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SM32 16mm Model Railway!

A bit about SM32

SM32 is the common name for modelling in 16mm to the foot (the SM bit), and using 32mm gauge track (the 32 bit). Although 32mm gauge is the UK 'O' gauge, the rails are physically bigger in scale, as is they whole layout.

16mm scale ratio is 1:19.05 In real life, SM32 relates closely to 2ft narrow gauge railways, like several found in the Welsh mountains. A fantastic resource of links can be found on the Narrow Gauge Railway Society Website.

There is an association for 16mm modellers called the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers and their website has a wealth of useful information.

About the layout

Because of the scale, SM32 railways are usually found in gardens. Here the tracks can mix between model stations and yards, and along gravel paths and amongst the flower beds and water features. Just buying and laying the track and points is a major undertaking. Instead of doing that, I'm making an indoor layout.

A I have a small house, there is the problem of how do you fit such a large scale layout in a small room? PECO make track for SM32, and the best radius for fixed track is 30 inches (38 inches for points), so to have a simple loop of track the base-board has to be around about 5-6 foot square! I have a cunning plan!

Stop/Start Jitters

One thing I remember from childhood about OO/HO railways was that unless you kept the track spotlessly clean, your train would stop and start and jitter it's way around the track. (These were the days of simple power supplies via the track). I'm sure things have come a long way since then, but I have always wanted to have the trains with their own power supplies on-board. Probably needed even more for outside layouts to avoid the real "Leaves on the line" disappointments! With SM32, there should be enough room for on-board batteries!