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MODEL RAILWAY SCALES & GAUGES
Model railways are generally based upon either standard gauge track (4ft 8½in prototype track gauge) or narrow gauge track which can be to any smaller track gauge usually for industrial or light commercial use. The exception is broad gauge the most common (7 ft 0¼ in) used by the early GWR before standardisation of the track gauge until 1892, and 5 ft 3 in used in Ireland and some areas of Austria. If modelling in narrow or broad gauge then this is usually to a standard model railway scale i.e. 2mm, 4mm or 7mm to the foot. The more popular scales/gauges are discussed below. Most British railway modellers have to make the decision based on space available between N gauge or OO gauge.
1.5mm to 1ft (1:200 Scale)
Z Gauge - 6.5mm (between inside track rails). The smallest of commercial scale manufactured by Marklin with generally European and American prototypes. Often used for 'suitcase' type layouts.
2.0mm to 1ft
N Gauge - 9.0mm (between inside track rails). UK scale 1:148. The most popular small commercial scale manufactured by many international manufacturers including Graham Farish (Bachmann), Bachmann, Minitrix, Roco, Kato, Fleischmann, Atlas etc. For more information visit http://www.ngaugesociety.com/
2mm Scale - 9.42mm (between inside track rails). 2mm to 1ft or 1:152.3. The true to scale purist 2mm scale. All track and stock hand constructed. Visit http://www.2mm.org.uk for more information.
3.0mm to 1ft (1:101.6 Scale)
TT Gauge - 12.0mm (between inside track rails). Not used in the UK by any commercial modeller since Triang discontinued their parallel series to the more popular OO gauge. Taken on board by enthusiasts as the ideal scale between N gauge and OO gauge by the Three Millimetre Society. Visit www.3mmsociety.org.uk for more information.
3.5mm to 1ft (1:87 Scale)
HO Gauge - 16.5mm (between inside track rails). Internationally the most prolific scale available but not used in the UK due to an historical issue. This is the most accurate scale for standard gauge track and used by some enthusiasts for British model railways - Visit http://www.british-ho.com for more information. Some early UK commercial efforts by Fleischmann and Lima floundered against the more popular UK OO gauge which shares the same 16.5mm track. The most popular scale in Europe and America with many commercial manufacturers including Fleischmann, Trix, Heljan, Marklin, Rivarossi, Electrotren, Bachmann, Kato, Lilliput, Athearn, Atlas etc.
HOm Gauge - 12.00mm (between inside track rails). Used to model Swiss metre narrow gauge track. Track and turnouts manufactured by Peco.
4.0mm to 1ft (1:76 Scale)
OO Gauge - 16.5mm (between inside track rails). The most popular UK model railway scale with ready to run manufacturers including Hornby, Bachmann, Heljan, Dapol and Vitrains. An extensive variety of products are available for this scale which may be used with the following more accurate gauges. The enthusiasts group for this gauge is http://www.doubleogauge.com
EM Gauge - 18.20mm (between inside track rails). A more scale option
to OO gauge EM offers a close to scale track size for 4mm scale allowing the use
of some altered commercial ready to run stock combined with 4mm kit built stock
and accessories. For more information visit http://www.emgs.org
009 Gauge - 9.00mm (between inside track rails). The most popular
narrow gauge scale as this allows for the use of N gauge chassis and most 4mm
accessories. Track and turnouts available from Peco and other European
manufacturers. For more information visit http://www.009society.com
4.76mm to 1ft (1:64 Scale)
S Gauge - 22.45mm (between inside track rails). Generally an American
gauge but with some support in the UK via http://www.s-scale.org.uk
S gauge uses 3/16" scale between 4mm scale and O gauge.
7.00mm to 1ft (1:43.5 Scale)
0 Gauge - 32mm (between inside track rails). The most popular 7mm scale now seeing an influx of ready to run items from Bachmann, Heljan, Skytrex etc. For more information visit http://www.gaugeOguild.com
Scale Seven - 32.95mm (between inside track rails). The scale track option for 7mm scale.
0-16.5 Gauge - 16.5mm (between inside track rails). Uses OO gauge spaced track allowing commercial OO gauge locomotive chassis to be used under narrow gauge 7mm kits. Track and turnouts manufactured by Peco.
G Gauge (1:29 - 1:32 Scale)
The largest commercial scale with manufacturers including LGB, Bachmann and Aristocraft. Scaled to suite the modelled prototype, the track is manufactured to 45mm gauge.