Lets Talk about 3 to 2 rail conversions..

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OldNoob

New Member
Greetings All!
First off let me say i am a G scaler and really dont know much about O scale.
What i do know is O scale engines and rolling stock are diverse and plentiful. In contrast, G scale engine selection, especially american lines, is limited.
I like the larger scales because i don't have to get too close or put on readers to enjoy running them.
However,, i have always been put off by that middle rail in O scale. (aside from a rack rail or subway third rail)
I know conversions and track exists . Aside from changing electronics , motor and gearing,
How hard is it really?
What are the unseen obstacles?
What are the advantages?
Thanks in advance

My current project:
Lionel 1/32 GP 20 shell on custom frame and trucks


 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Why convert to begin with? There is plenty of 2-rail track and equipment out there already. Atlas O has new stuff and there's a lot of it on Amazon and E-Bay. The two rail stuff isn't as toy-like in appearance and I believe it's a true 1:48 scale. There are other manufacturers out there as well. Bachmann and MTH come to mind.
 

OldNoob

New Member
Why convert to begin with? There is plenty of 2-rail track and equipment out there already. Atlas O has new stuff and there's a lot of it on Amazon and E-Bay. The two rail stuff isn't as toy-like in appearance and I believe it's a true 1:48 scale. There are other manufacturers out there as well. Bachmann and MTH come to mind.
So there is 2 rail O scale engines readily available? I had no idea. What key words do i use when searching for them?
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
This will give you something to drool over https://brasstrains.com/Classic/Trains/Scales/O-Scale?showsold=False&page=3

The only reason to convert a 3 rail to 2 rail is if a 2 rail model is not available or is too expensive. Even then it makes more sense to buy the shell as spare part or cannibalize from a "dead" 3 rail.

Lionel 3 rail is more of niche/legacy/collector market. Generally speaking Lionel 3 rail is not O scale , it is O guage or more specifically O-27? . Also 3 rail is AC , 2 rail is DC.

Lionel 3 rail follows its own conventions . O scale follows the NMRA standards

One of the main suppliers for O scale equipment is closing down ( MTH ) , So they are in the process of liquidating their assets. It could be some time before those models are produced again .

O scale is more of craftsman's scale because the availability of models is limited and you have to conform to whats on the market or build it yourself . Also O scale is not generally stocked by a lot of hobby shops . Most shops that stock MR supplies stock HO and N accordingly O scale is more expensive ( there's less competition both on the manufacturing end and the retail end ) . There are some resin kit manufacturers out there like F&C but again the O offerings are about 1% of whats in HO . http://www.fandckits.com/index.html

We HO scalers wear reading glasses because we can get what we want with a delivery date that's before we die ...most of the time.
 

kjd

Go make something!
I also wanted to say your GP20 looks really good. I've been doing some building at work in 1/30 ish scale and the amount of detail you can put in is lots of fun. I even added smashed pennies to the railroad track.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
First off let me say i am a G scaler and really dont know much about O scale.
What i do know is O scale engines and rolling stock are diverse and plentiful.
However,, i have always been put off by that middle rail in O scale. (aside from a rack rail or subway third rail)
I know conversions and track exists . Aside from changing electronics , motor and gearing,
How hard is it really?
What are the unseen obstacles?
What are the advantages?
First I did an expose posting on a topic related to the whole o-gauge vs o-scale thing a while back. Instead of reposting here, I'll just link to it: https://modelrailroadforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/o-gauge-or-lionel.32125/#post-474918

You don't need to change the things you've listed electronics, motor, or gearing. Electricity doesn't care if it is carried on a center third rail or not. Example is that American Flyer is AC two rail. No reason two rail O-gauge can't be AC.
What you do need to change is all the wheels and axles. Three rail trains locos or cars, don't care that their axles are all one piece of metal. To make them 2 rail one has to:
A. insulate at least one of the wheels from the axle. Obviously all on the same side. And depending on the track one is planning on using one might want to change out the wheels from the pizza cutter type to one with a much smaller flange.
B. Then on locomotives one has to come up with some sort of way to get the power from the newly insulated wheels to the side of the motor (or direction changer) that used to draw power from the center rail.
That can be really a really large obstacle, but it is definitely not unseen.

If you want to change the power system, then you have to worry about electronics and motor.

Advantages? I suppose if you had a really fine (expensive) O-Scale locomotive that was set up for three rails it might be worth the effort and cost. Other than that I don't see many advantages at all. Seems to be much more cost effective to sell the 3 rail and just buy a 2 rail one.
 
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