The Enduring Popularity Of HO Model Trains

While there are some model train lovers who like having a garden train out in their yards, and others who’ve dedicated whole attics and basements to huge, detailed, layouts, there are plenty of other hobbyists who don’t have the space for these. But we still want to be able to use more than one layout, or do more than just a simple oval. What can you do if you love trains, but don’t want a huge one? There are plenty of options. The huge number of different people who use model trains means that manufacturers have made tracks and trains in just about every size conceivable. It doesn’t matter whether you have a whole back yard or just the top of your desk. O is one of the most popular sizes of model trains, at about a 1:48 scale ratio in relation to real trains. These use 1 1/4″ gauge tracks. Just like G scale trains, O models are often used for outdoor displays. But not everyone has the space for a garden railroad, or the time to maintain it. If you’d like something a little smaller, but still nicely detailed, you’re after an Ho Model Train. About half the size of O scale trains, at about 1:87 of a real one, HO stands for half O. These use standard gauge train tracks, and are very easy to find. They’re a very popular choice for floor layouts, and are suitable for creative ones that use plenty of track, but they don’t take up too much space. They’re still big enough to be durable, too. These trains offer a good balance of the detail of the larger scales of train and the smaller space requirement of the tiny models such as N scale trains. Because of this, they have managed to remain the most popular scale. This scale did not become popular overnight; when they were first introduced to hobbyists in the UK in the 1930s, they failed to catch on due to the popularity of OO scale trains. When HO scale model trains came to the US around 1950 however, they quickly caught on and are a favorite with model train enthusiasts to this day. More than 65% of hobbyists prefer this scale. Since this is the most popular scale, it is the easiest to find trains, tracks, accessories and premade layouts for; virtually every company who produces model trains and accessories manufactures them in this scale. For the hobbyist who wants model trains which offer plenty of detail, are easy to find and easy to build creative layouts for in a reasonable amount of space, HO scale trains are the way to go.

While there are some model train lovers who like having a garden train out in their yards, and others who’ve dedicated whole attics and basements to huge, detailed, layouts, there are plenty of other hobbyists who don’t have the space for these. But we still want to be able to use more than one layout, or do more than just a simple oval. What can you do if you love trains, but don’t want a huge one? There are plenty of options. The huge number of different people who use model trains means that manufacturers have made tracks and trains in just about every size conceivable. It doesn’t matter whether you have a whole back yard or just the top of your desk.

One of the most popular scales of model train is O scale. These trains are made in a 1:48 ratio to the size of the real trains they represent and use 1 ΒΌ ” gauge tracks. These are a larger scale, but not quite as large as the G scale trains often seen in outdoor layouts; however, they are also used for this purpose.

If you’d like something a little smaller, but still nicely detailed, you’re after an Ho Scale Train. About half the size of O scale trains, at about 1:87 of a real one, HO stands for half O. These use standard gauge train tracks, and are very easy to find. They’re a very popular choice for floor layouts, and are suitable for creative ones that use plenty of track, but they don’t take up too much space. They’re still big enough to be durable, too.

These trains offer a good balance of the detail of the larger scales of train and the smaller space requirement of the tiny models such as N scale trains. Because of this, they have managed to remain the most popular scale. This scale did not become popular overnight; when they were first introduced to hobbyists in the UK in the 1930s, they failed to catch on due to the popularity of OO scale trains.

When HO scale model trains came to the US around 1950 however, they quickly caught on and are a favorite with model train enthusiasts to this day. More than 65% of hobbyists prefer this scale.

Since this is the most popular scale, it is the easiest to find trains, tracks, accessories and premade layouts for; virtually every company who produces model trains and accessories manufactures them in this scale.

For the hobbyist who wants model trains which offer plenty of detail, are easy to find and easy to build creative layouts for in a reasonable amount of space, HO scale trains are the way to go.

Nathan Mills is Model Train passionate. For more information on Ho Model Train, please visit his blog

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