I am debating the cost-benefit of the HO versus the O scale train systems. I hope I am on the correct forum for this question. I had an small, basic HO setup about 15 years ago. I have an entry level Lionel O system now. I note a 2 to 3 fold difference in the cost of cars, buildings, engines, track, switches...just about everything between HO and O. I am wondering about the benefits of these higher costs with the O system compared to HO. Could you provide your opinions about such things as: Reliability Ruggedness Realism Accessory, component options Ease of modifying and repairing Availability Action accessories Club availability Ease of set-up and operation, electrical etc. I am a near retirement adult wanting to make a long term commitment to building a moderate sized layout, perhaps 40-50 feet of track, 4 or 5 switches, two or three engines, 20-30 cars, a dozen or so buildings and other accessories. (sorry if this sounds like a dating service inquiry ) I will have a 10 by 12 foot area to create this layout. However, I do not want to spend a small fortune which it looks like Lionel accessories cost. This setup sounds like a $2,000 to $3,000 investment in O, and less than $1,000 in HO - of course, depending on the quality level in each system. This would be a mid-level system. I know that much money can be spent on just a single engine. I remember some challenging performance issues with HO regarding switch operation and uniform electrical contact of the engine with the tracks, no matter how much I cleaned the surfaces. My understanding of the pros and cons of these two scales are these: HO One half to one third the cost of components Greater availability and variety of accessories - more manufacturers - more competition Operate in smaller area for similar layout. More people involved; greater opportunity for interaction, clubs, etc. Greater realism without 3rd rail O scale Better reliability, more rugged Bigger size may be easier to work with for aging adults Availability of animated accessories Easier electrical hookups (is this really true?) Are these pros and cons valid? What other factors should be considered that I might have missed? What other sources of unbiased information is available to make an objective comparison? Is there a different forum on this site I should post this question to? Thanks for all of your opinions.