Model Trains 

If you are thinking about starting a model train layout you will first need to know how much space you have for the track.  Model trains come in several different sizes referred to as the scale.  The scale refers to the size of the model train in comparison with the real thing.  Here are just some of the more popular model train scales. 

For model trains the terms scale and gauge are sometimes confused.  As previously explained scale is the difference in size when comparing a model train  to the real thing.  Gauge is the distance between the two running rails of the track.  

For example, the Z scale trains are 1:220.  This means the real trains are 220 times larger than this size model train.  As you can expect, the Z trains are very small.  They are perfect if your space is very limited. 

The N scale train is 1:160 and can also be run in a small space.  The N scale trains work well if you are most focused on your layout and not on the train itself. 

The most popular scale of model train is the HO model trains which are 1:87. These trains offer good detail and you can put a nice size layout into an average size space.  These trains work well with any type scenery. 

Another popular model train is the O scale which is 1:48. The O scale model trains have been made for many decades by Lionel.  These trains need a good amount of space for a proper layout.  An oval track can be set up in a space about 5 feet by 5 feet. The O scale train is a little larger and has good detail.  There is also an 027 scale which is 1:48.  The 027 can handle a tighter curve than the standard 0 scale and the rail is a little shorter and thinner. 

For someone who wants to run their model train outdoors there is the G scale train which is 1:22.5.  This is the most popular for use outdoors with the natural gardening and landscaping. 

For someone just getting into the model railroading hobby choosing the train you want can be a difficult task.  Look for a model train store in your area.  There you will find people who are interested in model trains and they can quickly teach you about the hobby.  Some hobby stores do sell model trains, but you are not likely to find anyone who really knows very much about model railroading.  A store dedicated to model railroading is far superior for your needs. 

You can purchase a complete model railroad kit, or you can purchase your setup piece by piece.  If you purchase a kit they usually do not come with any scenery, but you can have the train setup and running very quickly. Even if you purchase a ready to run complete set you can purchase additional items to add to your set up.  You can purchase additional trains to run on these same tracks as long as the trains are all the same scale. 

Look to see if you new model train is DCC enabled.  If possible, you want to have your train DCC enabled so you can run other trains at the same time with ease.  This will not be an issue if you determine that just one train is enough for you. 

Some model railroaders who are really into their hobby, and who have the space necessary, enjoy mixing different scale model trains in their layout. 

Your model train store may have only a limited supply of trains from which to choose.  Don’t feel that you must make a selection if the train you want is not available there in the store.  Keep in mind that the internet is full of model train stores. 

Model railroading is a wholesome and highly rewarding hobby.  In time, you may find yourself collecting model trains from each of the various scale spectrums.  Model trains are enjoyed by both the young and the old.