Collectible N Scale Model Railroad Trains

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.


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    

Kato N Scale Gs-4 Southern Pacific Steam EngineN Scale Atlas 40000224 Bn #2182 Gp38 Diesel Locomotive Burlington NorthernKato Cnw Chicago & Northwestern E8a # 5021a W/ Mrc Dcc/ Sound Decoder InstalledKato Cnw Chicago & Northwestern E8a # 5021b W/ Mrc Dcc/ Sound Decoder InstalledGraham Farish 'n' Gauge Class 47 Diesel Loco From The Night Mail Set #608N Scale Kato D&rgw Rio Grande Alco Pa-1 A&b ExcellentN Scale Atlas 51810 Csx #7551 Dash 8-40c Diesel LocomotiveKato Heavy Mikado Prr 2-8-2 Usra N Scale Locomotive 126-0111 - Runs Great!N Scale Atlas 47685 Penn Central #7979 Gp38-2 Diesel Locomotive PennsylvaniaKato Smoothside Passenger Car Cnw Chicago & Northwestern 6-car Set 106-093N Broadway Limited 3225  e7a W/dcc & Sound, Cb&q #9919bDapol Locomotive Class 9f 2-10-0 W/ Br1c Tender #92088 N Scale Dcc Ready - New!N Broadway Limited 3226  e7a W/dcc & Sound, Cb&q #9923bN Scale Con Cor Union Pacific Ge U50 #46 Rare ExcellentN Broadway Limited 3141 Prr Centipede A-a Set, ##5831/#5819  dcc& SoundIntermountain Railway F7b Cnw Chicago & Northwestern Road # 325 69744-03*N Broadway Limited 3140 Prr Centipede A-a Set, #5830a1/5830a2  dcc& SoundNib J3a 464 Hudson N Scale Steam Locomotive New York Central Athearn N Scale Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 Steam LocomotiveLarge Lot Of "n" Scale Engines, Freight Cars, Sold For Parts Or RepairIntermountain Railway Fp7a Cnw Chicago & Northwestern Road # 217 69944-01*Kato Smoothside Passenger Car Cnw Chicago & Northwestern 4-car Add-on Set 106094Graham Farish 'n' Gauge 370-070 Class 42 Warship 'magpie' Diesel Loco Boxed #538N Scale Atlas 51806 Csx #7545 Dash 8-40c Diesel LocomotiveN Scale Model Train LotN Scale Walthers Ttx Trailer Train Thrall 48' Containers Well Car Train K-lineN Scale Exactrail Ttx Fbox Trinity 6275 Cu Ft Box CarN Broadway Limited 3142 Prr Centipede A-a Set, #5828/#5816,  dcc& SoundKato Norfolk Southern Sd80mac N Scale Diesel Locomotive #7210 176-5514N Scale Atlas 40000131 D&h #408 C420 Diesel Locomotive Deleware HudsonTtx Thrall 5-unit Articulated Double Stack Cars 72180 (n Scale) With Mt CouplersN Scale Kato Union Pacific Rr Streamlined Passenger Car Train Dome Obs City LaN Scale Atlas 49225 Bn #9200 Sd60m Diesel Locomotive Burlington NorthernN Scale Exactrail Ttx Fbox Trinity 6275 Cu Ft Box CarN Kato 126-0401 N 4-8-4 Fef-3 Union Pacific #844 Excursion Version Dcc Ready N Broadway Limited 3144 Prr Centipede A-a Set, #5833/#5821  dcc& Sound22 Piece Lot Of "n" Scale Passenger Cars & Engines, Union Pacific, Santa Fe, EctSunset Models Brass N Scale Pennsylvania Prr Fm Trainmaster Phase 2Graham Farish 'n' Gauge Pair Of Royal Mail Coaches From The Night Mail Set #609N Scale Details Parts Lot Set Of 2 Wiking Travel Trailers CampersCon-cor N Scale Union Pacific Express Service Limited Edition SetN Scale Atlas 48365 Cn #4382 Gp9 Diesel Locomotive Canadian NationalN Scale Union Pacific Emd Gp-38 Diesel Locomotive Up #1974 Atlas #49835 Dcc NibN Scale Atlas 4000239 Panam Railways #350 Gp40 Diesel Locomotive N Scale Kato Double Cross Over Track - Unitrack #wx310 - Model Train Layouts N Scale Kato Southern Pacific Emd E8/9a Diesel Locomotive #6053, 176-282 Gb Bj Kadee Usa N Scale Burlington Northern Bulkhead Car With Paper Product LoadN Broadway Limited 3148 Ndem Centipede #6403N Scale Heritage 2-8-4 Berkshire Steam Locomotive13 Piece Lot Of "n" Scale Assorted Passenger Cars 12 Fox Valley Models Fvm 8306 Rd-4 Hopper Norfolk Southern N Scale Freight CarsCon-cor N #0001-851112 Limited Edition Up Express Service Add On Freight Car SetKato N-scale California Zephyr 11 Car SetCustom Weathered N Scale Intermountain 4-bay Covered Hopper. Soo 125011 N Scale Kato Amtrak Superliner Passenger Car Set Phase Ivb #106-3516 Gb BjN Broadway Limited 3245  e8a W/dcc & Sound, Ri #652N Broadway Limited 3149 Ndem Centipede #6406N Scale Atlas 47653 D&h #7312 Gp38-2 Diesel Locomotive Deleware HudsonAtlas Assorted Undecorated N Scale Freight Cars (12) Ln/box8 Piece Lot Of "n" Scale Amtrak Engines And Passenger Cars