MiniRail.info

Miniature railway info from around the world

Incorporating WorldRailfans.info
Serving the online rail community since 1996

Further reading

Definitions

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Private tracks - invitation only

These are tracks that a NOT open to the public. Some have invitation-only policies, others may be open on a few days each year.

Please respect this and don't assume that because it is listed means you can just turn up to be entertained.

Public tracks

Even tracks that are public are not always open every day or even every weekend, so it is best to check in advance before visiting to avoid disappointment.

Club tracks

Tracks operated by clubs and associations.

Gauge

Distance between the inside-fasces of the rails. Popular gauges are 5", 7.25", 7.5"... Due to various "odd" historic reasons, gauges are slightly different between east and west-coast in the USA. Generally, 7.25" and 7.5" gauge standard-gauge locos are much the same size, but the size of the "real thing" varies enormously anyway.

Scale

Scale is used for 2 quite different purposes on this site:

  • Scale on its own means the track runs accurate, scale miniatures of full-size prototypes. See also minimal.
  • 1.5" scale means models built to a scale of 1.5" to the foot.

Minimal

There is a limit on how small you can make a train that can still do a practical job-of-work. For instance, full-size trains can move ballast/road-stone in cars that might hold 100 tons or more. You can also build vehicles for miniature/garden railways that also move stone, just not so much. Minimal was a term first used by an English country-gentlemen by the name of Sir Arthur Heywood to describe the smallest size of train that could do a job-of-work but didn't need to be a scale model of anything, it was just a small, working railway.

Some people also use scale miniatures of cars to move real loads, but scale minitaures tend to cost a lot more and people are reluctant to throw stones in them.

Standard-gauge

Not as easy as it sounds... The gauge that is standard varies around the world, but standard is usually taken to be 4' 8.5" (1435mm) as this is used by most (but not all) "western" countries. A lot of former British Commonwealth countries used 3' 6" as their standard, so there's no such thing as "standard" on a global scale, but for the sake of drawing a line in the sand somewhere, standard-gauge is taken as 4' 8" gauge. That said, standard, narrow and broad gauge models can all run on the same gauge track if they are built to a different scale.

Narrow-gauge

Anything based on a prototype that runs on a gauge LESS than standard. That said, standard, narrow and broad gauge models can all run on the same gauge track if they are built to a different scale.

Narrow-gauge models (even if not based on a real prototype) have become more popular in recent years as they produce a much larger locomotive/carriage than a standard-gauge prototype on the same gauge track.

Broad-gauge

Anything based on a prototype that runs on a gauge MORE than standard. That said, standard, narrow and broad gauge models can all run on the same gauge track if they are built to a different scale.

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