Gauge and Scale

Gauge is the distance between the rails. Standard gauge on the real railroads is 56-1/2 inches, derived from the wheel spacing on an ancient Roman chariot. Gauges wider than this standard are referred to as broad gauge, and narrow gauge is rails spaced closer than standard. Common sizes for narrow gauge are 2 feet, 3 feet, and meter.

Scale is defined as the proportion or ratio of the real train (often referred to as prototype) to the model.

The most recent addition to our club is a gauge one track (45 mm between the rails, or 1.7717 inches). This gauge has become popular with garden railroad enthusiasts in recent years. Although the trains are too small to ride on, many of them do run on steam! Some steamers use radio control to operate the controls in the cab. At least one of our tracks is electrified to run track powered electric trains.

Common scale and gauge combinations


1:32 scale = 3/8 inch to the foot = Standard Gauge.

1:20.3 = 0.591 inch (15mm) to the foot = Three Foot Narrow Gauge

1:19 = 0.632 inch (16mm) to the foot = 33 inch Narrow Gauge

1:24 = 0.500 inch to the foot = 42 inch Narrow Gauge

1:13.7 = 0.875 (7/8) inch to the foot = Two Foot Narrow Gauge



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