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    

1970's Vintage Far East Spartan Series Hon3 Solid Brass Locomotive & Coal CarFour Ho/hon3 Campbell Kits: Coaling Station, Trestle, Fire House, & Mine HeadHon3 D&rgw Brass 2-8-0, C-19 Loco And TenderWestern Scale Models Big Horn Gold Mill Kit 1/4 Scale Rare W/interior O On3 On30Hon3 Brass Locomotive D&rgw K-28 #473 W/ Tsunami Dcc + Sound Conversion * Nice *O Scale On3/on30 Bar Mills Structure Kit Shipyard Brewing Co. On3 Brass Denver & Rio Grande/baldwin 4-4-0 Max Gray W/extra Details Xlnt-rareOn3 Brass Westside Lumber Company #2 Tank Car Beaver Creek Model Company -mintPfm Brass B2 Shay Hon3Ss Ltd Turntable Motor Rare O On3 On30 Ho S Hon3 Sn3Sunset Models East Broad Top On3 Gauge #16 2-8-2 Brass Locomotive Tender EngineRoundhouse Hon3 2-truck Shay, Unlettered, Black14 New 1970's Vintage Hon3 Track - 14 Pieces - Each Is 39 Inches - Never UsedLot 16: Book: Gunnison Compiled By Richard L Dorman On3 Hon3Fordson 1/4" Tractor Kit M-103 Industrail Mckenzie Iron & Steel O On3 On30 KitVintage 1970's Ho Hon3 Train Scale Building Abandoned House Built Stick By StickO Scale On3/on30 Bar Mills Structure Kit The Gravely Building 1970's Vintage Roundhouse Old Timer Series Hon3 2.8.0 Locomotive & Coal CarLot 11: Thomas Yorke Sonora Store Plaster Casting Kit Ho Hon3United Scale Models Hon3 Colorado & Southern Railroad Brass Engine And Coal Car Vintage 1970's Fine Scale Miniatures Ho Hon3 Scale Branchline Water Tower #25 Estate Find Rio Grande Southern R.r. U.s. Mail Engine Hon3 Scale. Brass Brass Logging Disconnects On3 Echo Mountain Rare1902 Washington Iron Wks GreyLot 10: (4) Tortoise Slow Motion Switch Machines On3 On30 Ho Hon3Lot 17: Book: Alamosa/salida Compiled By Richard L Dorman On3 Hon3On3 D&rgw 2-8-0 C-21 Brass Dcc With SoundLot 05: Rgs #7408 30' Stock Car Built On3 On30O Scale On3/on30 Rich White Models Structure Kit I.o.o.f. HallFactory Built On3 Carson & Colorado Open Platform Narrow Gauge Coach Car BodyLot 06: D&rgw #5605 34' Stock Car Built On3 On3 Grandt Line C&s Four Wheel Caboose Kit With Optional Interior Detail KitO Scale On3/on30 Bar Mills Structure Kit Bailey's ProduceEstate Find Balboa Slim Princess Hon3-10 C & S 4 Wheel CabooseOn3 On30 O Western Scale Models 10 Stamp Mill Kit Mining United Hon3 Narrow Gauge D&rgw K27 2-8-2 - Boxed United Pfm Hon3 Colorado & Southern #21 Brass Engine And Coal Car 2-6-0Ho Scale - United - Brass 4-6-0 Steam Locomotive Hon3?Four Ho/hon3 Timberline Kits--3 Water Towers & 1 Newspaper OfficeHo/hon3: The Burnt River Mine, Can Be Made To OperateCustom Built: 5 On3 Log CarsS-sn3 O-on3 Ho-hon3 Ssltd, Scale Structures Ltd. -"log Skidder” Kit #9125 NosWestside Model Co Hon3 Class A ClimaxO Scale On3/on30 Yorke/branline Structure Kit Coal Co.O Scale On3/on30 Rich White Models Structure Kit Post OfficeLot 19: Book: Durango Compiled By Richard L Dorman On3 Hon3O On30 On3 Bar Mills Town Line Tire & BatteryHon3 Westside Models Carson And Colorado CombineHo / Hon3 Rabbit Hash Kentucky General Store By Mpp Laser Cut Kit # 203hoTwo Hon3 Box Cab Locomotives 23 Ton Grandt Line (needs Work)O Scale On3 On30 Chillery's Cafe Banta Model Works #6090 O.b.O On30 On3 Wild West Scale Models Bakery Kit #808Ho-hon3, Ssltd, Scale Structures Ltd. - "machine Shops” Kit #7226 NosHo/hon3 Tidewater Wharf By Builders In Scale Kit # 9 Signature Series C-9Lot 04: D&rgw #1000 Hiside Gondola Built On3D & Rgw #319 Coach Hon3 Brass S. Soho & CoSn3 Custom Built Resin Jackson & Sharpe Narrow Gauge Coach ModelO,on3,on30 Downtown Deco"track Side Tavern" Plus Side Walk Kit, NewSierra West Rigging Shed O, On3, On30 New In The Box, Sold Out At Mfr.Wood Ho Structure: Campbell No. 357 Coaling Tower; Ho-hon3;nibLot 07: D&rgw #704 Srop-bottom Gondola Very Weathered Built On3 On30