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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Iron Spike Model Train Museum Opens SaturdayThe Missourian, April 29th
The Boeing Employees Model Railroad Club (BEMRC) of St. Louis will bring its HO layout to help celebrate trains this weekend. Members will set up their HO layout in the city auditorium on High Street and welcome visitors Saturday from 10 a.m. until at...Read more
Dermatologist Entrepreneur Encourages Others to Follow SuitMD Magazine, April 28th
Practice management, Lifestyle, entrepreneurship, dermatology Even as a youngster at age 8, Steven Hacker, MD, had an entrepreneurial spirit. The published and practicing dermatologist remembers telling his parents even then that he was going to ...Read more
Model train tours to make stops in Ligonier, Latrobe, GreensburgTribune-Review, April 25th
Most of Sheats' train sets are at “O” scale, in which 1 inch equals 4 feet. Other hobbyists on the tour have either tiny “N” scale sets or larger “G” scale trains that are suited for running outside in a garden setting,. Chuck Kapalka, who is joining...Read more
OLD CAR COLUMN: Behemoth 1958 GM Trailways bus makes surprise visit at recent ...STLtoday.com, April 25th
When I first heard about the American Association of Railroaders, I thought it was a model railroaders club consisting of a group of enthusiasts who devote a huge portion of their basements to O, HO or N scale layouts. Not so. The AAR is a group...Read more
Mack Williams column: Memorial to 'JJ'Salisbury Post, April 16th
(Since then, we've added a large n-scale model railroad layout to our model of the Wreck of the Old 97). On several occasions, JJ told me of the railroad songs he had written himself and submitted to country singers (one, I think, to Marty Robbins, who...Read more
Train Show this weekendMarshfield Mail (subscription), April 15th
More than 160 tables will display railroad equipment of all scales, as well as memorabilia. Ten or more model railroads in O, HO and N scale, plus a large portable garden railroad layout operated by the Ozarks Garden Railroad Society, will be on display...Read more
611 visit derailed: Historic train would carry hefty price tag for Rail DaysGoDanRiver.com, April 14th
Rail Days is an event put on each September around the time of the Sept. 27 anniversary of the Wreck of the Old 97 and has been a regular event since 2003 which was the 100th anniversary of the wreck. Model railroaders set up N-scale trains throughout...Read more
Caltrain Depot Model Train Show Fascinates Kids and AdultsSanta Clara Weekly, April 13th
The museum, operated by the South Bay Historical Railroad Society (SBHRS), has two operational HO and N scale model railroad layout displays that depict various railroad eras and operations venues from around the Santa Clara Valley. Everything is ...Read more