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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I've been modeling in narrow gauge (HOn3 and On30) for quite a few years. After a 4 year break from the hobby and a downsizing in housing, I've got bitten by the bug again.

The problem is that I don't see a lot of interest from the manufactures in the way of new products. Blackstone (HOn3) makes great models, but the release of new models seems to be very slow. Bachmann (ON30) does not seem to be adding to it's product line. I've collected a lot of equipment in these scales, and would like to continue in these scales.

So my questions are:
What do you think the future of narrow gauge is?
If you were starting over, would you model in a more popular scale like HO or N standard gauge?

Thanks for your opinion.

Tim
 
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Narrow gauge modelers are a dedicated bunch but they have always been a small segment of the hobby. I think Bachmann's On30 line did really well for a while but they may have saturated the market. They made about every locomotive anyone could want as well as freight and passenger cars.

I considered On30 10+years ago but went with standard gauge instead. With NG it's possible to build a whole railroad and operate it just like a real one and that's one of it's draws. Plus, NG trains are shorter, no 100 car trains, so a small layout is more realistic. But I went with SG because of the variety, plus I've always loved the New York Central.
 

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American narrow gauge is a niche market in model railroading. You'll have to shop around to find different products, or kitbash or scratch-build.

I have a little bit of HOn30 but it's just a sideshow layout with kitbashed equipment. I use smaller older-style HO equipment on N-gauge wheelsets and motors. It's freelanced, started as a joke actually.

European and Japanese narrow gauge has more model offerings because those countries have substantial active narrow gauge railway systems and more modelers interested.

I posed this freelanced HOn30 train outdoors on Kato UniTrack.

Tim: you mentioned "After a 4 year break from the hobby and a downsizing in housing ... " and "(HOn3)... (ON30) ... I've collected a lot of equipment in these scales, and would like to continue in these scales ..."

If you already have a lot of equipment, why do you need a bunch more? Do you have an actual layout right now? Just wondering. Some of the best American-style narrow gauge layouts have modest amounts of equipment, reflecting the limited prototype operations.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Ace, I have a good collection of HO and HOn3, but as I get older it gets harder to work in that scale. That is the reason I made the switch to On30. Much easier to paint, detail, weather, etc. The other thing is I like to collect engines and rolling stock. It seems that Bachmann has not added too much to their "roster" while I was on my break.

Tim
 

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Restarting

As has been said, American narrow gauge is something most people don't engage in. I'm re-entering the scene after a long time away from it. I began back in 1981 and built to 5.5mm to the foot scale(55n3), something only one or two people modeled in. Later I did some On30 and 3/8n2.

A lot has changed since then, especially scenic techniques and digital control etc. But I ain't gonna try and catch up. To me it is an artistic expression and the only way to achieve that is scratchbuild. The great thing about narrow gauge is that in a number of cases, necessity was the mother of invention. So freelancing everything is fine, because that's what really took place in cases like the Shay locomotives.

I'm currently in the basic design stage of my project, a 1/4 inch narrow gauge mining set up, which will be completely freelanced. That is and will be covered at http://lillines.com.

Kind regards - Ted Hawkins
http://lillines.com
 

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Hi all,

I've been modeling in narrow gauge (HOn3 and On30) for quite a few years. After a 4 year break from the hobby and a downsizing in housing, I've got bitten by the bug again.

The problem is that I don't see a lot of interest from the manufactures in the way of new products. Blackstone (HOn3) makes great models, but the release of new models seems to be very slow. Bachmann (ON30) does not seem to be adding to it's product line. I've collected a lot of equipment in these scales, and would like to continue in these scales.

So my questions are:
What do you think the future of narrow gauge is?
If you were starting over, would you model in a more popular scale like HO or N standard gauge?

Thanks for your opinion.

Tim
As long as there are great "running museums" such as the Cumbres and Toltec, Durango and Silverton, and White Pass and Yukon, and Sumpter Valley, there is going to be interest in narrow gauge.

For me, it is a case of staying focused on one plan. I'd love to dabble in narrow gauge, but it just doesn't "fit" into my current plans and interest. So people like me get to live vicariously through the efforts of the hundreds of outstanding narrow gauge model railroads out there. From what I've seen, the detail that folks put into their efforts in narrow gauge is nothing short of outstanding.

Regards,
Jerry
 

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Old thread, but seeing if it all still applies

Has anything changed in narrow gauge or is it still just a niche market? I really hate 3 rail track, but thought On30 would look "strange", like it was a big body sitting on too narrow trucks or that it was unstable and prone to tipping over. What are your thoughts and experiences?
 

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My Christmas train is On30. It also has the smallest flanges I've seen on any model train. It tracks perfectly and shows no signs of tipping. I like to run it at full speed sometimes too. It does look a little strange, but I think it's a strange that's pretty cool.
 

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Has anything changed in narrow gauge or is it still just a niche market? I really hate 3 rail track, but thought On30 would look "strange", like it was a big body sitting on too narrow trucks or that it was unstable and prone to tipping over. What are your thoughts and experiences?
I also run narrow gauge for my holiday layout. The cars aren't quite the same size as O gauge, they are a bit smaller, but larger than HO. They track well on the track, I've had no problems. But yes, it's a niche market. Only Bachmann seems to build stuff for the US market.
 

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Narrow guage HO is still quite popular in the German counties of Europe. Particularly Switzerland.
 

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Yes. It is known there as HOe.
 

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In my opinion, the only thing missing from interest in (presumably American) narrow gauge is lack of exposure to the prototype. Pennsylvania's East Broad Top has recently come back from the dead, but that's the only operating 3-foot gauge operation east of the Mississippi. All the others are in the western states, and there aren't many of them.
 

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I am currently laying a third rail for narrow gauge HOm which is not N scale, but TT scale track at 12mm gauge.

Mine is actually dual gauge HO/HOm and will run the Swiss RhB trains between St. Moritz and Tirano, Italy.
 

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In my opinion, the only thing missing from interest in (presumably American) narrow gauge is lack of exposure to the prototype. Pennsylvania's East Broad Top has recently come back from the dead, but that's the only operating 3-foot gauge operation east of the Mississippi. All the others are in the western states, and there aren't many of them.
There's actually three different operating narrow gauge railroads here in Colorado, all providing passenger service of course. I do agree that exposure is a key factor missing though.

I grew up with HO as a kid, and was finally able to get back into it again recently. Somewhere amongst my research of mountain railroads I ran into the idea of narrow gauge, and really wanted to incorporate it into a layout, but I already had big plans for standard gauge. I settled on a time period and a made-up location where the local railroads were transitioning between the two, and generate a lot of traffic on both. Initially I started with a huge amount of overlap in dual-gauge track, but I reduced that considerably. I'm now to the point where only specific services are still running on narrow gauge and the majority of my yard work is in standard, but I have some mainline that individually runs each.

I've only seen train shows around the local area, but I've noticed a strong showing of narrow or dual gauge layouts at the shows in both HOn3 and On30, which is great to help keep the interest alive.
 

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I have been considering dumping my standard gauge HO Northern Pacific layout and starting out in Sn3. I rode the Durango and Silverton in 2014 and have been intrigued with 3 foot narrow gauge ever since!
 

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A couple of years ago I did sort of start over. I was searching for something new; something to get the juices flowing again. I stumbled across Freerails and saw what modelers were doing in a variety of scales and gauges. I started reading about the Gilpin Tram in Colorado and the Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon in New Mexico...both two-footers. A few were working in 1/35 scale. Some were using battery power remote control (BPRC). A recent trip to Death Valley gave me a locale to model, and the Nye, Inyo and Esmeralda Railroad was born. A 1/35 scale two-foot gauge railroad hauling borax and salt. I use HO and On30 mechanisims on 16.5mm gauge track. Everything is scratchbuilt or kitbashed. Progress is sometimes slow, but I'm happy and having fun.
 
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