Comparing Prices of O Gauge Model Railroad Track

How Much Does O Gauge Model Railroad Track Cost?

Our Choosing O Gauge Model Railroad Track page discusses the pros and cons of the various manufacturers’ brands of model railroad track, and includes a table showing what straight, curved, and switch track pieces each brand offers.

But, each brand has its strengths, and no clear winner is obvious (although all-in-one tracks are probably best for beginners). So, we also compared by price the basic pieces needed to build an O gauge model railroad layout:

Manufacturer: Lionel Lionel MTH Atlas Gargraves Ross
Brand: O-27 Fastrack RealTrax 21st Century Phantom Line Super Line
Track Type: Tubular All-in-One All-in-One Solid Rail Tubular Tubular
Minimum Curve $1.99 $4.79 $4.49 $6.35 $7.20 $6.99
Standard Straight $2.49 $5.49 $8.99 $5.50 $3.05 $5.49
Remote Switch $49.99 $111.99 $64.95 $85.95 $74.75 $79.95

For a real world example, look at the layout in figure 1, a simple oval using eight minimum curve tracks, and four straight tracks:

Free model railroad plans, layout, O gauge, O-27, Lionel, MTH, Gargraves, Atlas
Figure 1: Standard oval of track similar to what is included in most O gauge train sets.

Now, look at what this layout would cost using each type of track above:

Manufacturer: Lionel Lionel MTH Atlas Gargraves Ross
Brand: O-27 Fastrack RealTrax 21st Century Phantom Line Super Line
Track Type: Tubular All-in-One All-in-One Solid Rail Tubular Tubular
Minimum Curve $1.99 $4.79 $4.49 $6.35 $7.20 $6.99
Standard Straight $2.49 $5.49 $8.99 $5.50 $3.05 $5.49
Oval Layout $25.88 $60.28 $71.88 $72.80 $69.80 $77.88

The main difference between the various brands is the size of the minimum curve: for O-27 tubular track, it is 27″ diameter; Lionel FasTrack comes with a 36″ diameter; MTH RealTrax is a 31″ diameter; Atlas is 27″ diameter; Gargraves is 32″ diameter; Ross is 31″ diameter.

Few people are satisfied with a simple oval of track. So, lets stretch out the oval to better fit the 4×8 sheet of plywood it’s on, add a couple switches (easily the most expensive piece of O gauge track in a model railroad layout) and some curves and straights to create industrial sidings:

free model railroad plans, layout, sidings, 4x8, table
Add two switches, some curved and straight tracks to an oval to expand the oval that came with your O gauge train set.

This layout adds two switches, three curved tracks (one cut in half), and 22 straight tracks (two cut in half), so we have a total of 10 curves, 26 straights, and two switches, which would cost:

Manufacturer: Lionel Lionel MTH Atlas Gargraves Ross
Brand: O-27 Fastrack RealTrax 21st Century Phantom Line Super Line
Track Type: Tubular All-in-One All-in-One Solid Rail Tubular Tubular
Minimum Curve $1.99 $4.79 $4.49 $6.35 $7.20 $6.99
Standard Straight $2.49 $5.49 $8.99 $5.50 $3.05 $5.49
Remote Switch $49.99 $111.99 $64.95 $85.95 $74.75 $79.95
Oval with Sidings $184.62 $414.62 $408.54 $378.40 $300.80 $372.54

So, it’s obvious that all-in-one track is the most expensive route, but not terrifically more expensive than Atlas 21st Century solid rail or Curtis tubular track. However, the all-in-one tracks offer simplicity that may well be worth the additional amount, especially the $30-some dollars you would save with Atlas or Curtis track.

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