Real Difference Between N & OO?

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
YeovilGlover84
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Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby YeovilGlover84 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:59 pm

Good Afternoon,

This is my first post, so please be gentle...

What is the difference between N & OO? I have read pages and pages about the variety and availability of stock, level of detail etc, but what is the brass-tacks size difference between them?

I am entering the fray of building a layout and am trying to get as much information together as possible before I start!


Thanks!

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skyblue
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby skyblue » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:37 pm

OO gauge is modelled as 4mm to the foot. So a 6 foot person in OO gauge would be about 24mm high as a model.

N gauge is (in theory) 2mm to the foot (although British N gauge is out of scale with the track - see this Wikipedia page . So a 6 foot person in N gauge would be about 12mm high as a model.

This means that you can get far more track and longer trains into the same space in N gauge as you get in OO gauge. However, this is not the only thing to consider, as the 'presence' of an OO gauge locomotive or piece of rolling stock is far greater, so in a sense OO gauge feels more like the real thing. For a beginner, OO gauge would have once been the way to go, however N gauge is now much better catered for in most areas than it once was, although there are more kits available for OO gauge.

You can get an OO gauge layout into a 6ft by 4ft space, but it tends to look a bit like a train set (although if that's what you want, fine). If you have limited space and want to create a mainline scene, N is the way to go. However if you want to shunt or to just have say, a little branchline terminus, then OO gauge could be the way to go. Equally, people have built massive OO gauge layouts (check out 'Bath Green Park) and others have built large N gauge layouts, such as a model of Elgin. It really depends on the space you have available, and what you want to do with it - do you want to do shunting or do you want to watch scale length trains passing through scenery?

There is more OO gauge stock available, though N gauge is quickly catching up. Generally, there is more detail on OO gauge models, but many N gauge models have amazing detail. There is far more OO gauge stock and equipment available second hand than there is N gauge.

I hope this helps, and I'm sure others will be happy to be of assistance.
Last edited by skyblue on Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bigmet
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby Bigmet » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:46 pm

Really, you need to see and handle the models to make a good decision. Any local model shops or model railway shows somewhere conveniently nearby? Or there's the very large Warley show at the NEC in November, which will show you a lot of possibilities.

Don't jump in buying stuff until sure of the way you are going, you can drop a lot of cash changing scales...

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alex3410
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby alex3410 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:51 pm

another vote for actually looking at them in real life - either model shops or toy fairs / model shows are all good places

I accidentally ordered a set of N wagons by mistake a few months back and they are tiny - about 1/4 of the volume of 00 wagons

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Emettman
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby Emettman » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:08 pm

"What is the difference between N & OO?"

About, with some interesting variations in practice, a factor of two for each dimension.

So if ten coach train in 00 (rough) is 11ft with a steam loco in front, in N you'd be looking at 5.5 ft. And that difference for every station platform on the layout.

But in area, the first approximation is in N takes up only a quarter of the space that 00 does. Width and length is halved.
But it's not as simple as that. Because it's easier to see the whole of a curve in N, it's often not a good idea to consider using curves as sharp as half their 00 equivalent. Giving up some space saving for better, broader curves is often a very good idea.
Even so N still allows types of layout to be made (for instance a long narrow layout widening at each end to allow end curves) which would require width awkward or problematic in 00.

Then volume: that's only about 1/8th of 00! When does that matter?
Principally for storage room, or taking a portable layout and stock by car. Then the difference for weight and volume can be very significant.

Cost is decidedly not halved for N. even if the layout is scaled down.
If the N layout has two or three times as many points, sidings and running lines, and the stock to fill and use them, in the same space that might have been an 00 layout, the cost can be quite a bit higher.

Difference in presence or style: if you are into running long express trains or wanting enough goods stock to justify heavy freight locos, the bias is going to lean in favour of N, simply on space.
If you like something quaint and rural or industrial or dockside with little locos shunting a few wagons and perhaps a coach or two, but with real feel and detail, then 00 has the edge, (if not skipping 00 and going upwards to 0 or G!)

My take, and only that.

Chris.
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

YeovilGlover84
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby YeovilGlover84 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:09 pm

Thanks very much for the fast replies! This is a great forum!

Not many local model shops round here (I'm in Yeovil). Looks like there's a decent one in Axminster though...

Does anyone have a side-by-side photo of like for like?

Thanks

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flying scotsman123
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby flying scotsman123 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:20 pm

There's a definite size difference, I am amazed that people can model such detail in 2mm. I'd agree to go and have a look at things in real life, but here's a picture of a set of OO gauge points and a set of N gauge pints with a 10 pence piece to give you an idea (ignore the sleeper spacing on the N gauge point, it's a possibility of OO9...):

Image
Image
Stone station in pre-grouping days, my layout. Workbench for other projects here.

kevin sharpe
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby kevin sharpe » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:43 pm

I moved from oo to n but before i made the move i went along to a few shows and had a natter to the operators to find if n would suit me so go and ask your questions you will be pleased that you have done so then you can splash the cash on what suits you
kevin

ParkeNd
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby ParkeNd » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:58 pm

Leaving aside people's subjective opinions like "presence" the only real difference is size. N Gauge locos, rolling stock, and track is just as detailed and reliable as OO and performs identicaly. Size is the difference. OO is 4x the volume of N gauge. Thus you will find that unless a person has space for a layout at least 16 ft long and 5 ft wide then operations will be a compromise. OO gauge layouts often have curves so tight you can see the track on both sides of a carriage at the same time.

By contrast N gauge can model a railway in the countryside in a space of 7 ft 6 ins x 2 ft 6 ins which makes it very house friendly. Detail in N gauge buildings and scenery is no harder to manage than OO.

Grahame
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby Grahame » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:12 pm

It's all down to what you are used to regarding size. N gauge is no more 'tiny' (as mentioned earlier) than OO gauge is massive (or as sometimes derogatively claimed 'Orribly Overscale).

However, 'T' gauge is tiny (3mm track gauge and 1:450 scale), 'Z' is small (6.5mm gauge and 1:220 scale) while 'N' is comparatively normal (9mm gauge and 1:148 scale for British outline). ;-)

G.

YeovilGlover84
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby YeovilGlover84 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:23 pm

I've just measured where I plan to make the layout. It's roughly 2.5m x 1.5m.

ParkeNd
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby ParkeNd » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:47 pm

These are N Gauge trains running on my 7 ft x 2 ft 4 ins layout - not yet completed. Perhaps someone will shoot a similar video of OO trains running on the same size layout with the whole board shown.

I would suggest you consider the layout rather than locos in a box.

http://youtu.be/Ee84dVTDF0g

And here are a couple of stills to show detail. Hope it helps.

Image

Image

Image

Image

YeovilGlover84
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby YeovilGlover84 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:09 pm

Thanks to everyone for the information and advice.

Thanks to ParkeNd for the pictures and video. Really surprised about the detail, and just how much you can get on to a relatively small space.

I am leaning towards N gauge, helped by the internet showing me that I can get "Tornado" in scale.

Thanks all!

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Emettman
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby Emettman » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:18 pm

YeovilGlover84 wrote:I've just measured where I plan to make the layout. It's roughly 2.5m x 1.5m.



Can you pass the the tin-opener?
This be a whole new can o' worms!
(Sorry, but be true.)

Is that where you were planning to put a single board, roughly 8ft by 5ft in the old money?
Does that have any access space on at least the two long sides?

If so, you would most likely be able to come up with far better layout if most if all the access/operating area was moved to the inside of the total area, and the train space moved to the outside, into what was going to be access space.
Easier reach, better view, and above all much gentler and more realistic curves to the track.
A bridge or a lift-out section to let you into the middle is not a major problem, compared to the positive factors.


The size would be quite feasible for 00, but would limit the length of trains.
In N your main issue would whether to have loads of track or more scenery, aiming to produce a proper landscape.
In both scales, but again more easily in N, there is room for gradients, allowing more than one level of track, which often makes better use of a given space.

Are you more after seeing trains run, or shunting a goods yard, or accepting and despatching trains from a terminus?
Yes, you can say "all of the above", but that's when compromises and choices start coming in...

Chris.
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

ParkeNd
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Re: Real Difference Between N & OO?

Postby ParkeNd » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:13 am

Despite was Chris says I would keep the decision about N or OO simple - because the choice really is simple. Think about the layout you want to fit into the space available and then see examples of both as layouts - not locos in a box in a shop.

As with anything else being made aware of every permutation of every conceivable option doesn't help you in the end.


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