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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering making a big jump from smaller scales to O. We will be moving and size limitations will cease to exist, so I will have room for an O scale layout with sweeping curves and won't be trying to cram it into a small spare bedroom. Besides, we've had so much fun with the Christmas Tree layout (Polar Express) with the addition of remote turnouts, I'm motivated to move up in size. I will have a lot of room (20x30 room minimum). I said "big jump" but I won't be jumping in, I'll be easing into this. Since my re-entry into the hobby, I've apparently hit that age where all the warnings I got about small scale are kicking in. Dexterity and vision in particular. It was so nice dealing with the Lionel O27 sizes over the holidays, that I'd be kidding myself if N scale is in my future.

It looks like Lionel's Legacy control system is the most feature rich and expandable system right now. Am I correct? I'm a former computer programmer, so I enjoy the next-gen train control stuff.

I really enjoyed working with H0 flex track and I had a lot of success with it. I see they make O flex. While I'm fine with cutting and working with flex track, I don't build track from scratch or make my own turnouts. I'm not so hung up on realism that I wouldn't consider using a mix of flex track and Fastrack. Although the Lionel remote turnouts are expensive, they seem to be very reliable. I'm really inexperienced here for what my track and turnout options are. I've been Lionel all the way since the 60s. What track and turnout manufactures should I be looking at?

Lionel's remotely operated couplers are a major motivator for moving to O gauge. Surprisingly few Youtube videos show this in operation. I would really enjoy my layout more if I can keep my fat fingers off the trains and remotely uncouple cars. I enjoyed watching the various ways my local railroad delivered boxcars and other freight to local businesses and industry. This will be a major part of my layout IF I can reliably do it "hands-off."

So what are my options here and are they reliable?
What are my options for remotely breaking trains apart when the freight cars don't have these Legacy controlled couplers? Dad retrofitted several of our freight cars with couplers that could be uncoupled with the electro-magnet track. These things actually worked well back in the 60s. I assume they are even better now?

Thank you for your inputs.
-Jack
 

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Jack, I can't speak to how well the couplers work because it's not something I use much on my layout.

You will find that most folks who want a little more realism opt for either Gargraves or Atlas track accompanied by Ross switches.

Spence gives sound advice: watch Eric's Trains videos on YouTube.

I use FasTrack for now. I can report that in my experience, the turnouts/switches have been almost perfect.
 
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Jack, your first step should be to accurately define what you want out of your new layout. Establish a theme and built yours ideas around it. Once you have established exactly where the layout will be located and the exact size dimensions of the room, planning can get serious.

Build your train inventory around the theme of your new layout.

In terms of remote control systems, Legacy is probably the most popular and has excellent features. But, many O-Gauge enthusiasts install DCS as well in order to cover all of the bases.

Remote couplers, you can certainly acquire equipment with this feature. But, be careful, not to have the tail wagging the dog. Some equipment that you may want may not have this feature.

Right now, just brainstorm what you want. When you move and have the layout room established, then you can make tangible progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jack, your first step should be to accurately define what you want out of your new layout. Establish a theme and built yours ideas around it. Once you have established exactly where the layout will be located and the exact size dimensions of the room, planning can get serious.

Build your train inventory around the theme of your new layout.

In terms of remote control systems, Legacy is probably the most popular and has excellent features. But, many O-Gauge enthusiasts install DCS as well in order to cover all of the bases.

Remote couplers, you can certainly acquire equipment with this feature. But, be careful, not to have the tail wagging the dog. Some equipment that you may want may not have this feature.

Right now, just brainstorm what you want. When you move and have the layout room established, then you can make tangible progress.
After watching so of Eric's train videos as Spence suggested, I can see that making the change to O might be the right move.

The theme is a compression of Northeast Texas where I grew up and had direct experience with the railroad. There, my grandfather and father had sidings to their grocery warehouses and our friends and "industrial neighbors" also had siding (Glover Feed Mill, Priefert Manufacturing, and others). Local power plants are coal fired and Lone Star Steel has come back to life. NE Texas also has major lumber operations as well as what is left of Red River Army Depot.

What I hope to end up with, are 2 or 3 main lines that I can let the computer or other control system operate semi-autonomously, while I deliver and pickup freight and raw materials from the sidings, both on and off the main lines. These all exist up there, as well as Amtrak and the Texas State Railroad -- so I can branch out if my collection grows out of freight.
 

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Jack, you can also look on Amazon streaming for TM videos on Legacy. It covers details about everything Cab2 can do.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It will be great if you post pictures of your progress.
I anxiously await that day.

To-Do List
1. Prep house for sale (huge undertaking.)
2. Move to lake cabin.
3. Sell house.
4. Move everything out of the house to storage.
5. Buy or build new home.
6. Move into new home.
7. Start the railroad.
8. Post progress to MTF.
 

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There is a lot to look at, a lot of options in O gage. I went with the MTH DCS system because the MTH locos are priced lower than Lionel locos. DCS is an MTH only system, but you can run the Lionel system thru it.
https://mthtrains.com/dcs-and-lionel-command-control-integration

There are some videos on the MTH site that show the remote coupler operation. Here is one of them.

I would take a look at Gargraves track (I’m biased since that’s what I use). They have a few options for uncoupling/unloading freight cars with electromagnet track sections. I would also consider Gargraves switches. Ross switches mate with Gargraves track and are better than Gargraves switches, but also cost more.
http://www.gargraves.com/operatingtracksandspecialgauges.html
 

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Discussion Starter #12
... I would take a look at Gargraves track (I’m biased since that’s what I use). They have a few options for uncoupling/unloading freight cars with electromagnet track sections. I would also consider Gargraves switches. Ross switches mate with Gargraves track and are better than Gargraves switches, but also cost more...
:( I just ran a cost estimate of my basic, core layout and I'll have to look closely at my finances before I jump into O. I knew it was more expensive, but I just got my eyes watered. I have a lot of time (good/bad thing) so I don't have to make any snap decisions.

Thanks everyone for all the good info. I've got a lot to consider.
 

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You mentioned o27 in your comment just be aware if you were to use o27 track most modern engines and rolling stock will not run on it. It also has been discontinued, that being said there is a company that is supposed to start producing it again not sure if they have or not. There is some still out there new if you can find it. I run 90% o27 track it does what I need to do but I run mostly post war stuff. The newer legacy engines have remote couplers that you can open by remote anywhere on track you want so you don’t need the magnetic tracks for that. Hope this info helps
 

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If I were in to O scale I would be using the realistic looking flex track. When I was a kid I hated the three rail tube track that my Lionel set came with.

I don't like three rail AC at all, but I'd take the flex rail any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Another reason I don't care for Märklin HO.
 

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Jack, a lot of good advice here, the most important thing is to have a good plan.You also need to be flexible with said plan I've always been tempted to change the name of my layout to The Plan B RR.I'm located in Arlington just south of I20 if your ever in the area and want to stop buy and see my set up.
 
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