RailKing.Co.UK O gauge track and lineside structures Overview
D. P. Associates Ltd. - Supplier of M.T.H. RailKing O gauge, Gauge 1 and HO products
[customers are respectfully asked to check our "small print" before committing to a purchase, UK residents are specifically requested to view the option on prepaying VAT]
MTH (Mike's Train House) is an American company renowned for decades or their Premier and RailKing O Gauge ranges of American railroad models. Their full catalogue covers a wide range of railway eras, prototypes and types or styles of models, for instance they still offer tinplate. More recently they have taken on Gauge 1, Ho and S gauge where their manufacturing techniques and patented electronic control systems have also been very well received.
MTH now offers four types of O gauge track. For those
interested in tinplate the track sections available are listed with the
other tinplate models. For those
who run the MTH Railking series of toy trains or the models from the
MTH Premier series either the Realtrax range (which has an integral
roadbed) or the Scaletrax range (which offers a range of wider radius
curves and turnouts/switches/points more in keeping with the Premier
series and scale modelling) may be suitable. The central rail on the
Scaletrax range is blackened for a far less obtrusive appearance and
this feature is also available on some Realtrax items. Most
of the track sections are continuously
listed in the MTH O gauge catalog(ue) and if a particular item is
listed as unavailable it should be re-run at some point. Naturally the
track may be used with many other brands of 3-rail O gauge locomotives
and most 2 or 3-rail O gauge rolling stock. More
Recently MTH has introduced straight and curved 2-rail Scaletrax
sections to better suit their scale flange locomotives. Just in case you were not aware the average american 3-rail
toy train should be able to cope with an 0-31 curve (only 31 inches
diameter) and the Railking range is designed to work with these tight
curves. The Premier models as a generality need a more generous and
realistic radius, the link to the MTH data page should detail the
curvature that a particular item can cope with but I have yet to notice
an MTH model that demands anything wider than O-72 (36 inch radius). In
some instances the Hi-rail version of a model may be rated for a
tighter radius than the equivalent scale flange version.
As a note to British and european modellers we do not recommend Peco (standard) O gauge track for Hi-rail wheels [it is possible that their sm-32 narrow gauge track might work better though that leaves you with the tie/sleeper scale aspect, and of course whether your track should have chairs rather than spikes]. MTH scale wheel locomotives can run on most brands of the more scale height O gauge track as well as Hi-rail. MTH american outline O gauge rolling stock defaults to Hi-rail wheels with wheels and axles conducting, in other words they would cause a short-circuit on 2-rail. The solution is to either source your own insulated wheelsets or get the appropriate MTH 2-rail (scale wheel) bogie pairs as listed in the "common items" -"spare parts" category. For the sake of completeness we mention that other brand 2-rail rolling stock ought to work on 3-rail track but any power-pickups as for coach lighting would not work unless one pole was adapted for the central rail..
Along with the track sections a range of trackside
structures, bridges, tunnels buildings and other lineside accessories
are also produced. Needless to say the majority of trackside
accessories may be used with any other O gauge equipment whether 2 or
3-rail, or indeed any likely O scale scenario whether railway related
or not. Some of these items may be regarded as in continuous production
but others do disappear from the catalogues.
If you are used to model railway catalogues that change slowly but generally continue to offer each line for a number of years then a basic description of the production and ordering system for MTH's O gauge items may be helpful. MTH decides on which prototypes to manufacture and puts them in a catalogue along with an estimated release date, generally within the next twelve months (experience has shown however that these production dates are very prone to slippage, with some delays being announced just a month before the prior expected delivery date, and to be realistic one should allow for as much as a further year's delay before expecting items to be shipped). Within a relatively short time of the catalogue being issued (say 3 months) the order book is closed. This permits MTH to build to order. The production quantities of any particular model are not limited to a pre-determined amount but some are obviously going to be produced in a smaller quantity than the actual demand. It is also possible that an item will be cancelled if insufficient orders are received. If MTH decides to re-run a model this would only be expected to occur after a two year gap and the new issue would be expected to have differences to distinguish it from the original run. One might predict that some items might not be so popular as others on initial issue and in overall terms those items will eventually become much rarer. As dealers we place orders with MTH against predicted demand, obviously it helps us considerably if we know what people want before the order book closes and therefore we are offering a pre-order system with lower prices.
Items on our lists can therefore fall into into several categories of availability:
IS - In stock, AO - Available to Order, PO - Pre
Order, BC - Book Closed (enquire), BG - Been and Gone, RKC - RailKing
Club item, DAP - Dealer limited item
Given our location we do not expect that many visitors but, if you ever are in the vicinity, by prior arrangement we would be pleased to show you what we have. We are happy to mail-order to anywhere the usual carriers can reach. If you would like to place an order then we provide a printable mail-in form, or alternatively you may place your credit/debit card order on line at our web-shop.