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And just how much does that short piece of 1:1 rail weigh?
Most railroad track used for main line trains in the United States weighs at least 130 pounds per yard, or 43.33 pounds per foot.
 

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OO and HO size comparison

Most of the items in this photo are 1:76 OO scale models of English trains, except:

second shelf, two items at left are HO Sydney commuter cars.
third shelf, brown-and-cream car is HO, compare to OO versions of similar-style English cars on same shelf.
fourth shelf, diesel at left is HO painted for Victorian Railways.

HO scale models of English railway stock look noticeably smaller than American HO because of the smaller English loading gauge. OO scale bulks them up to a similar height and width, which in earlier years helped to fit available motors in the locos (according to references).

OO scale models of English passenger cars make them about the right size to resemble some older Australian passenger trains in HO. These mostly English-made trains in the photo were gifted to me from a friend in Australia, where modelers often made do with foreign-prototype models. Some of these passenger cars were repainted to cover up the original English markings.

English OO scale uses HO gauge track which equates to 4'1.5" gauge. This disparity has been explained in historical context:
http://www.doubleogauge.com/history/history.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OO_gauge
 

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I'm new at this, but I snagged a copy of the starter photo for this thread.

I already understood the differences in scale, but that photo makes it easier to explain.
 

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I have a collection of NYC Steam engines that I exhibit in the following scales and/or gauges:

G
O
On30
S
OO (American)
HO
HOn3
TT
N
Z
T
 

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Has anybody started out with g scale indoors and converted to a smaller scale because of space restrictions indoors? I am considering a complete change to O scale.
 
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Has anybody started out with g scale indoors and converted to a smaller scale because of space restrictions indoors? I am considering a complete change to O scale.
Yes, it's been done. I grew up on Long Island where we had basements and plenty of room. I had O gauge. In my 30s I wanted more scale realism and switched to HO for a few years. In my 40s I discovered G and fell in love with it. When I moved north of New York City for my job I didn't have room for G. After much thought and evaluating possibilities in different scales I decided on N. That was in my 50s and lasted until I was 64 when N became too small for me to work with. At that point I completed the circle and returned to O gauge.

Are you considering 2 rail or 3 rail O? 2 rail generally requires larger curves and so needs more space.
 

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It's apparent that many don't know the difference between "scale" and "gauge" since both are used interchangeable, but shouldn't be.

Although scale and gauge are often confused, scale means the ratio between a unit of measurement on a model compared with a unit of measurement in corresponding full size prototype, while gauge is the distance between the two running rails of the track.
(from Wikipedia)

Scale as in 'scaling things down to size'.
Gauge as in 'gauging distance'.
 
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