Converting G scale Cars to Standard Gauge?

Hi guys,

while browsing through images online, I stumbled across a post where someone managed to convert Lionel Polar Express coaches to Standard Gauge, by swapping out the trucks. So, this has me wondering: Would it be possible, for example, to swap out the trucks on Bachmann Big Haulers rolling stock so they'll run on standard gauge track? Just a thought, but interested if it could work?

Original Post

?? Why not??   Lighted cars need a pickup added for the center. Non powered cars shouldn't pose an issue.  (correct me if I'm wrong but G is 2r, St is 3r, both are the same  gauge... or is it 1gauge or wide gauge?)

Two rail type wheels must be electrically isolated from each other, so are plastic or have an isolating instert in the wheel hub(s). 

  So, say you can fashion or buy/ mount a center pickup shoe, that goes to the bulb, new wire, remove the old on that end only.  Now take this old wire and attach it to the other bulb terminal instead, combining both wheel's wires to double the the number of wheels contacting the outer rails.

Plastic wheels? Shoes on the outer rails near wheels are another 2r trick we don't see as much in O.   So are "wiskers" which can be nice thin phos/bronze or a scrap of solid copper wire, etc.. (hide behind wheel somewhat, then fwd or back so it contacts the side of the rail head along the flange rub, close to the wheel.  I used a wisker in this bash because I wanted to lower the O height with S scale plastic wheels. Needless to say there is near zero effort in hiding it here. It just worked so well I never bothered to do it "right". 



"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.



Photos (1)
Adriatic posted:

?? Why not??   Lighted cars need a pickup added for the center. Non powered cars shouldn't pose an issue.  (correct me if I'm wrong but G is 2r, St is 3r, both are the same  gauge... or is it 1gauge or wide gauge?)


G scale (wrong name anyway) uses a gauge of 45 mm and Standard Gauge uses a gauge of 54 mm. So the gauges do not match,  so trucks need to be exchanged.

For those who want to know about Gauge and Scale; I wrote  a (free to download) e-book about it:



 I don't have room for any downloading right now, but I do appreciate your doing that for folks.

G gauge doesn't roll of the tounge well is my #1 theory why we "stray" to begin with. Gauge or scale being the subject becomes apparent apparent quickly anyhow. G scale IS the commonly used term to refer to both scale or gauge, unless the subject matter's comparison's is mixed, including both scale and gauge as specific referencable material. Then you need the exactness.

I.e., The use of  GS to describe gauge has never confused me that I recall.... it isnt Wide,1g,2g, St; it's G .  

At some point a real need for distinction is necessary, I just don't think it exists yet in "G"

  I also reserve the right to translate outside of propriety branding terms, even though there was a first. Thus we'th might'th experience'th the  natural evolution of language Horatio.  😉

 It must be 1g that was often close "enough" to "G" in gauge between outer rails. Not an exact match, one or the other may be too tight of a fit depending on flange and axle stop tolerence/slop.

....I was just peeked at Wikipedia.. G is a mess there.

 The whole railroad section is a mess really.   It seems like it has been "scholarized" and is not written by modelers or railfan historians anymore, but by folks with a passing interest who studied for a month to write a term paper in a vernacular they are more comfortble with, though IMO this distracts from real learning. I.e. It nearly becomes a list of facts without enough relevant context. The whole site seems to have gone in that direction. They have "cleaned" till the paint fell off imho.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


Actually, Adriatic, "G" is not the only commonly used identifier.  "F" (for 1:20.3 scale, using 45mm track as 3" gauge) is increasingly common in that community.  "H" has a small following for the 1/24 scale crowd, and "G" is often reserved for the 1:22.5 (45mm track as Meter Gauge).  

The common denominator most prefer is "Large Scale."

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

LGB chose a scale of 1:22.5 for their Austrian, German and Swiss models based on the 750mm and 1000mm narrow gauge prototypes such as the Rhatische Bahn (Suisse) and Hartz Schmalspurbahn (German). Thus the overhang of their rolling stock is appropriate for the gauge (45mm) and scale (1:22.5). When modeling American standard gauge prototypes for 45mm gauge, the correct scale is 1:32, although this varies to include 1:29 models. As stated above, "Large Scale" is a more inclusive term, than simply "G".

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

I thought we could avoid all this "scale" talk on the "toy train" forum. 

Speaking of scale, as I am trying to build a multi-scale layout, I am going to try to develop a skill in artistic perspective. (Could be a challenge...) I have seen some great examples of folks mixing different sizes/scales of models that end up looking great. There are plenty of examples of mixing these that just look wrong too. 


The G in "G gauge" derives from the German word for large.  "G Scale" is a less useful term, because the scales used for trains designed to run on G gauge track vary from 1:20.3 to 1:32.  The scales used for Standard Gauge trains also varied, usually in relation to the anticipated retail price, rather than the prototype being modeled!  Many G gauge trains are a reasonable size for conversion to Standard by changing the trucks.  However, many are constructed of plastic rather than metal, which is a problem for the purists.

For those interested, the East Coast Large Scale Train Show is at the York PA Fairgrounds next Friday and Saturday (March 22nd & 23rd). It's G, 1, 0 and I have seen some Standard - McCoy and Richart as well as the occasional Lionel or MTH, and it's interesting to see what is available and what can be done with some of the larger scales in a garden. 

You can probably Google for details.

"You have to grow old. You don't have to grow up". Ray Bradbury

Add Reply

Likes (0)

OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020