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Getting the
Right Look

When creating the authentic Broad Gauge look, probably the thing that strikes you first is the baulk roaded broad gauge trackwork.  But what often sets successful broad gauge layouts apart from their more modern counterparts, is their simplicity.

Key to that is good uncluttered scenery, as in the photo above, but as trains were relatively short, that doesn't mean a layout has to be huge.

The adoption of the finest scale standards (P4, S4 or S7) is recommended for broad gauge modelling, as these make achievable the tight clearances of footplates and splashers.

If you have not worked to such fine measurements before, do not worry - all the critical dimensions for wheels and rails van be set using gauges available from the Broad Gauge Society.

The Society has an database of images, some 2,000 photographs and drawings of broad gauge subjects, which can be found in hundreds of publications and archives. 

Modelling the Broad Gauge


At first consideration, it may seem that modelling the broad gauge might be too difficult to contemplate.  But look a little deeper and it is clear people have been constructing layouts for years; Mike Sharman's layout featured in the Railway Modeller magazine back in the 1970s and 80s.  At that time virtually 'everything' was hand built, and inevitably time consuming.

Thus, a primary aim of the original collaberation of individuals that formed the Broad Gauge Society was to pool research and resources to allow the development of products for broad gauge modelling.  This led to the creation of a standard 4mm scale template, and from there, components like wheels and specialist white metal castings developed.

Over time, the 2mm scale ('N' gauge) and 7mm scales (equivalent to 'O' gauge) have been included, and there is now a wealth of etched brass, plastic, laser cut parts, and full kits available to build or adapt, to construct a decent range of broad gauge rolling stock.

Some of these kits are available directly from the BGS, others from individuals who complement the modelling aims of the Society.  Quite a few of these suppliers are present at the bi-annual BGS Exhibition.  Wheels are generally the same as for standard gauge models and just need longer axles, which are available from the Society.

The development of kits has allowed the opportunity for virtually any railway modeller to build a working broad gauge layout and run trains.

If you have some experience of railway modelling, the distinctive character of the broad gauge can be replicated using the same skills you may have developed in modelling more modern eras.  Indeed, anyone who has already mastered the techniques needed to build track and rolling stock in 4mm or 7mm scales, will find that these same techniques are all that is needed to successfully build broad gauge models.

There is of course still room for scratch building, as station building and other items of infrastructure often had a style unique to the broad gauge.

Sadly there is not the volume of sales to produce 'ready to run' broad gauge models, although some suppliers do offer a kit building service.  There are regular articles in the "Broadsheet" that illustrate the building of some kits.

The Society can supply the distinctive 'bridge rail' in both 4mm and 7mm scales, although we cannot supply ready made trackwork, as the volume of track we could sell is too small to make production ecomonical. 

Over the years the “Broadsheet” has contained many articles on building the distinctive baulk road, and various items of rolling stock.  An adjacent page shows the standards for track construction, which are recommended to be compatible with other modellers.


Except for elongated pointwork, the space needed for building broad gauge layouts is not significantly different to models of standard gauge prototypes, indeed the small coaches and short trains of the Victorian era actually help reduce the space needed.  Moreover at the end of the day you will have a layout that is distinctly "different".

Of course due to the unique period and gauge, broad gauge modelling will never equal the easy appeal of main-stream modelling, where different periods, Railway Companies and traction type could all be run together.

However, just as in Victorian days, the broad gauge has its own appeal; the adjacent photo of the 0-6-0 saddle tank loco is an illustration of the lovely working models that can be achieved.


The attached photo shows the etched brass components of a broad gauge wagon; this particular one is designed to be soldered, but there is a range of differing products from the Society; a range which continues to grow.

The normally bi-annual public exhibition organised by the BGS, is an opportunity for a get together of BGS members, a chance to swap notes, and perhaps see progress on member's layouts and models.  But it is also where people can come and see broad gauge layouts, find out more about what's involved, and what's available, as there is also good support by trade stands.

Tempted ?  Well, we hope you may be interested, have a look at the pages showing photos from previous exhibitions - and maybe come and view the next one in person, and have a chat to us.