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The Gauge 3 Galleries
(Note: Many of these galleries are still under construction)

Gauge 3 is one of the oldest model train track gauges, dating back to 1891 when it was among four original model track gauges created by pioneering German toy maker Marklin (Gauges 1, 2, 3 & 4). Known more commonly in the United States as simply 1/2" scale or 2.5" gauge, it represents the 4'-8 1/2" standard gauge trains of the real world using a model track gauge of 2.5" (63.5mm) between the rails, and in its long history, has been associated with several different scales, in ascending order of precision: 1/2" = 1', 17/32" = 1' or most precisely 1:22.6. In the United State, Gauge 3 was popular among live steam enthusiasts during the 1920s and 30s, but declined precipitously after WWII. With a few notable exceptions (see below), it is now practiced by less than a dozen modelers in the US (out of thousands of model railroaders). This is not the case in Europe where something of a Gauge 3 renaissance has been underway since the mid-1980s, particularly in Great Britain among garden railway enthusiasts, and to a lesser extent among German and Swiss indoor modelers.

The thumbnails below are an index to the several galleries of Gauge 3 models that are maintained on this site. Some of these images are purely historical, their objects having long ago disappeared. Others are just as contemporary as their builders. Several garage manufacturers are also represented.

The Golden Age of Gauge 3

A History of Gauge 3
Did you ever go to the L.A. Fairplex display? Or see a Coventry pacific? This gallery contains an illustrated history of Gauge 3 from the 1920s through the present. It is not an exhaustive history of Gauge 3, but it should be enough for you to get your bearings.

Victor Shattock
One of the pioneers of the live steam hobby in America, Mr. Shattock built numerous 1/2" scale Southern Pacific locomotives and freight cars in the 1920s-40s to run on his Oakland, California basement railroad. Yes, they were live steam, indoors! (under construction)

Micro-Manufacturing: H. J. Coventry, Lester Friends, and Others
Gauge 3 in the 1920s and 30s was a live steam affair supported by a small cadre  of mom & pop manufacturers such as H. J. Coventry, Lester Friends, the Miller Back Yard Railroad, and Little Engines (Martin Evans). (under constr.)

The Grand Displays
The 1930s and 40s was the era of grand 1/2" scale, Gauge 3 display railroads in several American amusement parks. The Fairplex Railroad in the L.A. County Fairgrounds, Canadia City near Niagara Falls, Ontario are the most well known. Sadly, these displays are long gone. (under const.)

British Gauge 3

In Great Britain Gauge 3 has undergone something of a renaissance since the 1980s. It continues to have a strong presence among live steamers and is now, through the efforts of Garden Railway Specialists, developing a battery powered, electric following. Still, a serious cleavage exists between the garden railway fraternity--those who build miniature outdoor displays for their trains to operate through, and those who straddle purposefully designed riding cars in order to get behind one of their miniature iron horses. The one group is represented by the Gauge 3 Society, the other by the National 2 1/2" Gauge Association. Both are supported by a small array of garage manufacturers and custom builders.

Mike Pavie Locomotives
Mike Pavie was an aircraft engineer for 30 years before starting his own model engineering firm devoted to limited production live steam Gauge 3 locomotives. His models have ranged from various pacific types (Gresley A4, Peppercorn A1, West Countries, the 8F Duke of Gloucester) to the Riddles 9F 2-10-0, Great Western Hall 4-6-0s, and even small Hunslets. Mike resides in Devon, England. (Updated 18 March 2009)

Some English Garden Railways
Coming Soon

German & Swiss Spur II

In both Germany and Switzerland, Gauge 3 is no longer known by the original Märklin designation, but due to a re-numbering in the 1970s long after the demise of Gauges 2 and 4, as "Gauge 2," or to use their language Spur II. Gauge I is known as Spur I, that is, when modeling standard gauge trains in 1:32 scale, but as Spur IIm when modeling European meter gauge--which is the more common of the European narrow gauges. Spur II has a substantial following in Germany, but is usually a 2-rail electric system of indoor trains rather than outdoor live steamers, as is the case in Britain.

A Visit To Magnus (New 9-29-09)
Magnus Handworks is the pre-eminent commercial manufacturer of 2-rail electric Gauge 3 trains. Magnus was founded in 1976 by Christian Hoehne and provided many of the early limited production models for LGB. Magnus even ventured into the US market during the mid-1980s with a small rannge of American prototype rolling stock. Mr. Hoehne continues his work today and his website is located here. These pics are from a 2007 visit.

Stephan Weber, Modelmaker
Steve Weber is a Swiss modelmaker who specializes in both outsourced CAD-CAM and rapid prototyping for industry as well as the construction of limited production Gauge 3 locomotives and freight cars. He models mainly German and Swiss prototypes, and is a model railroader himself. Steve maintains two websites, one for his industrial and rapid prototyping work under the name of his company, Arte-Tec, the other for his trains.

Train City Museum
The Train City Model Railroad & Doll Museum located in Hechingen, Germany possesses the largest collection of Gauge 3 locomotives and rolling stock anywhere (about 600 handmade models), as well as a large one-of-a-kind German prototype indoor Gauge 3 railroad.

German Modular Gauge 3
(coming soon)
Gauge 3 In North America

Barry Bogs, MMR
A native of Houston, Texas, Barry Bogs holds not only the NMRA's highest achievement award of Master Model Railroader, but is without a doubt the most prolific modeler in Gauge 3 in North America today. Barry's models may be seen in three separate galleries: steam locomotives, diesels and freight cars.

Dave Queener
From about 1998 through 2002 Dave custom built freight cars in 1:22.5 scale, Gauge 3  Here you will find the Gauge 3 freight cars and locomotives which he built before transitioning into 1:20.3 standard gauge. Dave is also, if you have not already guessed, the man behind this site.

Louis Casanelli (St. Charles Station)
Coming Soon
The Gauge 3 Newsletter
A quarterly publication by the late Mr. James Newton which ran off-and-on throughout the 1990s. It is our goal to reproduce the entire series here as PDF files. Stay tuned.
Misc. Gauge 3
Coming Soon

Last update: 23 January 2009

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