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    

N Gauge Graham Farish 371-828 Class 47 Br Blue "hadrian" 47404 Dcc & Lights FittBachmann N Scale 51753 Alco 2-6-0 Steam Loco W/ Dcc Canadian National - NibBachmann N Scale 51752 Alco 2-6-0 Steam Loco W/ Dcc New York Central - NibRare Kato N Scale Custom Paint Kaiser Steel U30cJoe Works Three Truck Shay N Gauge Locomotive And Tender - As-is Original BoxAlaska Kato Emd Sd70mac 4001New!!! N Scale Proto 2000 Heritage 2-8-8-2 Steam Locomotive Eg Con-cor(n Scale) Rs-2 Santa Fe Atsf #2099, Kato 176-4401 Dcc Digitrax Decoder EquippedEstate Model Train Find 611 Locomotive And More Selling As Is Read DecriptionN Scale Kato 106-6001 Super Chief Obs Diner Dome Sleeper Santa Fe 4 Car Set ABachmann N Scale 51751 Alco 2-6-0 Steam Loco W/ Dcc Prr #3234 - NibN Scale Broadway Ltd 3251 Mp Missouri Pacific #7018 E8-a Diesel Engine Dcc/soundKato Usra 2-8-2 Heavy MikadoN Scale Lbf Ttx Railbox Fbox 50' High Cube Box Car Train W/ Mtl'sN Kato 176-8434 N Emd Sd70ace Bnsf #9376 Dcc Ready N Kato 1764367 Emd Nw2 Cb&qchicago Burlington & Quincy #9205 Dcc Ready N Kato 1764368 Emd Nw2 Cb&q Chicago Burlington & Quincy #9211 Dcc Ready N Scale Kato Santa Fe Ry Atsf Streamlined Passenger Car Train BaggageBroadway Limited 511 512 Union Pacific E8 Ab Set Nice!Group Lot Of 11 N Scale Train Engines , By Atlas, Life Like, BachmanN Scale Kato 106-6002 Super Chief Rpo Baggage Dorm Sleeper Santa Fe 4 Car Set BN Scale Intermountain 69003-01 Santa Fe War Bonnet #158 Ft A/b Diesel EngineTomix Heavy Duty Flat Car Complete N ScaleN Scale Atlas Acfx Lease 33,000 Gallon Jumbo Tank Car Train W/ Mtl'sVintage Rowa Modelleisenbahnen Santa Fe 2-8-8-2 Mallet W/tender N Scale - New!!! Kato N Scale Sd40-2 Early Diesel Milwaukee Road # 149Bachmann Class J 4-8-4 N Scale Locomotive #608 Norfolk & Western Untested RepairTrix W German N Scale Locomotive 2-10-0 Decapod 2072 #4638 Pennsylvania UntestedN Scale Life Like 7350 C&nw Chicago & North Western #5005-a E6-a Diesel EngineN Scale Kato Santa Fe Ry Streamlined Passenger Car Train Hi-level El Capitan25 Covered Hoppers N Scale Mixed LotN Scale Life-like 801011 Cn Canadian National #4034 Gp9 Diesel EngineKato N 176-3302 C44-9w Locomotive, C&nw 8633, DpN Scale Kato Santa Fe Ry Streamlined Passenger Car Train Obs-lounge ChiefKato Burlington Baggage Car Silver Light Cb QN Scale Atlas Csx Transportation Rr Acf 3 Bay Covered Hopper Car Train WeatheredKato N Scale Southern Pacific Daylight 10 Car Passenger Set #101-060Minitrix 15248 32 Axles Transformer Car N Scale N Kato 106-1102 Union Pacific Smoothside (set C): Dome, Coach, Pullman, PullmanHuge Lot Of 40' Boxcars Reefers Stock Cars N Scale10 Passenger Cars Pennsylvania N Scale Atlas RivarossiN Scale Blma Cefx Lease Trinity 64' Mechanical Reefer Car Train N Scale Intermountain Csx Transportation Rr 3 Bay Grain Covered Hopper Car TrainN Kato 176-9103 Emd F40ph Chicago Metra #163N Gauge Minitrix 3 Log Wagon Set --- Boxed 13459N Scale Huge Lot Of Vehicles Trucks CarsN Scale Bowser Csx Transportation Rr Cylindrical Grain Covered Hopper Car TrainN Kato 106-5013 Up Union Pacific Streamliner (set C): Rpo, Dome, Dome, ObsCon-cor N-scale Ltd Edition Passenger Set Pennsylvania Special W/erie Built Aa N Scale Intermountain Csx Transportation Rr Acf 2 Bay Covered Hopper Car Train15 Covered Grain Hoppers N Scale Mostly CompleteN Scale Blma 12252 Trinity 53' 3-unit Spine Car Set Ttx Ttax #355023N Kato 106-3516   superliner I Amtrak Phivb Set BUnion Pacific 3-bay Covered Hopper N Scale Micro-trains Special Run3 N Scale Roundhouse Tank CarsN Scale Vehicles Lot Excellent Quality, Campers, Semis, Cars, And More Lot Of 33N Athearn10616 Bnsf Automax Articulated Auto Carrier Bnsf #314123, R-t-r N Scale Intermountain L&n Family Lines Rr Ps 4750 Grain Covered Hopper Car TrainN Scale Atlas Burlington Northern Santa Fe Ry Acf Covered Hopper Car WeatheredKato N Scale Baltimore & Ohio B&o 6 Car Passenger Set In Terrific Condition