New Zealand Model Railways

Every train nerd worth his salt needs to play with toy trains once in a while.

My brother Paul and I used to hang out with Rhys and Evan Batchelor playing war in the sandpit and wargames in the house until finally my parents got sick of that and bought a Hornby trainset out from its box on 11 July 1981. The rest as they say is ...a terrible, terrible mistake.

A quick primer on modeling NZ railways: Somewhere between the pioneers who built absolutely everything that went into their models from bits of old sewing machines and disused tractors; but before the widespread availability of kitsets today (and money to pay for them); the average schoolboy modeling the NZ railway scene normally started with commercial equipment from the US or UK and built an oversized top for it to represent a vehicle sitting on NZ's 3 ft 6 'narrow' gauge tracks. 

Thus the most common size is "Sn3.5", which is S scale (1:64) bodies on HO (or English 00) track. Those with a spare barn-sized room together with some welding equipment lying around and metalwork skills may be tempted to try "9mill", a 9mm to the foot (approx 1:34) scale body on 32mm O gauge track. A more recent, and considerably more practical development, is NZ120 = or TT scale (1:120) tops on N scale equipment, which grew in popularity over the 1990s. I have elected to dabble, I mean, research all three and present my findings below.

Apologies for the crappy scans in most of these pages, they will be redone at some stage. Click on a green arrow below to begin the journey...

The infamous Otaki to Cass NZ120 modular layout built and exhibited around New Zealand in the early 1990s by the Dynamic Duo of Rhys Batchelor and myself. 

I built this 3 by 6 foot NZ120 layout in New York. It later appeared in the NZ Model Railway Journal

9mm scale DG loco from a gorgeous RK Models (Bob Allen) kit 

Sn3.5 models from the 1980s.

NZR Rolling Stock - some pics for modelers 

Rhys Batchelor's NZ120 Blog