Electric Model Trains – Scales to know before making your purchase

As you may know, having looked and looked at the different types of model trains available. Where there are some steam powered engines out there they are few and far between. You have probably realized by this point that the electric model train is the most popular type of model out there. It didn’t use to always be this way. When the original model trains were invented they were clockwork trains, but that changed quickly all it took was an inventive mind.

While most of the electric trains run on DC power there are some that run off of AC power. The majority of trains started out as AC slowly converting over to DC as time went on. There are still many trains systems that use AC power even if DC is more popular.

There are many scales of electric trains to choose from. The G scale is the largest and generally runs outside in a garden or yard type setting. Because of its larger scale it is easy to handle and most are easy to set up.

If you are looking for a table top variety of electric train there are several to choose from. Probably the most popular, however, is the HO scale. The scale of this model is 1:87 which is much smaller than the G scale but still bigger than the smallest available. This popular scale is perfect for children as it is easy for them to handle without being too small. Since it is the most popular, it is the one with the most accessories available.

Just a step up in size is the O scale. This is scale electric train is just about twice the size of the HO so it too is a popular type for children. Since it is a little larger, it will take up more space and therefore might not be ideal for some model train enthusiasts. It is probably next in popularity to the HO scale but you won’t find as many accessories.

Another scale that is popular with some is the OO scale. There are many that would argue this is not a true scaled engine since it is exceptionally close to the HO scale, with a scale of 1:76. So close in fact many use HO scaled items as accessories to this scale. These trains can and have often been used interchangeably with the HO tracks and cars. A hard core enthusiast would probably never own one of these trains, but if you are looking for something just a little smaller than the O scales but not as small as the HO this is a perfect compromise.

Another popular electric train scale is the N scale. Still smaller than the HO, but nowhere near the smallest available this train is often known as the narrow scale. These trains are generally narrower than other models making them ideal for tight spaces.

The smallest of all the scales is the Z scale. With a scale of 1:220 this scale is the true table top model and is often referred to as the TT scale. These trains are extremely tiny are most definitely not for the younger generation. Only those who are used to handling these types of trains should invest in them.

Probably the best thing about electric model trains scales is that they are a standard. If you have an HO engine of one name brand you can use an HO car from another name brand and it will work. Scenery and landscape made for your favorite scale is the same way, you can pick and choose which pieces you want from any number of companies. The versatility of the scales means your electric train will be able to run in a layout that is totally you. You are not restricted by the brands at all, the sky is the limit.

No matter what your passion, you can find an electric train that will fit your needs and space and still look great.

2 thoughts on “Electric Model Trains – Scales to know before making your purchase”

  1. I read your article and I think i am going to start my own model railroad. I have limited space so I will have to go n scale because I want incorporate two different sceneries into it.I want a Chicago theme (downtown),with a main line to Denver Colorado. I want to use the Metra commuter line from the south suburbs as the downtown scenery and a main line to Denver. Some of the main line will use the commuter line because the maain line ends in downtown Chicago. I also want to have a freight line on the main line and local. I hope this will work. probably have my work cut out for me. I like your articles and will continue to monitor your website for all your useful informatioon.

  2. I was looking for the old track plans for the old St. Louis station. I am hopefully wanting that type of track plan for one of the stations along the way. My other thought was having 2 passes at the apex of the plan, then having the train go in a tunnel at the peak of the pass where the train could emerge to go down the other side of the pass, or in the tunnel at the top could be switched to go down hidden track to either original starting point or to the other destination point. one pass that I would like to model vaguelly is Tennessee pass on one side amd the other direction would be like from Chama, n.m. but in standard gauge.

    Thank you

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