How To Use An NMRA Gauge


If there is one issue that almost every experienced model railroader would tell you that he or she would put at the top of their list of things that should be a part of your modeling tool list, it would be the NMRA gauge.  Incidentally NMRA is the abbreviation for National Model Railroad Association.  They’ve been around since 1935 and for all intents and purposes are a non-profit organization.

They’re primary or foremost function is in setting or defining standards for the hobby.  In addition, they also create advisory documents which recommended practices for model railroading equipment.

Why should you own an NMRA gauge?  Because this is a multi-functional tool that can be used to, among other things help prevent derailments, which further guarantees the smooth running of your model railroad.  Using an NMRA gauge will help you make the necessary adjustments to track as well as rolling stock. 

You can use this inexpensive tool (typically priced around six dollars), for accurate and switch dimensions.  Plus, you’ll also be able to use this tool to check and set the correct adjustments for wheel spacing, flange depth, tire width, and of course, wobble.  If this wasn’t enough, you can also use an NMRA gauge to the clearance for structures which will then allow your trains to clear tunnel portals, station platforms, and even scenery items.
Incidentally, this gauge can be purchased at model train hobby shops, most other hobby shops, and you can also conveniently purchase an NMRA gauge online if you so choose.

How to use an NMRA tool:

Although, as previously mentioned there are a number of practical applications an NMRA gauge can be used for, perhaps one of the more important is in maintaining standards for avoiding derailments.  Model
Railroader magazine provides a great “how to” video which shows you exactly how to use this invaluable too for this exact purpose.  It’s located right below this paragraph and watching it should aid in preventing frustrating derailments: