Getting the look of the railway right is a one of the hardest tasks in a model. Particularly setting the clearances to platforms, bridges, and the side of the track for buildings, signal posts, embankments, etc. To aid this task a simple building gauge can be produced which gives a minimum setting for everything. It was cut from a piece of .040″ plasticard and is shown in the diagram below.
In use the gauge gives the correct setting for platforms at the ‘stepped’ side with the platform height and the spacing from the track. This only applies to straight platforms – extra width must be allowed for stock clearance on curves. The straight side gives the minimum distance from the track to any building, shed, signal post, bridge side or other similar structure. In practice it also gives a marker for the edge of the ballast plus drainage and shows where the vegetation should start from. The total width of the gauge (60mm) is the minimum height above rail level for any structure which is flat across the track – flat bridge parapet, signal gantry, etc.
A simple to produce gauge but one which has proved very useful and effective in helping to build a model railway which looks true to prototype practice.