Thursday, April 14, 2011

TT Time

Britannia Locomotive - Catalogue Nº: T.97
A1A-A1A Brush Diesel - Catalogue Nº: T.96
Mainline Composite Coach - Catalogue Nº: T.87
Now that I have made another start at trying to explain some of the more popular model railway gauges I thought I ought to maintain the momentum and take a look at TT which, these days, is more generally known as 3 mm.

TT covers a range of standards that is used by a relatively small number of modellers who have persisted with the size despite there being very little support from the various manufacturers.

Although there are modellers who do still collect the old Tri-ang ready-to-run products, which are now only available second-hand, most 3 mm enthusiasts build their locomotives and rolling stock from kits and run them on 12 mm gauge track. However, an increasing number are using finer sale 14.2 mm gauge track, which is the correct 3 mm scale equivalent of the prototype standard gauge.

It was in the late 1950s that Tri-ang introduced their new 'TT3'  model railway range with 'TT' standing for Table Top and 3 being the nominal 3 mm to 1 foot scale. However, the track was only 12 mm gauge which represented an incorrect prototype gauge of 4 foot.

During the early 1960's Tri-ang produced a handful of British outline locomotives along with a nice range of goods vehicles and slightly shortened passenger coaches. As you can see, I have included some examples above with all photographs courtesy of the Tri-ang website (

Being smaller than OO it was suggested that you could build  a fairly decent layout  in TT - quite literally on a table top but, unfortunately, by the mid-1960's, TT had been usurped by the smaller N gauge.

However, in 1965, the 3 mm Society was formed in order to promote the continuing use of the scale and this it still does today.

To be honest, the old Tri-ang rolling stock did not have very good running qualities thanks, mostly, to its 1950s design and technology. Today, of course, modern rolling stock runs on needle-point bearings and performs much better although, sadly, no manufacturer makes any ready-to-run models in 3 mm scale.

The 3 mm Society, however, does produce a large range of items including kits for locomotives, wagons and coaches together with pieces for scratch-building rolling stock. The Society also supplies an excellent 12 mm gauge flexible track and Peco now also  make some 12 mm gauge flexible track with a selection of points that is, primarily, for narrow gauge (HOm) modellers but it is suitable for 3 mm scale use too.

So this scale is, essentially, for the more active modellers and kit-builders and is not suitable for novices or those who like to build ready-to-run layouts. However, with the support of the 3 mm Society a determined and enthusiastic beginner could certainly make a great start at modelling in this scale. It would be especially good for those with a limited space since the area required to build a layout requires a little over half that of the equivalent layout in OO gauge.

The 3mm Society website is at:

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