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    

Hon3 - Blackstone Models - D&rgw K-27 Steam Locomotive & Tender W/ Tsunami SoundHon3 D&rgw C-16 & Caboose1950 Doepke Yardbird Ride On Toy Train Neat Vintage Hon3 Brass Denver & Rio Grande Western D&rgw 2-8-2 Locomotive & TenderHo Hon30 Brass 2-6-0 Steam Locomotive Sango Baldwin Dachshund Flying Zoo ObBaldwin 8-18c Narrow Gauge 4-4-0. On3 Brass. Spartan Series, Must See.Kemtron Hon3 2-8-0 Parts Engine Plus MoreVtg Westside Model Co. Hon3 D & Rgw T-12 Brass Train Locomotive Steam RailroadBalboa Drgw San Juan 4 Car Set Brass Hon3Accucraft Ac83-172 Colorado & Southern (c&s) #1006 Caboose Brass 1:20.3 Scale Brass Hon30 13 Ton Shay Not Hon3On3 On30 D&rgw San Juan Engineering Chama Coaling Tower KitEgger Bahn 0-4-0 No. 2 LocomotiveHon3 Roundhouse 1550 0-6-0 Moose Jaws Saddle Tank Steam Locomotive *kit*Bachmann On30 Scale Train 2-6-6-2 Dcc Equipped Black W Red & White Trim 28798Bachmann On30 2-8-0 Consolidation Dcc Equip. Painted, Unlettered, MintHon3 Wmc Climax Class A Vertical Boiler Wooden FrameOn3 On30 D&rgw San Juan Engineering Howe Pony Truss Bridge KitSpectrum "on30" V Dump Cars(3) #29802 New ObSn3?,on3?metal,brass?powered Railtruck,runs!neat Details! Pls See Desc,new Pics.Spectrum "on30" Two Truck Shay Locomotive Little River Logging Co. #25663 New ObSpectrum "on30" Two Truck Class B Climax Loco Unlettered Black #25799 New ObP-b-l Ready To Operate Sn3 Box Cars & Custom Assembled CabooseHon3 Brass Balboa 9 Rgs Business CarSpectrum "on30" 0-4-0 Siderod Gas Mechanical Loco Undecorated #25899 New ObWest Side Lumber Co No. 8 Three Truck Shay Hon3 Brass Wsm Unpainted [7732]Spectrum "on30" 0-4-0 Porter Steam Locomotive Painted Unlettered #25399 New ObMdc 2 Truck Hon3 Shay Locomotive Assembled - With SoundO, On3, On30 Stoney Creek Designs Oil Derrick KitHon3 Precision Scale Co. Gramps And Utlx Tank CarsDetailed And Weathered On30 Shay With DccHon3 Brass Empire Midland D & Rgw Long Refrigerator Car Full SizeWestside Models Hon3 D&rgw Rio Grande #50 Diesel PaintedSpectrum "on30" Skeleton Log Cars(3) #27391 New ObBachmann On30 Scale Train Steam Locomotive 2-6-0 Analog Colorado & SouthernHon3 Trucks, Freight, Passenger, And Logging DisconnectsBachmann On30 Scale Train Steam 0-4-2 Porter Dcc Equipped Unlettered Black 28299E&b Valley Railroad #3319 Hon3 Rio Grande D&rgw Coach #3319 Passenger Car KitP-b-l Ready To Operate Sn3 Box Cars & Custom Assembled CabooseHon3 Coal Tower With Scratch Built Accessories 2 Vehicles & Details No Reserve!!Hon3 Sumpter Valley Two Car Kit By Westwood Brass Ho - 12 Volt Geared Down Electric Motor Hon3 Or Accessories / JapanBachmann On30 Scale Train Hopper Christmass Green GondolaSpectrum "on30" Woodside Dump Cars(3) #29801 New Ob2008 Modelers Annual Ho Hon3 S Sn3 O On30 On3Spectrum "on30" Tank Car Black Painted Unlettered #27199 New ObO Scale On3 On30 Shop Shelves And Junk Logging Mining Company Unknown ? NobBachmann On30 Scale Train Caboose Christmas Yuletide Special DeliveryHo Hon3 Jewel Series #18 By Fine Scale Miniatures Westside Auto Nib C-8Spectrum "on30" 0-4-2 Porter Steam Loco Painted Unlettered #25599 New ObWestside Skeleton Log Car By Don Winter, On3 Scale. Kit. Complete, New.Hon3 Freight Trucks, New In Package, Grandt LineD&rgw Type Box Car. On3 Gauge. Unfinished Wood Kit. Very Nice. . (group 1)D&rgw Type Box Car. On3 Gauge. Unfinished Wood Kit. Very Nice. . (group 2)Bachmann On30 Scale Train Tank Car Christmas North Pole DairyHon3 Woodland Scenic’s Metal Tie & Plank Mill Assembled W/details No Reserve!!!Bachmann On30 Colorado & Southern 2-6-0Ho Hon3 Right & Left Turn Switch Out And Straight Flex Tracks Unbranded2007 Narrow Gauge Annual Hon3 Sn3 On30 On3 Spectrum "on30" Colorado & Southern Boxcar #27023 New Ob