Sacramento NMRA National

The Sacramento NMRA convention is all over, and I’m returning back to Vancouver to get properly started on the layout room renovation. I presented a well-received Proto:87 clinic on the Monday. I started with an overview of the history of Proto:87 back to the early days of the Model Railway Study Group in the late ’60s, and brought everyone up to date with the currently available products. I guess there were about 25 people in attendance.

One surprise for me was the amount of the confusion between Proto:87 and Code 88. Code 88 refers to a popular, though non-conforming, wheel dimension used by some HO modelers. The “88” is the width of the wheel in thousandths of an inch. While code 88 wheels do not conform with the HO standards, and thus will not work on all HO track, many modelers have success with them on a subset of available track. Because they spend all their time looking at rolling stock, and the track is an afterthought, these modelers are content to run with a wheel that is merely 37% oversize (rather than 71% as the standard code 110 wheels are). They ignore the flangeways and other compromises in the track. Proto:87, of course, specifies both track and wheels that are accurately scaled from the prototype.

There was much Proto:48 action in the contest room, but I didn’t notice any Proto:87 other than my own.

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