Gauge 3 Scale Trams

DAVID ELVY

New Member
It may at first seem a strange question to ask here, but is anyone else modelling trams in Gauge 3 scale, narrow, standard or broad gauge?

If you are I'd be interested to know some details about projects and especially where you get parts for your models, thanks.

David
 

Engineer

Active Member
I have a substantial interest in trams, though my model-making in a couple of scales is suspended at the moment thanks to circumstances. In the context of the question, I had also acquired a started Occre 1/24th kit of a standard gauge tram, and plan is to improve fidelity and make it more robust and operative, cheating slightly by using a scratch-built truck, G3 wheelsets and purchased track for a garden loop.

As for parts, I know in the past there were aspirations by at least one small supplier for G3 parts, ready-made trucks etc., but not sure whether these came to fruition. For tramway modelling, the traditional organisation has been the Tramway and Light Railway Society [TLRS], which has a little modelling information on its web pages: Tramway Information
There are area groups in the UK, some of which have strong interest in G3 or similar. TLRS run a journal with six issues per year which has quite a good coverage of prototype, models and layouts and a good section on new model products in all scales.
 

DAVID ELVY

New Member
I have a substantial interest in trams, though my model-making in a couple of scales is suspended at the moment thanks to circumstances. In the context of the question, I had also acquired a started Occre 1/24th kit of a standard gauge tram, and plan is to improve fidelity and make it more robust and operative, cheating slightly by using a scratch-built truck, G3 wheelsets and purchased track for a garden loop.

As for parts, I know in the past there were aspirations by at least one small supplier for G3 parts, ready-made trucks etc., but not sure whether these came to fruition. For tramway modelling, the traditional organisation has been the Tramway and Light Railway Society [TLRS], which has a little modelling information on its web pages: Tramway Information
There are area groups in the UK, some of which have strong interest in G3 or similar. TLRS run a journal with six issues per year which has quite a good coverage of prototype, models and layouts and a good section on new model products in all scales.


I am a member of the TLRS and I have been trying to persuade them to adopt a set of standards for Gauge 3 scale trams, not G Scale, but rather fine scale standards for narrow and standard gauge modellers in the scale, hence my interest.

For my own models I have been using code 200 rail with Gauge 1 wheels, they are still a bit chunky for trams but I suspect probably the best option which doesn't require me machining my own wheels.
I don't want to send folk here off coughing and spluttering, but as an introduction to the larger scale I have started by taking Bachmann G Scale models and fitting scratch built trucks and making a few other tweaks to convert them to be a bot more akin to a fine scale model. Once I have finished trialling a few options on the Bachmann models I'll be building some Edinburgh area cars to run on the 64mm gauge rails, yes I know that's 0.5mm bigger than true Gauge 3, however the first track that I've built has some fairly tight curves and all the track gauges I have made are to 64mm gauge.

If you are happy to use white metal 21E truck side with axle boxes supplied loose KW Trams inherited them, they have 84mm axle centres which should be fine for most shorter wheel base cars.

David
 

Engineer

Active Member
Interesting to hear of your aspirations for G3 standards and it sounds like you've approached the issues in a really thoughtful way. I hope you achieve progress. I've noticed that much of the high fidelity tramway modelling has come from those with appreciation or experience of present-day railway modelling both in scaling and in quality. By coincidence today in my travels, I recognised someone in the distance who is a fine exponent of P4 rail modelling, and I was reminded of their diorama of a London street tramway using P4 standards, yet incorporating a conventional 00 kit of a Feltham car with the necessary finesse added.

Like all modelling, both the builder and beholder are free to choose their preferences but the compromises with tram models can lead to poor aesthetics. Tramway layouts, particularly in the smaller scales, even are more liable to downward viewing. A visually realistic railhead dimension, typically narrower than 'heavy rail' in tramway usage, is more important than the code of the rail if street track is used. In 4mm scale, the widespread use of 16.5mm gauge to represent a standard gauge prototype tramway really brings out the visual flaws of that compromise. Model tram wheels also benefit from being narrower in tread than a railway equivalent.
 

DAVID ELVY

New Member
Interesting to hear of your aspirations for G3 standards and it sounds like you've approached the issues in a really thoughtful way. I hope you achieve progress. I've noticed that much of the high fidelity tramway modelling has come from those with appreciation or experience of present-day railway modelling both in scaling and in quality. By coincidence today in my travels, I recognised someone in the distance who is a fine exponent of P4 rail modelling, and I was reminded of their diorama of a London street tramway using P4 standards, yet incorporating a conventional 00 kit of a Feltham car with the necessary finesse added.

Like all modelling, both the builder and beholder are free to choose their preferences but the compromises with tram models can lead to poor aesthetics. Tramway layouts, particularly in the smaller scales, even are more liable to downward viewing. A visually realistic railhead dimension, typically narrower than 'heavy rail' in tramway usage, is more important than the code of the rail if street track is used. In 4mm scale, the widespread use of 16.5mm gauge to represent a standard gauge prototype tramway really brings out the visual flaws of that compromise. Model tram wheels also benefit from being narrower in tread than a railway equivalent.


For track standards I have adopted the Gauge 1 fine scale wheel and track standard, as you say for street running a finer look is preferable, for everything above the rails I am using Gauge 3 standards/scale.

I gave some thought to operating in the garden and decided life is too short to spend cleaning track and wire so I have gone for battery operation.


How do you plan to power your Occre tram?

David
 

Engineer

Active Member
My answer on powering may also bring about coughing and spluttering in the wider audience. My plan is to allow space in the vehicle for a powered truck yet build a non-powered truck initially. My rationale is that life may be too short to do everything and I would like to give priority to creating a vehicle for display, with reasonable fidelity and lighting, and with subsequent potential for powered operation. I would of course allow space for powering - in that scale I'm confident that a drive can be engineered to fit underfloor, almost within the prototype envelope for traction motors. I would build the truck capable of 2-rail pickup and incorporate a connection for overhead pole feed, too.

When modelling was possible for me in past times, I focused a lot on drives and mechanisms as it is an interest of mine. I designed low-profile drives for 4mm scale bogie cars of various configurations as other designs on the market were too visible internally and didn't have the necessary curve and gradient performance. I started with 16.5mm gauge but also produced variants for P4 and EM, and for 14mm gauge[for 3' 6" prototypes]. The small number of 7mm scale tram kits I have are also intended for display, but with capability to run occasionally so again my priority will be to construct faithful models with provision for later powering. I constructed a sample drive with laterally-positioned motor and a 3-stage spur reduction which worked well This was just about within the prototype envelope for a maximum traction truck but a bit tight to fit in an HR/2 truck of 4' 9" wheelbase. Having done the work for 7mm, I feel that a G3 solution cam be built.
 

Joe's Garage

Western Thunderer
Hi David

This question caught my eye, but now I have a question. G3 - what scale does this work to? I thought the Ocre model was to 1/24?

I am not sure if you have access to Facebook but there is a group there called Tramway Modelling, one member Tony Cooke in Australia models to 1/24 with many UK models as well as Australian models. He has written one of the chapters in the updated TLRS publication Building Large Scale Trams, which I personally would recommend to any one having an interest in large scale trams. You also get plans for the Preston Tram as the book is based around that prototype.

I do not know the G3 standards but Tony makes his models similar to the 1/16 scale models with underfloor running gear, exquisite. Much easier these days with the smaller motors. I have always had a fascination for the big models ever since seeing them at the MRC exhibitions in the 60s. I can still remember the bells and clunks over the track.

Have you any pictures? Are there any other members with an interest in large scale trams?

Good luck

Julian
 

lankytank

Western Thunderer
Julian - Gauge 3 scale is to 1:22.6 (13.525mm to the foot)- runs on 63.5mm gauge track (or 2 1/2" in old money).

G scale (whatever that is!!) is to 1:22.5 running on 45mm track - people seem to think the 0.1 in scale difference doesn't matter, unfortunately, it does, especially as you get into the larger dimensions.

I dare say Ian T will be along in a moment, with his G3 technical hat on..... :bowdown: :thumbs:

HTH
Barry (who, amongst his many hats, has one labelled 'G3S Membership Secretary').
 
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Allen M

Western Thunderer
G scale (whatever that is!!) is to 1:22.5 running on 45mm track

I was of the understanding the the original G scale was metre gauge models so the 45mm gauge at 1:22.5 scale was virtually correct. The German company LGB starting it, I think. Then came a range of others who made trains from 2ft to standard gauge fit the track so it became an 'elastic' scale thus the comment 'whatever that is!

Regards
Allen Morgan
 

lankytank

Western Thunderer
Allen - yes, quite. It is very 'elastic' - it's one of those terms that seems to cover a multitude of sins.

It is surprising, at exhibitions, whilst operating on a number of my friends G3 layouts, to be asked 'What's scale's that, then?' pointing at the layout/loco/stock......., when one responds with the answer 'It's Gauge 3.....' and before one can continue, to get the response from the original questioner (or his 'knowledgeable' mate, stood next to him) 'Oh, that's G scale, isn't it?'.

Quietly, one thinks to oneself, 'No!! It bloody well isn't!!!' but we smile sweetly and then go one to explain the difference between G3 and 'G scale'..... then, you see then wandering off, still none the wiser..... :thumbs:

People 'understand' n/00/em/p4/s7/0 gauge - even gauge 1, at a push, but G3 just doesn't seem to 'compute'.

Such is the way of the world.
 

Ian_T

Western Thunderer
I came along eventually Baz (and with my "technical" hat on too!) :)

For simplicity (and for those who wish to read no further!) - Gauge '3' is built to a gauge of 2.5" (63.5mm) and this (for standard gauge railways) gives a scale of 1:22.6.

The history is a little more convoluted however. Gauge ‘3’ (or N° 3, as 2½" gauge was originally known) was one of five standard model gauges recommended by a subcommittee of the Society of Model Engineers on February 1st, 1899, making this gauge now more than a century old. At the time, 2½” gauge allowed the construction of fairly successful and reasonably to-scale live-steam locomotives - although the scale used back then was generally 1/2" (e.g. 1/24th). This changed between the 1st & 2nd World Wars to the more accurate scale of 17/32nds (13.5mm) to the foot. It should therefore be noted that G3 is firmly based on an Imperial gauge (e.g in inches) - as were the other four standard gauges.

Much confusion exists in this area because in the early days of "toy" trains, most toy train products were imported from the "Continent" - as Europe was then called in this country!

In 1891 at the Leipzig Toy Fair, Marklin introduced three new train ‘sets’ which were remarkable then, because for the first time a manufacturer had introduced the concept of a ‘Railway’ by matching train to track and accessories. Prior to this, manufacturers had simply sold an engine and maybe some carriages or wagons to accompany it – most had no track to run on and the concept of “gauge” was unknown. Here for the first time was a company marketing toy train sets and in three different sizes. Marklin called them Gauge I (48mm), Gauge II (54mm) and Gauge III (75mm). It should be noted that these measurements were made from the centre of each rail (and not the inside rail edges).

Other Continental manufacturers quickly followed with their own ranges.

Schonner adopted Gauges I, II and III but also added a 67mm gauge, which it called Gauge IIA.

Bing (Marklins greatest rival) followed with the same gauges used by Schonner but designated 75mm track as Gauge IV and 67mm track as Gauge III. Carette had two track gauge sizes it designated as Gauge I (48mm) and Gauge III (initially at 65mm, later at 67mm). So although the toy industry was moving towards standardising their actual track gauges, there was less agreement on what to call these gauges.

In summary, Bing and Carette both had 67mm track (as measured between rail centres) they called Gauge III, as did Schonner – although they called it Gauge IIA. Both Marklin and Schonner had 75mm track they called Gauge III but which Bing called Gauge IV. It is perhaps unsurprising that this caused much confusion in Britain at the time, compounded by the use of ‘centre of rail’ track measurements.

However, Gauge '3' as we know it today, goes back to the Society of MEs sub-committee of 1899 and is based on a track gauge of 2.5" and therefore scales at 1:22.6 exactly. :)

Regards,

IanT
 

Mike W

Western Thunderer
That's a very comprehensive account Ian. Very useful.

I'd just reiterate that today everyone (at least in the UK) works to the same scale and the same gauge, which is very unusual for model railways! And the scale to gauge ratio is almost exactly correct.

Mike
 

Joe's Garage

Western Thunderer
Thank you Ian, this certainly clears up the standards. At least the G3 guys have got their act together on the scale/ gauge front.

David, I do get the point of the slight scale discrepancy being more noticeable in the bigger scales but if you can do look at Tony Cooke's little (!) 1/24th empire some lovely models here.

Would love to see tramway modelling on this forum.

Thanks

Julian
 

DAVID ELVY

New Member
I shall try and cover some of the points discussed since I was last here.

Yes Tony Cooke has some lovely 1:24 scale (which I believe is also known as 1/2" scale) trams, I follow his postings in face book and look on with envy at the models he produces, great inspiration for a tramway modeller in any scale.

I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of others that G Scale (which is not actually a scale) is very different to Gauge 3, and I also find it frustrating when folk mix up the two. I gave up on another forum trying to discuss Gauge 3 scale trams because they kept referring back to G Scale.

Fine scale tramway modelling tends to use wheels and track from a scale below the scale being modelled, I for example have adopted Gauge 1 fine scale track and wheel standards with the aim to achieve the finer scale look of tram wheel, however, my standard gauge track is modelled to a gauge of 64mm on curves and 63.5mm on the straight and curves over 1.2m radius, because nearly all of the trams I plan to model on the narrow track are European I have settled on using 45mm track gauge for the narrow gauge models (yes that's a compromise but so is so much we do in modelling). When a friend drew up some template track plans for me I set 64mm as the standard gauge track gauge because I thought it would be simpler to draw everything to a single gauge with the templot templates being predominately curved; managing the straight to curve track gauge interface is fairly straightforward to do over roughly 100mm track length.

I also picked up a 7/8ths scale 45mm gauge model before track laying started, so 45mm it is for the narrow gauge.

The drawings I had specially printed to a larger scale came just under 1:22.5 (because of a mix up in some else's mind) so some up scaling will be required, inconvenient yes, but that's not too big a problem as it is a known.

People who know me do sometimes get a little confused because I arrived at modelling larger scale trams after I purchased a bachman G Scale tram, which incidentally has been fitted with my own concocted fine scale power truck replacing the bachman one (yes another compromise in scale, something which I don't think these model were ever actually made to).

I hope this goes some way to explain that I am not talking about G Scale (which isn't actually a scale) but Gauge 3 scale, but maybe I am modelling G Scale if you take the "G" to mean Garden, as the intention has always been to have a garden tramway, which will have some out of scale vegetation, unless someone knows where I can obtain Gauge 3 scale plants?

Enough blethering (waffle) back to sorting out some baseboards for the indoor test track.

David
 

geoff_nicholls

Western Thunderer
I'm also in that facebook group Tony Cooke's trams (and his scenery) are lovely. if you were ever thinking of combining 63.5mm and 45mm street running, Great Yarmouth might be of interest. the standard gauge steam tramway crosses the municipal 3'6" tram lines to enter a brewery, and the later croses the former to enter the station forecourt.
Explore georeferenced maps - Map images - National Library of Scotland
geat yarmouth1.jpg
 

Joe's Garage

Western Thunderer
Thanks looks very interesting Geoff, some lovely track arrangements. I didn't even know GY had trams! I will now have to look for some photos!

Dave...may I ask how you find these models for sale, is it through the TLRS? Would you post some pictures please? I have to say also Tony Cooke is a very prolific builder with so many models.

Cheers

Julian
 
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