The arrival of the Bachmann Mogul made it possible to model real narrow gauge, real railroads, real trains in 1/4" or O scale narrow gauge for everyone. The expansion of their line brings a complete narrow gauge world to the average modeler, no longer is narrow gauge the bastion of the rich. Bachmann's line makes the On30 world complete. Now trains can be assembled easily and quickly. No more expensive brass locomotives that don't run, no more tiresome assembly of craftsman style rolling stock kits, that can't be found in any hobby shop. On30 is 1/4" narrow gauge for everyone. Track is readily available HO ,"On30" Peco or MicroEngineering's detailed On30 track. An On30 layout can be assembled by the rankest beginner even on a 4x8 using readily available Atlas Snaptrack.
The Ubiquitous Bachmann Mogul the revolutionary On30 Locomotive and the Bachmann Cattle car. The Mogul is an accurate model of Colorado and Southern No. 22. . With a few more added details it will rival a brass 0n3 model costing thousands of dollars.
Bachmann's freight car assortment, highly detailed, ready to run and inexpensive. Having ready to run house cars in 1/4" narrow gauge to me is really unbelievable. I have been attempting to build a large narrow gauge layout for years and this is one of the biggest challenges. Now the modeler doesn't have to assemble masses of craftsman kits for a freight car roster.
Bachmann's combine and coach, they also have the observation car and a new baggage car. Based on 1880's prototypes they are excellent models, with interiors and lights.
Bachmann's geared locomotive are the Shay and the Climax . No one would ever imagine having a Shay locomotive priced under $200 dollars at the discounters. Soundtraxx has even got a Plug and Play sound system. Whistles in the woods. Bachmann has a bevy of woodsy things log cars, Porters, etc..
On the left is standard buy it at the hobby shop Atlas Code 100 Snaptrack, grossly oversized for HO, weathered and ballasted. Snaptrack narrow gauge, something everyone can do.
If you want more information on
general Modeling visit this site it explains the hobby very well:
The question arises in trackplanning, "Can I use an HO track plan?". No, because O scale takes up 4 times the area. Your 4x8 would only be a 2x4 in HO, but don't be discouraged. Your On30 equipment will make the layout look larger than HO on a 4x8 because of the mass of the equipment, I have built in N-Scale, HO-scale, S-Scale, and O-scale. The larger the scale the better a small layout looks. Yes, you can really see your trains now. On30 needs a 3" track centerline to centerline, is the only key to trackplanning. Try to have an 18" minimum mainline radius, but you can use a 15" radius on less used trackage. Avoid switchback layouts and switching puzzles, a continuous loop is more enjoyable. I have built John Allen's "Timesaver" switching game and Chuck Yungurth's "Gum Stump and Snowshoe" switchback layout and both became very boring quickly. Most builder's who have these type layouts later admit the short comings of back and forth operations.
Grades look good on a layout scenically, but you soon find out why railroads avoided them. I have built a railroad to represent a helper divison, a section of railroad where locomotives are added to get the tonnage up the hill, in HO. The railroad was based on famous trackplanner John Armstrong's Convulsions and Western plan from an old 50's Model Railroader. It put about 10 miles of track into a 5x9. I had a 4% climb up the whole mainline. The trains required constant attention, so every session was an operating session, no relaxing. Going up the hill was easier than coming back down, geared mechanisms do not come down hills well, everything had to be reworked to take the play out of the gear trains. Even with command control, I was using Onboard analog, operating helpers in HO was very difficult. Since then I have tried to avoid steep grades with model trains just like real railroads.
Now if you want grades the key to them is the transition at the top and bottom. Remember On30 is much longer than HO so at the beginning and end the vertical transition has to take in account of length of the car. If the transitions are too abrupt the cars will uncouple, take two passanger cars and check how much is too much. I have used Woodland Scenics foam ramps and they give you a nice even ramp. If I were using them I would transition with a gentler grade into the steeper grade. I was using them in N scale and that even presented coupler problems at the vertical transitions with long locomotives and cars. I would recommend a grade not over 2% in mainline operation.
Tunnels like grades make a railroad more interesting scenically. Avoid too many tunnels, and long sections of hidden track. Any hidden track should be readily accessible. In fact accessibility is one of the keys to model railroading, make sure everything is within a 36 inch reach, 24 inches is much better, especially switches. What ever is farthest away will be the most trouble.
The couplers that come with the Bachmann cars have a plastic wiper spring to hold the knuckle closed. I replace the stock couplers with either the Bachmann aftermarket HO spring coupler or the Mchenry HO spring coupler. Any of these couplers are an accurate model of the real MCB coupler used by the real narrow gauge railroads. The Kadee HO coupler will cause problems in the passenger cars because they restrict lateral movement. Kadee has a On3 coupler which is larger and was mainly used by the Denver and Rio Grand Western narrow gauge road, and is difficult to mount.
Try to read as many books and magazines as you can on the subject of model trains. Go to a hobby shop and look at the general model railroad magazines and books. Search the Internet, there are many good sites for beginners. But jump in and build a layout, mistakes can not be made everything is fixable.
The Rail-Line Forum - They have a good On30 Forum, real discussions, no "Flatulene", real answers, friendly format, you must go here, not a "conspiracy", they actually discuss On30. Go to the other areas and learn about modeling, there are endless tips and things to learn. The most addictive Forum on the Web. (Click on the logo)
The Bachmann Outside Frame 2-8-0 brings heavy power to the world of On30. Visit our Bachmann 2-8-0 page to install a Soundtraxx Tsunami Sound Decoder, install a realistic engine crew and backdate the locomotive to 1905.
30" Prototypes for the C-16 and Mogul
The best part about On30 is a "what if" scenario. What if narrow gauge in American had a seed somewhere else other than England and had been 30"? I had a hard time with the Mogul and the C-16 because there were no pictures of inside frame locomotives in "30 inch" gauge that large. They looked ungainly compared to their 3 foot prototypes. The internet revealed these too 1899 Brooks catalog 750mm gauge prototypes that made the locos real and not as some in the press said "TOYS".
Bachmann's On30 World - A Few Offerings
(Click Images to Enlarge)
Peco On30 Track on the Deep Run Railroad
MicroEngineerings On30 track
Free- Rails also has a good On30 forum. Also friendly people and modeling. (Click on the Logo)