99% of the world is outside the UK. (on a population basis)
Any scale that relates two dimensions in different measuring systems
(feet and mm) is going to lack appeal to most of the world's population.
But since British outline models are 99% sold in the UK, who cares -
as long they all stick to 10mm (which, for "indoor" models, they all
do). Plus, of course, the Gauge One Model Railway Association set the
real standards back in 1947 ;-)
I have become... comfortably numb
Of course 99% of British outline models are sold in the UK, they are the
wrong scale to go with the collections of the rest of the world!
European modellers in particular like to buy models of a variety of
nations' prototypes, but there is almost nothing on the market from
Real standards -
"You're going to model 4'6" gauge or nothing in I scale."
"You're going to model 4'6 1/2" gauge in O Scale."
"You're going to model 4'1 1/2" gauge in OO Scale!"
"You're going to model 4' gauge in TT3 Scale!"
Tell that to the S7 boys! (and girls, of course). Or select from
about 20 "standards", plus manufacturers whims.....
Tell that to the P4 boys! (and girls, of course)
Ditton the TT brigade.... 2mm Group etc etc
The trouble is, none of these "standards" *are* standards, they are
just specifications made up by various groups without consultation
with other groups and/or manuafctuers.
Like it or not, if ones choice is ready-to-run UK outline models then
your choice of "standard" is effectively defined by Peco, and if you
wish to be really accurate then P4, S7 etc set the standard, with
points in between - EM, GOG-C, GOG-F, 0-FS etc etc. Some body
setting itself up as a self-appointed standards authority is utterly
pointless, and just confuses things even further, unless they have
everybody on board. As no one has, then de facto standards rule the
As a punter modeling in 0, I just want to buy stuff that will work,
and while I make my own track etc I don't want to go S7 for practical
reasons (availablilty of kits with wheels included mostly), so I've
gone for 0-FS, the next best thing. And that is effectively defined
by Slaters, as their wheels have become the benchmark! When I was
looking at Gauge 1, I'd have had to go 10mm as that's what's available
for UK outline.
Were I wanting to model European, US or Japanese practice, I'd select
other "standards" as appropriate - the Japanese having own flavour
of HO, for example.
I have become... comfortably numb
It was just such a mess of standards that prompted the formation of the
NMRA just prior to WW2 (1936 IIRC). Many of the 30-some people who
organised the NMRA gave up their standards in order to achieve two goals:
a) interoperability (called "interchange" by the NMRA), so that people
could bring their NMRA-standard models to each other's layouts and
operate them together; and
b) common manufacturing standards so that parts from different
manufacturers could be combined with a minimum of fuss.
They have achieved both, and continue to do so: the most widely used DCC
standard is the one set by the NMRA. In fact, the de facto DCC standard
includes NMRA recommended practices, too. Manufacturers have learned
that the solid base of their business is the serious model railroader,
not the trainset buyer. The latter have of course benefitted, since they
can use all or most of a trainset when the bug bites.
The problem in Britain as I see it that there is an unwillingness by too
many people to give up their "correct" specifications, coupled with an
unwillingness to "waste all that good work", in order to change to some
common standard. The result is a fragmented, fractured model railway
scene, with the majority of _operators_ using thje de facto commercial
standards, and a majority of _model builders_ using one or another of
the oddball varieties.
BTW, the NMRA is reworking its standards in light of manufacturers'
misreading of some of the specs, and is developing fine scale standards,
too. Also, the DCC standard is being enlarged to accommodate the
increased functionality of decoders.
Everyone, manufacturers and users, have far too much invested over
the years to change - it's never going to happen. The NMRA never
consulted outside the US as far as I can see, and as such is pretty
much irrelevant to us over here (except DCC).
Why on earth are they developing new standards for fine scale? That's
been well and truly covered already - more standards will just create
even more problems! With P4 being as near prototype as possible,
and S7 being exactly prototype they can hardy be improved upon. I
would imagine the 2mm and 3mm boys (and girls) have got those scales
pretty well covered too.
 obvisouly we're talking UK prototype here.
I have become... comfortably numb
Of course they didn't consult outside the USA. Why should they? But what
they did shows what can be done when people get together to solve a
problem, instead of arguing endlessly about whose specs are purer.
Because the finescale modellers want one. IOW, there are people who
model finescale and want to be sure that they will be able to operate
their scratchbuilt locos etc on their friends' layouts, and vice versa.
Anyhow, the standards won't be new, they will be based on existing
practice, and will be put to a vote. If adopted, then any product that
describes itself as "finescale" will be expected to conform to those
standards. If it doesn't, it won't gain much if any acceptance.
I don't think you fully realise that the NMRA is an organisation of
modellers. What it does is membership driven. The effort to extend DCC
standards (and RPs) has come about because the membership wants it. The
fact that NMRA DCC standards and RPs have become a de facto worldwide
standard is the result of early adoption by the US market. Manufacturers
naturally saw no point in changing the specs when they added DCC in
These UK specs/standards did inspire the finescale movement here. I
expect that the NMRA standard will be essentially the same, allowing for
differences in scale.
So? Does that make it any less valid? Perhaps the NRMA should change?
Obviouskly thet won't, for exactly the same reasons.
It was done here too - looking at the huge range of "standards" on US
it hasn't execlty resolved much - e.g. Aster havingtheir own private
So just adopt existing standards. There's no point in re-inventing
Calling any new standard "finescale" is not a good idea - there are
already "finsecale" for all gauges under Gauge 1 (amd sometimes more
than one, thought the are differentiated, e.g. 0-FS and GOG-Fine).
I'm fully aware of what it is, and the DCC status. However, you do
keep assuming on posts to this groyp that all NMRA standards are
applicable world-wide, and that is simply not true. Their standards
ignore other world-wide de facto standards (e.g. Peco, Hornby). While
all may be wonderful for in the US for manufactuers, UK outline
models world-wide have their own very long established standards for
both coarse and fine scale, ignoring those standards is not sensible,
and would be commercial suicide for any UK outline manufactuer (as
Jouef, Trix and Lima found out when they tried to push HO UK outline
models here in the 70/80's).
I have become... comfortably numb
Before that time there were the following wheel standards:
- Hornby Dublo 3 rail. }
- Hornby Dublo 2 rail. } One wheel standard but two systems.
- Trix Twin. Incompatible with anything.
- Trix Fine. Vaguely compatible with BRMSA/HD.
- Tri-ang. Compatible with Tri-ang.
Three totally different standards designed to keep customers away from
buying the other brands.
The last one was an attempt by smaller _manufacturers_ to bring the
- HD: 4mm/ft.
- Trix Twin: 1:90 (if you could call anything scale)
- Trix: 3.8mm/ft.
- Tri-ang: sort of 4mm:1ft/compatible size with current production.
- Playcraft: HO. (toy market)
- Rivarossi: 3.8mm/ft. (one try)
- Lima: 1:87. (abandoned)
- Fleischmann: 1:87. (not extended)
Trix tried to find a scale between their old products and 4mm to both
retain their existing customer base while gaining HD and Tri-ang
customers - rather like a Ford Edsel!
Peco made HO track, finding the right combination of appearance and
standards to sell within and outside Britain.
Fast forward 40 years and the British market manufacturers have finally
figured that compatible, if not agreed or written wheel/track and
coupler standards give them a better share of the market.
Perhaps in another 40 years they will figure that the International
scale will get more sales.
Erm, I don't. Sorry if you get that impression. I just offer the NMRA
process as a model. IOW, if consumer-driven standardisation worked in N.
America, it should work in the UK. So why don't you have industry-wide
standards in the UK? I've indicated that I think it's mostly
psychological, not technical. I could go on, but I won't. I think this
horse is dead enough, poor thing. ;-)
But we DO have standards in the UK, indeed some are even drawn from
the NMRA, the only problem that has not been solved is the unsolvable
one - under-scale (width) RTR "00" track - any solution would actually
cause *many more* problems than the *one* it solves! I really don't
understand were this myth about the UK not having "industry-wide
standards" is coming from, unless you are still reading Railway
magazines from the 1960s - much work has been done, 'finescale' 00
track has been available since the 1980s whilst models have run on
various manufactures track since the early 1970s - IIRC (Tring-)Hornby
were the last to adopt the then standard 'code 100' track in 1970/71,
in fact, in the early 1970s I was running a mix of Triang-Hornby,
Hornby-Doubo and Trix stock on a layout laid with Peco streamline
track in late 1971.
No. This is an argument I have with lots of people.
Firstly it ignores the size of the market - yes that does make
a difference - work the percentages out, look at the
distributions etc. etc. - statistics in action.
Secondly it assumes that the culture in NA is the same
as anywhere else - in Europe it patently isn't.
Thirdly it assumes that market driven is the best. That's
the sort of problem that gives us MS Windows because the
market was manipulated whilst there are infinitely better
OS'es around (in the IT business 30+ years, know what I'm
Fourthly it's a generalisation - you *know* that you can't
generalise, just as you can't apply the principles of one
market to another where the demographics aren't the same.
Fifthly, the market doesn't always come up with the right
answer... ah, I'm not going there... someone will start
waffling on about market defined forces always being right
by definition and then we're into the sort of stupid
arguments that have stultified progress in the computing
industry and others for the last umpteen years.
Sorry Wolf, nothing personal, just a bit fed up at
...and is even more relevant today than it was back then!
Unless one consults in *all* the markets were such goods are made and
sold how does one obtain international agreements and standards - or
are you implying that because the US based NMRA decided to
unilaterally draw up some standards all other countries around the
world should do as they say, how frecking arrogant!
They have them...
IOW, there are people who
They can if they abide by the current standards!
They WILL me new is they are new standards, if they are going to use
old standards why bother drawing up existing standards again?! Duh...
and will be put to a vote. If adopted, then any product that
They already are FFS, how many times have you go to be told this?
<snip even more repetition>
But that was a wholly new product, meaning one world wide standard
could be adopted and it would have been stupid not to use the research
that had already been done. The same is not true for existing
Erm, I don't say, nor does the NMRA, that its standards should apply
worldwide. Why should they? But the consumer-driven process of
developing standards worked very well in the USA/Canada. We can be sure
that any product from any manufacturer will work on our layouts, which
is/was not the case when you buy/bought Hornby, or Maerklin, or any
other proprietary "system." IMO, the assumption that the customer should
buy from you and you alone is f**king arrogant.
Successful standards are in general directly or indirectly consumer/user
driven. If Hornby was a standard in the UK in the past, that's because
they made a good product that satisfied their customers. (My brother and
I inherited Hornby clockwork trains from my uncles in 1945. Wonderful!
Wish i still had them....) The fact that Hornby have had to adapt to
other people's standards has come about because the customers wanted
both better and more compatible products.
Sorry if I wasn't explicit enough: . The NMRA is developing FS standards
because NMRA members want one. Why aren't they just adopting FS
standards? Firstly, because the standards are almost entirely British,
and therefore don't apply to most of the scales and gauges used here;
and secondly, because there are some differences in the specs actually
used by FS modellers. The most common one for HO is P87, which AFAIK is
based on the same principles as P4, may even be a direct translation.
See above. NMRA looks for overlap in specs, so that any future standard
will be written so as to accommodate as many existing practices as possible.
Oh I know there are FS standards. How many times do I have to repeat
that? Most of them are British, and so don't apply to most of the
scale/gauge combinations not used here. And whatever standards are in
use, until the membership votes on them, they aren't NMRA standards.
That's all. That doesn't mean you should or shouldn't use them. It's
your hobby - enjoy it!
There are two "old technology" electrical standards that are nearly
universal now (major exceptions are Maerklin, and O gauge "tinplate, as
sold by Lionel, etc.):
-- 12V DC as propulsion current;
-- right hand rail positive from loco driver's POV produces forward motion.
As it happens, these were among the first standards adopted by the NMRA.
6V DC for HO, and 12-18V AC for O, were widely used at the time, but
it was realised that a common standard for all scales would benefit
everybody. NB that NMRA adopted one existing standard. The same standard
was also in use in other parts of the world. The fact that the large US
model railroad market adopted it helped make it the worldwide standard -
even Hornby came around, eventually. Maerklin did to, in its Hamo and
Trix lines, but never really believed in it - which is one of the
reasons it's in serious trouble now. Lionel refused to follow NMRA
standards, which eventually killed it. It was at one time the largest
manufacturer of toy (and some scale) trains in the world. The marque was
eventually bought by nostalgic investors, who have found a profitable
niche market for Lionel-branded trains.
It doesn't matter what the standards are, so long as they are standards.
Then it won't be 'Finescale', this was proved 40 years ago when the
spec for 18.83 was laid down, to have a 'finescale' standard one needs
to start with a clean sheet of paper, about the only common part
between the then coarse "00", the better "EM" and the 'Finescale'
"P4/S4" standard were the use of 1/8th inch dia' axles.
As for the rest of your 'rant' about standards and the lack of
interoperability between makes, all I can say is that you are woefully
out of date as to the facts on this side of the 'pond'... :~(
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