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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Debie Smith posed an interesting question in the L.G.B. Scale thread, in the beginners forum. I think that the answer might deserve a thread of its own.

Her question regarded an illustration showing rolling stock in their relative sizes in the various scales that we deal with. I'm not aware of any such picture, but it may be out there some where.

I have made some calculations to indicate the length of a 40 foot box car in the various scales that we model and run.


The car length would be as follows:


Standard gauge 1:32 15"
Psuedostandard gauge 1:29 16.6"

Narrow Gauge (Delton and others) 1:24 20"
Meter (LGB) 1:22.5 21.3"

Narrow gauge 3' 1:20.3 23.6"

Narrow gauge 2' 1:13.5 35.6"


A 40 foot boxcar probably didn't exist in some of these gauges, but it gives you an idea as to how the same car might look if modeled in the scales that we use. That 40' car would be a monster on a 2 foot gauge train in Maine.


This may not be the illustration that you want Debie, but it is a start.

Chuck N
 

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Chuck's point that the so called common 40' boxcar may not actually have existed in the prototype world in all gauges is critical to the discussion.

Clearly in the standard gauge world of the period 1910 through 1955, the 40 foot car was king. During that same time period, the only large North American railroad using Cape Gauge (represented by 1:24) was the Newfoundland RR and their typical cars were shorter about 30 feet. The same is true for 3 foot narrow gauge represented by Fn3 or 1:20.3 scale where 30 foot cars were on the large side of the ledger. The Maine 2 footers are usually modelled in 1:13.7 and of course a 40 foot boxcar was not the norm there either. I cannot comment on the norms of railroads outside North America.

Post 1955, newly built standard gauge cars have overwhelmingly been longer than 40 feet. And the common boxcar of the first half of the 20th century is almost invisible in any length in 21st century railroading.

A more telling characteristic is not the length but the general bulk and appearance of the rolling stock. An end on comparison of cars shows that as the gauge becomes narrower the cars become disproportionately wider and squatter with a lower centre of gravity. Capturing this look is important in establishing the feel of a narrow gauge operation.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Doug,
Great point. I hadn't considered the narrow gauge "profile" before.

Dave
 

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3 foot narrow gauge represented by Fn3 or 1:20.3 scale where 30 foot cars were on the large side of the ledger.


It's educational to consider that a 1/29th scale 40' boxcar is 16.6", and a 1:22.5 scale 3' narrow gauge 30' boxcar is 16". Hence the inexpensive Bachmann rolling stock look great as imitation standard gauge cars.

A more telling characteristic is not the length but the general bulk


Very true. A 20' boxcar from a Maine railroad running on our g-1 45mm track (7/8n2 or 1:13.7 scale) may be only 17" long, but it will tower over a 1/22.5 or 1/29th scale car, and it will clobber all the scenery due to its width!
 

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Scot, that picture looks very interesting, but I can't get your thumbnail to work. Could you post a link?

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Posted By Richard Weatherby on 12/10/2008 10:47 AM Scot, great image. A six ruler would help get a feel for reality on the models.
Good idea! :) a ruler has been added.. Scot
 

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Now that I can see it, that's a great image, Scot! I'll be using that often to explain to people, even if they don't seem to care.


Thanks for posting!
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Guys:


This is the kind of discussion that I hoped would develop.


Scot, that is a  great illustration.  I especially like the 1:1 at the top.  It really shows that as the 1:1 gauge gets smaller (Left to Right) the models get larger in the same direction.


 


Chuck N 
 

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Thanks Scot. I will be staring at that drawing for a long time. It seems to really tell the whole story. The real trains show how the smaller narrow gauge becomes so much larger as the scale changes but the track gauge stays the same. Maybe this should become the "sticky" for this age old question. Maybe add a scale foot for each scale.
 

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Great illustration Scott. I am giving a talk to my club on all of the common large scale equipment currently sold by the different manufacturers. I will definitly use your illustration to help me explain to them what is happening in the large scale rr model world. Thanks Scot for making my job easier. I hope you don't mind if I make copies of your illustration to pass out to my club members.

Big John
 

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Posted By Dougald on 12/10/2008 6:25 AM
Chuck's point that the so called common 40' boxcar may not actually have existed in the prototype world in all gauges is critical to the discussion.

The same is true for 3 foot narrow gauge represented by Fn3 or 1:20.3 scale where 30 foot cars were on the large side of the ledger.


A more telling characteristic is not the length but the general bulk and appearance of the rolling stock. An end on comparison of cars shows that as the gauge becomes narrower the cars become disproportionately wider and squatter with a lower centre of gravity. Capturing this look is important in establishing the feel of a narrow gauge operation.

Regards ... Doug






Doug,

First, thanks for the data on Fn3. I find I'm having a problem figuring out what you mean by "...shows that as the gauge becomes narrower the cars become disproportionately wider and squatter..." Are you speaking of actual dimensions, or 'perspective' issues, where the narrower trucks/track tend to emphasize the 'bulk'? Or do you mean the cars themselves become wider, etc? (In other words, do the dimensions actually change?) I think I've confused myself, because I know from other sources NG rolling stock tends to be narrower than std gauge. Or do I? Still pretty new at all this. Apologies if it's a dumb question.

Les
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Les:

The relative proportions become lower and wider. A car built to standard gauge proportions would be quite top heavy on Maine 2' rails. Someone whose an expert on 2' gauge should chime in, but I think that there was only room for one row of seats down each side of a passenger car.


Chuck N
 
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