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Found this idea on the net but was written up in Kalmbach's "Model Railroad Planning 2018". The issue featured Doug Tagsold's Colorado & Southern. The premise is using HO gauge equipment to represent 1/72 scale narrow gauge. Liking out-of-the-box thinking this is my take on the idea.

Doug had already dismantled a large On3 layout in his lifetime so this isn't his first narrow gauge rodeo. Here is a the reasoning from Doug on why 1/72 from the article:

What should this endeavor be called?
Everything should have a name. Thought of "Scale72" but "Scale1/72"  pronounced as "scale one seventy two", has a better ring and more closely defines the scale. Since there will probably be no standard gauge we probably don't need a gauge designation just "scale one seventy two". When I did 55n3 should have made it 1/55n3. That would have been clearer about the scale.

Click here to view Doug's video

Click here to view a BlogSpot about Doug's layout featuring videos

Were there any narrow gauge railroads close to four feet? The Arcata and Mad River was 3'-9-1/2". There were several others near four feet in the early days of narrow gauge.

Click here to download a scale ruler

You first need a scale ruler
For those who choose to pick the nit
Were there any four foot gauge railroads?

The Helca and Torch Lake was 4'-1" gauge and even had a Camelback loco.
The Bachmann New Tooling Oldtime HO 4-4-0 becomes an early narrow gauge 4-4-0. I had a printed cab made at Shapeways as a direct replacement for the HO cab.
Doug Tagsold used the MDC/Athearn/Roundhouse HO 2-8-0 for his locos. The loco mechanism matches the first generation narrow gauge consolidations.
An IHC/AHM/Rivarossi 4-4-0 shell can be merged onto the loco mechanism.
The Roundhouse does make a credible C-Class narrow gauge loco, that plan is a C-19. The drivers are a bit large but they can be changed out easily.
There are drivers and axles available from places like Scalelink in the UK.

These are 13mm which will give us Scale172 36" drives.

The internet is great.

Freight Cars
The Bachmann OldTime HO boxcars scales well against this Ohio River and Western early box. Just needs to be lowered and better trucks added.
The Mantua/Model Power boxcar finally scales out to something prototypical. Just needs some little tweaks. Here is our work in progress Mantua conversion. From $11 dollar toy train boxcar to a 24' narrow gauge in an evening.
An IHC cattle car with Tahoe trucks.
Bachmann gon with new trucks and lowered.
 Bachmann bobber is about a foot narrow.
Here is a Roundhouse caboose during my "OO/HO in the 1870s" experiment on the old PcalRwy.
Passenger Cars
The Bachmann HO passenger car's windows match this early D&RG car but the Bachmann car is larger.
The Bachmann HO passenger fits the body dimensions of this OR&W typical second generation car.
Structures, people, wagons and animals
The OO world supplies us with many thing. OO figures are only a mm too short, an easy fix. OO early vehicles are close enough.
Preiser supplies 1/72 animals and figures but seem to be in short supply.
HO and OO structures lend themselves to Scale172.
Seems like Deja Vu all over again
Back in 2005 I started my "OO/HO in the 1870's" project. Eventually the project was abandoned when sound couldn't be put into the IHC HO 4-4-0s I was using.

The twenty percent difference between 1/87 and 1/72 is a lot. It is easier modeling in a larger scale.

Back then I was using shortened 1/72 figures to go along with the OO/1/76 figures. Here is my IHC/Roundhouse 4-4-0 merge. The little guy on the walkway is HO. That is a really big difference.

Sound back in 2007, eeeek!
Scenes from the old PcalRway in 1/76
Here are scenes for the "OO/HO" project, this is what 172n4 will look like. The Roundhose cars are good examples of later narrow gauge cars. Doug used the Roundhouse cars in his endeavor.
Easy Narrow Gauge in "Scale One Seventy Two"
MDC/Roundhouse/Athearn Cars
 Doug Tagsold's Colorado & Southern used Roundhouse/MDC cars which work great.
 Doug Tagsold's idea is great if the goal is to build a narrow gauge layout. Everything is there. Almost "Ready to Run" and cheap.
But does the gauge really matter if it is possible to build narrow gauge easily and inexpensively?
The Roundhouse Mogul has two versions the more common high wheeler and a scarcer low driver version which has a 1/72 43" drivers. They mechanically match early narrow gauge moguls .
The boiler is easily lowered and smaller drivers applied.
Bigger cabs are required to remove the HO look. That is a cab I built from styrene to convert the Roundhouse HOn3 2-8-0 to Sn2. Learning a 3d CAD modeling program and have the cab printed out probably would take less time.
Why not S Scale?
The question is "Why not S Scale?". Then we lose our C-16, our 1880s 4-4-0, our one evening 1870s box and no evening 1880's box. The HO equipment doesn't translate to S Scale. Can live with the gauge to have that equipment.
Been there done that in S Scale narrow gauge. S is really limited in equipment. The available HO equipment to rebuild to S is shaky. The Tyco ten-wheeler hasn't held up well over time. S scale is very expensive. Just using the equipment on HO track as Sn3.5 doesn't change anything.
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The Tichy HO ore car would make a great coal "jimmy". Can be had for $5 a piece on the street.
Things are sometimes better than what the box says. The second guy from the right is a OO scale Bachmann Branchline figure. The guys on his right and left are Preiser 1/72. The guy on the far left is a Langley Victorian OO.