In real life, narrow gauge railways snaked through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad still runs steam locomotives from Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado, while the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad connects those two Colorado towns. Out in the middle of the Irish Sea, the 15-mile-long Isle of Man Railway runs historic cars and locomotives through the island’s picturesque landscape.

Little wonder, then, that model-railway enthusiasts would replicate these lovely settings using scale-model rolling stock and tracks.

The most popular scale/narrow-gauge combo is H0n3, which marries the 1:87 scale of H0 with slender, 10.5mm gauge tracks. The chief prototypes for the n3 tracks are the lines that meandered through mountain passes in the American West, especially in mining areas. Kadee, Roundhouse, and Athearn are just a few of the manufacturers who make locomotives, cars, and accessories in H0n3. Imported Japanese and Korean brass model trains in H0n3 are also collectible.

Another narrow-gauge format using the H0 scale is H0n30, whose 9mm tracks are even narrower than H0n3. While the 3 in H0n3 refers to the three-foot width of these tracks in full scale, the 30 in H0n30 refers to a 30-inch prototype. Thus, the two standards are very similar, one based on tracks that are 36 inches apart, and the other based on tracks that are six inches closer together.

Unlike H0n3, H0n30 is considered a builder’s scale because it requires tinkering with and retrofitting of N gauge tracks. Conversion kits are available, and some Japanese brass trains are sold in H0n30, but for the most part, this is a narrow gauge for collectors who like to get hands-on with their model trains.

More popular than H0n30 is On3, which combines a 1:48 O scale with large, 19.05mm tracks. Though twice as large than H0 scale, On3 has the advantage of lots of ready-to-roll cars, locomotives, and tracks. Kits are available, too.

Finally there’s Sn3, pairing 1:64 ratio S scale trains with 14.3mm gauge track. Like H0n30, there are not a lot of products out there for collectors, but that suits many Sn3 enthusiasts just fine.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Airfix Model Railways

Airfix Model Railways

Dave McCarthy's Airfix Model Railway treasure trove is an in-depth archive of the company's plastic railway kits fr… [read review or visit site]

Gateway NMRA

Gateway NMRA

This great reference site for model railroaders, from the Gateway (St. Louis) division of the NMRA (National Model … [read review or visit site]

HOseeker.net

HOseeker.net

This site is a treasure trove of HO scale model railroad manufacturer catalogs and other reference information, inv… [read review or visit site]

Postwar Lionel Trains Library

Postwar Lionel Trains Library

Bernie Schulz’s Lionel Trains Library focuses exclusively on postwar Lionel trains and accessories. The site cont… [read review or visit site]

Eric's Trains

Eric's Trains

Eric Siegel's site displays his collection of O-gauge/O-scale trains, tracks, turntables, and other accessories. A … [read review or visit site]

Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT

Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT

MIT's model railroad club, as one might expect, has one of the best websites for learning about how people play wit… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Far East Dist. Brass Sn3 Heisler Locomotive W 2 Working Lights Runs Well O Or On3 Brass Model Train - Westside Wslco Logging Heisler By Westside Model CoUnknown Hon3 Brass Drgw 2-8-2 K-28 Hon3 Brass Flying Zoo Elk River Mill & Lumber Co. #1 "the Falk" 0-4-0 LocomotiveHon30 Brass Flying Zoo Joe Works 0-4-0 Porter Steam Locomotive KitOn3 "a" Frame Turntable (61 Foot), Of Brass & Wood.O Scale On3/on30 Western Scale Models M-72 Machine Shop Small Tools And Accy'sMountain Model Imports Mmi Hon3 D&rgw K-27 2-8-2 #461 Grn Boiler, Inbrd Cyls DcO Scale On3/on30 Western Scale Models Machine Shop M-63 28" Engine Lathe KitUnknown Hon3 Brass Tender For Steam Locomotive Bachmann On30 #25699 Two-truck Shay Locomotive, Dcc-ready, Painted Black NewAccucraft Live Steam Locomotive Ruby?Pacific Fast Mail Pfm Sound System Ii Used Off A Working Layout Ho Hon3 Sn3 On3Far East Dist. Hon3 Spartan Series 4-4-0 N.w.p. 251 Shay Loco & TenderHo/hon3 Fine Scale Miniatures #220 Chester W. Rawlings Co. Fsm Craftsman KitO Scale On3/on30 Western Scale Models M-53 Machine Shop Radial Drill Press KitVintage Hon3 Samhongsa 2-8-0 Brass Locomotive & Tender For Parts Or RestorationHo Hon3 Craftsman Fine Scale Miniatures "butcher's Way" Kit-jewel # 11Koppel Hon30 Hoe Steam Locomotive - Defect - Sold As Is - Great For Tinker Guy9 - Grandt Line Hon3 Scale 3' 7" Freight Truck 5110 Nip (b45)O Scale On3/on30 Western Scale Models M-69 Shop Grinder,drill Press, & Hack SawHo/hon3: The Coal Dock By Fine Scale MiniaturesO Scale On3/on30 C.h.b. Models Chb Detail Parts Wb-16 Wheel Barrow Kit BHon3 Brass Flying Zoo 7951-10.5 6'6" Wheelbase Critter Motorized Power Unit APacific Fast Mail Pfm Sound System Quadratape 3 With Tapes Ho Hon3 Sn3 On3O Scale On3/on30 Durango Press Dp-74 Silver Plume Store Craftsman Structure Kit6 - Grandt Line Hon3 Scale 3' 7" Freight Truck 5111 Nip (b46)Hon3 Brass Flying Zoo 7951-10.5 6'6" Wheelbase Critter Motorized Power Unit BO Scale On3/on30 Western Scale Models M-55 Belmont-mills Car Wheel Borer KitUnbranded Brass Hon3 N.w.p. 251 Shay Loco & Tender Not F.e.d. Made In JapenHo/hon3 Fine Scale Miniatures #205 Wilfred J. Brambell Co. Fsm Craftsman KitAccucraft/ams Drop Bottom Gondola 1:20.3O Scale On3/on30 Western Scale Models M-66 Shop Heater, Overhead Traveling CraneRare On3 Wsl West Side Lumber Tank Car #3 3 Old Time Hon3 Labelle Passenger CarsSn3 Brass C-16, #223 By Pfm. Very Nice Model.Ho/hon3 Builders In Scale #8 Sassen Vinegar Works Craftsman Structure KitHo/hon3 Fine Scale Miniatures #285 Jeffries Point Stave & Heading Co. Fsm KitTrout Creek Eng. Sn3 Gauge Brass And Wood Tanker Car Sp 54 Used No Box Ho/hon3: Double Water Tank, Muir Logging CompanyColorado & Southern (c&s) Locomotive & Tender No. 64 2-8-0 (hon3)On2/on30 Precision Scale Pst-9023 Brass Gilpin Tramway Ore Car Kit Rare!Lot Of 7 Hon3 Assorted Freight Cars With Small CabooseBalboa Brass Rio Grande Southern (rgs) Galloping Goose No. 2 (hon3)Colorado & Southern (c&s) Locomotive & Tender No. 65 2-8-0 (hon3)Sn3 Code 70 #6 Turnouts By Pbl - Total 4Bachmann 25001 On30 Scale Wonderland Express Train Lighted CoachO Scale On3/on30 1/48 Mckenzie Iron & Steel Gasoline Powered Drag Saw KitO/on3/on30 Thomas York Cook House And Two Cabins (rare Kit)Lot Of 7 Hon3 Assorted Freight Cars With Large CabooseHon3 Brass Steam 2-8-0 Locomotive With Tender And Coal Load O/on3/on30 1/48 Evergreen Hill Designs Eh2009 Buckmaster Truck & Radiator RepairThe Mudhens Photographic History On3 Sn3 Hon3 SoftboundDenver & Rio Grande Western (d&rgw) Locomotive & Tender No 476 K-28 2-8-2 (hon3)Roco N Scale: 23005 Tee Trans Europ Express Train & 23006 Add On 3-car SetNew Bachmann 25001 On30 Ho Scale Wonderland Express Train Loco & Cars W/ TrackSn3 Code 70 #6 Turnouts By Pbl - Total 4Sn3 Freight Car & Caboose Brass Detail Parts By Tomalco - 72 Packages Total S/sn3 Scenery Detail Parts By Pbl, Walker, Etc. - 44 Packages Total O Scale On3/on30 1/48 Evergreen Hill Designs Eh5013 Branchline Water Tank Kit