Chairman's Words


Irgendwohn Hauptstrasse
Irgendwohn Hauptstrasse

Welcome to the world of N Gauge modelling of overseas railways. This is a colourful world of big trains in a big scenery coming with a history of trains as long as railways themselves. Many of the early trains across Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australasia were based on British designs if not actually built by British engineers, and this was true until quite recently.

In N Gauge a lot of this is represented in ready to run together with the scope to take model building further based on for instance the many motor chassis that are available.

Beware that there are scale differences to be aware of. The most popular scale for modelling overseas in what is broadly known as N Gauge (or 2 millimetre scale: 2mm to the foot) is 1:160. Multiply this against the standard N Gauge track of 9mm you get 160 times 9 = 1440mm as against the standard prototype gauge of 1435mm: almost there! By comparison the British N Gauge scale is 1:148 on the same 9mm track: 148 times 9 equals 1332mm which is an error of 103mm : getting on for 10% error between track and scale.

The popular scale of 1:160 is appropriate for Europe and North America where all models in N Gauge will be at that size. However Japanese N Scale is 1:150 except for models made for the European and American markets by the main manufacturers which are at 1:160. However as the prototype gauge in Japan is 3′ 6″ (1065mm approx) and the bullet trains run on the standard gauge of 1435mm 1:150 is a reasonable compromise for running both 3′ 6″ and standard gauge stock on N Gauge track in the circumstances (150 times 9 equals 1350).

Your Kato Eurostar at 1:160 is correct for running with your French stock but is too small by comparison with your British models!

Overseas manufacturers of N Gauge models are many and various offering a much greater variety than is available for the modeller of British trains. The quality is largely very high with many dealers specialising in overseas models. Their adverts can be found in the Railway Modelling press and on websites. At present with the expensive Euro and the cheap Dollar prices are variable to put it no stronger, whether you buy in Britain or abroad. Be careful when you buy outside the European Union that you do not exceed Customs limits: though the smaller size of N Gauge means they are easier to bring in............. (I believe smuggling is a crime!)

So again welcome to N Gauge overseas modelling. Don't forget to tell us how you are getting on and remember that if you run into problems there could well be members of the group who will be able to offer solutions.

Stuart Conlon

Chairman N Gauge Society Worldwide Group