Notes on choosing Scale and Gauge
It may be that you have never had a model railway before and know little of such things as "scale" and "gauge". This need not worry you but in case you want to know, "scale" refers to the ratio between the size of the model and size of the prototype, the latter always being expressed as "one". Thus 1/10th scale would mean a model ten times smaller than the real thing, and so on. "Gauge" is the name given to the distance between the rails, both prototype and model gauges being expressed in actual size, thus "9 millimetre gauge" means there is a nine millimetre gap between the rails for your model train to run on. Scale and Gauge are often, but not always, in a direct ratio with one another but different model train manufacturers have adopted different commercial standards which has confused the matter for everyone. Such is life!
For the purposes of pricing a proposed model railway, one of the biggest variations is the difference between buying "Ready To Run" Commercial locomotives at about £100 each, and having them professionally made at perhaps a thousand pounds each. Commercial trains are naturally only available in particular sizes whereas if you have a model hand built it can be made in any scale you like, making gauge and scale largely cost-based decisions.
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