5 inch Narrow Gauge Railways
This website is dedicated to Narrow Gauge Railways and aimed at creating a group interest site for people who run 5 inch gauge garden railways with narrow gauge style locomotives and rolling stock.
5 inch gauge is the minimum gauge suitable for people wanting to run their own railway in their back garden and ride behind the locomotive carrying passengers. Although small the modern locomotives are powerful enough to pull several passengers with the smallest of locos. The bigger locomotives can easily pull 8 or more people and provide hours of fun for friends and visitors to the railway.
Narrow Gauge Railways exist all over the world and have their own unique charm which sets them apart from other railways. Small narrow tracks with over sized locomotives, they sprung up and still operate in a wide range of applications. Most narrow gauge railways in the UK run as tourist attractions now, as the roads killed off the need to transport goods on small private railways. Across the rest of the world there are still many narrow gauge railways operating commercially as they were originally intended.
Standard gauge railways run on rails set apart 4ft 8.5in. Narrow gauge railways exist in all kinds of gauges ranging from 15 inch to 1 metre gauge and wider.
Nearly every country has some form of narrow gauge railway running either passenger services or running commercially for industry. The main reason most narrow gauge railways started was the commercial aspect that narrow gauge railways are cheaper to set up and can negotiate much tigher curves whilst carrying substantial loads.
The origin of narrow guage railways started with the little trains of Wales such as the Festiniog railway. This stared off with horse drawn wagons then adopted live steam engines to haul larger loads of slate wagon from the quarry to the port. The gauge was set at approx 2ft gauge - wide enough for a horse to walk between the rails. The small gauge enabled the railway to cling to the hillsides and negotiate tight corners that would have otherwise have needed serious and expensive engineering to put standard gauge railways in place.
Since the sucess of the slate railways, the narrow gauge systems grew around the world throughtout Europe and especially in the states.
Aim of Narrow Gauge Railways Website
The aim of this website is to share my enthusiasm for narrow gauge railways both in models railways and in miniature railways around the UK
I enjoy model railways and started with OO gauge when i was a boy, but not been a train spotter and feeling that all the British rail locomotives of the time looked similar to boxes on wheels flying round at a scale speed of 200mph - i was looking for something much more interesting. I then got into 009 narrow gauge and found that the narrow gauge railways had a much better charm of their own, researching all the various railways around the world, nothing was standard and many locomotives were built as one of a kind.
Since then i have ws hooked on narrow gauge model railways and decided to go in for LGB or G-Scale for my main railway, which i installed in the attic on a layout 19ft x 17ft. As i got older and had my own kids, they started to enjoy playing with the trains. As i didn't like the idea of young kids playing in the attic and didn't want the worry of the kids falling down from the loft, it was obvious that the railway belonged in the garden.
As LGB is a true garden railway and can be run in most weather, as the trains are weather-proof, it was time to transplant the railway outside and make a layout that use most of my track from the attic. I planned the layout to give me the maximum run i could get out of a small 30ft yard and wanted to get it so i could run the maximum amount of trains without having to take them off the track and take turns in running the stock.
After digging a gold fish pond and replacing half the conreted yard with grass, I installed the LGB track round my small garden . The railway has been running outside now for the past 6 years. The railway was designed so that you can run and store more than seven locomotives at the same time with 3 passing loops through the station with a side platform, 2 sets of passing loops in different sections and several sidings.
The stock is mainly six 0-4-0 steam engines and an 0-6-0 steam loco with a load of wagons and just three 4 wheel coaches at the moment. I have several sets of coch bogies ready to scratch buld some longer coaches when i get round to it. My son also wanted the ICE multiple unit which runs as a 3-car set at the moment as i never got round to adding extra coaches to extend it.
Manufacturers of garden railway locomotives and rolling stock in G Scale include LGB, bachmann railways, Lionel trains, Roundhouse Engineering, Brandbright, Hartland Model Railways, Piko, Aristocraft to mention just a few.
Other Railway Stock
I still have my large collection of 009 model railway stock which i have never really completed a layout with and was researching what i should do with the all the track and locomotives. After hunting around and looking at various options i quickly worked out that 9mm gauge track works out to roughly 7.25in gauge in G Scale and I could use it with the LGB to represent a miniature park railway.
I had a BO-BO diesel locomotive and a Roco 0-6-0 HOe diesl which i converted to represent miniature trains and made them run but never got round to finishing them off and painting them for several years. Now I have discovered that several other people have started doing the same thing and given it its own scale known as G-Nine or G9. No end of so called layouts i have seen in this scale are either small shunts back and forth or so called pizza railways where they litterally go round in a small circle inside a curve designed to go in a box. Not much fun in my eyes.
My plans are to build a large scale railway in the attic using G-Nine scale and making a loop round that would represent a scale of half a mile run around the full circuit. This will represent my own miniature railway similar to the likes of the moors valley railiway. Where passengers can sit inside and enjoy a proper ride through some decent scenery.
Something A Little Bigger?
About 15 years ago i wanted to build a 5 inch gauge freelance diesel narrow gauge locomotive. I got a local machine company to turn up a set of four axels. I built a wooden model mock up and made the bogies out of wooden beads just to get an idea of how it would look and how stable it would be to ride on. I never got round to building the motorised version and ended up settling down bringing up the familiy instead.
A couple of years ago i decides that i would bite the bullet and invest in something i could really enjoy with the kids and purchased a couple of 5 inch gauge locomotives from Ride on Railways. I will cover this in more details within the 5 inch gauge section of the website.