Broad Gauge modeling

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by nkp174, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Today I was thinking...gee...45mm track (LGB track) scales out to 7'1" gauge in O scale...pretty close to the 7'.25" gauge used by the Great Western Railway of Britain prior to 1892.

    I did a little checking, and the wheels from Aristo Craft's 2-4-2 are 1.75" tall...the same as 1840's Firefly of the GWR...or the 2" drivers from Bachmann's 4-6-0 work out to the correct size for the Iron Duke.

    Hmmm. This is very convenient. I certainly have too many projects on my plate for now, but this has potential :twisted:
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Don't think about more projects. Get the ones you have started done first.

    I don't see to many people modeling pre-1900, regardless of scale or country. But, rememeber, there were many US railroads greater than standard gauge prior to the civil war. I have never seen one of those modeled. And there are the australian broad gauges... Australia has some pretty inventive modelers - perhaps some people there model the broad gauge.

  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Please, don't give me another option. By the way. Look up Blackman Brothers in western Washington state. They used home built logging loco's in the 1880's that had 7 1/2 foot and wider, wood rails.
  4. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    I've noticed this. Can you explain to a non-model railroader why this is?

    I love early steam, the technology is fascinating and so many of the locomotives are gorgeous. Yet it attracts so few modelers. It seems strange to me to pass over the era of Flying Scotsmans and Generals and Iron Dukes to model boxy, utilitarian deisels - like choosing to model a UPS truck over a Duesenberg.

    Is it that model railroaders are largely drawn to the rail technology used in their youth? The complexity/cost of early steam models? Or is it that for many the draw is the modern industrial operational aspects of MRRing?
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    That's a speculative reason. But, I see more people interested in steam modeling now than I have in the past 20 years. I think that has to do with there are more good quality, lower priced steam engines available now than there were 20 years ago. In other words, people who wanted to model steam were forced to pay more for brass models, or put up with lesser quality plastic models.

    Also, steam locomotives varied from railroad to railroad. Diesels are more universally the same. To model any steam era means having to make compromises because it is likely prototype-specific models are not available for the railroad being modeled. Example: many railroads owned EMD GP-7 diesels. One can take a model of a GP-7, and simply paint it for the railroad and it is a close stand-in. A few added details (snowplows, horns, headlights) and that GP-7 can be a very representative model. Now, take steam engines. There was someone on here who wanted a model of a specific 2-6-0. While there are a few 2-6-0s on the market, none of the mass-produced models looks very close to the engine he wanted. Driver sizes and spacing are different, and the shape of the boilers are different.

    Now, dealing with pre-1900, there are other issues. First, link-and-pin style couplers are a challenge. Knuckle couplers on a civil war era train simply look wrong. Model link and pins are much less user friendly than knuckle couplers. Another issue is size. In scales larger than HO, you can make a reasonable 4-4-0 locomotive. In HO, it is difficult to make a pre-1900 4-4-0 that runs well. While smaller motors are much more widely available now than they were 20 years ago, the lack of size means lack of weight and lack of traction in HO and N scales. Many of the old HO scale 4-4-0 locomotives had their motors in the tender, or had the end of a large motor hanging out of the back of the cab. They ran like C.R.A.P.

  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Oh, I'm not jumping on it for a while...but the combination is tempting. The logging railroad also seems interesting. What got me started in thinking about broad gauge is that my laptop's desktop currently is a photo in Cornwall, UK...which was the western end of the GWR.

    Art Decko, I think nachoman has hit on a lot of it...I'll try to add my 2 cents...

    First, as nachoman said, diesels are cheaper than steam not only due to the fact that diesels were far more standardized, but also due to the lower number of details/moving parts. The standardization gets even worse in the 1900s and pre-1870s. The wheels on a steam locomotive models are commonly more expensive than the motors. Further, model diesels frequently have better pulling power...which means that 4 FTs can pull a very reasonable scale length train while my 2-8-2 can barely pull what one of the diesels could handle (in reality...the 2-8-2 ought to equal two of those diesels).

    If you don't really have a preference...a common thing for people whom haven't experienced mainline steam...diesels are a logical choice as they are cheaper. (that being said, I know a guy with a 45x60' basement filled with a diesel empire...and he's experienced mainline steam plenty of times). Most model railroaders today don't seem to be as interested in the building of their layouts, but rather in the operating. That fits well into the mass produced diesel market. It also adds to the aspect of hunting down current prototypes/paint/operations...where I do the same thing through books.

    Further, there are billions of pictures of modern steam/early well as many surviving examples...but few of 19th century...or especially pre-depression railroads. People tend to model what they've experienced or seen pictures the scarcity of survivors and lack of photos really hurt early modelers. It really shows when you see how there are hundreds of models of the D&RGW 2-8-2s and YELLOW Rio Grande passenger cars...even though their early class 56/60 2-8-0s were the most widely used narrow gauge engines and the passenger cars were GREEN for almost the entire existence of the D&RGW. Making it into the 1950s with steam did a tremendous amount to promote your railroad to modelers.

    I love steam. It's wonderful. Diesel is a bad word in my house...but I can still appreciate the work the diesel guys do...I just don't find their engines...or modern freight be interesting...I'm sure most of them feel the same way about my 26' wooden freight cars :)
  7. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Also, with regards to the younger generation, they arn't always interested in older technology.

    They want Acela's, TGV's, Eurostar's, Pendelinos, ICE's, Tenkhansen, etc. That's what makes digital trains good for our hobby as well, the fact that its way more "plug and play" than conventional analogue trains, and this can attract an impatient young person, who might later on in his hobby life aquire a taste for other trains.
  8. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Interesting and informative answers! Many factors I had not considered (HO scale link-and-pin couplers :eek:)! Now I'm surprised there's as much early steam as there is! :)

    Thanks for the insights, guys!
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Interestingly, there are a few sources for working link & pin couplers...seemingly more manufacturers than users!

    Page two of my freight car thread (in my sig) has a picture of some O-scale working L&Ps...I've installed them on one car so far, and intend to equip my entire 19th century fleet with them...currently 3 and 5/2 cars.
  10. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Oh, a working link and pin is easy, but you can't buy them at every hobby shop. And an automatic link and pin... as far as I know, you still have to couple cars the prototype way - by hand! Doable in O and larger, trickier in HO (the most popular scale).

    That said, if one really wants to model pre-1900, On3 or On30 is probably the way to go. Harold does good work with this.

  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    By that time, the trains you just described will be the "other trains". :cool:

    A few weeks ago I went to the Colorado Springs LHS and inquired about some turn-of-the-century rolling stock. Without batting an eye, the proprieter asked me "Which century?" It was a nice reminder that right now we straddle two of them, and can model in three centuries.
  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I guess it's the color photography.
    And I suppose this is why I'm not as interested in (especially lower) midwestern or southeastern roads. They didn't get as much coverage in the books and magazines I read when I was young as western and northeastern roads.
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I suspect it's also because the southern railways were so ugly ;)

    My first exposure to southern roads were in books on streamline trains, and wow are they ungainly. Yet, if I go 3 miles south of my house...across the river into Kentucky...suddenly the L&N is the only road that matters.

    I do find Southern PS-4s and such to be beautiful...but the western (UP, SP, AT&SF)/trans-Appalachian (NYC, PRR) railroads receive far more exposure than the rest of the railroads. Southern roads are definitely the most neglected, followed by Mississippi valley RRs, Northwest RRs, and then either midwest or North east.
  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Funny - I've always seen Pacific NW roads quite well represented. As I noted, upper Midwest roads (SOO, MILW, CNW, etc) get better coverage than lower Midwest and Mississippi area (KCS, MP, IC, GM&O, etc) roads. I guess that's since so many railroad books and magazines are by Kalmbach, located in the Upper Midwest. I have some interest in L&N, and it and Southern are the only SE roads generally represented. ACL/SAL/SCL are often cited as the most underrepresented major roads, but I think KCS takes that place.

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