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.


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Recent News: N Scale Model Trains

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REC: Marveling at model trains
Sierra Vista Herald, May 23rd

Dan Bolin, president of the club, has loved trains, “ever since I was a kid,” he said, a common refrain from others in attendance. The club features a main layout of an HO scale occupying two large rooms. There is an N-scale layout under construction...Read more

Tehachapi Depot getting worldwide recognition: Fundraiser drawing underway
Tehachapi News, May 21st

Currently, the depot is sponsoring a drawing for an N scale layout approximately 4 feet by 16 feet. The layout is complete ready to put a train on and let her roll. Tickets are available for this “one time opportunity” at the depot. Come by for a visit...Read more

Model railroad club testament to timelessness of trains
Longview Daily News, May 8th

Besides the club's HO track, the others are a large O-scale layout, a small N-scale layout and a large, circus-themed HO-scale layout set up by member Mike Eberling. The main model is portable, Whiffen said. The club owns a trailer they use to haul the...Read more

Celebrate National Train Day
Blue Springs Examiner, May 8th

The Chicago & Alton Depot at 318 W. Pacific Ave. in Independence will celebrate National Train Day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 9. The event will include four model trains operating continuously, including O-gauge, HO-gauge, N-scale and the smallest ...Read more

A "Rail" big day coming to the NC Transportation Museum
WBTV, May 6th

Model train layouts will be hosted by several different modeling groups, including the Atlantic Coast S-Gaugers, Beaver Creek Railroad G-Scale Modelers, the Winston-Salem Rail Buddies and their O-Scale layout, and a massive layout from three N-scale ...Read more

Model train show rides into Augusta Expo
Staunton News Leader, May 3rd

Seeing them smile ... it makes me happy." There are four different scales for model trains — G scale, which is a 1:22 proportion/scale; O scale, which is 1:48; HO scale, which is half of the O scale at 1:87; and N scale, the smallest size at 1:160...Read more

Fairgrounds not renewing lease with railroad club
Benitolink: San Benito County News, May 1st

A big issue Feltman anticipates is losing a large portion of the current display. “The layout as it exists now, at least half of it will be gone,” he said. “The older layout of our HO scale is going to be torn down, as will a bunch of the N scale. They...Read more

Railroad and model trains are part of Olmsted Falls history - Olmsted Dates ...
cleveland.com, April 27th

You and your family will enjoy the HO, O and N scale models that run throughout the colorful model villages and hillsides inside the depot. Tour the caboose, which is now a part of train history. The club also will have raffle prizes. Admission is $3...Read more