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For the model train enthusiast, On30 Model Railroading is a cheap and easy alternative that means enjoying the hobby for a lot less dough! And, this community gives you easy access to all you need to get the most out of this hobby!
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We carry On30 Railroading and other types of Model Trains. Find information and Model Train products. Have your own Train and Track layout and everything else right here in our Model Train Store. Narrow ...
On30 Scale Model Railroading Means Economical Fun With Model Trains
Model railroad hobbyists know that theirs is a hobby that brings much joy and satisfaction. It can, however, also cost big bucks. That’s why hobbyists are excited about the development of On30 model railroads, because they can experience the achievements associated with O scale narrow gauge models at a fraction of the usual cost.
Marklin, a German toy manufacturer, originated O scale model railroads around 1900. The manufacturer chose the 1/48th proportion because it was the same scale they used for making dollhouses. But it wasn’t until recently that O scale was fully developed.
So what does the designation HOn30 or On3 mean?
Model railroading experts explain that the initials refer to the scale size of the locomotives, rail cars, structures, scenery – in other words, everything except the track. The numbers at the end stand for the distance between the rails. For example, with On30, that means there are 30 scale-inches between the rails, instead of the usual standard 56-1/2 inches. So On30 are 1/4" scale (O Scale) model trains that operate on HO track. HO Scale track is 16.5mm gauge (between the rails) and figures out to 2' 6" (30") gauge in real life.
O scale model trains typically come in three-rail and two-rail varieties and they’re not interchangeable. A two-rail train won’t run on a three-rail O gauge track, while a three-rail model will cause a short on a two-rail track. Three-rail systems use 18-volt alternating current to power the trains, with the center rail connecting to one leg of the transformer and the outside rails wired together to the other. Two-rail trains work like other model railroads, running on direct current (DC) power where the left rail (in the direction of locomotive travel) is the plus (+) voltage and the right rail is the minus (-). However, there are even computerized model railroads using Digital Command Control (DCC), which supplies power and control signals using a pulsed alternating current.
The aesthetic advantage to O scale modeling is that it best represents the kind of narrow-gauge track used in real life in mountainous and forested regions of the Old West, where turns had a tight radius. Those who want to create Old West-style layouts such as logging or mining railroads will find On30 ideal for their purposes.
Another advantage to modeling in O scale is the availability of HO gauge locomotive chasses and components such as trucks and couplers. It’s also possible to use HO gauge track components, but most modelers who go to On30 prefer to stick with O gauge track.
Some modelers recommend Bachmann as a good manufacturer of ready-to-run On30 models. The Bachman equipment is reported to be well made and fairly inexpensive, so it’s easier to set up a complete layout in less time for less money.
More mature railroad modelers find On3 easier to work with, since most people suffer diminishing ability to focus their eyesight as they age. The larger scale of On3 makes it easier for longtime modelers to continue the pastime they so dearly love!