Launching our SM12 Railway System

Launching SM12

North Pilton Works are launching a new range of SM12 locomotives and rolling stock for 16mm scale running on 00 gauge representing a 12 inch gauge miniature railway system. The advantage to SM12 is that it is in scale to your 16mm scale SM32 or G45 garden railway and can be used as a small minimum gauge industrial line or a passenger park railway running alongside your other garden line.

Whereas GN15 is considered as compatible, it is done to represent a 15 inch gauge railway to G Scale at 13.5mm:1ft. SM12 is true 16mm scale running as a 12inch gauge miniature railway on 16.5mm track. 

Our SM12 locomotive body kits mount onto standards Hornby chassis and make an affordable starter to adding in a new featured minimum gauge line into your 16mm scale line. Our small industrial stock includes all the 4 wheel vehicles you would expect to see on a small line with platform, bolster, open, box vans, guards van, slate and tipper wagons as well as a passenger coach. There is a diesel and tram engine that fit a standard 0-4-0 chassis. The other advantage is that many standard 00 gauge locomotives can be kit bashed to open up a large cab area and insert a 16mm scale figure as a driver of a 1/5th scale locomotive as seen on many miniature railways.

For the larger passenger line we have two Bo-Bo diesel engines, one with a large bonnet and cab and the second with a dual cab. The bogie wagons include a platform, open and box van, as well as a bogie three compartment coach.

All the rolling stock kits come complete with axles, bearings and KADEE knuckle couplings to make a running chassis for the kit.

SM12 History

There has been a growing interest in GN15 modelling a 15 inch gauge line to G Scale at 13.5mm:1ft and many people have used these along with their 16mm scale railways to represent a small industrial scene for added interest. The problem is that the difference in scales beween GN15 and SM32/G45 is quite noticeable when using the 16mm scale figures, as there can be upto half an inch difference in height of the people and GN15 locomotives with cabs become crampt and under size. 

With the SM12 being Sixteen Millimetre scale, it  enables trains running on 00 gauge to represent a 1ft or 12 inch minimum gauge railway system. The locomotives and rolling stock are then in true scale to the SM32 and G45 running together and can exchange passengers or work together in an industrial scene.

Although I had been planning to launch SM12 later on this year, we started with a customer enquiry wanting to use one of our SM32 industrial sets for GN15, but the stock was going to be far too wide. I rescaled and redrew all the designs for the whole range and made the first prototypes to ensure that they were accurate and shipped out the goods as GN15 for the customer. I then finalised the designs so that they were accurate to 16mm scale and adjusted the height of the chassis so that they would accept the KADEE knuckle couplings with out having to insert the extra draft gear boxes for the couplings. Although the KADEE couplings are expensive, they are an excellent coupling and look true to scale for the railway. 

The locomotives were re-designed to fit onto a standard 0-4-0 hornby chassis, as these can be sourced easily and have pick ups both sides, where as motor bogies tend to have rubber tyres one side and rely on the second bogie for the other pick up. The diesel engine then an engine bonnet and cab with a control panel that hides the motor, leaving most of the bonnet empty for fitting other equipment, if people want to install a battery pack, radio control and DCC chipes etc. The cab is designed ewith enough room for a driver to stand driving the train. I then did the design for the tram engine with a seat for the driver with a cab one end and engine compartment behind.

The rolling stock was designed first for the four wheel vehicles, then for the future bogie rolling stock, with everything you would need for both an industrial railway and a passenger line. The stock neasures 54mm across the chassis and 60mm across the body, so that scales up to 3ft 6in. This enables the coaches to carry passengers two abreast so each compartment carries four people. The wagons include a platform wagon, bolster wagon, open wagon, slate wagon, tipper wagon as well as a box van. There is then a passenger coach and a gaurds van. The bogie rolling stock will then have a platform, open and box van for wagons and three compartment passenger coaches. 

The next item on the agenda was larger locomotives with the designs for a pair of Bo-Bo diesel engines to fit standard HST motor bogies. The first Bo-Bo has a large engine bonnet, cab and small equipment bonnet at the rear with a drivers cab with contol panel and seats. The second Bo-Bo is designed with a dual cab. 

Planned Launch

The whole range will be launched at the Peterborough show at our stand R19 where you can come and have a look at the complete set along side our display of our 16mm scale models. There will be a limited stock of locomotives and rolling stock available an we will be taking orders at the show. 

If anyone is interested in the SM12 range, then they will be available through the as from  13th March when we will add all the stock into the website.