Hello John Turner and other doubters out there.
It may be true that the majority in the UK want 00 but I wonder how many would do so if HO were a viable alternative?
Returning to the hobby after a spell with HO in North America I decided to model UK outline. Big mistake! I looked for standardisation; there is none. Maybe today most of the offers from Hornby, Bachmann, Lima, Heljan will all run on Code 100 track but will they run on code 75? And what about couplings? And a standard wheel on rolling stock?
Over the years I have accumlated a large collection of British OO locomotives but were they ready to run? Yes, after I changed the couplings and, with many of the older models, changed the wheels, installed a DCC decoder, and gave the loco the right number. How nice it was in Canada to buy a North American HO loco (unpainted if I wanted), put it on the track and watch it glide away and, sine everything conforms NMRA standards, be certain that it would 'work' on my layout.
Unfortunately the major UK manufacturers are quite happy with the status quo. The abnormal 00 scale is a huge entry barrier for anyone wishing to tackle the UK market. It effectively prevents the major European and American manufactureres from entering. I take my hat off to Heljan for trying and wish them luck. They will get my support.
Yes, there have been attempts at UK outline in HO but offering toys, or one or two locos and not much else isn't going to do it. What customer wants to commit to one manufacturer? Now if Athearn, Atlas and Heljan suddenly started offering UK outline diesels in HO then the pressure would really be on OO. But of course, it isn't going to happen. And Hornby's current startegy is working fine. Have you looked at their share price lately?
The other way out of this mess it seems to me is P4. Just widen the gauge...modify the rolling stock, or at least the easier ones (I have to do that already) but going to P4 means I've now have to rip up all my trackwork. Next layout maybe...
No wonder OO lives..but please John, don't conclude it is the preferred option.