What is the difference between 009 and N Gauge?

What is the difference between 009 and N Gauge?

Are you confused between OO9 and N Gauge?  What is 009 narrow gauge? How small can I make a 009 layout?

The recent growth in 009 scale models has prompted a real interest in the narrow gauge model railway. No longer is it just for kit builders and more experienced modellers, anyone can now purchase locomotives, coaches and wagons and make their own slice of narrow gauge heaven. 

But what exactly is 009, and what is the difference between 009 and N gauge?

Popular UK model sizes

Traditionally, the two most popular scales / gauges for modelling, in the UK are OO Gauge (1:76 scale, 16.5mm track ) and N Gauge (1:148 scale, 9mm track).

In previous articles, we've explained the anomaly that is OO Gauge - where the track used is proportionally under-sized for the dimensions of the rolling stock, which results in the confusion of scale and gauge. Scale is the size of the items, compared to the full-size prototype, Gauge is the distance between the rails. 

N Gauge is more straightforward. It uses a track gauge of 9mm, hence the ‘N’ (for Nine).

OO9 is a combination of both scale and gauge. All the scenic items are to a scale of 1:76 (or OO) but it utilises 9mm track, so you get the combined designation of OO9.

Prototype Narrow Gauge railways

Narrow gauge railways are, or were, common across most of the UK, although the actual gauge varied quite considerably. For example, the Ffestiniog Railway, and the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway both use a gauge of 1ft 11½", whereas the Talyllyn Railway uses a gauge of 2ft 3". Some railways were wider still, such as the long-forgotten Redruth and Chasewater Railway, with a gauge of 4ft.


Ffestiniog Railway - Taliesin at Penryn Crossing

Often the geography of the area and the cargo to be carried determined the most suitable gauge to be used, plus the availability of buying rolling stock from other railways. Most lines started as horse-drawn tramways, later progressing to steam locomotives. 

Ticknell Tramway

Generally, the inclines were gentle, but there are examples of gravity trains being used, such as those of the Ffestiniog Railway.

Modelling British Narrow Gauge

Nowadays, many of these heritage narrow gauge railways are popular with tourists and enthusiasts. This has led to the increase in the main British-outline manufacturers bringing out a range of track, locomotives and rolling stock based on the wide variety of prototype examples.

The variation in prototype track gauge is largely ignored in the modelling world, and all British outline narrow gauge rolling stock is made to use the common 9mm gauge track. Thus it's possible to have both Ffestiniog and Talyllyn locomotives on the same layout, something impossible in reality. 

Peco have been making OO9 Crazy Track for many years, and have recently supplemented this with their ‘Mainline’ range. These newer, longer points are more suitable for the longer wheelbase model locos, which are based on those such as the Lynton & Barnstaple Lyn.

What sort of layout can I make with OO9?

Many modellers use both OO standard gauge and OO9 narrow gauge on the same layout, often creating a transfer area to tranship goods from one gauge to the other. This can be within a goods shed, or an open platform or goods yard. The narrow gauge line can be made to wander between, under or over the standard gauge, creating a varied interest in track levels.

Using just OO9 track allows the creation of a much smaller layout, as the curves can be made much tighter than the standard gauge equivalent.  It is also possible to use N gauge Set Track with OO9 rolling stock, as both formats are completely compatible. Once ballasted, it is not so noticeable that the sleepers are closer and smaller than might be expected.

One popular style of layout is the ‘Rabbit Warren’, where a simple continuous track runs in a series of loops and inclines. The scenery is made to represent a hilly area, and the track emerges from tunnels and traverses bridges, before disappearing again.

Peckforton Light Railway





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I suffer from dementia, but i see nothing to comment about other than the picture is a poor one to be used in this instance

Not much to comment about, picture is of poor quality.


How many more comments do you want? I think I'm wasting my time here for no good reason,

Goodbye whoever you are,

Brian Twigg.

Think the image is perfectly clear, shows exactly the route and you can see 3 distinct levels, just need to fathom out where inclines start and finish, the scenery is slow down to your own imagination.