HO Scale Model Railroads & Trains

HO scale model trains scale down the full-size railroad world into something that the entire family can enjoy. You can enjoy an HO scale model railroad set as a child that becomes a sophisticated HO scale layout in adulthood. The hobby also brings camaraderie as aficionados convene to admire each other’s trains and help out with their efforts.

What is an HO scale model?

HO model trains are ones that you can comfortably hold a locomotive or car in one hand without covering it. If you’re able to enclose the HO scale train with your hand, then it’s probably N scale and if you need two hands to hold it, its either O scale or G scale. HO scale miniaturizes the world at 1/87, which makes a human figure about an inch high and an average locomotive about 6 or 7 inches long. The scale is big enough to handle easily and yet small enough that a layout can fit on a tabletop or small room.

What should you buy to get started with these railroads?

To get started with HO model trains, buy a self-contained set that includes a locomotive, several cars, enough HO scale track to make a loop, and a power pack to run everything. It may also include scenery items like trees, figures, a mountain tunnel, and a station. You can set your layout up on any flat space such as the living room floor or a tabletop. This gives you practice connecting tracks, dealing with electronics, and running trains. Because the setup is only temporary, you’ll also gain experience disassembling and storing your model items.

Are there additional HO scale model railroad accessories available?

You can create a more permanent layout by setting up on a table or shelf in a spare bedroom or basement. Expand the basic loop by buying more track including turnouts, which are Y-shaped sections that let you divert trains to separate tracks and sidings. You can also increase your set with more HO scale model locomotives, cars, and scenery items.

What different themes of HO scale model railroads are available?

There are many different themes for HO scale railroads. Some are focused on transporting passengers to different stations, while others centre on carrying freight to factories. If it’s the latter, there are multiple different options for freight, such as lumber, steel, or milk. There are also options based on different eras. Early railroads use steam locomotives, while modern era versions have diesel power. Different model scene accessories are available, such as a station house, forest, ranch, or city.