mike [actually just an HO guy, but has seen alot of Lionel over the years].
  5. Thortrains

    Thortrains Member

    Back in the early Postwar era, O27 cars were smaller and used in bidget-priced sets. Most were scaled close to 1/64, altho0ugh they were widenend for the O gauge track. Today, different manufacturers have their own definitions of O27. It can be anything fro ma 1/64 cvar running on O to any car that can handle 27" diameter curves.

    I have morei nfo o nthe subject on my website in the O/O27 section
  6. betsy662

    betsy662 New Member

    Yeah I think we need to clear that up, not all O gauge is O scale, I'm a scale 2 rail operator, so all my eqipment is proportioned at 1/48 scale, much of the 3 rail equipment today is also in scale, much of that being made by Atlas O, Weaver, Intermountain and even Lionel and MTH, the smaller O27 is just like Thor pointed out, it is usually a little smaller then the standard O scale, always 3 rail, and will take 27" diameter curves, another thing to look at, in 3 rail, the curves are always measured in diameter, in 2 rail, it is always radius.............:cool: :cool:
  7. Thortrains

    Thortrains Member

    O gauge isn't alone in using diameter. Large Scale / #1 Gauge / G tends to use diameter, also. S, HO, TT, N and Z use radius.
  8. betsy662

    betsy662 New Member

    Hi Thor,
    That could very well be, I haven't messed with G scale too much, I've admired it, but as it is, I don't have any room for my O scale, I would have a diffacult time explaining to my significant other why I would be going bigger...................:cool:

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