Question by : Can a British 00 scale train work on a American ho scale track?
Answer by knarftledgarthok
Model/toy railroad scales (ratio of size between the model and the “prototype” or real train the model is based on), gauges (actual spacing between the rails), and the names by which different scales and gauges of models trains are called, are quite complex issues. In recent years, serious attemps have been made at standardization of these dimensions and their naming conventions, but there are still wide variations between model train dimensions by regions, manufacturers, and time periods. Also, in the past it was common for model rail gauges to be designated as being measured from the center of one rail to the center of the other. However, this method has now been recognized as problematic, since trains of different prototypical gauges, when scaled down to different scales, may result in tracks of the same gauge but thicker or thinner rails (which affects the actual amount of space BETWEEN the rails, if the nominal measurement method is center-to-center). For this reason, it is now becoming standard practice to define model railroad track gauge by the distance from the inner edge of the top of one rail to the inner edge of the top of the other rail.
According to the currently most accepted conventions, I believe HO track has a gauge of 0.650 inch or 16.5 mm. Scales of trains made to run on this track modeling “standard” gauge prototypes are variously given as 1:90, 1:87.1, 1:87, 1:76.2, or similar. Train models designated as OO scale made by Hornby and Lima may run on this track, as the gauge seems to be nominally the same. However, the scale of the track may be inappropriate for the train (cross ties being too large, small, close together, or far apart for a realistic appearance), depending on the scales of the models and whether they depict “standard” gauge or “narrow” gauge prototypes. It’s also possible that different methods are used to define the gauges of these tracks, resulting in slightly different rail spacing, which will cause the train to derail frequently.
The best advice I can give you is to try it. If it runs well and looks good, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, you’ll have to find some of the correct track for your train.
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