Standard Gauge Models
Models of Standard Gauge prototypes are by far the most popular amongst
modellers and have been so since the earliest days of model railways when
models bore little resemblance to the prototype. The relatively simple
construction methods used in making these toys, the need to run them on
the floor round sharp curves, powered by steam, clockwork, or electricity,
usually at totally unrealistic speeds, led to the adoption of oversize
wheel and track dimensions with very deep wheel flanges and extra wide
treads, to make road holding as reliable as conditions would permit.
As modelmaking techniques and expectations developed track dimensions
became closer to true scale and today a growing number of modellers work
to exact scale dimensions. There are now recognised standards that will
meet the needs of anyone desiring to follow railway modelling at a number
of different levels. However modellers do not always adopt the latest
developments but decide to work with what is established and they feel
comfortable with. This is particularly so for existing layouts, as it
is often very costly in both time and money to change one's collection
of models and equipment to a different standard. Newcomers to 7mm scale
should appreciate this and carefully consider which standard best meets
their particular requirements and aspirations.
Today there are three distinct British track and wheelset standards
in regular use. It is important to realise, however, that all three are
based on the same scale, 7mm/ft, and that much of the equipment, components
and kits on the market can be assembled to comply with any of the standards.
In particular, rail sections are no longer associated with particular
The standards apply only to the dimensions of track and wheelsets. They
are not related to the faithfulness of reproduction of a prototype nor
to the amount of detail incorporated in a model. There now follows a brief
description of each standard with an outline of its advantages and disadvantages.