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 Scale Brass Gem St-102 A&w 2-6-0 Mogul Steam Locootive Custom Argenta JapanSun? Key? Samhongsa Rio Grande C-16 Bumble Bee 2-4-0 Steam Brass Locomotive On3Hon3 Scale Brass Gem St-102 Nb&w 2-6-0 Mogul Steam Locootive Unpainted JapanHon3 Scale Brass Soho D&rgw #202 Combine Passenger Car Custom Hon3 Rgs Business Car "edna" By Overland ModelsHon3 Scale Brass Soho D&rgw #164 Baggage Passenger Car CustomHon3 Brass Soho D&rgw #168 Baggage Passenger Car With Light Power Unit CustomHon3 Brass Soho D&rgw #168 Baggage Passenger Car With Light Power Unit CustomModel Die Cast Hon3 Narrow Gauge ShayOn3 D&rgw 3000 Series Boxcar Kits, Two Complete Kits W/ Trucks, Extra Car AlsoHo/hon3: 72' Colorado Turntable Kit & Motorizing KitSun? Key? Samhongsa Rio Grande C-16 Bumble Bee 2-4-0 Steam Brass Locomotive Hon3Hon3 Scale Brass Lambert Rgs Galloping Goose #4Ho Hon3 Coaling Station By Campbell Scale Models Kit #357Niob Con-cor Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose Hon3West Side Lumber Co. No.10 Brass Hon3 Three Truck Shay By Nakamura Seimitsu Vintage Painted Brass Hon3 Denver & Rio Grande Western Caboose Missing 2 StepsBachmann 28304 On30 Painted & Unlettered 4-4-0 American Steel Cab W/dcc LocoVintage Painted Brass Hon3 Fujiyama Japan Caboose Great Shape Some Paint ChipsVintage Painted Brass Hon3 Small Center Window Caboose Great Shape LqqkHon3 Brass C&s Tender, For Parts Or RepairBachmann On30 Scale Train 2-6-6-2 Dcc Equipped Black W Red & White Trim 28798Brass Hon3 Precision Scale Large Snow Plow For K-27, Limited RunHon30 Minitrains “porter” (lot 783) Division Point Brass D&rgw Caboose Hon3 04990 Denver & Rio Grande Nib D07Division Point Brass Conoco Tank Car Hon3 Black 33 Nib (d16)2) Vintage Hon3 Painted Brass Flat Cars With Wood Tops Great Shape LqqkBachmann On30 Scale Train Steam 0-4-2 Porter Dcc Equipped Unlettered Black 28299Ho Hon3 Campbell Silver Spur Mine, Minehead & Building Kit #388-1895 Nos C-8Bachmann On30 2-bay Steel Hoppers, Midwest Quarry & Mining Co. (2 In Box)Lot Of 9 Central Valley Hon3 Archbar + 2 Delrin Bettendorf Trucks Plus Xtras Nos Campbell Scale Models Kit Ho-hon3 Rr Water Tank #356 Kit Is SealedDivision Point Brass Conoco Tank Car Hon3 Black 35 Nib (d14)Division Point Brass Conoco Tank Car Hon3 Black 38 Nib (d17)O Scale On3 Los Osos Valley Stock Car Nicely Assembled Unknown Maker NobDivision Point Brass Conoco Tank Car Hon3 Black 26 Nib D092) Vintage Hon3 Plastic Denver & Rio Grande Western Passenger Cars Need Repair Ho/hon3 Scale Jordan Highway Miniatures 1913 Fire Truck Built UpO Scale On3 On30 1/48 1929 Ford Model A Plastic Automobile Renwal Kit O.b.Bachmann 25128 On30 United Traction Co. Powered Closed Streetcar Ln/boxAccucraft/ams G Scale (1;20.3) High Side Gondola D&rgw4) Vintage Hon3 D&rgw Small Hopper Cars Great Shape Read Discription LqqkVintage Hon3 Painted Brass D&rgw Rio Grande Gondola Car Great Shape LqqkHon3 Psc Brass D&rgw C-16 #268 Factory PaintedDivision Point Brass D&rgw Caboose Hon3 0505 Denver & Rio Grande 25' Nib D08On30 Shay Dcc/sound/gear UpgradeNwsl Hon3 Ohio River & Western Parlor-business Car #5 Painted As Rgs #253Clear Creek Models Hon3 Colorado Central Box CarMicro-engineering Hon3 Code 70 Flex-trak #12-114 Wea 6pcs + Shinohara Lh T/o #6 Precision Scale Co. Hon3 U.t.l.x. Narrow Frame Tank Car Plastic Kit W/brass TrksDivision Point Brass D&rgw Drop-bottom Gondola 800 Hon3 883 Rio Grande Nib D10Puffing Billy Hon3 Hon2 1/2 B&c 24' 9 Stake Flat Car & B&c 9 Stake Gondola KitsO Scale On3 On30 Variety Crates Barrels Oil Drums Cinder Blocks NobDivision Point Brass Conoco Tank Car Hon3 Silver 38 Nib (d15)Accucraft/ams G Scale (1;20.3) Stock Car C&s Am31-27on #7070O Scale Vehicle Custom Weathered 1920 Mack Coal Truck On3, On30Clear Creek Models Hon3 Colorado Central Covered Ore CarHon3 Precision Scale Brass Snowplow For K-series 2-8-2sQueensland Railways Hon3.5 Container Wagon Rtr Built From Wuiske Kit (2)Vintage Hon3 U.t.l.x. 11057 Tank Car Made Of Plastic Missing Brake Wheel Lqqk