If you are ready to build your dream train layout or are just starting with the hobby of model railroading, there are a few things to which you should give serious consideration before investing a lot of money. And it is definitely easy to spend a lot of money with this great hobby, so you don’t want to make too many costly mistakes.
Let me talk about O gauge railroads, since that is what brought you to this web site. Gauge refers to track size, the distance between the rails. The distance between rails in O gauge is 1.25 inches. Scale, on the other hand, measures the size relationship between a model and its real-world object. For example, a locomotive that is 1/48th the size of the real thing is called 1/48th or 1:48 scale. Sometimes the terms “gauge” and “scale” are used interchangeably, even though technically they’re different.
An O gauge railroad with scale size of 1:48 is a great combination, because the train itself is of a size that is substantial. You don’t need a magnifying glass to notice the detail on the various cars of the train. In addition, many landscape features are made in the scale of 1:48. In your layout, then, the train and the landscape are proportional and add significantly to the realism of your finished layout.
But before you buy your O gauge train, make sure you have room to build the layout you want. Because the turning radius of O gauge is 24 inches, a complete 180 degree turn takes four feet of space, measured from the middle of the track. Your table, then, will need to be at least four feet wide plus about two inches if your track runs right at the edge of the table. You really want some room to add scenery to each side of the track, so ideally you need a five foot table to make a complete 180 degree turn.
A straight track with a 180 degree turn on each end can be quite boring, so that you will probably want to have a table that at least in some places is wider than five feet to allow multiple turns in your track. That being said, if you haven’t got the room to accommodate an O gauge layout, you need to be looking for a smaller gauge track, such as 027 or even HO. You give up something with scaling down, mainly a look of solidarity, greater clarity of detail and possibly proportionality, but if you have to skimp on your O gauge layout, you won’t be happy either.
That being said, I believe that O Gauge is the best size for building a model train layout, all things considered. I wish you success in building the O gauge layout of your dreams. I hope you will find whatever you are looking for on this site.