Why H0n30?

My father gave me a Liliput H0e trainset for Christmas about 45 years ago. It was a Waldenburgerbahn trainset ( prototype info, the only 75 cm narrow gauge public carrier in Switzerland). This trainset disappeared in a drawer after my childhood.

25 years later I was looking for a new hobby to recreate from my job. I would do something with my hands, to build something real. Because I admired railroads, it was a small step to try to build my own model locomotive. I stepped into hobby train shop and asked for a locomotive kit. The only kit they had was a Rivarossi 0 scale 4-4-0 Reno locomotive kit. Till to this point I was neither in the USA nor interested in American railroads. Because it was the only kit, I took them and I was infected. I built also from Rivarossi the 0-8-0 IHB switcher and some 0 wooden scale cars.

But 0 scale was definitely to large for a small flat. There was not even enough room to display the models and a layout was impossible. That's why I changed to H0.

Some positive side effects of American model railroading: to learn (American) English, to discover American industrial history, to reduce some prejudice about USA.

"The bigger the better" seems to be the American ideal. USA have bigger cars, bigger hamburgers, bigger railroads, bigger successes, bigger fails. If somebody in Switzerland will do big model railroading he/she models American railroads and he/she feels mighty. I know USA is the most powerful country (and they like to show that to the rest of the world), USA rule the world. But I know, there is also a modest America, a narrow gauge America with public transportation by rails and I model it. This is my (narrow minded) American dream.

to be continued

What is H0n30/H0e/009?

The term H0 is an abbrevation for Half 0 scale. H0 scale is 1:87 (British style 3.5 mm = 1'), but for 0 scale it is bit complicated, in continental europe it is 1:45, in UK 1:43.5 (7mm = 1'), in USA 1:48 (1/4 scale, that means 1/4" = 1'). For 1 scale it was and is the same for all: 1:32. In the early days (30s) of H0 scale there was a battle between 00 and H0. H0 won, but in the UK and elsewhere this scale is still used. 00 is 4 mm = 1' (1:76) but with the same gauge as H0.

Gauge is the distance between the rails, for prototype standard gauge it is 4' 8 1/2" (1435 mm). Narrow gauge in Switzerland, where I live, is usually 1 m (meter gauge), in Austria and other former KuK countries 760 mm, in Germany 750 mm and 1 m, in USA 3' and 2', in India, Pakistan and Cuba 2 1/2'. Of course there are many exceptions. See http://www.parovoz.com/spravka/gauges-e.html for a good overview.

H0e/H0n30 is H0 scale (1:87) on N scale tracks (9 mm between the rails). 009 is 00 scale (1:76, 4 mm scale) also on 9 mm gauge tracks. n30 means 30" prototype gauge (some write H0n2 1/2), the e in H0e may be come from voie etroite (french for narrow gauge) or from Egger-Bahn (first H0e manufacturer). Valid prototype gauges for H0e are from 650 mm to 850 mm, exact it has to be 783 mm gauge.

Many modellers use H0e/H0n30 to model 2' / 600 mm gauge prototypes. But the NEM standard propose to use H0i (aka H0f in German speaking countries). The gauge for H0i is 6.5 mm, this is the same as for Z scale. H0i is for 450 to 650 mm prototype gauge (exact for 566 mm gauge). The NMRA propose to use H0n2 (7 mm gauge, exact for 609 mm prototype gauge, very close to 2'). The i in H0i stands for industrial railroads, the f in H0f for Feldbahn.

Scale history: 2, 1, 0, H0, N, Z (that's why we europeans write 0 as a Zero)

Some usefull links


American Standards

European Standards

-- PeterSchmid - 2011-05-09

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