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Railroad men and their families are beginning to gather at the General Managers home early for the big day.
Introduced by Marklin in 1972, Z Scale Model Railroad is one of the smallest railway models available commercially (1:220), with a track gauge of 6.5 mm / 0.256 in. Z scale trains operate on 0–10 volts DC and offer the same operating characteristics as all other two-rail, direct-current, analog model railways. Locomotives can be fitted with digital decoders for independent control. Model trains, track, structures, and human/animal figures are readily available. In European, North American, and Japanese styles from a variety of manufacturers.
Z scale was introduced in 1972 at the Nuremberg toy fair by German manufacturer Marklin. The letter Z was chosen to represent the new scale. Due to its position as the last letter of the German alphabet. The signaling that there would be no smaller model railway scale commercially available.
Since then, several attempts have been made to introduce smaller scales to the market. But they remain niche products without significant following, the largest known, which is the T gauge (1:450, 3 mm (0.118 in) gauge). Originally running on 8 V DC, track voltage was increased to 10 V DC around the year 2000. Accessory power has always been 10 V AC. In 1978, a Märklin Z scale locomotive pulled six coaches into the Guinness Book of World Records by running nonstop for 1,219 hours and traveling a distance of 720 km (450 mi). The train stopped due to the failure of the motor.
Z scale has become a mature modeling scale. With model locomotives, rolling stock, buildings, signaling, and human and animal figures becoming available in increasing numbers. From an expanding variety of established and particularly smaller, fast-growing manufacturers. In the Z scale, layouts have won local, regional, and national competitions, including the best of the show at the NMRA National Train Show (NTS) in July 2001, in St. Louis, MO.
The Z scale’s small size makes it easy to fit more scale-space into the same physical layout, which would be used by larger-scale models. It can be beneficial to use the Z scale when building very compact train layouts, such as novelty setups in briefcases, guitar cases, or jewelry boxes. Several transportation museums, for instance, have used the Z scale to present real-world railway scenes. Z scale allows longer trains and broader, more realistic curves than is practical in larger scales.
G Scale Model Railroad or large scale (45 mm or 1 3⁄4 inches, G gauge) is a scale for model railways, often used outdoors due to its size and durability. It is also referred to as the “Garden Scale” and is one of the largest commercially available scales in model railroading.
G scale was introduced by Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk under the brand name LGB and was intended for indoor and outdoor use. Lehman Patentwerk, founded in 1881, started producing LGB in 1968. Märklin bought the remains of the company, and the production of certain items continues. The G name comes from the German word groß, meaning “big.” More recently, some people have come to interpret it as standing for “garden scale.”
The track scale soon attracted garden railway enthusiasts’ attention because of the robust and more reliable track. Coupled with products now available (or previously available) from more than 30 manufacturers around the world. G scale is seldom used indoors because of its size and the space required to track radii.
Though the term ‘G scale’ is used by many to refer to all models which run on a 45mm track. The same gauge as Gauge 1 – G scale refers more to LGB models. With a scale of either 1:22.5 or 1:24. Other terms are adopted for different scales used on a 45mm track. Such as Gauge 1 in the UK if modeling standard gauge.
If used with 1:22 scale trains, models of meter gauge railways can be created, popular in continental Europe. Any number of narrow gauge. The standard gauge models have been produced by manufacturers and enthusiasts to run on a 45mm gauge track. Three foot gauge-outline models with a scale of 1:20.3, or 15mm:1ft scale are known in the UK as ‘Fifteen Mil’, and internationally as FN3 – ‘F’ for scale, ‘N’ for narrow gauge and ‘3’ for the gauge.
In the UK, G scale is heavily supported by the G Scale Society and other narrow gauge modeling associations and regularly features in magazines such as Garden Rail.
N Scale Model Railroad is a popular railway modeling scale. Depending on the manufacturer, the scale ranges from 1∶148 to 1∶160. N scale and N gauge are often inaccurately used interchangeably, as the scale is defined as ratio or proportion of the model, and gauge only as a distance between rails.
While trains and items of similar scale existed as early as 1972. The modern N scale models were first launched in 1962 by the Arnold Company of Nuremberg. Unlike other scales and gauges, which were de facto standards at best. Within two years, N-scale manufacturers defined the gauge and voltage and the height and type of couplers. N scale has a huge following globally and is only second to the HO scale in popularity. Not all modelers select the N scale because of space limits. Some chose the N scale to build more complex or more visually expansive models.
The scale 1∶148 defines the rail-to-rail gauge equal to 9 mm exactly (at the cost of scale exactness). So when calculating the rail or track, use 1∶160, and for engines and car wheelbase, use 1∶148. All rails are spaced 9 mm apart, but the height can differ. Rail height (in thousandths of an inch) is expressed as a “code”: thus, Code 55 rails are 0.055 inches (1.4 mm) high while Code 80 rails have a height of 0.080 inches (2.0 mm).
Common real railroad rails are at least 6 inches (150 mm) tall. It can be taller on some roads so that the rails would be about 0.040 inches (1.0 mm) high at true scale. Many older N-scale models may not run well on Code 55 track as their flanges are often unrealistically large. Causing the wheels to bounce along with the ties instead of the ride along the railhead. Wheelsets with these large flanges are colloquially known as ‘pizza cutters’ due to a resemblance to the kitchen utensil.
One major advantage of the N scale is that it allows model railroaders to build layouts that consume less space than the HO scale. It also places longer track runs into the same amount of space because N scale models are smaller than HO scale models nearly a half. While the N scale is quite small, it is not the smallest commercially available scale, as the Z scale is smaller yet at 1∶220, and the T scale is 1∶450 or 1∶480. N scale is generally considered compatible with a 1∶144 scale for miniature wargaming.
O scale (or O gauge) is a commonly used railway modeling scale introduced by German toy manufacturer Marklin around 1900. Until the early 1960s, the O scale was the most popular model railroad scale in the United States. The popularity of the scale declined in Europe before the Second World War due to smaller scales.
O scale was in its prime when model railroads were seen as toys. With more attention on cost, durability, and the ability to be easily handled and operated by pre-adult hands. There was not much emphasis on details and realism. O scale is still a popular choice for model railroaders who enjoy running trains more than other aspects of modeling. However, recent developments have addressed scale model railroaders making the O scale popular among fine-scale modelers. For those who value the detail that can be achieved. The size of O is larger than OO/HO layouts and thus is a factor in deciding to build an O scale layout. Collecting vintage O scale trains is also popular, and there is a market for both reproduction and vintage models.
The name for O gauge and O scale is derived from “0 [zero] gauge” or “Gauge O,” being smaller than Gauge 1 and the other then-existing standards. It was created in part because manufacturers realized their best-selling trains were those built in the smaller scales.
Manufacturers such as the Ives Manufacturing Company, American Flyer, and Lionel Corporation used O gauge for their budget line in the United States. Marketing either Gauge 1 or ‘Wide gauge’ (also known as ‘standard gauge’) as their premium trains. One of the Lionel Corporation’s most popular trains, the 203 Armoured Locomotive. O gauge and ran on tracks with rails spaced 1.25 inches apart. The Great Depression wiped out demand for the expensive larger trains, and by 1932, O gauge was the standard, almost by default.
Since the early 1990s, O scale manufacturers have begun placing more emphasis on realism. The scale has experienced a resurgence in popularity. However, it remains less popular than HO or N scale. However, newer manufacturers, including MTH Electric Trains, Lionel, LLC, Atlas Model Railroad Co, and Weavermodels. Make very exact, 1:48 scale models of trains.
O Scale in the UK is commonly 1:43.5 or 7 mm to the foot. In continental Europe, it is commonly 1:45 though 1:43.5 is also used particularly in France, and in the USA 1:48. Each region tends to design models to its own scale. The NMRA and the MOROP maintain detailed standards for various scales to help model makers create interoperable models.
HO Scale Model Railroad, which uses a scale of 1:87 (3.5 mm to 1 foot). The rails are spaced 16.5 mm (0.650 in) apart for modeling 1,435 mm (4 ft. 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge tracks and trains in HO. The HO scale is the most popular in railway modeling worldwide. The name HO comes from the 1:87 scale being half that of the O scale, which used to be the smallest of the series of older and larger 0, 1, 2, and 3 gauges, which were introduced around 1900 by Märklin. In English speaking markets, it is written as HO, but in other markets, the letters H and number 0 (zero) are used.
The term HO can be stretched in model railroading. Some manufacturers in the UK have marketed railway items such as figures and detail items as “HO/OO” to appeal to modelers in both scales. The actual scale sometimes is OO, and the difference is negligible (about 1:82). These items may therefore be marketed as HO, especially in the US. Some producers also tend to label any small-scale model as an HO scale regardless of the scale to improve their sales to hobbyists and modelers. For example, there may be a great variation in the sizes of HO automobiles from different manufacturers.
The “gauge” of a rail system is the distance between the inside edges of the railheads. It is distinct from the concept of “scale,” though the terms are often used interchangeably in rail modeling. “Scale” describes the size of a modeled object relative to its prototype. Prototype rail systems use various track gauges to model several different gauges on the same scale.
The gauges used in the HO scale are a selection of standard and narrow gauges. The standards are defined by the NMRA (in North America) and the NEM (in Continental Europe). While the standards are in practice interchangeable, there are minor differences.
Due to the huge popularity of the HO scale, a wide array of models, supplies, and kits are produced. The annual HO scale catalog by Wm. K. Walthers, North America’s largest model railroad supplier, lists more than 1,000 pages of products on that scale alone. Models are generally available in three varieties:
Several manufacturers also market individual supplies and these kits for super detailing, kitbashing, and scratch building.
S scale (or S gauge) is a model railroad scale modeled at 1:64 scale, S scale track gauge (space between the rails) is 0.883 in (22.43 mm). This gauge trains are manufactured in both DC and AC powered varieties.
S scale is one of the oldest model railroading scales. The earliest known 1:64 scale train was constructed from the card in 1896. The first working models appeared in England in the early 20th century. Modeling in S scale increased in the 1930s-1940s when CD Models marketed 3/16″ model trains. American Flyer was a manufacturer of standard gauge and O gauge “tinplate” trains, based in Chicago, Illinois. It never produced S scale trains as an independent company. A.C. Gilbert Co. purchased Chicago Flyer in the late 1930s. Gilbert began manufacturing S scale trains around 1939 that ran on three rails “O” gauge track. This was known as the 3/16″ O gauge. Gilbert stopped producing trains during WWII. When the war ended, Gilbert began producing true S scale S gauge trains in 1946 under the American Flyer mark.
The term “S scale” was adopted by the National Model Railroading Association (NMRA) in 1943 to represent that scale that was half of 1 gauge, which was built to 1:32 scale. A.C. Gilbert’s improvements in 1:64 modeling and promotions of S gauge largely shaped the world of 1:64 modeling today. S gauge entered what many consider its heyday in the 1950s. Although there is more available in the S scale today than was available during this period. However, during that period, Lionel outsold American Flyer nearly two to one. American Flyer’s parent company went out of business. The brand was sold to a holding company that also owned Lionel in 1967.
Lionel re-introduced S gauge trains and accessories under the American Flyer name in 1979. Another S manufacturer, American Models, entered the marketplace in 1981 and is also one of the major S suppliers. S-Helper Service, another major S gauge manufacturer of locomotives, rolling stock, track, and other products. Began operations in 1989 and delivered their first S products in 1990. In 2013, S-Helper Service was sold to MTH Electric Trains. And while the S scale market has seen several brass model manufacturers, today, the major brass model supplier in S scale and S gauge is River Raisin Models.
Today’s S gauge and S scale modelers have a greater selection and higher quality products from a wide range of manufacturers than in the past. In addition to locomotives, rolling stock, and track basics, various manufacturers now offer S scale structures, detail parts, figures, other scenic items, bridges, and more. The largest S Scale layout in the United States is the Cincinnati in Motion exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.
Train Couplers is a mechanism used to connect rolling stock in a train. The design of the coupler is standard. This is almost as important as the track gauge. Since flexibility and convenience are maximized if all rolling stock can be coupled together.
These are the ones that probably came with your original equipment. They don’t look anything like the prototype train couplers. They rely on side pressure to hold them together. This is a major problem when backing up because the side pressure often causes derailment. Rapido couplers are used with most original N scale equipment with similar disadvantages.
These are more prototypical, they look better, and they work well with the magnetic uncouplers. Also, you don’t have as many derailments when the drains are backing up. Some people like to put Z scale knuckle couplers on the fronts of N scale locos (or N scale couplers on HO locos). The smaller train couplers look more realistic on the larger models. The same idea can apply to the backs of cabooses.
Most people don’t like horn hook couplers. They can’t wait to replace them with (or “convert” them to) knuckle couplers. They are more realistic and work well with the magnetic uncouplers. This takes a certain amount of time and effort to convert all of your equipment to knuckle couplers. This is why people usually do this in a stepwise fashion, converting locomotives and cars one at a time. Sometimes mixing them in consists till they are all converted. You can have several conversion cars on which you have a horn hook or Rapido (in N scale) coupler on one end. A knuckle coupler on the other so that you can connect both types within your consist.
Kadee was the first manufacturer to develop this system. In which a special magnet (not just any magnet) is positioned under the track. At a strategic location like in front of a branch line, spur, or ladder. Such that when a train is backed up and stopped with the knuckle coupler over the magnet. The “glad-hands” of the coupler come apart when slack is allowed.
These are also available from Kadee for all scales, primarily electromagnets activated by applying current to a wire wrapped around a cylinder many times, which creates a magnetic field. These have to be mounted in a space cut out from under the track, which is really no problem if you’ve used foam for your sub roadbed.