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I am wanting to get started in G scale railroading, but I do not understand why the sizes of G scale locomotives and rolling stock are manufactured in 1:20.3 (Bachman), 1:22.5 (who knows! (LGB ?) 1:24 (which I understand is true G scale), 1:32 ( I don't know who makes this scale) and 1:29 ( Aristocraft and USA Trains). Why doesn't all the manufacturers get together and standard-ize the scale to 1;24, which as I understand from my research is the true scale (1:24) for everything that is called G-scale. In my opinion if every manufacturer of american standard prototype locomotives would make all locomotives and rolling stock in true G-scale or 1:24 you would have a more prototype looking G-scale locomotive and rolling stock, instead of an american looking loco or rolling stock running and setting on narrow track ( european 45mm) and rolling on narrow spaced wheels and trucks, which to me gives the appearance of lilliput trains.
After all if track gauge were to be scaled to 1:24, true G-scale, then prototype rail spacing of 4'-81/2" would be 2.333" and prototype narrow gauge rail spacing of 3'-4" would be 1.667" respectively in true G-scale dimensions of 1:24 and if locomotives and rolling stock were scaled to 1:24 the look and operation would in my opinion be more prototypical of american railroads past and present.
After-all how many of us who love railroading and get into model railroading actually build and model a European railroad, I no I haven't and don't plan to either, I plan on continuing to model the good old railroad of the USA .
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You are right, it would have been nice if there was just one scale, but that is not how it worked out and we seem to be stuck with the way things are.

There is one good thing about the situation... if you model narrow gauge, your friends that model standard gauge can come to your house and run trains on your track and vice versa.

As for how many would like to model European railroads... well, probably most Europeans... many of whom frequent this web site on the INTERNATIONAL internet.
 

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History, and just the way things worked out. The term "G scale" was ostensibly a marketing label coined by LGB when they introduced their line of indoor/outdoor trains. It never was an "officially" recognized scale in the way O, HO, or the other scales were. The "G" stood either for "Gross" (german for "large), or "Garten" (german for garden). These trains were designed to run on the long-established #1 gauge track, which is 45mm between the rails. Because these trains were models of narrow gauge prototypes, LGB chose a stated scale of 1:22.5, so the gauge worked out to 1 meter, a common gauge in Europe.

The moniker "G scale" stuck with the trains as more and more manufacturers began introducing trains compatible with LGB's products. Some of these were 1:22.5, some were 1:24. Almost all of these were models of narrow gauge trains, most whose prototypes ran on 3' gauge tracks--common in the US. As such, the gauge was slightly wider than it "should be" for the given prototype. Pretty much everyone didn't really care, though. During this time, there were a few companies offering 1:32 scale (true #1 scale) trains to run in the garden, but by and large, these never really caught on. They were smaller than the LGB and other trains, and didn't have that "wow!" factor. Aristo-Craft (then known as REA) noticed this, and recognized that if they wanted to produce models of standard gauge trains (4' 8.5" between the rails), then they'd have to fudge the scale a bit to make the trains visually the same size as those offered by everyone else. Hence, they came up with 1:29. At no point was there any attempt to segregate the scales, as the vast majority of the people in the hobby ran everything together anyway, and didn't see the need for individual scale designations.

Fast forward a few years to the introduction of 1:20.3. This is the "correct" scale for modeling 3' gauge prototypes running on 45mm track. For the longest time, most narrow gauge enthusiasts were happy using 1:22 or 1:24, but devout followers of narrow gauge knew there was just something "not quite right." The equipment looked great, but lacked that "narrow gauge look" achieved by large cars running on seemingly impossibly close together rails. The 1:20.3 movement was born out of a desire to correct that. In the past 10 years, it's gone from curiosity to established practice. It does carry an "official" scale designation--"F" scale (or more appropriately Fn3, for F-scale, 3' narrow gauge), though most still refer to it as 1:20.3.

So, that's the nutshell history of why we've got at least 5 scales running under the common moniker of "G scale." Yes, it's very confusing, and many long-time hobbyists still don't know or even care about the differences. Today, the hobby seems to be migrating into either the 1:29 standard gauge camp or the 1:20.3 narrow gauge camp. This isn't a bad thing, as it begins to bring a bit of definition to the hobby. I don't know that we'll ever see such a clear-cut difference between the scales the way there is in the smaller scales.

Later,

K
 

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I'm a newbie to this hobby and I've been thinking about this a lot. As EBT said, the "scales" evolved in a kind of haphazard way. I like American mainline, end of steam era stuff, and have a bunch of Aristo 1:29, but I've been thinking that unless you have a really big layout, 1:20 narrow gauge stuff looks better. You can get away with tighter curves and shorter trains: it scales better for outdoors, at least it would on our small layout, which is about 250 feet. If I were starting from scratch today, and wanted to model American mainline, I'd probably go with MTH or others 1:32, which is enough smaller than 1:29 that you can get a mainline look in a smaller space
 

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Just have to point out that 1:32 is the "correct" scale for standard gauge on 45mm track.
Might also mention that the recommended minimum radius is about 10' (20' diameter), which might explain the popularity narrow gauge.

Harvey C.
Should also confess I build 1:16 models giving me a maverick gauge of 28"
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 03/24/2008 10:18 PM
You are right, it would have been nice if there was just one scale, but that is not how it worked out and we seem to be stuck with the way things are.

There is one good thing about the situation... if you model narrow gauge, your friends that model standard gauge can come to your house and run trains on your track and vice versa.

As for how many would like to model European railroads... well, probably most Europeans... many of whom frequent this web site on the INTERNATIONAL internet.


The only difficult part about 'g-scale' is that some of the manufacturers refuse to label their products to identify their scale and gauge.  [Unfortunately, in the early days, the culprit was the biggest supplier - LGB!]

In any other scale, the maker labels the box clearly: "HO" or "N" scale, so you know it is a 1:87th scale model running on 16.5mm gauge track.  Today most domestic manufacturers label the box, and you really have only 2 choices:  standard gauge or narrow gauge trains.  

Standard gauge trains at 1/29th or 1/32nd look fine together, and narrow gauge trains at 1:20.3 or 1:22.5 look fine together, though most folk pick one and try to stick to it.  A bonus is that a narrow gauge 30' boxcar in 1:22.5 scale is about the same size as a 40' standard gauge boxcar in 1:29th scale, so you can run them together and no-one will notice.
 

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Well....

Having studied the other posting by the author of this thread -could I ask that he do a little background research into his subject before sounding off? 1:24 scale is the scale normally used here in the UK to model CAPE GAUGE locomotives and rolling stock on Gauge 1 track -ie 3 feet 6 inches - a narrow gauge. Although this gauge is common throughout the former colonial railways -I am not aware of this NORWEGIAN devised gauge being used in the United States(?) The scale 1:24 was always used (pre-world war 2) for Gauge 3 (63.5mm) locomotives and rolling stock even though this gave a 5 feet gauge in scale -making it more suited to Irish and Iberian gauge prototypes...

I do know that there were Broad gauge US lines (I think the ERIE was the last one?) could it be that he is refering to this? I also find his comment of "1:32 I don't know who makes this scale" -to be very perplexing!!!!

regards

ralph
 

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Ralph

Just a FYI, the Erie changed from a gauge of 6'-0" to Standard gauge on Tuesday June 22, 1880. In the southern states of the U.S. the common gauge was 5'-0", then between May 31 and June 1, 1886 11,500 miles of track were changed.
 

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Steve,

I never thought about how quickly the changeover from the different gauges to 'standard' gauge happened.  11,500 miles of track is a LOT of track!!  And probably done mostly by hand!

Mark

PS - G- Baby,  welcome to MLS! 
 

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Yep, ALL by hand... no track laying machinery in those days.  And pay close attention to the dates given... that is JUST ONE DAY!  To be sure, all the spikes had been set for the outside distance, so all that needed to be done was to pull the spikes on the inside outside of one rail and the rail slid over and the inside spikes driven to hold it against the preset outside spikes.  Then the outside spikes driven tight.  Thousands of men in hundreds of track crews... some areas there were almost as many men as ties.  Actually, they didn't need to completely spike the entire line perfectly in that one day.  But for that one day, no trains ran at all. The work was completed (full spiking and guage checking) in the next few days and weeks so during that time, trains ran slow, but they the trains were only stopped for one day.
 

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One DAY??!!! (Dang....) Obviously not a Govt. contracted job!;)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

Y'know, G scale/ G Gauge.....whatever! has always been the odd relative in the family (you know, the one that everybody else pretends not to notice...)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
Rather than try to conform to the smaller scales methods of doing things, we relish our "quirkiness" and are somewhat militant when well-intentioned but somewhat naive people try to change us! Strangely enough, I would say we are also (as a collective group) the most inclusive bunch specifically because we incorporate so many different scales and eras in places where scale doesn't mean all that much! (Ex: Try running a 1:20.3 Shay with 1:22.5 narrow gauge flat cars, a 1:20.3 box car, some 1:24 gondolas and a 1:29 caboose around a 1:1 garden that scales out to something from the Land of the Giants!!):rolleyes:

Don't worry if the scale/gauge thing doesn't make complete sense! As far as we can tell, there are only a few master modelers modeling indoors that have got the "rivet counting" thing down pat! The rest of us do what we want to a greater or lesser degree and no one can tell us that we are wrong!!!:cool: Vive la differance!!!
 

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How long did it take to get all the rolling stock corrected?!  One day, your 5' gauge loco is perfect.  The next day, it is 3 1/2 inches too wide!  Imagine what that did to the siderods....

Mark
 

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Posted By markoles on 03/26/2008 1:45 PM


How long did it take to get all the rolling stock corrected?!  One day, your 5' gauge loco is perfect.  The next day, it is 3 1/2 inches too wide!  Imagine what that did to the siderods....

Mark

Not sure about the Erie, although I figure that they did something pretty similar. However, in the case of the change over on the southern roads there was a great deal of preparatory work done prior to the change. All of the rolling stock including motive power were shopped and had the axle's turned and cut back for the correct gauge, then a spacer was put on and the wheel replaced, so when the change came all that was required was pulling the wheels, removing the spacers and re-seating the wheels.

If you really check very closely, you'll find that the Erie didn't actually go to 4'-81/2", they went to 4'-9", and when the change was made in the south they matched it at 4'-9" too because some of the railroads had interchange with the Erie. Then over time, through regular maintenance the last half inch in gauge change was accomplished

As a matter of fact the U.S. came very close to having the 5'-0" as the standard. The earliest U.S. federal mandate for the 4'-81/2" Standard Gauge that I've been able to locate is Senate bill S. 483, submitted in the 3rd Session (i.e. 2nd DEC. 1861 ~ 3rd MAR 1863) of the 37th Congress of the United States of America by Senator James Harlan (W/R Iowa). As can be seen in the following PDF file that I created. Which stipulated that the gauge for the Pacific Railroad and any line connecting to it had to be of a 4'-81/2" gauge. United States Standard Gauge: Senate Bill S.483


Even here once again there was controversy because Congress had overridden President Lincoln's executive order (JPEG image available from the link below) had specified a gauge of 5'-0" for the Pacific Railroad of Transcontinental railroad fame. in deference to his friend's in California wishes.
President Lincoln's Directive
Pacific Railroad: Gauge of 5'-0"
 

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Charlies I like your explaination of how the rails were changed in one day. However we have to remember that we are narrowing the guage. so it would have been the inside spikes which would have been pre set. and the rail slide in to  get the 4' 8 1/2"

Bruce:rolleyes:
 

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Posted By cnengineer on 03/26/2008 4:20 PM
Charlies I like your explaination of how the rails were changed in one day. However we have to remember that we are narrowing the guage. so it would have been the inside spikes which would have been pre set. and the rail slide in to  get the 4' 8 1/2"

Bruce:rolleyes:


Yeah, I was half right before I edited the text to make it all backwards.  That's what I get for switching my laptop to the other knee.  But the gist of what they did is still there... set spikes on one side to accept the rail, then pull some and slide the rail over and spike it down again.  Really easy to do quickly if everything is prep'd properly... but still to do 11,500 miles almost all at once was quite a feat.  I figure most of the time was spent doing switches, crossovers and grade crossings.  Other things that had to be considered would be major station platforms (you could remodel the side of a car pretty quick if the spaceing was not right!).  It does go to show that with a little planning and forethought people can do some remarkable things.
 

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Posted By East Broad Top on 03/24/2008 11:24 PM
During this time, there were a few companies offering 1:32 scale (true #1 scale) trains to run in the garden, but by and large, these never really caught on. They were smaller than the LGB and other trains, and didn't have that "wow!" factor.

To me the "wow" factor means "wears out welcome." :D

Mark
 
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