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    

Bachmann 4-8-2 Heavy Mountain Dcc D&rgw Rio Grande Locomotive Usra Tender 82514N Life Like Heritage? 2-8-8-2 Pennsylvania Rr Steam Engine & Tender Road #373Rare Cray Valley Loco Works (kato) Hon30 Gec 0-4-0 Chivers Diesel - Kds - BoxedUnion Pacific Turbine Diesel & Oil Tender - N GaugeKato Railroad Models 126-0204 Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado C&nw #431 N Scale Union Pacific Big Boy & Tender - N GaugeN Scale Precision Scale Brass Pennsylvania K4sModel Power N Scale Metal Usra 4-6-2 Pacific Locomotive W/vandy Tender Train CarKato 106-4616 Bethgon Coalporter Bnsf 8 Car Set, N Scale, New In BoxBachmann N Scale Train Usra Light 2-10-2 Steam Loco Dcc Equipped Seaboard 83356Kato Railroad Model Gg1 Prr #4929 N Scale 137-2012 Locomotive Train EngineFive (5) Different N-gauge Micro Trains Single Dome Tank Cars *mint*N Scale Kato 2-8-2 Usra Heavy Mikado #126-0100 Undecorated5 Atlas Santa Fe Passenger Train Car Set N Scale / GaugeN Scale - Micro Trains (mtl) - Twelve Days Of Christmas Ft Powered Aba Set!N Con-cor ? 4-8-4 Milwaukee Road Hiawatha Steam Engine And TenderMinitrix N Scale 12609 2-10-0 Steam Engine - Boxed"n" Scale, Kato , Lot Of "5" Kato Uni-track ,switch Tracks And Control Switches.Nse Atlas 13-43 Norfolk Southern Ns Heritage Caboose Rd# 551030N Con-cor Streamlined 4-6-4 Milwaukee Road Hiawatha Steam Engine And Tender"n" Scale, Kato Uni-track..lot Of Over 40 Pieces Of Track And Acc.Kato Railroad Models N Scale Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Gn#3200 Train LocomotiveBay.sts.b. Tender Loco G 3/4 H 2-6-0 By Minitrix N GaugeKato N Scale Amtrak Superliner Passenger Commuter Starter Train Set 106-0017Minitrix N Scale 12145 Diesel Locomotive Br. 360 De La Db - BoxedKato Railroad Model Gg1 Prr #4889 N Scale Train Locomotive 137-2011Kato Unitram Set LotN Scale Brass Hallmark Models 2-8-2 Mikado Steam Loco Painted & Dec.Overland Omi-2801 N Scale Brass Ditcher American Hoist Model Omi-2801Kato Canadian National Cn 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Rd# 3803Rivarossi N Scale Train Steam Locomotive 4-6-2 Nord 3.1173Kato Railroad Models Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado C&nw #425 126-0203 LocomotiveWalthers Cornerstone N Scale Red Wing Milling CompanyWalthers Cornerstone N Scale Vulcan ManufacturingN Life Like Heritage? 2-8-8-2 Norfolk & Western Rr Engine & Tender Road #2011Large N Scale LotKato Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Gn #3208 Locomotive And Small Model Train Parts Tenshodo 81104 D51 Steam Locomotive - BoxedN-gauge Kato Emd Sd-90/43mac Diesel #176-5603 Canadian Pacific #9122 *mint*Five (5) N-gauge Micro Trains 40' Double Sheathed Wood Reefer Cars *mint*N Gauge Locos - Nswgr 44, + 2 More + Carriages - All Need Repair Or Parts Only Five Concor N Scale New York Central Passenger Cars Smooth Sides Good Couplers Four Concor N Scale New York Central Passenger Cars Ribbed Sides Good CouplersGraham Farish N Scale 1125 Class 5700 Pannier Br Cab Type 2 Steam Engine - BoxedN Scale - Micro Trains - Smokey Bear Forest Fire Prevention Ft A&b Locomotives!N Scale Steam Loco Engine Parts Lot Untested As-is Sale See Pics Great Deal!!Union Pacific Up Centerbeam Car With Custom Load Rd#273251N Scale 50001017 Adm ( No Logo ) 17,600 Gallon Tank Car Accumates Atlas #15757Overland Omi N Scale Brass Up Omaha Sleeper Coach Car W/ Interior 28003.1 New!Large Lot Of 44 Atlas N Scale Manual Switches 26 Left 18 Right Train Remote Kato Undecorated Undec 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Basket Case - JunkN-gauge Kato Ge C44-9w Diesel #176-3507 Santa Fe #669 *mint*N Scale Custom Built Magnuson "merchant's Row" Block Of Stores.Brawa N Scale 62702 Diesel Locomotive Gravita Db Ag Digital & Sound - BoxedN Scale Locomotive Shay N/hon30?Athearn Norfolk Southern Bay Window Caboose Rd# 557503New ~ Superior Paper Co Kit By Walthers ~ N Scale ~ Mayhayred TrainsBachmann Spectrum N Scale Usra Light 2-10-2 Steam Locomotive Dcc EquippedKato 106-0702 York Central Nyc Pa-1and Pb-1 N Scale Locomotive # 4202 /4302Kato N Scale Ge Es44ac Loco - Bnsf #5804 - Weathered Look, Dcc Decoder Equipped

Recent News: N Scale Model Trains

Source: Google News

Train show set to chug into Mauldin Cultural Center
Greenville News, September 3rd

Presented by the Atlantic Coast S Gauge model train club, the layout features American flyer trains from the 1940s and 50s. The Piedmont 'N Southern Model Railroad Club also will present a new Modular N Scale layout. Children are encouraged to operate ...Read more

Calendar of events
The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration), September 3rd

Clarksburg Model Train Club: 12 p.m., open to public during West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival weekend at their clubhouse, Friedlander building on corner of 4th and Main streets, Clarksburg. Featuring Lionel trains as well as H0 and N scale layouts...Read more

Grandparents Day at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on Saturday
Augusta Free Press, September 2nd

The Virginia Museum of Transportation celebrates family togetherness and the cars and trains your grandparents loved with discounts and special activities for Grandparents Day Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Bring your grandparents or your grandchildren...Read more

Model train show rolls into Portland with techie new bells and whistles (photos)
OregonLive.com, August 29th

Align end plates and train tracks with other modules and a layout can be endless. One "N-scale" layout at the show is 15 scale-miles long. Vendors like Jason Shron of Rapido Trains are revealing their newest inventions and improved products at the show...Read more

NEWS AND TRIBUNE BRIEFS — For Friday, Aug. 14
Evening News and Tribune, August 14th

21, and a model train show and swap meet, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Sellersburg Moose Lodge Family Center, 1040 S. Indiana Ave., Sellersburg. There are four layouts scheduled to be on display showing HO scale, N scale, S scale and O ...Read more

Spring Creek Model Trains thrives in rural Nebraska
Lincoln 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 20
Log 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 hobby
The 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