“S” Scale denotes a model which is 1/64th the size of the real thing (prototype). Sometimes this is expressed as a ratio, therefore 3/16” = 1’ (three sixteenths of an inch equals one foot) (or simply as 3/16th scale) can also be used to describe an S scale model.
When compared to other scales, S scale sits between HO (1/87th) and O scale (1/48th). In Australia, the majority of S scale modellers make models based on narrow gauge prototype. Narrow gauge track is 3’6” or 1067mm. Commercially available HO track (which is HO scale, standard gauge track) is the equivalent of narrow gauge when used as S scale, that is, used as 1/64th rather than 1/87th track. Narrow gauge is defined as any gauge less than 1435mm or 4’8 1/2” between the tracks. A narrow gauge of 1067mm is used by railways in the majority of Australian states, New Zealand, and South Africa so there is much prototype available on which to base models. Only Victoria and New South Wales never had any significant narrow gauge railway.
To further confuse the new railway modeler, the various scales can be further grouped by the prototype gauge they represent. For example S scale is popular with modelers of sugar cane railways and other industrial and mining railways. These may be 2’ or smaller gauge. To indicate the gauge difference, an additional suffix can be added to the scale to indicate the gauge the model represents. Rosevale is actually an Sn3.5 scale railway (representing Queenslands’ 3’6” gauge), while a 2’ cane railway would be designated as Sn2.
Why Choose “S” Scale?
There are a number of reason why modellers make S their scale of choice. S scale models are larger than HO for a given prototype. Because of this larger relative size, S scale models can show more detail than the smaller scales. Readily available HO track can be used for Sn3.5 track as HO (standard gauge) is about equivalent to Sn3.5 when checked mathematically. Layouts can be constructed using well known brands of model track components, including points/switches and flex track. While “off-the-shelf” S scale models are not readily available, kit construction and scratch builders are supported by a number of suppliers. Story by Ken Duncan Further Link and Infohttp://qldmodeltrains.blogspot.com.au/