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Scale and Gauge:

Simply put, scale is the ratio of the model to the prototype.  1:24, 1/24, and 1/2” all mean exactly the same thing.  The model is 1/24 the size of the original.  Half inch scale traditionally means that the scale is 1/2” to the foot.

Gauge is the spacing between the rails.  There have been several gauges for railroads in North America, the most popular being 3’ Narrow Gauge and Standard Gauge (56 1/2”).  For half inch scale modeling, these work out to 1.5” gauge and 2.35” gauge (supported on this site as 2.5” gauge).  (NOTE: 2.5” gauge is standard gauge at 1:22.5 scale.  45 mm Gauge is 3.5’ narrow gauge at half inch scale.)

About 1:24 Railroading Scale:

Everyone involved with G gauge track is aware of the confusing number of scales available that are all run on the same 45 mm track.  1:24 scale (or 1/2” scale as it is sometimes called), has historically been a very popular modeling scale.  There is a great article discussing the confusing number of scales by George Schreyer on his website along with other great tips. 

1/2" scale appears to be as old as the ruler.  It appears that some of the earliest scratch built Model RR in the US were 1/2" scale.  If you have never been to the LA County Fair (Fairplex in Pamona), it is worth the trip.  Besides having a few of the history's largest locomotives on display in the RR museum, the model RR club operating there is one of the largest and oldest in the country.  They have some very old scratch built trains in a display case there built to 1/2" scale.  Some, if I remember right, date back to the 1930's.


Marklin's II gauge was introduced in 1891 with a rail spacing of 64 mm which calculates to standard gauge at 1:22.5 scale.  I gauge (45 mm) was also introduced by them at that time to represent a popular European narrow gauge at the same scale.  Lionel introduced their standard gauge 3-rail track in 1906 with 2 1/8" between the outer rails, targeting 1/2" scale.  It appears that that before calculators, it was easier to model trains in Europe at 1:22.5 and in the US at 1/2" scale.  These scales have historically been popular for modeling everything from ships to doll houses.  It is obvious that the earlier examples of model trains were built to work.  Attention to detail and scale were secondary.  Model railroads were commonly more toys than scale replicas.  In 1968, LGB re-introduced 45mm track with their toy trains but because of it's reasonable cost and high quality, it quickly became the track-of-choice for outdoor railroads.  LGB started out making toy trains which quickly became popular because of their high quality, reliability, and weather resistance.  These toys were not to any clear scale.  Nor did they represent any prototypes.  Other companies started offering compatible products and soon after as the true modelers got involved, the scale wars started.  All this came to a head in the late 1990's and several scale definitions began showing up.  When the new modeling standard scales were finally defined, 1/2" scale was largely ignored and most of the newest products being released support the new 1:20.3 F Scale.

Half inch scale played an important part in developing the hobby and remains an important modeling scale today.  This scale in North America and 1:22.5 scale in Europe still have the most resources available for modeling with 45 mm gauge track.  This website will attempt to bring together some of the harder to find resources for those who want to model in half inch scale.

Companies Supporting 1:24 and 1:22.5 Scales:

(See the links page for current contact information)

Locomotives and Rolling Stock:
Aster (C&S Mogul)
Chuck's Custom Cars
Hartford Products (except SP boxcar and stock car)
USA Trains
American Model Builders
Delton/Caledonia Express
Hartford Products (SP boxcar and stock car)
Kalamazoo (now Hartford)
Model Die Casting (caboose only)

Big Train Backshop

Trucks and Couplers:
Precision Scale (narrow gauge only)
Ryan Equipment Company


Ozark Miniatures

Hartford Products

Structures and Detail Parts:
Lone Star Bridge and Abutment
Ozark Miniatures
Shortline Car and Foundry
Depot G/Columbine
Grandt Line
Northeast Narrow Gauge
Oakridge Corporation
Railway Design Associates
Russ Simpson
Starr's Hobbycraft
Trackside Details (nominally)
Westlund Manufacturing

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