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O27 questions

1195 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  T-Man
Ok I an considering starting a second layout for my kids. Currently everything I have done is HO. I was thinking of an simple O27 layout on a 4x8. Most likely a figure 8. All I want is a simple steamer, box, gondola (kids have to be able to load and unload it) and of course a caboose. I want to do this as cheaply as possible since unlike the HO this will be at their height. I will be letting the 3 year old drive too. I have the following questions:
1. Recommend any engines to look for / stay away from?
2. What size transformer (watt)?
3. Do they make 3 rail in NS like HO?
4. What am I getting myself into?
5. I was thinking of looking for Lionel, is that a good idea?
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I think another question on your list might be whether you personally lean towards modern equipment, or might consider old-school / vintage stuff. If the latter ...

5. Vintage Lionel would be a great choice. Lots available on ebay, and the more common locos, cars, etc. aren't too expensive. Scout-type Lionel locos (1950's, early 1960's) are quite common, and pretty cheap ... quite suitable in size for O27. As an alternative, you might consider some vintage Marx. Perhaps considered to be a Chevy by some (compared to Lionel's Cadillac), you can often find better value for the dollar on ebay ... especially in way of accessories (buildings, crossing gates, and the like), in my opinion.

4. Fun, fun, fun.

3. Not sure about modern stuff. Vintage Lionel 3-rail tubular is not NS, will oxidize over time, but can be cleaned up reasonably easy with ScotchBrite pads. You can buy new (but traditional) 3-rail tubular, but often quite decent used stuff can be found for a fraction of the price.

2. Depends upon your envisioned layout size AND the scope of powered accessories you plan. Generally, the more power (wattage), the better. I have a small layout and opted for a new Lionel 80W. But that's probably on the smaller end of what people use. 200W or higher can be the norm for large layouts. You can find old transformers cheaply on ebay, but do be careful about safety concerns here: functionality of circuit breaker, integrity of the power cord, etc. In your case, with kids in the loop, I'd highly suggest a new transformer for safety.

1. See Comment 5 above.

I'm sure others here will chime in with differing opinions. And that's great ... i.e., there's really no true right or wrong answer here ... certainly not from our perspective. In the end, whatever makes you and the kids happy is what's ultimately best.

Good luck,

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