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]

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 Scale Joe Works 2 Truck Shay, Eustis #3 From Japan Gb BiN Scale Athearn Weathered Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4Blma Models N Scale 12 Car Tropicana Oj Train W/ All Different Road Nos. New KrN Scale 4-8-8-4 Union Pacific Big Boy W/dcc & Tsunami Sound Up# 4023Kato Great Northern 2-8-2 Steam Engine W/ Tender N ScaleN/scale Brass Overland Up Union Pacific 3 Piece Gas Turbine Setf/p Ltd Lights #8Blma Models N Scale Set Of 2 Trinity '53 - 5 Unit Spine Car Set New KrExactrail N Scale 6 Pcs. Ttx Trinity 6275 Cf. Plug Door Box Cars New KrKato N Scale Tgv 10-909 La Ligne De Coeur France Suisse 6 Car Set Made In JapanCon-cor N Southern Pacific Sp Gs-4 4-8-4 Steam Engine Daylight Locomotive TrainExactrail N Scale 5 Pcs. Ttx Trinity 6275 Cf. Plug Door Box Cars New KrKato N #c58 2010 Undecorated Railroad 2-6-2 Steam Engine Locomotive Train LnibMinitrix Trix N Db 41300 2-8-2 Steam Engine Train Locomotive In Original CaseSpectrum N New Haven Nh 2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Locomotive Engine Train LnibN Gauge Nr National Rail 81 Class Diesel Locomotive Nswgr - Spectrum - WorkingRoundhouse N Scale Set Of 8 #8475 Gunderson Husky Stack Csx Intermodal New KrLot Of Atlas N Scale Train Cars !wow! NrKato N Scale Lot Of Train Track Unitrack 20500 20-203 S248 Control Box TurnoutsN Scale Kato 176-8402 Up #8520 Emd Sd70ace Diesel Locomotive Union PacificWalthers Cornerstone N Scale Factory Depot Brick With Office Building Built CoolN/scale 17 Prr Coal Cars With Loads Bowser Nib!! Blma N Scale Trinity 53' - 5 Unit Spine Cars + 4 Chassis + 6 Containers New KrMixed Lot N Scale Track, Figures, Accessories, Building KitsSpectrum N C&o 2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Locomotive Engine Train Lnib Dcc Ready!N/scale Kato Custom Up Camo Sd40-2 Snoot Nib Super Nice!!!!N Gauge Cars LotN Scale Locomotive Repair Shop: Kato Sd40-2 Diesel Burlington Northern #6770 BnKato 176-4811 N-scale Sd40-2 Early Locomotive Norfolk Southern Ns #1652N Scale Kato Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado 126-0208 Western PaciificAthearn N Scale 2-8-0 Baltimore & Ohio B&o Steam Train Engine Locomotive LnibCon-cor 0001-003009 N Scale Southern Railway J3a Hudson 4-6-4Blma Models N Scale Pr Of Trinity 53' - 5 Unit Spine Cars + 10 Containers New Kr N Scale Freight Car Lot Of 22 Pcs.atlas, Micro Trains, Walthers N Scale Set Of 2 Ttx 5-unit Articulated Double-stack Car New KrN Scale 63 Freight Car Lot,atlas, Concor,roco, BachmannLot Of N Guage Train Cars And Engines Atlas,mrc,pmiCon Cor U-50 Diesel #3301-j G.n. Old Union Pacific Engine Loco W BoxN Scale Kato Burlington Northern E8/9a Locomotive TrainKato N #701 B Santa Fe Atsf Center Cab Switcher Diesel Locomotive Train EngineN Scale Custom Amtrak Kato Sd70mac Locomotive Phase Iii.....road #396Con Cor U-50 Union Pacific Diesel Loco 3301a U.p. Engine W BoxAtlas N Gauge Train Lot, 10 Cars In Boxed *lookMicrotrains N Scale Set Of2 Csx 89' Tri-level Autorack Cars - New KrN Scale Kato 176-4820-1 Up #2975 Emd Sd40-2 Diesel W/ Dcc Union PacificArnold Rapido 0228s Southern 4-6-2 Engine & Tender N Scale W BoxKato N 106-2001 Pennsylvania Prr Railroad Diesel Locomotive Train Engine E8/9a+aExactrail N Scale 3 Pc. Set. #5161 Csx Trinity 3-bay Grain Hoppers New KrWalthers Cornerstone N Scale Factory Warehouse Machine Shop Building Blt LightedN/scale Kato 4-8-4 Sp Gs4 Southern Daylight 126-0302N&w Norfolk & Western 90 Ton Hopper With Coal Load Set Of 12 Cars.........(#140)Full Rheingold 5 Coach Set "boxed" By Arnold N GaugeRoco N Scale Db 23101 Tee Gas Turbine Passenger Train Set Br 602 New Ob'sKato N #126-0108 Great Northern Gn 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Steam Engine Locomotive3 Digitrax Dn163k1c Decoders New But UsedN Scale Atlas 3112 Texaco 94' Jumbo Whale Belly Tank CarN- Rm-19137 - Bi-level Autorack - Ns Norfolk & Southern Tt Ttx Ttgx - Nib MtlLife-like N Gauge Scale Great Northern Gn14 Locomotive Engine Model TrainN Scale - Norfolk And Western C424 Diesel Locomotive Nw #425 - Life LikeVintage Set Kato N Gauge Great Northern Emd F3 Both A & B Units Nos Boxed WorksN Scale Lot - Left & Right Switches #7 Turnouts - Atlas Code 55 # 2052 & # 2053

Recent News: N Scale Model Trains

Source: Google News

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

Remarkable replica of Milwaukee Depot in Great Falls
Great Falls Tribune, March 22nd

He has already built N-scale versions of train stations in Harlowton and Lewistown; those will be featured this spring in an issue of the Milwaukee Railroader magazine, published by the Milwaukee Road Historical Association, along with the Great Falls...Read more

Annual train show draws families, enthusiasts
Columbia Daily Tribune, March 21st

Dozens of attendees, including families and model train enthusiasts, turned out Saturday for Columbia's annual model train show. The Hobo Joe Train Show was presented by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department and Mid-Missouri Railfans Club ...Read more

Legislative coffee, model train show this weekend
The Garden City Telegram, March 18th

Politics, poetry, trains and a religious concert are on tap in Garden City this weekend. The Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its third legislative coffee of the year, scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in Classroom B at St. Catherine Hospital...Read more

Annual Railfest at Lakeland Community College attracts model train enthusiasts, March 15th

Sponsored by the National Model Railroad Association Mid Central Region Division 5, the two-day event featured more than 100 vendors and 400 tables in six rooms including a few gymnasiums. Ten operating layouts, running the gamut from N scale, HO ...Read more

Railroad Days to be hosted, appropriately enough, at Allen Train Depot
Star Local Media, March 11th

on Lamar in Dallas. This year the DFW Club will be joined by modular layouts in N scale by Roy Durrell of the Allen Senior Center and 3-rail O gauge by the Lionel Modular Group. O scale trains are built to a ratio of 1: 48—a 40-foot boxcar is 12...Read more

Model railroaders make tracks to Ogden's Union Station
Standard-Examiner, March 7th

Trains ranging from the tiny N-scale to the massive G-scale are on display at the festival. G is for “garden scale,” and it features tracks and trains large enough to be placed outside in gardens. The Utah Garden Railway Society has about 40 members...Read more

RI train expo offers something for everyone
Quad-Cities Online, March 1st

He's now a relatively new member of the Tri-County N Scale Model Train Club, which manned a huge display of the small-scale trains (1 inch to every 160 inches in real size) at the show, moving around tracks and scenery. "I like seeing the people...Read more