For many model train collectors, gauge 0 is what they collect, and therefore they know that when they shop for model parts, they need to always buy gauge 0 railway train parts. But what does gauge 0 mean? Where did the name come from, and what exactly are gauge 0 railway train parts?
Model railways were first sold in the 1800s and became popular with adults and children. The most common gauge of track by the late 1800s was known as gauge 1 or wide gauge. This consisted of tracks that were 1.75” wide. Many European manufacturers used this, meaning that trains from different manufactures could work on the same tracks by using compatible gauge 1 parts like wheels. In the early 1900s, many manufacturers of model trains started producing a second, smaller gauge with tracks that were only 1.25” wide. Because this was smaller than gauge 1, it was named gauge 0.
From the 1930s, gauge 0 railway train parts and tracks became much more common than gauge 1 for two reasons. The first reason was that more parents began buying model railways for their children as toys, and so the smaller size of gauge 0 railway train parts was considered more appropriate for children’s hands. The second reason is that the gauge 1 parts were marketed as a more expensive, premium alternative. With the world depression in the 1930s, the more economical option of gauge 0 was preferable.
So, for a while, gauge 0 railway train parts were favoured by parents purchasing for their children, and collectors who focused on having a running railway set, since the smaller gauge allows for larger track systems in the same space. However, for collectors who favoured the detail and accuracy of the trains themselves, gauge 1 railway train parts were considered the better option as the manufacturing processes could put more accurate details on the larger trains. However, in more recent years, improvements in manufacturing processes mean that gauge 0 railway train parts can show an almost equal depth of detail, allowing collectors the best of both worlds.
Another change since the second half of the twentieth century has been the shift of some manufacturers to referring to scale o, rather than gauge 0, when referring to railway train parts. This is a technicality – the word gauge refers to the width between the tracks, but not anything else, whereas the word scale means that not only the tracks but also everything else including the dimensions of the trains, carriages and scenery have been accurately scaled to the same ratio. Therefore, when shopping for gauge 0 railway train parts, scale 0 railway train parts will fit the same tracks.
If you are looking for gauge 0 railway train parts, look no further than Walsall Model Industries. These specialists in gauge 0 railway train parts have a range of model parts available in the online catalogue, including wheels and a range of gauge 0 wagons. Contact them today to enquire about your gauge 0 railway train parts needs.