N Scale Model Railroad Locomotives

Once you have laid down all the scenery on your model train layout, the next thing is to run some trains. You will need a collection of N scale locomotives to haul freight and passengers around your model railroad track. Whether you prefer steam or diesel, you will find there is a wide array of N gauge railroad equipment available.

What size are N scale model train locomotives?

All North American and European engines designed for N scale layouts are built to a ratio of 1:160 scale. That means if a part on a real locomotive were 160 inches long, then it would be one inch on the model. Some model train equipment made in the United Kingdom uses a 1:150 ratio instead. If you are modeling narrow gauge railroading operations, then some Japanese companies produce 1:150 scale equipment for use with models of 1,067-millimeter gauge lines.

What are traction tires?

Some lightweight model railroad engines have small bits of rubber wrapped around their metal wheels to help them better grip the rails. These provide additional traction, so you can haul more rolling stock on a single train. You will find them on steam engines as well as miniature diesel rigs. If you are collecting or restoring vintage N scale train equipment, then you might want to have a supply of extra traction tires on hand.

Do model railway engines run differently on different track types?

Scale railroad engines should work just fine on nearly any kind of track. Whether you build your layout on top of a traditional cork roadbed or use plastic Unitrack, your engines only care about the distance between the two rails. All track has to meet certain standards. Locomotive manufacturers adhere to these standards, so that any piece you add to your layout will work without requiring you to make any hardware changes. This also allows you to mix and match different track types so you can make your model railroad look however you want.

What does it mean if a vehicle features prototypical design?

Layout builders collectively refer to real mainline equipment as the prototype. This makes sense because any miniature locomotive you might have is based on a much larger prototype design. If you see the word "prototypical" on packaging, then you are looking at a detailed product that represents an exact piece of equipment a real railroader could operate at one point or another.