Railway modeling

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Trains on a model.
A 1955 H0 scale model.

The model railway or railway modeling is a recreational activity whose objective is to imitate trains and their environments to scale. Trains can be static or moving. In the latter case, low voltage electricity (between 9 and 24 volts) is normally used for both movement and accessories, lighting, etc. and are commonly known as model electric trains. Wind-up locomotives have also been popular for part of the 20th century and there are models of locomotives powered by real steam.

History

Its origins date back to the late XIX century, in keeping with the appearance of ingenious toys that applied new technologies, with which small trains made of sheet iron and moved by an electric motor are designed. At the Leipzig Fair in 1891, Märklin presented the first functional scale locomotive in history (1:32 or scale 1). Constructed of tin, it had a wind-up clock mechanism that allowed it to be set in motion on and around rails. Carlisle and Finch presented the first composition of a complete train with an electric motor in 1897. At the turn of the century XX Joshua Lionel Cowen created an electric train for the window of his toy store, but received so many requests that the publicity attraction became a classic of the toy industry.

Scales

The most popular normalized scale from the middle of the XX century to today is H0, followed by N. But there are others.

Road scales and widths
NameScaleRoad width (mm)
G1:22.545
I (one)1:3245
0 (zero)1:43.532
S (S)1:6422,43
H0 (half zero/average zero)1:8716.5
N1:1609
Z1:2206
T1:4503

In the UK, the usual scales are different and are based on reducing imperial measurements to metric. They are usually named by the number of millimeters on a scale that correspond to a real foot (note that the track gauges correspond to those of the rest of Europe):

Usual scales and track widths in the UK
NameScaleRoad width (mm)
4 mm (00)1:7616.5
British1:1449

On the other hand, large-scale railways are being made again, like the old ones, with which fans get a highly detailed reproduction of locomotives and wagons. Some of the brands that manufacture trains of these scales have weatherproof models, which allow the circuits to be set up and the trains run outdoors, even when it rains. The G scale (1:24) was introduced and developed in 1968 by Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk under the brand of his property LGB ("Lehmann Gross Bahn" in German, which means: "Great Train Lehmann"), for indoor and outdoor use; its name comes from the German groß (meaning "big"). Traditionally, the G scale uses 45mm gauge track, as used by the standard narrow gauge 1 scale models, using the correct scale of 1:22.5. Its name is popularly believed to come from garden (G = garden) as it is often used outdoors. This size is known for impressive craftsmanship and detail, but requires a large amount of space, so which is not the most common choice for indoor collectors.

NameScaleWidthDesignationRoad widthDissemination
2 or II
1:22.5 II
IIm
IIe
IIi
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
F.c. industrial
64 mm
45 mm
32 mm
22.5 mm
IIm is a scale for outdoor trains. Also called G (from "great" in German. People think it's because Garden, garden trains in English)
1 or I
1:32 I
Im
Ie
I
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
F.c. industrial
45 mm
32 mm
22.5 mm
16.5 mm
The most widespread of large scales
0
(pronounced “zero”)
1:48,
1:45,
1:43.5
0
0m
0e
0i
0n30
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
F.c. industrial
Close range 30
32 mm
22.5 mm
16.5 mm


12 mm
Today preferably in European associations and modular models. In America it is still very widespread
S before H1
1:64 S
Sm
Separate
Yeah.
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
F.c. industrial
22.5 mm
16.5 mm
12 mm
9 mm
It had some diffusion in Europe from 1950 to 1980. Today only in the UK. In North America it has a big market share
H0
(pronounced “zero”)
1:87H0
H0m
H0e
H0i
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
F.c. industrial
16.5 mm
12 mm
9 mm
6.5 mm
The most widespread in Europe, along with the usual width 00 in Britain instead of the H0, as well as in North America
TT (“TableTop“) 1:120 TT
TTm
TTe
TTi
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
F.c. industrial
12 mm
9 mm
6.5 mm
4.5 mm
Developed in North America, spread in Eastern Europe, less in Western Europe, North America and Japan
N1:160 N
Nm
Ne
Normal way
Metrical path
Close path
9 mm
6.5 mm
4.5 mm
In Western Europe, Japan and North America
Z1:220 Z
Zm
Normal way
Metrical path
6.5 mm
4.5 mm
In Western Europe, Japan and North America

Power and control systems

Traditional control

Since the beginnings of railway modeling, the speed of the trains was controlled by varying the tension present in the track, from which the motors of the same are fed. There are two main systems: direct current, with two rails, and three rails, alternating current.

The two-rail system uses direct current and feeds the locomotives and wagons through one of the rails and returns through the other. The rails have, therefore, polarity. By varying this polarity it is possible to reverse the direction of travel.

The three-lane system uses alternating current that feeds through the circulation lanes on one side and has a third central lane, between them, for the return. Since alternating current does not have a constant polarity, to reverse the direction of travel, an overvoltage of approximately 20 to 24 volts is sent to the locomotive, which activates a mechanical or electronic reversing mechanism.

Two-rail and three-rail locomotives are not compatible with each other. Wagons can be, according to the following rules:

Electronic control

Chassis of a locomotive N scale with DCC decoder.

In the mid-1990s, control systems based on electronics began to become popular and have now moved to those that use microcontrollers. This system has been standardized in large part by the North American Model Railways Association (NMRA). The standardized systems receive the generic name of DCC (Digital Command Control). The system requires that the locomotives have an electronic circuit installed capable of moving the engine or accessories (lights, smoke generators, etc.) according to the digital orders received by the track through electronic circuits. The circuit for the locomotive is called the decoder, and the operation of installing it is often called "digitizing".

DCC systems also exist in two and three rail versions. Unlike traditional systems, the type of current that circulates through the track can be the same in both cases. In reality, the traditional two and three lane systems each had their advantages in the way they moved compositions in different ways on the same circuit. Digital systems carry individualized control through microcircuits, regardless of the power system.

Regarding the traditional control system, DCC control has the following advantages:

The drawbacks of the DCC system compared to the traditional one are:

Rolling stock or cars

Electric trains have model railroad cars.

Ways