QUOTE there is no longer any good modelling reason for maintaining OO.
Would disagree entirely. And the history has to be introduced as it guides us as to the reasons for OO gauge being adopted in the first place. Remember prototype British locomotives operate to a smaller gauge on the rail network than European and American counterparts and so would be significantly smaller in size in HO.
1) Unlike locomotives overseas a large number of British locomotives have wheel arches over the top of the wheels. Only a small number such as the Q1 and the BR Standards do not. OO gauge was adopted partly to permit the clearance of the overscale wheel flanges by these wheel arches and at the same time to preserve the appearance of the model in miniture.
2) The slightly overscale OO permits the bogies on locomotives with these overscale flanges to have sufficient clearance to swing at the angles required of them to function properly on the standard set track curve radius. Note that Hornby do provide alternative scale bogies with some locomotives for modellers who only have large radius curves.
3) Whatever one says the can motor even now just about fits within the width of an OO scale body. Think about why tender drives where introduced in the first place! And even now tender drives with traction tyres do have unbeatable pulling power. You can reduce the size of the motor but at the cost of hauling power and a reduction in overall performance (unless you want traction tyres back!)
4) Psychologically HO gauge is at a disadvantage for modellers because it involves working to a scale involving a fraction. (4mm to 1ft is much easier on the mind than 3.5mm to 1ft)
5) OO provides more room for accurate detailing of outside valve gear and cylinder detail taking into account the issues above.
6) A smaller scale alters buffer and coupling heights and could make uncoupling and coupling even more difficult than it already is for British outline locomotives.
7) Bearing in mind the fine detail that we currently enjoy on OO gauge British locomotives and the parts and components used to create this detail, I fail to see how these detail parts could be made any smaller/thinner without making the locomotives less durable and without increasing the costs of production. More and more things are shipped by the Post Office as a result of online sales so durability is an issue to consider.
I have said enough. Let the small band of British HO enthusiasts continue along their merry way with perfectly prototypical scratch built locomotives and track.
As a practical gauge for the family and the typical British household who wants something reliable that runs straight out of the box and on a layout that has been quickly set up then it is very hard to beat OO from a British perspective. Anything else is simply going to increase costs and prices!
And are we happy to pay higher prices for HO?
PS I know Lima and Rivarossi produced HO gauge models for the UK. Have a close look at their locomotives next time you get the opportunity and see what compromises had to be made to the bodies in terms of bufferbeam heights and wheelarch size and spacing. Only 25 years on and this would not be acceptable to the modellers of today I suspect.