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.

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Recent News: N Scale Model Trains

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Scarborough Model Railroaders host open house, November 28th

The Scarborough Model Railroaders Club hosts its train show and open house on Sunday, Nov. 30 from 11 ... The 1,000-square-foot N scale layout features more than 30 scale miles of double track mainline running through mountain scenery. Admission is ...Read more

Model trains will be running Saturday, November 26th

There will be six model train layouts, with more than 12 trains running at the same time. Featured will be Thomas the Train, long HO scale trains and small N scale trains. Also on display will be a large model of a Chicago, Burlington and Quincy steam ...Read more

Collector helps keep holiday spirit on track
Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 26th

Action includes a working merry-go-round, an N-scale zoo train, and animals that move about in their pens. While you'll find a half-dozen different locomotives towing their strings of cars on the main layout itself, it's easy to be distracted by the...Read more

'All aboard' for model railroading fun
Orange Leader, November 22nd

Southeast Texas Model Railroad Club have layouts for an HO and an N scale, the two most popular sizes in model trains. The club meets 7 p.m. every Monday at the church for operating sessions, 'How To” clinics, as well as building modules. The tour...Read more

Train show inspires young hobbyists
St. Cloud Times, November 15th

The Annandale man was one of several exhibitors at the Granite City Train Show with a custom built display showcasing a miniature train and cityscape. Nabours setup is known as an N scale — a classification of the size of the models. His small town...Read more

Model Train Home Tour opens doors to whimsical, creative worlds
St George News, November 10th

to the “N” scale enthusiasts as the “crazy ones,” but Scardina countered that there is a reason behind the methodical madness. “If there is even a tiny bump in the track,” Scardina said, “you can derail a whole train.” Scardina's introduction into...Read more

Model train expo to benefit historic Hyde Park station
Poughkeepsie Journal, November 4th

There are more than 100 gauges in train modeling, but the most popular for the average enthusiast is the three-rail or the O gauge. The O-gauge scale is 1:48, meaning 1 inch on the model equals 48 in real life. A more serious hobbyist will choose the N...Read more

Nevada model railroad enthusiasts open their homes
Reno Gazette Journal, October 31st

5600 Gentry Lane, Carson City: (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Paul Martinovich N-scale model depicts Eastern California railroading in the 1950s. • 3104 Pine Lane, Carson City: (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Patrick Mobley's N-scale railroad and is titled "Great Basin and...Read more