What’s the difference between scales on model trains?

Question by Desty_1: What’s the difference between scales on model trains?
What’s the difference between what’s called HO scale model trains and N scale model trains? Which is easier to find? Which is more popular?

My oldest son is almost at the age where we can start doing projects and I remember playing with model trains with my grandfather. He had a HUGE setup in his house, but I can’t remember any details about it.

Any help would be appreciated.


Best answer:

Answer by mariner31
Morning Shawn. The BASIC difference is that HO scale trains are larger (almost twice as large)… and easier to handle for YOUNG hands and OLD eyes !! HO is also the more popular and easier to obtain in most hobby stores.

HO scale (1:87) means that 1 foot on your railroad is 87 feet and N scale (1:160) is such that 1 foot = 160 feet. So an 8 foot long “layout” is 696 feet in HO scale and 1,280 feet in N scale

NOW, my personal opinion is that N-scale is better… you can fit a larger “world” into a smaller space, you can get buy with “lighter” construction materials, and there is a GROWING amount of equipment and material out there FOR the N-Scale modeller.

I have an N-scale layout in my bedroom… a 2 foot wide shelf that runs around the 10′ x 12′ room (with a “bridge” across my doorway). It’s built on 1/8″ plywood with 1″x3″ framing, and rests on standard shelving brackets.

With EITHER scale you choose… I STRONGLY suggest you stop at your local hobby-shop and buy several of the books by Kalmbach Publishing (Model Railroading magazine)… regarding basic railroading design, scenery and wiring, realistic operations, and trackwork. Here’s the link to Model Railroading magazine: http://www.trains.com/mrr/

The BEST way to get a GOOD layout is to do HUNDREDS of drawings of your plans !! There is also some good software out there for planning… it’s easier and CHEAPER to correct mistakes in design and construction on PAPER or a computer screen !!

More than happy to provide further information, links, and contacts. GOOD LUCK !!

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