1:12 scale and beyond

I’ve wasted spent a good chunk of the afternoon learning about large-scale model and miniature railroads — the sort that you run outside. They range from 45-mm gauge (G scale, which varies from around 1:20 to 1:32) model trains to full-on miniature trains as big as three-foot gauge, which is equal to some real narrow-gauge lines in operation. These aren’t model trains, they’re miniatures.

In between, though, are big trains that, rather than drawing current from the rail like a model train, are self-powered, either by internal batteries, gas engines or even real steam. And you straddle the little cars and ride them, with seats mounted crazily atop box cars or gondolas. The smallest of these is 1-inch scale (1:12 scale stock on 4¾-inch gauge track) which, one of its proponents argues, is big enough to ride, but small enough that you can still lift the locomotives and rolling stock if they derail.

That proponent — Rod Johnston, the husband, I believe, of For Better or For Worse cartoonist Lynn Johnston — also owns a company that sells 1-inch-scale kits and runs a layout on his four-acre property in northern Ontario. This company specializes in trucks and couplers. And here’s another 1-inch-scale layout being built in southern Nevada.

Finally, some links to miniature railroads.