04 August 2022
Released in 2013, Peco's (ST-701) Starter Set is aimed at the O gauge newcomer and is arguably more relevant now than ever. Howard Smith takes another look.
Flashback to 2013 and ready-to-run models in 7mm:1ft scale (O gauge) were still in their relative infancy. However, thanks to one manufacturer, Heljan, which had cornered the diesel-electric-, diesel-hydraulic- and diesel-mechanical-outline market, a planned release of new and exciting prototypes was afoot, introducing the scale to a wider audience. Peco, model railway accessory manufacturer and the largest supplier of after-market track in the UK wanted in on a new range of customers...
From the box – and not all featured here – Peco's (ST-701) Setrack Starter Set contains all the components you'll need for a modest shunting, or rural station trackplan.
And so, it was in 2013 that Peco introduced a new range of Setrack (rigid, non-flexible track). It already had a range of O gauge flexible track in its Streamline range, with a choice of points and cross-overs, too. Alongside this, more involved customers could construct custom points using its Individulay range of components, sleepers, rail and chairs in 'bullhead' and 'flat-bottom' profiles.
Four bufferstops are included for good measure – another accessory that needn't be purchased separately.
While many new O gauge customers converted from smaller scales such as N and OO gauges owing to the 'buzz', detail, and keen prices of new RTR models, the spaces they had in which to fit a layout hadn't really grown. Fitting a modest layout with a minimum of a few sidings using the then current range of track was going to prove difficult. Flexible track does just that, but to a point. Tight radius curves can result in some odd-looking sleeper spacing if not laid perfectly. And, the cutting of track isn't as beginner-friendly as that provided in an off-the-shelf trainset to which many N and OO gauge customers were familiar.
What Peco needed was perhaps just that – trainset radius curves, ideal for the beginner, and the flurry of many short-wheelbase locomotives to arrive.
We've just been sent a review sample of Peco's (ST-701) Starter Track Set and (ST-702) Powered Straight for O gauge. Watch our quickview video of these re-visited products, below:
Read our full review in the October 2022 issue of BRM.
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