Standard gauge????

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by XavierJ123, May 19, 2005.

  1. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I read that John Allen had standard gauge engines on his Gorre & Daphetid railroad and I am not sure what that is. Is that HO? Larger or smaller? Is standard gauge still around? What is standard these days? I know this is a dumb question but it is bugging the heck out of me. Even the guys at the local model railroad club aren't sure. :confused:
  2. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    This simply means that John Allen didn't run narrow gauge engines - which is quite natural because his G&D RR was a standard gauge line. :D

    Gauge is the distance between the railheads. Standard gauge is 4 ft 8-1/2 " or 1435 millimeters. Most mainline railroads in Northern America and Europe are running standard gauge.

    Narrow gauge, logically, has rails which aren't so far apart - but there are lots of variations:
    - 3-1/2 ft. (1067 mm) is used a lot in Southern Africa - therefore it is also called Cap gauge.
    - Meter gauge - 1000 mm (ca. 3 ft 3") is common in European mountain lines (e.g. in Switzerland)
    - 3 ft. (914 mm) is most famous in the Rockies (D&RGW, Rio Grande Southern etc.), but also in the East (East Broad Top RR)
    - 2-1/2 ft. (760 mm) or the slightly narrower 750 mm gauge is also used in Europe (Austria has a few famous lines)
    - 2 ft. (610 mm): Most famous are the Maine Two-Footers like the Sandy River & Rangeley Lake RR

    On the other side there are also wide gauge lines. Examples are 1520 mm in Russia, or even 1668 mm in Spain/Portugal. As far as I know, wide gauge is also common in India (but which one?)...

    All in all there are over 130 gauges which were used or still are used today. :confused:

    For my friends from down under: Sorry, I don't know too much about the gauges used in Australia and New Zealand. :oops: Are you also running Cap gauge or standerd gauge?
    Could somebody of you enlighten us?

  3. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    So I still don't know if John Allen's standard gauge was: Z, S, N, HO, G, O or some other gauge that I am familiar with. But thanks for the enlighting facts about the different types of standard gauge per se.
  4. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    Gauge is the distance between the tracks. Z,N,Ho,O,G,F, are scales, or the ratio of size compared to the real thing. 1:1 is the real thing. Ho is 1:87, or 1/87th as big as the real thing. O is 1:43, or 1/43rd the size of the real thing.
    If the scale has an (n) after it, that means it's narrow gauge. An example would be On30. That's O scale, narrow gauge, 30" between the rails. It works out as O scale equipment running on Ho track.
    Hope that helps.
  5. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    If I remember correctly John Allen modelled in HO scale.
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Xavier: Z, S, N, HO, G and O are *NOT* gauges. They are scales.

    Scale is the ratio between the real world and a model's size: 1:87 is HO scale, 1:48 is O scale, etcetera.

    Gauge refers ONLY to the distance between the rails IN THAT SCALE. Standard gauge for American railroads is 4 feet 8.5 inches--thus, regardless of scale, if you note that a model railroader models "standard gauge," you would NOT know what scale he modeled unless it was specified elsewhere.

    Narrow-gauge (real-world) railroads used many different gauges, including 2-foot, 3-foot, 30-inch, and many others, while some railroads used gauges wider than American standard gauge.

    The regular nomenclature for scale/gauge is the scale, followed by a "n" (for narrow gauge) and a number. Standard gauge doesn't need specification, so anyone who models standard gauge HO can just call it HO. But if I model in S scale and use track that is 3 feet apart in S scale (3-foot gauge), then I model Sn3.

    Incidentally, John Allen modeled in HO. The Gorre & Daphetid was a standard gauge line--but he also had a narrow gauge line, the Devil's Gulch & Helengon, that operated on 3-foot gauge: an HOn3 layout, operating as a sub-layout of the G&D.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    By the way, the Pennsy go t the nickname the "broadway" because they used a 5' gauge for the mainline. If i remember correctly, Lincoln mandated them changing to 4' 81/2" during the civil way for logistics purposes in transporting the Northern Army and its supplies by rail.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    John Allen also did modelling in O Scale - standard and narrow gauges.
    In England the Great Western Railway referred to 4' 8.5" as "narrow" gauge because they started with 7' 0.25" and believed it was better.
    Lionel referred to their large trains (2 and a something gauge) as Standard Gauge.
  9. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    That was 2 1/8 inches. It was anything but standard--no one else was using it--but by calling it that, it basically became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then they trademarked the name to keep anyone else from using it. Nice of them, wasn't it?
  10. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    New Zealand has entirely 3'6" gauge, like most of Japan (apparently) and Australia originally did, on the recommendation of the UK at the time. (Remember that the UK at that time had only recently come down from broad gauge which was HUGE). New Zealand is still entirely 3'6", but Australia at some point a while back changed to standard gauge. There are still plenty of dual gauge tracks in Perth, for example, although mostly the 3'6" rail is unused and many have been removed.

    This means that in NZ to get accurate to the prototype we're actually modelling in TTn3.5, which means you can use N-gauge track, but the scale ends up as 1:120 (TT). It's also known as NZ120, and New Zealand Finescale (although I think they're technically a 2mm finescale standard, which means you can't actually use *precisely* N-gauge track, which is a pain).

  11. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Thank you Charles!

    A few weeks ago I saw a feature about the famous Tranz Alpine Express. Beautiful train and beautiful scenery - but they didn't even mention the gauge. And on pictures it is quite difficult to discern between standard gauge and the 'broad' narrow gauge of 3'6". Now I know! :)


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