How-to: Standard-gauge Modeling

copyright © Bob Hogan; used by permission

The vast majority of the real railroads of the world (especially in North America) use what is typically referred to as standard-gauge*. This gauge is 4 feet and 8-1/2 inches (143.51cm) between the rail heads.

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The objective of this section of the web site is to provide enough information for you to be able to build a model railroad in S-scale using standard-gauge rail spacing. While most of these topics are geared toward the new model railroader, or new-to-S model railroader, there are topics here that might be of interest to experienced S model railroaders, as well. Such as those who have always used A.C. Gilbert American Flyer products and are looking to migrate more toward the "scale" side. Or, those whom have always been narrow-gauge modelers, who want to add some standard-gauge to their layout.

*Unfortunately, in model railroading's history there was a format called "Standard Gauge" introduced by Lionel in 1906. You can read more about it on Wikipedia. When we use the commonly-referred-to term "standard-gauge", we use it to differentiate between 4' 8-1/2" railhead spacing and that of the narrow-gauges (Sn2, Sn3, and Sn42). This is the same terminology that the real railroads use as well. We will always use the hyphen between the words "standard" and "gauge", to make it clear that we are not referring to the Lionel name (there is absolutely nothing on this web site that has anything to do with Lionel's "Standard Gauge", except for this paragraph).

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