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Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by yankee, Nov 26, 2006.
I received some good advice on O vs. HO. Can anyone help with Lionel vs. Bachmann?
Those are pretty differnt companies...neither really competes directly either. Lionel has made incursions into G and HO, but generally they've been short lived. Bachmann is probably the company that ignited the current era of HO and G model railroading with their G scale shay and HO consolidation. They have also really gotten On30 going as well. Lionel's probably most famous for the toy train sets that got people started in the hobby and for the collector's market of all the stuff baby boomers wanted, but couldn't get as kids.
Lionel isn't the only manufacturer of O guage trains...K-line, Weaver, and MTH are common in most hobby shops. There is also the more realistic looking 2 rail O scale and the really cool Proto:48. I love narrow gauge O scale...3' gauge trains at 1:48 scale, but you won't find anything other than brass in RTR.
Bachmann's main competitors are Walthers/Life-Like, Athearn/Roundhouse, Accurail, and Atlas.
Wasn't aware that they weren't really competitors. I'm really leaning toward taking the HO route, so maybe Bachmann will offer more.
No need to stick with just one manufacturer, especially in HO scale. 99.9% of all HO products are compatible with each other. Perhaps you were thinking of a starter set? Lionel makes them in O scale, Bachmann makes them in N, HO, On30, and G.
Choosing a scale can be tricky - it mostly comes down to how much room you have to work with, and what sort of layout you are interested in.
The big advantage to On30 is that if you want the size of o scale, but need to limit your space to ho scale, On30 is a great compromise.
Good info guys. Thanks. I'm probably going to go with a starter set, and gradually add on as funds become available. I'm very new to this. I'm really glad to know that most all of the HO stuff is compatable. I'm beginning to think that is the right scale for me, but I could possibly go the N route if space becomes an issue. I really appreciate the advice.
Basicaly, in any given scale/gauge everything will operate on any of the tracks (subject to minimum radius problems). The various types of sectional tracks seem determined to be incompatible with each other.
In HO and N there seem to be 2 types of coupling in common use. These are usually easily changed. I think O (3-rail) is all compatible with the Lionel coupling. G has a variety, I think.
G has 4 different scales, so you can get trains that should be the same size but aren't. O has fully-scale trains down to under-sized trains for sharp curves.
HO and N always have some passenger cars that are shorter than scale for sharp curves. They're usually full-size in the other 2 dimensions.
While some may argue the point, another aspect of "Lionel vs. Bachmann" is that Lionel produces toy trains while Bachmann (for the most part) produces model railroad equipment. Lionel three-rail stuff is deliberately toylike, rather than attempting to be a realistic model. Aside from their lower-end stuff, Bachmann and other manufacturers shooting for the "model railroad" market attempt to model a prototype or a type more closely. If what you want is a charming cute layout with big shiny chunky retro-looking locomotives speeding around curves with the little flagman that pops out of the house, then you want Lionel. Nothing wrong with that, either. If you want to model real railroading a bit more accurately, you want...well, not necessarily Bachmann, but you want model railroading stuff. There are model railroaders who model in O scale, but generally they don't use Lionel equipment--not due to reliability issues, but because they run equipment that runs on two rails and is more realistic in appearance.
Thanks, Jetrock. I have read from several others that there is a difference between "toy trains" and "model railroads". I'm more of a model type person who likes authenticity. Good advice.
yankee, I highly recommend checking out the scratchin' & bashin' forum. Also, do a search on the Gorre & Daphited...it'll introduce the craftsman side of the hobby. Everyone is looking for a certain level of detail on their railroad...and finding it can be helpful. I enjoy building trains to running them. Many people enjoy "operating".
Thanks for the info. Will check it out.
I'm doing tons of research and getting more confused, not less. As a kid, the December family tradition was Lionel O-gauge, a simple figure 8 diesel-model set up complete with the steel pins and pliers to cuss over. I loved it. We were taught to respect it as my family wasn't rich and it was a treat to get the train out. My son is 8.5 years old and has been train crazy all his life, and I think we're ready to move on from the plastic battery-operated trains that he went to after playing for years with hundreds of dollars worth of wooden trains (can't wait to get rid of all of that stuff!!)
I recently bought a huge lot of used 3-rail O-gauge track so I suppose I'm slightly committed to it, but now as I look at train sets, I'm torn. Regular O, or On30? Lionel - which admittedly looks cheesy? Bachmann - the Santa Fe Warbonnet set is right up his alley?.... he's a little bit hard on things but is getting better.
Should I save $200 on the set by buying Lionel, which would let me buy him trestles and switches and things, or should I buy the much nicer (it seems) Bachmann loco and add on to it with more interesting track features for his birthday if he continues to enjoy the set? I doubt we're going to get into realism at the level of building model towns and so forth, he just wants to run trains, and is sort of fascinated with train crashes as well, so I'm sure he'll run these wide open and hope for derailments. LOL
We have a big playroom but I plan to confine him to probably 8' x 10' of floor space. Opinions welcome and I'm glad to be steered to good websites with more stuff to read.
Julia, WELCOME to ZEALOT!!