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    

Westside Models Hon3 Narrow Gauge Southern Pacific #9 4-6-0 Brass Engine - BoxedRio Grande Models Ho-hon3 3011-ms Marion Steam Shovel Craftsman Building KitS.soho Hon3 Narrow Gauge Rio Grande Southern Edna Brass Coach - BoxedWestside Model Hon3 D&rgw K-37 2-8-2 Brass Steam Engine, No Box, Ho Narrow GaugeFujiyama Hon3 D.&r.g.w 2-8-2 Class K-37 Locomotive & Tender ObNwsl North West Short Line Class A Climax 15 Ton Tee Boiler Hon3 New In BoxBackwoods Minitures On3 Model A Ford Railtruck Kit Brass-white Metal O On30Northwest Short Line Sensipress O On3 On30 S Sn3 Ho Hon3Hon3 Scale Brass 0-4-4-0t "plantation" Steam Engine By Howell DayHon3 Brass Sunset K-28 Locomotive, D&rgw, Factory PaintHo/hon3: Ah&d Logging Hoist Engine And SkidderFine Scale Miniatures Vintage Ho €Fine Scale Miniatures - Ezra Cooper's Garage - Kit# 130 Ho/hon3Hon3 D&rgw 30' Supply Car, Weathered,no. 03057, By Blackstone Models Blackstone Hon3 C-19 Tsunami Dcc Sound Fp Unlettered Black BoilerWestside Model Hon3 D&rgw K-27 2-8-2 Brass Steam Engine, No Box Ho Tender TrucksHo Brass Train Hon3 D&rgw San Juan Balboa Passenger Cars (5 Car Set)On3 Brass Southern Pacific Ge 50-ton Diesel #1 F/p Tiger Stripe Yoder MintHon3 Scale Brass New Berlin & Winfield 2-6-0 Steam Locomotive By Gem ModelsD&rgw Rio Grande 473 K-28 2-8-2 Flying Herald Hon3 Sunset Brass Fp [7154]O On3 On30 Craftsman Stoney Creek "hodges Drug & Chemicals " New Unstarted Kit.Fine Scale Miniatures - Car Repair Shop/ Blackjack - Kit# 65 Ho/hon3Fine Scale Miniatures - Pile Driver - Kit# 105 Ho/hon3Hon3 Brass Rgs Galloping Goose Number 2, LambertO/on30/on3 Scale 3 Brothers Store Kit By Rich White Models-hydrocal "walls Only"Fine Scale Miniatures - Flagstop Station - Kit# 70 Ho/hon3O Scale On3 On30 Stamp Mill Hardware C.h. Brommer Sm-700 O.p.O On3/on30 Structure Cedarhill Designs/carl Cornish Oscar Flatt's GarageBackwoods Minitures On30 Aerocar Railcar Kit O On3Stoney Creek Kit O On3 On30 Lf Wills Saddlery & Leather GoodsFine Scale Miniatures Vintage Ho €Sn3 Brass Truck 10 Sets9 Sealed Packs Of Kadee #714 Hon3 Narrow Gauge Couplers - 18 CouplersHon3 Brass D&rgw Engine, C-19, 2-8-0 By Balboa Katsumi Scale ModelsSn3 Brass Truck Five (5) SetsHon3 Brass D&grw 2-8-2 K36 Painted #488 By OmiHon3 Rgs # 20 4-6-0 Brass Engine, By United Scale ModelsFine Scale Miniatures #215 "mackenzie Milling Co." Unassembled Ho Hon3 KitRare Hon3 T&sw 0-4-2t Steam LocomotiveO Scale On3/on30 Structure Kit Rich White Models Miners CabinRio Grande Models Hon3 3047-rp Swayne Rotary Plow Craftsman Building Kit4 East Broad Top 3 Bay Hopper Kits Hon3 €Hon3 Tichy Or Gould Ore Hopper Cars, Built Up, As IsPrecision Scale Hon3 D&rgw Short Caboose In Plastic With Brass Details Brand New San Juan Car Co. On3 D&rtw Box Car, Rio Grande, D&rgw 3000, In Box NibHo/hon3: Log Or Lumber Flume KitBlackstone Models Hon3 D&rgw K-27 Moffat Tunnel Herald No. 461O Scale D&rg 52 Foot Turntable Kit Model Materpieces On3 On30Rare Hon3 Grandt Line T&sw 23 Ton Box Cab Diesel LocomotiveHo/hon3 Rr Water Tank #356-1095, By Campbell Scale ModelsHon3 Scale Brass 0-4-0 "plantation" Steam EngineRare Hon3 Grandt Line T&sw Ge 25 Ton Diesel LocomotiveCampbell Ho / Hon3 Coaling Station Kit #357 D&rgw Chama DurangoO/on30/on3 Scale Rich White Models Kit-the Bank-hydrocal Walls Only-super DetailOn3/on30 56' Turntable KitO Scale On3/on30 Structure Kit Bar Mills Witzinger's Washboard Co. False-frontSn3 D&rgw Water Tank BuiltWestern Scale Models 20-stamp Gold Mill Kit 1:64 Scale S/sn3 Craftsman Kit MintHo, Hon3 Bridge Parts, Micro Eng. And Central ValleyHon3 Ken Kidder The Mudhen O-4-ot Engine