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Some info on On30 Trains:
On30 uses the American O scale of 1/4" to the foot, (ratio 1:48) to operate trains on HO gauge (16.5 mm gauge) track. The 30 indicates the scale/gauge combination is used to model 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) (30") narrow gauge prototypes, although it is often used to model 2' and 3' gauge prototypes as well. This scale/gauge combination is sometimes referred to as On2½.
On30 is regarded as the fastest growing gauge/scale combination. Proponents of the scale suggest the appeal lies in the models representing "quaint" narrow gauge prototypes. The scale gives the models a certain bulk, and allows details to be easily seen. At the same time electrically and mechanically it is the same as the very popular HO scale, ensuring reliability of operation. Models can also round tight radius curves, allowing layouts to be built in confined spaces. Lastly models are cheaper to purchase than those produced for On3 or larger scales such as G gauge.
Critics, particularly in the United States, point to the inaccurate track gauge, especially when modelling 2' or 3' gauge prototypes. They also dislike the tendency to modify HO models, claiming this produces freelance models that would not have been built in reality.
In 1998 Bachmann Industries introduced a model of a 2-6-0 steam locomotive in this scale for the Christmas village market. This model, being very inexpensive, was quickly adopted by modellers. Other manufacturers followed Bachmann into this market, and Bachmann also introduced a number of other models. On30 is now regarded as the fastest growing segment of the model railroading market in the United States.
Many US modellers can be broadly cast into one of two groups. The first are freelance modellers, not modelling any specific prototype. These modellers are adept at taking HO scale models and modifying them with new cabs and other features into models without prototypes. A common saying in this group of modellers is that they model with "no standards", a reaction to the highly accurate modelling known as "rivet counting" found in some other sections of the hobby.
The second group model prototype American 3' and 2' narrow gauge railroads such as those used by mining and logging companies though to railroads such as the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The benefits of choosing On30 over the more accurate On2 and On3 gauges include the lower cost of models and the ready availability of track and accessories from Bachmann and others.