In 1921, the “double zero” or 00 scale train (1:76) was introduced in the United Kingdom. This train was and remains the most popular scale in the UK and runs on the same gauge track as the H0 scale trains, although the actual trains and rolling stock are a larger scale. In the 1930’s the H0 scale was introduced as an alternative to the 00, but never really grabbed a foothold in the UK. At 1:87, the H0 scale (pronounced h-oh, not h-zero, and not ho) is approximately half the scale of the 0 (zero) scale. Early scales were denoted by numbers like 0, 1,2, and 3. In the United States, Japan and Australia, H0 is more popularly denoted as HO.
The H0 scale became very popular in the United States in the late 1950’s which is when model railroads started to become less like toys and more realistic due to hobbyist demand. Smaller sized trains by their very nature allow enthusiasts to fit more “scale miles” into the same space as larger trains, while giving up a little in ruggedness. Smaller trains also allow more detailed scenery to be created in the space.
In the 1960’s, the 0 scale began to decline in response to the rise in the H0 scale’s popularity. Even manufacturer’s who had previously eschewed the scale like Gilbert (who made the popular American Flyer) began making the more popular scale. Today the H0 scale is the most popular scale in the US as well as in most of Europe. Although 00 still maintains its top spot in England, the H0 scale does exist. The British 1:87 Scale Society was formed in the mid 1990’s to promote the scale and provide support to those modelers who enjoy it.
Early track for the H0 trains were sold in sections, usually 9 inches long and came in straight sections and curved sections of various radii. Track “code” is a measurement of the height of the rail as measured in thousandths of an inch. Most popular is probably Code 100 which is .100 inches high. This track is fairly heavy for the HO scale and can accept 00 trains and older deep wheel flange trains as well. For that reason, some purists opt to make their own finescale track to reduce the size.
Due to the widespread popularity of HO scale trains throughout most of the world, manufacturers make a wide array of locomotives, rolling stock (cars and carriages), track, and scenery. You can buy fully ready to run models, easy to assemble kits, or Craftsman kits which require much more assembly and skill and may contain several hundred parts. Price and quality also varies widely, so be sure you know what you are buying, as with anything else, you get what you pay for in most cases.
Henry Michael is a model train enthusiast who enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others to help them get the most out of this exciting hobby. For more information on on Due to the widespread popularity of HO scale trains, visit my website at http://www.modeltrainenthusiast.com/ and learn how easy it is for you to get involved with model railroading. It will help you to avoid mistakes that most beginners make. If you are more experienced, it will give you a different perspective on things you maybe doing or would like to do.
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