Code 332, 250, 215 ??
Code classifications are referring
to different rail types. Rails as different in
height, base width, and head width. I found data from
the 1939 American Railway Engineering Association
standards for rail sizes and converted it to the
equivalent scale sizes. If you know the weight of the
prototypical rail then you can find the appropriate code
in the table below. For example, the chart shows 140
pound rail in G scale to be 0.311, and the closest
'code' rail would be code 332. The table contains also
the base widths and the head widths for your reference.
When do you look into the G-scale
or #1 table? We refer to #1 when we are modeling
1:32 which is standard gauge (1435mm or 4' 8 1/2") in
the prototype. G-scale is more appropriate for
1:22.5 or 1:20.5 which reflect narrow gauge (1000mm or
Now we need the weight. In
the US, rail weight varies from 80-90 lb/yd
(pounds/yard) in small yards to 100-110 lb/yd on light
duty track and between 130 and 141 lbs on heavy duty
track. Rail of 141 lbs is the new main line standard.
The infrastructure owning company in the UK (Railtrack),
has adopted UIC60 rail (which weighs 60 kg/m or 125
lb/yd) as its standard for high speed lines. The
present standard is equivalent to the UIC 54 rail, which
weighs about 113 lbs/yd or 54 kg/m.
So know we can figure out the
correct code type. If we assume heavy duty track
we would find that in 1:22.5 code 332 is just fine.
However, most likely heavy duty would run on standard
gauge and 45 mm is only standard gauge in 1:32 (or to a
lesser degree 1:29 the obscure scale of Aristocraft and
USA Trains (and of course all standard gauge locomotives
from LGB). So code 250 would be probably a better
choice for 1:29 and code 215 for 1:32. With that
said our experience for proper outdoor operation shows
us that we are better off with code 332, which has less
problems with stone and dirt movement caused by weather,
animals, or us and our kids. We recommend to
reserve code 250 and 215 for indoor layouts.
Code 332: Aristocraft, H&R
Trains, LGB, Micro Engineering, Train-li-USA, USA
Code 250: Llagas Creek, Micro
Engineering, Sun Valley
Code 215: Llagas Creek,