O Scale 2 Rail beginnings


After being in HO and N scale model railroad for nearly 40 years (off and on of course since I was 5) I decided to go a different route. Part of this decision was based on my worsening eye sight.  The other part was that I am not steady with the fingers any more and it was becoming extremely difficult in attaching parts and details to N scale and HO scale equipment. 

So, I sold off, pretty much, all of my HO scale equipment and used the money to start purchasing O Scale 2 rail equipment.  So far I am off to a decent start, I have purchased 2 Atlas O GP35's in Milwaukee Road paint, one is powered and the other is non-powered.  I have other engines in mind that I would like to purchase down the road but one has to be deliberate in their selection when you are looking at $400 for a powered engine.

Being a Milwaukee Road fan I went nuts in buying Atlas O 4427 covered hoppers. I was able to get a bunch from Petersen's Supply that were in the Yellow paint scheme as these were produced for Petersen's by Atlas O.  I also got a few Lionel 4427's in the Yellow paint as well but these obviously need to be converted, which I am working on now.  The rest of the 4427's are a mix of Milwaukee Road grey and other railroads.  Being that I want to model the 70's most of the other equipment is primarily 50 ft x post box cars with a smattering of older cars.  

I have some Atlas O flex track and two turnouts to play with.  I have completed a 2 ft by 12 ft module section and the framework for another 7 ft done.  I just need to add the plywood top along with the the foam based carpet pad and I will have 19 ft of space to do some work with.  I am including a couple of pics.  Obviously I still have a back drop to work on as well as the fascia but at least now I have something to do this winter. 

What I have in place will be the lower level and my plan is to put in a small yard and some industrial trackage.  It is something to do some switching with as well as work on wiring and scenery.  There was a wooden pool rack attached to the wall which is why there is that brownish paint in the middle of all of the white paint. 

You may notice a few cars are upside down and missing their trucks.  I am replacing all of the Atlas O scale trucks with Lionel trucks but I am also replacing all of the Lionel wheelsets with NWSL wheelsets.  The reason for the replacement is that the Atlas O trucks are too wide.  I realize that I am basically spending about $32-$35 for each car's upgrade but I have been able to sell the Atlas O trucks pretty easily to help cover some of the upgrade cost. 

I guess that is it for now.  I will discuss more about what I want to model next time.  I would be more than happy to answer any questions about what I have done so far and I eagerly look for any input as well.


Michael Osweiler






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jarhead's picture

Atlas Trucks


Good choice.  The Atlas trucks that you are replacing do they have metal wheels ? I am interested if they are.



Nick Biangel 

Skipping S

I certainly respect your decision and don't want to disparrage it. I just feel that too many folks jump from the smaller scales to a larger scale due to diminished eyesight (been there!) and fail to consider S scale. S gives you a larger scale to work with in a footprint only 136% that of HO.



Roy Hoffman

www.royhoffman.com/pwrr The S/Sn3 Scale Penn Western Railroad -

jarhead's picture

Skipping S


You have a very valid point ! But I believe most people do that because when it comes to scale we are always thinking of the one that are most in demand, N, HO then they jump to O scale or even G . Never even think about S. It happen to me. But in my case I went to On30. Although I have a lot of equipment in O scale. But for some reason S scale is somewhere out there and it is a very nice size to model.

I went to a larger scale back in 2000, but now for some odd reason I am back in  HO although I still run my On30 and O scale.



Nick Biangel 

The "S"ecret "S"cale

I guess it depends on what you want for equipment. S has lots of stuff available, but getting the word out about it is tough. There are still a lot of perceptions to fight like "It's all American Flyer", "You have the scratchbuild everything", and "There's not much available". I've had no trouble filling a basement up with it.

I may start up a blog and offer to share information on S with anyone considering a new scale.

BTW, thanks for your comment on my layout,



Roy Hoffman

www.royhoffman.com/pwrr The S/Sn3 Scale Penn Western Railroad -

skiloff's picture

My thoughts on S Scale

I'm firmly entrenched in N scale because I like the long trains and more railroad in a smaller space.  And I have (some more) HO equipment still and love the availability of HO stuff. 

However, in 15-25 years, I expect the N scale stuff will be passed on to my children (hopefully they are interested) and I'd move to a larger scale.  HO is the obvious choice, given the stuff I already have and the availability of it, but S has been something I've thought to be intriguing.  First, at 1:64, its very easy to calculate in my head measurements and what the scale footage and things are (I know, it doesn't seem any easier than O at 1:48, but I think it is), but beyond that, there are a tonne of scale models (not designed necessarily for trains) that are in 1:64 scale that you could utilize in your layout.  Cars, planes, ships, you name it.  Even in HO, you are still fairly limited in the number of vehicles you can get in 1:87.  And it still gives you more layout in a given space than O or G.  But still, its about the trains, and if the time comes when I look at S scale there isn't the type of trains I want, I'll probably stick to HO. 


HO Scale '70s/80s era

O Scale conversion


All of the O scale Atlas cars I have bought in the last 7 months have had the die-cast metal trucks and metal wheelsets.  At this time I only have a pair of Atlas 2 rail roller bearing trucks on hand.  I have a 60 ft box car in shipping right now, hopefully it shows up today, but it has 3 rail trucks.  I figured why spend an extra $5 for a car with 2 rail trucks if I am completely replacing the trucks.  But then again, I don't know how easy it is going to be to sell the 3 rail trucks. 



jarhead's picture

Different Scales


I've been a model railroader for a very long time and you said something very important and something I've been noticing more and more and that is; "I'm firmly entrenched in N scale because I like the long trains and more railroad in a smaller space." I see that more and more in our hobby. In my opinion, I think the time will come that N Scale will be the most popular scale for that particular reason. When I was brainstorming my layout in my bedroom I was really thinking doing N scale and I could've accomplished exactly what I wanted to do in N scale. The reason I did not do it was because it has been 20 years that I've been using DCC with sound and I was not pleased with the sound in N scale, otherwise my present layout would've been in N. My neighbor across the street he is 84 years old and he has a serious N Scale layout.

I know that in Japan the most popular scale is N and what is catching on is Z, but that is a different animal. But the Hobbyist is looking more and more to have the most railroad in the least amount of space.



Nick Biangel 

O Scale conversion


I have to say that S scale never occurred to me until after I bought into a bunch of O equipment.  I agree on the comment about S Scale's perception as I felt there was not enough manufacturers making enough equipment to satisfy my modeling needs.  It is a moot point now but I should have done some research on S scale before switching.....  

In the end, I am going to guess that I would have gone O scale anyways as I like the bulk/heft/size feeling when I hold a car or engine.  





jarhead's picture

like the bulk/heft/size feeling

like the bulk/heft/size feeling ... that's the weakness of O scale. You picked that massive engine or that bulky rolling stock and you go...UUUUURGH...UUUUURGH. It is manly thing that's for sure. I get a kick everytimeI pick my engine and just feel the masiveness of the scale. For some reason it is call "The King of Scale"



Nick Biangel 

Artarms's picture

O scale 2 rail shelf layout

Hello - A great beginning.  I am a fan of shelf layouts because of what you demonstrate - fun, operation, and modeling experience in a limited space - in any scale.

I host a website devoted to shelf and similar (around the walls) layouts.  The purpose is to encourage communication between those with similar modeling aspirations and encourage others to start a layout regardless of limited space. There are only three layouts so far but I would like to add material on your layout - diagrams, pictures, whatever.

Check it out at http://webpages.charter.net/aarmstro/index.htm

Art Armstrong

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