The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Tru-Scale Self-Gauging Roadbed
In the 1943 series last week I again arrived at the topic of Tru-Scale and their line of roadbed in HO, OO, and O gauges. It is high time for a broader overview of this classic line.
The line itself was introduced in 1941, and it quickly became a popular product. One thing that helped them greatly was that the product itself was wood and production was not impacted by WWII material restrictions. So long as you could locate some rail (steel rail being available during the war) you would quickly be off and running as the roadbed was cut with tie plates that gauged the rail properly and the product also was very easy to spike. After the war, the product retained a degree of popularity and for sure many users had their start with this product in that time frame.
Turning to the photos, first up are two views of the product itself. The switch blocks lack tie plates but the straight and curved sections have them. Note if you look closely that in the selections in the photos you can see that three different tie cutters were used. I take the ties that are very narrow (they look like HO scale ties) to be a somewhat later batch than the two types of wider ties. This probably relates to cutters wearing out and changes of ownership. The original owner was OO gauge enthusiast Jaurez (“Joe”) Tostado, who was tragically killed in 1943. From there the firm has had a series of owners (see UPDATE below for info on the second owner) and it remains in production to this day (but not the OO gauge product).
Vintage OO gauge Tru-Scale is not often seen on eBay, at least in part due to shipping costs being high in relation to the actual value of the roadbed. It certainly has a retro look and is a classic to look out for.