Which O Gauge Model Railroad Track is Right for Me?

Deciding on what O Gauge Track Model Railroad Track To Use

A number of factors are involved in finding the best O Gauge model railroad track for your layout

Model Railroad, track, O Gauge, Lionel Atlas, MTH
Choosing track for your O Gauge model railroad layout is a decision with many factors to consider.

One of the first decisions that needs to be made before you design your O Gauge model railroad layout is what kind of track to use. There are a number of manufacturers making O Gauge track, and some manufacturers make several different styles. And, there are some compatibility issues between different manufacturers’ tracks, or even between different types of track offered by one manufacturer.

So, first, you must understand the different types of track available. Our page Choosing Track for an O Gauge Model Railroad Layout explains the different types of track, and offers links to further pages and breakdown the differences in greater detail.

The first difference between O Gauge model railroad track types is explained on our O Gauge vs. O-27 Gauge page.

Budget is where the rubber hits the road when designing an O Gauge model railroad layout. What you have to spend is often a limiting factor in choosing what track you will use our page O Gauge Model Railroad Track Price Comparison compares the most popular types of track with each other in terms of affordability.

Spare Bedroom O Gauge Project Layout Runs!

An impending visit from the grandkids led our crew of gandy dancers to finish laying track on the mainline of our spare bedroom O gauge project layout. I snagged a couple Plasticville buildings from the kids’ layout for scenery:

Read more about our O Gauge Model Railroad Layout Project

Free Plans of Baltimore & Ohio Pratt Truss Bridge 451/1

Free Model Railroad Plans, bridge, Truss, Pratt, Baltimore & Ohio, Cuyahoga River
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridge No. 451/1

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridge No. 451/1 crosses the Cuyahoga River carrying a switch track serving the Jaite Company, a paper mill in Summit County, Ohio.

Bridge No. 451/1 is a through Pratt truss. It is 138 feet 9 inches pin to pin, and has a clear width of 13 feet 9 inches and a 19 foot 10 inch height clearance. Carnegie steel supplied the steel.

This bridge is the ideal size to recreate in scale for a model railroad layout and our Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridge No. 451/1 page features five plans including detailed exploded isometric views.

Kicking off an O Gauge Model Railroad Project

Decisions when designing a Model Railroad Layout

Just like prototype railroads, model railroads are all about location

After years of not having room for an O gauge model railroad layout, I finally moved into a new house that has enough room for an O gauge model railroad layout – in fact, several rooms from which to choose – and now I’ve got a major decision to make: location, location, location.

Free Model Railroad Layout Plans, O gauge, Lionel MTH Atlas
Prototype railroads, such as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe chose their routes to use the least amount of track to serve the greatest number of customers. Not always easy when you are crossing the Rocky Mountains.

Where prototype railroads search for the best possible route that would use the least possible track, my goals are to create the largest amount of track through the most challenging route.

So, where can I create the best model railroad layout: a spare bedroom, or a spare stall in the garage?

Follow through the decision-making process with us as we embark on creating our O Gauge Model Railroad Layout project.

Free Plans of Monon’s Erecting and Machine Shops

Model Railroads Need Maintenance Facilities

A great prototype erecting & machine shop for your model railroad layout

Free Model Railroad Plans Monongahela Erecting Machine Car Shops
The Monongahela Railroad Erecting Shops

Roundhouses for locomotive maintenance are common on steam-era model railroad layouts, but much of the heavy rebuilding work was actually done in a separate erecting shop, which usually had a machine shop attached or very close nearby for fabricating the many replacement parts needed by a steam locomotive.

The Monongahela Railroad erecting shop at Brownsville, Pennsylvania is a great example of such a shop that could be built on a model railroad layout. With the large window areas, the Monon erecting and machine shops would be great for a model with detailed interiors. Placed close to the front of a model railroad layout and provided with interior lighting, the model would be an impressive focal point on any model pike.

Free Plan of a Western Maryland Railroad Deck Plate Girder Bridge

Western Maryland Railroad Bridge No. 1276

A great bridge to scratch-build for your model railroad layout

Free Model Railroad Plan bridge plate girder, western Maryland
Western Maryland Railroad Sideling Hill Crossing,
a great bridge for your model railroad layout

Bridge No. 1276, the Sideling Hill Creek Crossing is small by comparison with some of the other bridges on the Western Maryland Railroad’s Cumberland division, but that small size makes it perfect for inclusion on a model railroad.

The structure is a 145′-long bridge consisting of two deck plate girder spans carrying a single track on a slight curve, nearly 50′ above the creek bed.

Completed from these free plans to prototype specifications, it would be a center of interest on a portion of a model railroad layout near the viewer. If intended for a spot nearer the background, much of the interior bracing could be eliminated and it would still be a great scale bridge for your model railroad layout.