The In-ko-pah Railroad


Scale and gauge

My railroad is built to 1/24th scale. This scale is easy to work with and there are many detail parts available in 1/24th scale. Some of the rolling stock is actually a bit larger, at 1/22.5 scale. However, the difference is too small to be noticeable.

The track is known as “Gauge 1” which means there is 45mm between the rails. This scales out to about 42” (three and a half feet). Standard gauge is 56.5”, so the In-ko-pah Railroad is a narrow gauge railroad. Narrow gauge railroads were often used in mountainous areas, both to reduce costs and to allow sharper curves.

The most common narrow gauge used in the US was three-foot gauge. For instance, the Silverton & Durango RR and other Colorado railroads run on three-foot gauge track. Two-foot gauge was also fairly common, and many other gauges were used at various times, mostly by industrial railroads. Forty-two inch gauge is unusual but not unheard of, and since I’m not modeling a specific prototype, there is no need to stick with three-foot gauge.

Many outdoor modelers using Gauge 1 track model in 1:20.3 scale, which makes the track scale out to three feet. I prefer 1/24th scale because the smaller structures and equipment fit better into my limited space. It’s also easier to convert real measurements to scale feet, since a half-inch equals one foot in 1/24th scale.