For would-be Gullivers, N scale model trains from Athearn, Atlas, Bachmann, Kato, and others are a terrific way to go. Just as HO scale model trains are half the size of O scale trains, N scale model trains are half the size of HO, measuring between 1/148 and 1/160 the size of their real-life counterparts (the exact proportion depends on the country you live in or the manufacturer who made the model train). One thing is standard, though, and that is the gauge of the track, which is always 9mm wide.
N scale trains are most popular in Japan, no doubt owing to the premium put on real estate in that island nation. Most Japanese N scale trains are 1/150 the size of the real trains running on the real 3-foot, 6-inch narrow-gauge train tracks there. Models of Shinkansen (bullet trains), however, are 1/160 scale.
In England, a ratio of 1:148 is typical, although some N scale trains are 1:152. These latter models are understandably confused with the vintage Lone Star OOO scale trains that had the same scale.
Space alone is not the reason to choose N scale over HO scale. Many collectors have plenty of room to house their passions, so collecting at N scale simply allows those lucky folks to amass twice as many examples in N scale as they could in HO.
Unlike O scale, standard scale, and HO scale, some of which have been around for a full century, N scale only came into prominence in the 1960s. While the relative youth of the collectible limits the vintage value of N scale trains, it does mean that N scale collectors can generally mix and match components—standards were agreed upon early by manufacturers, making the interchangeability of many parts viable. Just having standard gauge tracks is an enormous help.
The downside of this rush to standardization was that one manufacturer, Arnold, was given the right to produce the N scale’s standard coupling, the Rapido. Not surprisingly, competitors were loathe to steer their customers to Arnold’s coupler, so they developed couplers of their own, even though Arnold owned the patent.
As it turned out, the Rapido did not work very well for automatic uncoupling and it was a bit bulky relative to the N scale’s diminutive size. Today, most serious N scale collectors prefer the magnetic knuckle couplers produced by Micro Trains.
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Recent News: N Scale Model Trains
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Free Printable RulersNewsReleaseWire.com (press release), October 2nd
Professional architects and engineers, as well as hobbyists who are making train sets, doll houses or other projects, can use the specialty rulers that have different scales outside of the standard measurements. These include 144th-scale rulers, N...Read more
Just the ticket: Northwest Iowa Model Railroad Club still chugging along after ...Worthington Daily Globe, September 24th
In addition, participants are able to view Prairie Lake Division's award winning 15-by-25-foot modular train layout. A “N” scale train layout by Larry Pedley will feature some of the smaller trains in the model train world. Davids noted the “N” scale...Read more
Train enthusiasts on track for annual model train showTemple Daily Telegram, September 15th
The depot is abuzz with activity as members of the railroaders club gather to prepare to welcome as many as 3,000 model train enthusiasts from across the nation to its 33rd annual Temple Model Train Show Sept. 19 and 20 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic...Read more
Trains and more at depot on SundayDecatur Daily Democrat, September 15th
The Pennsy Depot Restoration Committee will host a free N-Scale model train display inside the depot from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The display is hosted by the Indiana T-Trackers. There will also be a farmers/craft market on the depot lawn from 10 a.m.-2...Read more
OMRA Fall Train Show Sept. 26Harrison Daily (subscription), September 15th
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Ozarks Model Railroad Association will host its annual Fall Train Show from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at Remington's, 1625 W. Republic Road in Springfield, Missouri...Read more
Spring Creek Model Trains thrives in rural NebraskaLincoln Journal Star, June 27th
Colorado Great Western from Denver will feature a mountain scenery layout. * And Free-Mo, based in Wichita, Kansas, also is known for its scenery layouts. In addition, the open house will include Kansas City T-Rail (N scale) and Charlie Horner from...Read more
Next model train open house to be held June 20Log Cabin Democrat, June 13th
Club member Dale Dudley will show his N-scale layout with small-size trains in action. Visitors may ask, “How do they get the motors and electrical circuits inside those small trains?” An N-scale diesel locomotive is about the size of a mini Tootsie Roll®...Read more
Model trains a fun hobbyThe Garden City Telegram, March 22nd
Karma was busy setting up both a G-scale train, one of the larger-sized model trains available, and a smaller N-scale set. The thing he likes most is the diversity model trains allow. “I can make it what I want,” he said. “It's my world. I can put what...Read more