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Offline Mr. Ron  
#1 Posted : 01 January 2021 21:48:04(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 34
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
Out of curiosity, I was wondering why Lionel never designed their track similar to Marklin's track with the center stud pick up. The one thing that separates Lionel from being a model train as opposed to a "toy" train is their track. There has been a company (Gargraves) that produced a more un-toy like track, but still had the solid center rail pick up. If they would go with stud pick up, Lionel could then be a model railroad rather than a toy layout. Lionel now produces some very accurate models, suitable for model railroaders, but the track prevents this from happening. They have a model of a GG1 and a "big boy" that have high detail and cost around $1000. That puts them out of the child's toy train and into the serious model train world. Lionel trains have always been very reliable in operation, but their toy like track (tight radius and no ties) keeps them from being more embraced as a serious model. Their toy like operation and appearance is the reason why scale model trains came about. Everyone started with a Lionel train around the Christmas tree, but turned toward scale model railroading soon after. Lionel could become a scale model system if they would only change their track to a Marklin style track.
Offline rbw993  
#2 Posted : 02 January 2021 13:58:30(UTC)

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 710
Hi Ron,

They came close with "Super O" which came out in 1957. It had a very thin copper center rail. Still only had a toy like 18" radius curve for an O scale sized model. Lionel trains used twin rollers for current pickup exclusively since before WW II so really couldn't use pukos and maintain compatibility for all trains. Their current product, "Fast Track" has wide curves and resembles C-Track in form and function but still has the center rail.

There are also third party suppliers of more realistic looking with wooden ties such as Gargraves and Ross Custom Switches. I used them when I had a Lionel semi-scale layout.

Online artfull dodger  
#3 Posted : 10 January 2021 03:35:58(UTC)
artfull dodger

United States   
Joined: 31/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 385
Location: Indiana, Kokomo
Most in that scale dont give two craps about the center rail. Many wish Lionel had brought back Super O instead of Fastrak but expanded the Super O selection with much larger curves and better track switches. I have seen early prewar Bassett Lowke and Marklin gauge one redone with home built center Ski pickup so stud contact can be done on outdoor layouts and still run those beautiful vintage tinplate trains. I suspect it could be done, using Atlas O 2 rail track and making your own center studs using small brass or other metal screws run thru a cross tie and a power feeder run to each and every one. But that is more work than its worth. Most go with Gargraves or Atlas O with the blackened center rail. Maybe if Marklin had kept building O gauge in the postwar years and adapted the center stud contact system vs a rail, things might have been different. Mike
Silly NT's..I have Asperger's Syndrome!!!!
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