Gauge vs. Scale
From time to time someone says: “I model in H0 Gauge”, which is confusing because people sometimes misuse the terms Scale and Gauge. Granted, this is a minor issue in the greater scheme of things, but if you’re going to be accurate, it is helpful to distinguish between these two terms. It is especially important when discussing a model of the Chicago Tunnel Company.
Scale refers to the proportion of the trains, structures and vehicles, regardless of the track gauge upon which these trains operate. Gauge refers to the distance between the rails. In H0-Scale (1:87 proportion, one inch on the model equals 87 inches on the real train), it is possible to model trains that operate on several different gauges of track, both Standard Gauge (4 foot 81/2 inches in much of the civilized world) and the various narrow gauges. In the case of H0, common narrow gauges include 3 foot gauge (H0n3), 30” gauge (the popular H0n30) or two foot gauge (H0n2).
That said, it is possible to use H0 track in another scale. Doing so gives you access to drive mechanisms for locomotives, wheels for the freight cars and the like. Since much of any Chicago Tunnel Company model is going to be scratch built, having access to a few pre-made things makes life easier.
Choice of Scale
My first model of the Tunnel Company was a short segment of straight track. I built the locomotive and cars to operate on H0-gauge track in an 0-Scale environment (1:48 proportion, 1/4” equals one foot). 0-Scale gave me access to model figures of train crew members while still using commonly available wheel sets. Of course, the track gauge worked out to 30” in 0-Scale, wider than the 24” gauged track of the Tunnel Company.
The second model also used H0 track in an 0-Scale environment, but at some point I became disenchanted with this disparity of track gauge. Subsequent work and research has taken me to Gauge 1 (1:32 proportion, or 3/8” equals one foot), but, lately, I’m back to 0-Scale on H0-gauged track.
Other builders are working in 1:24 proportion, where 1/2” equals one foot. There is a lot to be said for working in a larger scale, if for no other reason that being able to access the trains from the outside of the model.