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If you are new to the hobby then a degree of investigation into track alternatives is advisable. Gauge O is increasingly popular in Britain and Europe and, of course, in the United States where it has been the primary gauge for enthusiasts since the 1920s; there are more manufacturers and suppliers of two and three rail O gauge track systems than any other gauge so choosing the right track is crucial. This is not an exhaustive listing of track manufacturers but a selection of those companies we have worked with for some time and confident that they will provide an ideal solution for the vast majority of needs.
Before ordering however, a degree of thought should be given to how you intend to use the track as some track systems are more suitable for permanent layouts where as others may be regularly put together and taken apart without problems. You will also need to consider where you will house your railway either indoors or outside. In the case of the latter, you will need to select a track system that is weatherproof and less prone to sunlight degradation of the sleepers since many are made of a plastic/ABS/resin construction. Notwithstanding, taking the railway outside into the garden for permanent external use is increasingly popular. Outdoor model railways will also require a level of maintenance such as regular cleaning. As O gauge track systems come in both two and three rail there is no magic formula but with a variety of manufacturers producing both track formats, Shamrock Trains is in an ideal position to help you design and build your ideal track layout.
There are a number of proprietary two rail O gauge track systems available but the best known in the UK is Peco based in east Devon who produce a number of two rail track systems that have been used for many years by coarse and fine scale model railway enthusiasts alike. Peco SM 32 track although designed as a 16 mm narrow gauge scale format is an ideal O gauge system for running both ACE Trains, Corgi/Hornby Bassett-Lowke and MTH Hi Rail locomotives and rolling stock. The track however, is not ideal for the running of vintage and older very deep flange wheeled locomotives and rolling stock. Peco SM 32 comes in fixed radii track, uses Code 200 nickel silver rail and with its robust nature can be used for fixed garden railways.
If you’re looking for an authentic looking track system that resembles the real thing then Peco’s flat bottomed track and points is suitable for the running of most new ready-to-run models from ACE, MTH (Hi Rail and fine scale wheels), Seven Mill Models and Darstaed coaches and rolling stock. Darstaed is planning to launch two rail fine scale versions of its new locomotives so an assessment will be made once they appear. It comes in set track formations but also one of the best characteristics of this particular Peco track is that it comes in flexible lengths allowing very specific track designs to be accommodated. The only requirement with flat bottomed Peco track is the suggested removal of the point check rail with ready-to-run locomotives such as from ACE. This is the only adjustment needed for made for the vast majority of ready-to-run models.
If you are looking to recreate an indoor classic O gauge vintage style model railway using tubular three rail track then there are a number of systems available to consider. One of the best track systems comes from Merkur who are a vintage European style model railway manufacturer from the Czech Republic. Their tubular three rail system is totally compatible with traditional Hornby and Lionel three rail track systems. Merkur’s system includes three different radii of track and includes a variety of points and cross-overs. Lionel O Gauge is one of the best known names in American O gauge model railways. They produce a highly durable and reliable conductive metal track system based on the old vintage style. It is a high rail system where the rails are slightly taller to accommodate the deeper flanges of vintage coarse scale locomotives and rolling stock. Another track manufacturer is Middleton who produce a direct replica copy of Hornby O gauge three rail but made in lighter grade tin plate. Manufactured in Australia this vintage style track system is renowned for its double (parallel) track as well as single track format. Middleton is a more expensive ready to run track system but is ideal for a permanent vintage style model railway layout that will equally run modern and vintage coarse scale locomotives.
If you’re looking for something more modern in appearance then you can’t go far wrong than Maldon Track who provide 1930s replica style three rail O gauge track system in a total of six different radii (ranging from 27” to 60”) with a wide variety of cross-overs and points. Produced in Essex this track system follows the old style format but with a more up to date appearance since the rails are non-tubular but angular and made to Code 200 nickel silver with ABS plastic sleepers. It is suitable for both coarse scale and some fine scale running but is most conducive to a fixed track layout. The robust construction and use of materials makes this an ideal weatherproof O gauge railway system suitable for permanent outside use as a garden railway.
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