HO vs O Scale situation

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New Member
I know the title might not exactly be the most accurate, as I have a lot to talk about here.

So starting with the situation, I'm about two weeks into rebuilding an O scale layout which I haven't touched since leaving for college (I come back during breaks, and I was home all year due to the pandemic) so before I spend another cent on accessories track and rolling stock, I needed to take a step back and plan first. I have a trackplan similar to the one in the attached image, as well as enough extra tracks to form a standard fastrack loop found in most starter sets, such as the Polar Express. I also have Bachman EZTrack which is not only much easier to work with, and doesn't require as much strength to put together, but I have enough for a standard loop which I can work with from there.

Personally I prefer HO because it's cheaper and takes up less space, while still being a large enough scale for it to feel convincing. I mean if Northlandz in Jersey can use HO scale for their massive train exhibit, I can do it too. The thing is I already spent so much effort researching O scale track plans and putting the track together. I decided to make the new and improved layout O scale since I already have a lot of track and rolling stock to work with compared to HO, and I didn't want the elevated piers I owned to be placed in storage gathering dust. Additionally I just recently purchased some additional O scale rolling stock, a 4 car set by MTH. Not only were they on sale but they were in Long Island Railroad livery, my personal favorite, so I felt I had to get them. They work with the system I have, and I consider them worth it, but they're too heavy for any of my locos to pull up the gradients caused by Lionel's piers. I could switch to HO but if I do it right away, the passenger car set will feel like a rushed and irresponsible purchase (although I couldn't find any LIRR stock in HO so that alone makes it worth it if I can find a way to display it.)

The only option I would have that would allow me to keep the O scale layout is to build a second layout in HO, however by doing this I'd have to get some more plywood and I just don't have enough space in the house. Now my O scale layout isn't permanent, so I could always take it apart and build something else, but it's still a bit of a pain to work with. I also dabbled in the idea of running an inner loop of the HO tracks within the O scale one, like how the main line in Thomas the Tank Engine runs alongside the narrow gauge line at a certain station, but since we're dealing with scale, it wouldn't really work like that. Another thing I'm considering is when I find a new house after college where I would then work on another HO scale layout, now with even more space to work with. Right now the layout I have set up is 8x8, which is fine for HO but not so much for O, another reason to consider the switch.

One last thing I'd like to make clear is that I cherish all of my model trains, whether or not they're broken, so I wouldn't think twice about just giving them away.



Gandy Dancer
You can fit a lot more in the same space if you model HO.
If you're savvy, you can finance the HO stuff by selling the O stuff. Maybe.

I moved from HO to O due to eyesight issues.


Same Ol' Buzzard
Here's a thought. Depending on your door/window situation in the layout room, you might consider running one or the other in an around the walls track plan while doing the remaining one in a center of the room table layout.

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