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
Postwar Lionel Trains Library
Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
Clubs & Associations
- Train Collectors Association
- National Model Railroad Association
- Lionel Collectors Club of America
- Toy Train Operating Society
- National Association of S Gaugers, Inc.
- Train Collectors Society (U.K.)
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Recent News: N Scale Model Trains
Source: Google News
Train Days returns to Los Altos: Museum highlights model railroadingLos Altos Town Crier, August 27th
“This year, we will go back in time as far as the Civil War, with the historic First Battle of Manassas, plus we will again go around the world to Asia and beyond – in HO and N scale.” Admission is $5. Children 4 and under are free. Children under 12...Read more
Children's Museum to host Tractors, Trucks and Trains Day todayLincoln Journal Star, August 16th
Indoors, children can see train tables where the Lincoln Area Railway Historical Society will display and operate multiple N scale model trains. Guests can sit atop a scooter and meet local scooter enthusiasts from the Scoot to Thrill club. Duncan...Read more
Museum celebrates Tractors, Trucks and Trains DayLincoln Journal Star, August 14th
Indoors, kids can play on the museum's own firetruck, police motorcycle, semi truck, airplane and train, as well as operate N-scale model trains brought in by the Lincoln Area Railway Historical Society. The local Scoot to Thrill club will bring in a...Read more
Model railroads bring parents and children togetherOrlando Sentinel, August 3rd
Nine-year-old Patrick Wojcik inherited his father's interest in N-scale trains. It's one of the few things they can do together. Jack Wojcik, 45, has progressive multiple sclerosis, a disease that has robbed him of the ability to walk and is now taking...Read more
Shinkansen robot "Project E5" at train festival in YokohamaAkihabaraNews, August 1st
It was exhibited to the public at the Tokyo Toy Show 2014, which took place in July, and became very popular. In addition to the Project E5, the train festival offers a JR Yokohama Line stamp rally, N scale (popular train scale) simulation experience...Read more