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 176-8407 Sd70ace Diesel Locomotive Up / C&nw Heritage #1995 - DccN Scale Bachmann Spectrum 2 6 6 2 Undecorated Steam Engine NewN Scale Con Cor Vintage 2 8 8 2 Pennsylvania Steam Engine #374Dapol N Gauge Model Railways Schools Class Loco Southern Railway Livery MintKato Sd70ace N Scale Locomotive Union Pacific #8453 Kobo Factory-dcc Equipped!Athearn N Scale Big Boy Steam Locomotive 4-8-8-4 Up 4005 Dcc With Sound24 Micro-trains Line Train Cars, Coperate And Product Names N Scale Amazing Bachmann N Scale Drug Company Train Set! Rare Cars!! Kato Emd E8/9 A+b Dcc And SoundKato Es44ac N Scale Locomotive Union Pacific #5491 Kobo Factory-dcc Equipped!Kato #732750 N Scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Dttx Used 4 Bnsf & 2 Mr&t ContainersKato N Scale 176-0937 Ge U30c Bn Bicentennial 1776 Locomotive - MintBachmann N Scale #81460 B & (olive Green & Black)- Doodlebug & Trailer Dcc NibN Scale Parts Lot Of Used Rolling Stock N Scale Huge Vintage Lot Of Engines Metal Rapido Bachmann Atlas Trix Details6 N Scale Athearn Roadway 28' Wedge Trailers & 3 Cabs And 3 Dollys N - Kato 137-2015; Cr #4800 - Gg1 Electric Locomotive Bicentennial [dcc Ready]Kato Emd F7a+b Dcc And SoundN Scale Bli 3249 Milwaukee Emd E9a #36a Paragon 2 Sound Dc/dcc N Scale Blma 12256 Trinity 53' 3-unit Spine Car Set Ttx Ttax #355169. Arnold Emd Sw1 Milwaukee Road N Scale SwitcherN Scale 81660 Bachmann Spectrum Southern 4 8 2 Light Mountain Steam Engine NewN Scale Bli 3250 Milwaukee Emd E9a #37a Yellow Gray Paragon 2 Sound Dc/dcc N Scale Trix Switcher SetArnold Amtrak Emd Sw1 Diesel-electric Dcc Ready #731 N Scale Locomotive Hn2237Kato 106-4613 N Scale Burlington Northern Bethgon Coalporter With Load 8 Car SetNew Intermountain-railway 69323s-01 Gatx Sd40-2 #7361 Dcc Sound N-scaleNew Atlas 40 002 688 N Dash 8-40cw Bnsf Rd# 856 Decoder Ready Blma Models 12002 N Scale Trinity 53' 5-unit Spine Car Set Ln/boxAhm Minitrain Lima N Pennsylvania " Smokey Freight " Train Set W/ Extra Cars Box#e Kato Road #253557 N Scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Bnsf Used 4 Bnsf 2 Emp ContainersKato 106-4606 N Scale Burlington Northern Bethgon Coalporter With Load 8 Car SetKato 106-086 N Scale Union Pacific Excursion Train 7 Car Passenger SetN Gauge Arnold Passenger Set 0142 Db "rheingold-luxuszug" New Old Stock No Res#b Kato Road # 253539 N Scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Bnsf Used & 6 Emp ContainersN Scale Intermountain Union Pacific Mow 60' Flat Car W/ Tie Load 2 Pack Nsc NseBachmann N Scale Train SetDimi-trains N 1106 Prr Leslie Rotary Snow Plow Custom Built Kit Mh5550 Atlas Train Cars, Caboose And Freight Cars, N GuageKato 106-079 N Amtrak El Capitan 10 Car Set - New - Slightly Damaged Box2 17406 U.s. Plywood Thrall All Door Box Cars N Scale Micro-trains/mtlDutch Railway (ns) Locomotive And Passenger Car AssortmentN Scale Kato Santa Fe At&sf Passenger Cars - 8N Scale Micro-trains Union Pacific Potable Water Mow Tanker 2 Pack Nsc Nse MtlDimi-trains N 1102 Prr Industrial Brownhoist Wrecking Car Custom Built Kit Mh518 N Scale Athearn Cf 28' Wedge Trailers And 3 Dollys New N Scale Micro-trains Burlington Northern Three 56' Tank Car Runner Pack MtlHuge N Scale Vintage Box Car Rolling Stock Lot Big Rapido Bachman Atlas CollectN Scale Lot Vehicles BuildingsHeritage F7a Freight Train Set Athearn Ho Lot & Modular Stock Pen 6 Cars & TrackAtlas N Scale #2642 & 2644 Chicago & North Western Passenger Cars(4 Total)Kato N-scale Union Pacific Smooth Side Passenger Car-4 Car Set-original BoxLot Of N Scale Bachmann & More Train CarsKato 106-091 Alaska Passenger SetN Gauge Arnold Passenger Set 0144 Db "rheingold" New Old Stock No ReserveKato N Scale 2 Union Pacific Passenger CarsPecos River Brass Southern Pacific #1433 0-50-13 Tanker CarKato 106-060 Southern Pacific Morning Daylight 10-car Set W/display Unitrack NibKato N Es44ac Freight Train Set, Bnsf/wedge Kat1060024 Bachmann Frontiersman N Train Starter Set 4-4-0 Jupiter Steam Locomotive C-8 Ln