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> Time for 'Scale' Trackwork?
Julian2011
post 30 Jul 2013, 17:38
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I expect that Bachmann, Hornby and Peco might have run the figures, being in the business, with Accountants an' all.

They seem to have all come to similar solutions too, about the UK market, as a whole.

It suggests they are catering for rather more people than those, who have other perceptions, might be speaking for.


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Brossard
post 30 Jul 2013, 17:42
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Well Ravenser, if I were to do a North American outline layout I would take a good long look at Peco's code 83. On the other hand I would also want to understand other options. Just for giggles I looked through July's Model Railroad Hobbyist http://mrhpub.com/2013-07-jul/land/ Quite possibly the US equivalent to MRJ and free. No Peco ads - what does that tell us? I must quiz my local shop about code 83 when I'm there.

I used Peco code 75 on my late exhibition layout. It looks pretty good and works well. You can't drop into the local hobby shop to buy code 75, it's got to be mail order - there are several sources in Canada.

For the club layout we opted for code 100 on the main section because it was thought that members had legacy stock that wouldn't work on code 75 - a poor decision that. Because we wanted to have curved sections of the layout that didn't conform to Peco's radii we (well me mostly) made many of own our own points. (I used Trax 2 for templates). Later on we built a code 75 finescale section to the layout using C&L track and handbuilt points.

So, I agree with you, we will have the Peco ranges for the foreseeable future.

John


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Kickstart
post 30 Jul 2013, 18:57
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Hi

While there are several ranges, and I tend to the view that minor changes in sleepers don't really make much sense when there is a major issue of the rail spacing, I would suspect that tooling up for a range of track is cheap compared to tooling for a single model loco.

All the best

Keith


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john woodall
post 30 Jul 2013, 22:08
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Its good that the thread rolls on.

What it has highlighted is that it is not really a question of the sleeper spacing or even the size of the rail that is coming to the fore, but more that there is realisation that the whole Standard Gauge bodies on Narrow Gauge chassis is the new discussion point and where the issue is.

Hornby could change this, and are likely the only ones that could simply because of their brand dominance. But what is the answer? Really of the 2 options P4 or HO, HO has potentially a lot more infrastructure available albeit with an American or german flavour. But with the ICE 3 being allowed to run to London, one has to ask the question.

But hey lets be honest. P4 or HO british outline trains are not going to be on the shelf on a shelf near you anytime soon!!!!!!!!!!!!
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neil_s_wood
post 30 Jul 2013, 22:37
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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 30 Jul 2013, 23:19) *
There is no benefit in Peco competing with themselves - so they can basically take the UK market for granted and need not bother catering for it's needs or developing new products for it. Even though it is almost certainly well over 50% of their sales

Pretty much sums it up. That's the way it is. I don't see any change happening anytime soon.

John, Whether Hornby branches out into HO depends upon whether they see it as business opportunity or whether it is counter productive. They are unlikely to make track that their trains can't run on so a branch out into HO track would probably have to have occur in conjunction with them making HO rolling stock. This is a bit improbable but it could be seen as an opportunity to resell all the same stock all over again to people who already have it but in a different scale. Bit unlikely but who knows.

Cheers

Neil


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Brossard
post 30 Jul 2013, 22:52
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I reckon that it would be risky for a UK manufacturer to switch to H0 from 00. Hornby do have European makes now to 3.5mm. It's hard to imagine Hornby maintaining an 00 and H0 line of models. Switching to H0 would alienate the thousands (??) of people who are invested in 00 and 4mm scale. Even P4 modellers are not averse these days to using Hornby models as a baseline.

Some years ago Rivarossi tried a hybrid scale of 3.7mm (IIRC) producing some very lovely Scot locos and Period 1 LMS coaches. It never caught on.

John


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Ravenser
post 30 Jul 2013, 23:43
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About 14 or 15 years ago , Heljan were induced by the HO Society to announce that they were going to make a British diesel in HO . They turned up at the biggest British show - at the NEC in Birmingham - for the first time, looked around them and saw that everything British was in 4mm scale (where it wasn't 7mm or 2mm)

Shortly afterwards they dropped the idea and announced they were doing a class 47 in OO

Lima tried British HO in the 70s and found their stuff sold 10 times better when they switched to OO

I can't recall is the Rivarossi Scot was 1:80 scale or whether it was just substantially over scale width . I do know that it wasn't an accurate scale model to 1:87 scale, though it was advertised as HO . In fact as far as I'm aware , every British HO loco ever attempted has been seriously compromised , either by not actually being to 1:87 scale or by being seriously out dimensionally. No British manufacturer would get away with the horrors sometimes perpetrated in Continental "HO" where some models are 1:100 scale in the horizontal dimension and 1:87 scale in the vertical ! (Piko's "Corails" come to mind - the windows which should be rectangular come out almost square!)

Nobody has ever produced reasonably accurate British outline models (certainly not locos) commercially in a dead scale gauge , in any scale. N guage equates to 4'5" for British outline, Gauge O is just under 4'7" , TT3 was 4'0, and Gauge 1 has two scales - I think the expensive ready to run Gauge 1 uses the less accurate scale
For the last 50 years of British steam , designers were working at the limit of what the loading gauge and engineering clearances permitted . Clearences don't scale , so to make workable models you have to narrow the gauge a bit.

Back to proper OO track. Just because it wouldn't be in Peco's interests for them to make it happen doesn't mean we are wrong to want it. Or to ask for it. In the 1990s we used to be told that it was wholly unrealsitic to have decent wheels, motors in steam locos not a tender drive, centre motored diesels driving both bogies with pickup all round etc . It wasn't going to happen . Hornby had no reason to do it, Lima didn't want to know, had decided the British would buy any old selfcouloured plastic tat at a premium if it had a collectors certificate in the box and didn't want to speak with anyone who told them differently (Lima were the only manufacturer who totally refused to communicate with DOGA)

Then along came Heljan with their 47 that had all these things, and suddenly the world changed
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john woodall
post 31 Jul 2013, 03:02
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All modelling is a compromise. If we used scale material then the items would be so thin you could not touch them.

A 26.4 meter coach scales down to about 30.3cm but for a long time European manufacturers produced 26.4 cm length coaches. Not by shrinking the window width generally, but by deleting windows. At least that is what most did. Now it is more common that there is scale length coaching stock in greater quantities.

In the mid eighties the Europeans started to produce stock and locomotives with close coupling mechanisms.
In the late eighties the Europeans started to produce Locomotives with DCC
In the late eighties the Europeans started to produce DCC accessible with a PC
In the early nineties the Europeans started to produce locomotives with sound
Flush glazing is a right not an optional extra!!!!

In the 2010's there is still a place for stock more than 10 years old, but there is also a greater acceptance that the detailing of even the 2000's is behind expectations for todays releases.

It is unfortunate that Hornby does not have a forward looking mentality similar to Marklin who are also as dominant market share wise in Germany and who has been/is/can be at the forefront of innovation.

The only obstacle to change is change itself. Look at how much is readily available to and how many are using P4 now. P4 is now a recognised part of the general hobby vs a niche part of the hobby that it was 20 years ago.

Until Hornby decided to equip their locomotives with DCC the average British outline modeller was not interested in it. Now look at its spread (20 years after the rest of the modelling world but we wont go there!!!!!)

The honest truth is where Hornby goes the market will follow. It is more likely that they will bring out P4 models than 3.5mm models.

One could argue that they should have brought out the entire Thomas range in 1:87. It would have sold and eased the transition into 1:87, but alas they didn't.

Now just a personal observation. Here we are talking about more accurately looking track for OO. Lima gets a bit of a battering (because they would not talk to DOGA). So I go and look at DOGA. and this makes me laugh. Double O is purported to be at a scale of 1:76. DOGA want finer track, finer wheels (they even have standards for these) and then they start talking about the NEM coupler pocket being the preferred option for OO. Now hold on to your mince and cheese boys because this is where it gets really interesting. they say and I quote "This pocket corresponds to that described in MOROPís datasheet NEM362, and in case of any conflict, the values and measurements given in that document for HO should be considered as also definitive for 4mm stock" so the placement above the rail head for a 1:76 coupler box should be at the internationally recognised placement for 1:87 stock??????????

As Mike Hosking says, "happy days"
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Richard Johnson
post 31 Jul 2013, 03:49
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*** They still can't get the wheels right though can they John :-).

Marklin are not at the leading edge of anything other than preserving a legacy system that is a multi-generational habit. 3 rail would have gone 50 years ago if that was the case. They very intelligently try to compartmentalise buyers within the brand - good marketing strategy, but it excludes them from any form of leadership in the realism stakes.... and they will before long revert to DCC as DCC, because they have belatedly realised that the sun does not revolve around the earth.

The 1 in 100 length thing is perhaps justifiable in a market where small set-track radii dominate. Scale coaches look quite stupid on tight curves. The EU 2 rail people take the lead in detail and accuracy improvements including scale coaches.

EU has taken sensible steps and made neat improvements such as generally available close coupling and other things that are really nice. A larger and more competitive market encourages that... a very good thing indeed.

Markets will evolve as fast as they are driven to do so, no faster - evolution is costly and nobody will spend faster than needed unless a hard recovery / pragmatic advantage is seen in doing so - DO not confuse market difference with the market want or marketplace abilities or intelligence - its simply "Suppliers need" - there are, unfortunately, few "scale modelling motivated white knights" in the commercial world.

P4 is as much Niche now as it ever was. EM is the same. Less than 1% of a market for both of them makes that clear. They will never grow beyond that as that potential passed perhaps 40 years ago. As nice as it is, P4/EM is in reality totally unknown in the general hobby or train-set market. BTW smaller radii are absolutely NOT usable with the markets favourite locos in P4 - 36" plus is a reality for big steam locos etc... P4 needs a whole new domestic architecture to flower in UK. BIG hobby rooms... and that can not happen realistically.

Thomas: There are already two full Thomas ranges, H and B. H is OO, B is HO. Thomas buyers do not care :-)....

Hornby and Bachmann have quite different focusses, H is a chain store/train-set brand that makes a few nicer things to keep the proletariat happy. B is much more hobby focussed. Leadership is relative to target market. Leaders rarely innovate, aspirants often do...

DOGA is as irrelevant as they have chosen to make themselves. I see their initial motivation as admirable but their current profile as zero.

However the one thing you Dis them for is quite relevant - the current UK wheel profile is in many cases slightly better than RP25, which is in reality finer than EU wheels but still coarse.... but then again, that was Chinese manufacturer led changes that did that, not DOGA :-) :-).

When will EU wake up to the fact that a beautiful model needs lovely looking feet, not gumboots. The UK coupler compromise is silly I agree, but then again BOTH EU and UK are wrong here - a coupler should mount on the buffer beam, not under it. In a way though, its "less compromising" than a bad wheel profile.

MOROP and NMRA are in reality quite similar - they pretent, but really just adopt and ratify manufacturer group decisions, they do not create them any more (if they ever did).

I quite like Ravenser's / Brossards approach to this discussion... and see the discussion as healthy and useful.

Evolution is not stimulated by habit or doctrine - there is no benefit/need for those with fixed ideas to repeat them in such discussions as it only echoes what has already been said ad nauseam.

My other track opinions have been widely and repeatedly written already, so I'll not repeat them...

Be careful what you wish for though :-) :-).

regards

Richard



QUOTE (john woodall @ 31 Jul 2013, 11:02) *
All modelling is a compromise. If we used scale material then the items would be so thin you could not touch them.

A 26.4 meter coach scales down to about 30.3cm but for a long time European manufacturers produced 26.4 cm length coaches. Not by shrinking the window width generally, but by deleting windows. At least that is what most did. Now it is more common that there is scale length coaching stock in greater quantities.

In the mid eighties the Europeans started to produce stock and locomotives with close coupling mechanisms.
In the late eighties the Europeans started to produce Locomotives with DCC
In the late eighties the Europeans started to produce DCC accessible with a PC
In the early nineties the Europeans started to produce locomotives with sound
Flush glazing is a right not an optional extra!!!!

In the 2010's there is still a place for stock more than 10 years old, but there is also a greater acceptance that the detailing of even the 2000's is behind expectations for todays releases.

It is unfortunate that Hornby does not have a forward looking mentality similar to Marklin who are also as dominant market share wise in Germany and who has been/is/can be at the forefront of innovation.

The only obstacle to change is change itself. Look at how much is readily available to and how many are using P4 now. P4 is now a recognised part of the general hobby vs a niche part of the hobby that it was 20 years ago.

Until Hornby decided to equip their locomotives with DCC the average British outline modeller was not interested in it. Now look at its spread (20 years after the rest of the modelling world but we wont go there!!!!!)

The honest truth is where Hornby goes the market will follow. It is more likely that they will bring out P4 models than 3.5mm models.

One could argue that they should have brought out the entire Thomas range in 1:87. It would have sold and eased the transition into 1:87, but alas they didn't.

Now just a personal observation. Here we are talking about more accurately looking track for OO. Lima gets a bit of a battering (because they would not talk to DOGA). So I go and look at DOGA. and this makes me laugh. Double O is purported to be at a scale of 1:76. DOGA want finer track, finer wheels (they even have standards for these) and then they start talking about the NEM coupler pocket being the preferred option for OO. Now hold on to your mince and cheese boys because this is where it gets really interesting. they say and I quote "This pocket corresponds to that described in MOROP's datasheet NEM362, and in case of any conflict, the values and measurements given in that document for HO should be considered as also definitive for 4mm stock" so the placement above the rail head for a 1:76 coupler box should be at the internationally recognised placement for 1:87 stock??????????

As Mike Hosking says, "happy days"


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Graham Plowman
post 31 Jul 2013, 03:53
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I agree with John Woodall.

There is a very big difference between how and why rolling stock models were inaccurate years ago.

The reason why models of old were inaccurate was because of a combination of the materials and technology used to manufacture them, a number of deliberately chosen compromises perceived as solving problems (shortened vehicles) and a lack of a will to actually make them accurate to scale plans.
Today, all of that has changed and that is why our models are very accurate. The aim of replicating scale plans in model form is now achieved as a norm.

Track on the other hand, is a different issue. It isn't about making it finer in profile any more because that has been achieved. It isn't about making it consistent with scale plans either - because it never has been. The problem with 00 track is that we have a product which has a fundamentally incorrect gauge to start with. If we tell a manufacturer to make scale 4mm track, they will deliver P4. But what some people seem to want to do is tell a manufacturer to make scale 00 track and oh, by the way, while you're doing it, we want the gauge compromised. A manufacturer doesn't know what to do!

I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to what individuals are prepared to compromise on and accept. Those who are not prepared to compromise will build thei rown track to the compromises they are prepared to accept, be that 'better 00', EM or P4.

When we researched this issue at MROL some years ago, we found that the number of people wanting 'better 00 track' was less than 5% of the hobby - a very small, niche market. Simon Kohler told us at the time that Hornby was market driven and if there was sufficient demand for something, they wouldn't rule it out. In practice, this market has never materialised.

Reallistically though, I think the loudest noise on this subject comes from those who are not prepared to build their own track - similar to the old MREMAG 'xyz manufacturer should make abc model. It will sell well because I say so and because I want it.'

And finally, I cannot see the point of any 'scale' track when people run sub-2 foot 6 radius curves - to me, such radii loose all realism and make the track debate pointless.


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Richard Johnson
post 31 Jul 2013, 05:02
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***Discussion always has value. By nature discussion has an open mind. Progress comes from discussion over time. Repeating an already well understood personal position several times in one discussion isn't needed?

Nobody and no company is ever going to "tell manufacturer to produce scale track" even if they want scale track - apart from the fact that no manufacturer would accept such a brief, it'd never happen. Whomever commissioned production would provide a specific design to meet their specific requirement and a set of literal dimensions and specs. Therefore that comment is not really relevant.

Modellers will buy the best of available options if it is made available. Some will build because they want to, but nobody will build if they do not need to.

I do not see an MROL or any other current survey as definitive. I also explore this subject and others quite often with modellers of all skill levels on several continents and see a different reaction. That isn't definitive either of course... but its also no less relevant.... the same applies to all opinions in the discussion mix. Each is backed by a personal point of view, so each is of value within the context of this discussion.

Of course those who do not want to build will make more noise - those who do want to build will not bother commenting... in the main they just like feeling special :-) :-).

Richard



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Graham Plowman
post 31 Jul 2013, 06:23
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Richard,

I'm not trying to push a personal point of view at all. I haven't been convinced yet that the solution isn't worse than the problem.
I am simply trying to encourage discussion and consideration of the practicalities.

With regards telling a manufacturer to 'make scale track', unfortunately, this is exactly what people on most fora have been telling manufacturers to do for years and with no specifications.

Interestingly, it is the specification area which is where differences of opinion will arise because this is where there will be disagreement over who is prepared to compromise on what and what is considered correct and what isn't.
Of course, you will probably counter that point by saying that the manufacturer would make all those decisions without consultation. It would be a brave manufacturer who did that these days! I don't think even you would feel confident of making the decisions to 'get it right', because, like most people, you wouldn't have the knowledge to do so.

Personally, I take the view that if something is to be done, it must be done with the involvement of professional permanent way engineers - and I think this is exactly what you would do in your research. Anything less and we will get what we have from Peco. The involvement of professional people will ensure that where compromises are made, they are made with sound reasoning and a proper understanding of the implications in a way that results in something which does look right.
As an example, take a B6 turnout. There is something unusual about this type of turnout which makes it tricky to model and line up. A professional person would suggest that this factor is a sound reason not to model a B6 and to select alternative types. The lay person would continue to model a B6 blindly and wonder why they couldn't make it work.
There would be plenty of other examples of this kind of issue.

My point about the MROL survey was simply an illustration of what we found. It isn't definitive. No doubt many other surveys have come to their own conclusions. We did research a number of retailers around the world in the process and this confirmed what we thought at the time - you will get different answers depending on who you speak to! No doubt things change over time.


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Brian Considine
post 31 Jul 2013, 06:28
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QUOTE (john woodall @ 31 Jul 2013, 03:02) *
In the mid eighties the Europeans started to produce stock and locomotives with close coupling mechanisms.


Some very good points raised there John & I'd generally agree.

Rowa produced stock with close coupling mechanism's (using a shortened version of the NEM pocket) in the mid 70's - they also produced clip in lighting units that individually lit each compartment. However, they were 1:100 length.
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john woodall
post 31 Jul 2013, 08:37
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QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 31 Jul 2013, 18:28) *
Some very good points raised there John & I'd generally agree.

Rowa produced stock with close coupling mechanism's (using a shortened version of the NEM pocket) in the mid 70's - they also produced clip in lighting units that individually lit each compartment. However, they were 1:100 length.



I didn't know that, but it does make sense that a niche manufacturer would do it before the Major Manufacturers.
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Brian Considine
post 31 Jul 2013, 09:10
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QUOTE (john woodall @ 31 Jul 2013, 08:37) *
I didn't know that, but it does make sense that a niche manufacturer would do it before the Major Manufacturers.


AFAIK, Rowa became Roco but the founder of Rowa has work with other manufactures since.

I have a set of 1:100 length in "POP" livery - they look nice in a rake, provided that they are not alongside 1:87 length ones !

Gradually assembling a set in 1:87.

On the subject of trackwork Rowa produced some excellent modular trackwork in 1:87.
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