Nominal size 1

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I-gauge garden railway in the miniature landscape of the Bekonscot Model Village (England)
Gauge I Tin-plate toy train from the Märklin company
Gauge 1 system in the Museum of Hamburg History, Hamburg
Märklin tram in gauge I with clockwork (approx. 1909) in the Zurich toy museum

The nominal size I (pronounced: nominal size one) is a size for model railways standardized in the standards of European model railways (NEM) and the standards of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) . It is also sometimes referred to as nominal size 1 . The scale is 1:32. The standard gauge with a prototype gauge of 1435 mm has a model gauge of 45 mm and is colloquially referred to as gauge I.

There are vehicle models and accessories in the inexpensive toy train segment through to high-quality vehicle models and accessories that are in no way inferior to their great role models. The vehicle models are mainly driven by electric motors . With high-quality steam locomotive models from industrial production as well as with models from hobby model builders, the steam engine drive is widespread as a so-called real steam operation.


In 1891, Märklin - up until then a manufacturer of doll kitchens, gyroscopes and ship models - presented a toy train with a clockwork drive in nominal size 1 for the first time and was able to implement a kind of standardization of this size for the first time around 1909.

Until then, there had been differences in sizes among model railways that made it impossible to combine individual parts of different trains with one another, even if they came from the same manufacturer.

For a few years this was the most popular size produced by various manufacturers, also because smaller sizes could not initially be produced reliably. From approx. 1895, the 1/3 smaller track 0 gained in importance, which was already decreasing market share due to the smaller space requirement. From 1935 onwards - initially presented as TRIX Express by the Vereinigte Spielwaren Fabriken Nürnberg - the once more halved nominal size H0 , historically also known as nominal size 00 in the Anglo-Saxon area, became very popular. Up to the Second World War, the nominal sizes 0 and 00 / H0 became dominant in the market due to the smaller space requirement and the comparatively low price, and the production of models and accessories of the 1 gauge was discontinued across manufacturers.

After the nominal size 1 had disappeared completely from the catalogs of the large-scale manufacturers for years, Märklin dared to start over on this large scale in 1969 with the description "the new 1". Initially designed as a fairway, steam locomotives of the DB class 80 and a diesel works locomotive pulled the first passenger and freight cars of this old gauge into living rooms and gardens. From 1978 onwards, the size became more demanding, until 1984 the legendary " Swiss Crocodile " was also presented in this size, making high-quality but also very expensive models available. In 1994, the 1 gauge experienced a renaissance of classic sheet metal technology as the "Maxi-Bahn", a play area for children, the production of which, however, was slowly scaled back and was finally discontinued in 2008. The toy train manufactured by Playmobil , which was introduced at the time, has also been using this gauge since 1980 .


For nominal size I, the following model gauges are specified in the European Model Railways (NEM) standards on a scale of 1:32 :

track designation Model gauge Prototype gauge Use with prototype gauges
I. Standard gauge 45 mm 1435 mm from 1250 mm to 1700 mm
in the Meter gauge 32 mm 1000 mm from 850 mm to <1250 mm
Ie Narrow gauge 22.5 mm 0750 mm, 760 mm and 800 mm from 650 mm to <850 mm
Ii (If) Field railway 16.5 mm 0500 mm and 600 mm from 400 mm to <650 mm
Ip Park lane 12 mm 0381 mm from 300 mm to <400 mm

Terms nominal size I and nominal size 1

Originally, as it is today, the nominal size is actually designated with the Roman number I. According to the standards of European model railways , the designation with Roman numerals is still preferred, but nominal sizes I and larger can also be designated with Arabic numerals.

Manufacturer (selection)

  • Bockholt, Dassendorf
  • Dingler, Meckenbeuren
  • Hübner (until 2007, partly continued by Märklin )
  • Kiss, Viernheim
  • KM1, Lauingen
  • Märklin , Göppingen
  • Miracle, Viernheim
  • MBW, Mülheim
  • Manufactory FT, Lippstadt (accessories)

Web links

Commons : Track I  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Spur Im  - collection of images, videos and audio files