Model Railway Track Plans

Model railway track plans range from the tiniest Z-scale tabletop trains to backyard trains that you can actually ride on. The hobby of creating track plans for model railways is as attractive to adults as it is for children. Track plans can consist of a simple loop (popular underneath Christmas trees in North America) or extremely elaborate routes with spurs, switches, curves and straight areas.


There are numerous scales of model trains, so you should take the size and scale of the train into account when making your model railway track plans. One popular scale developed in the 1950s in the UK is ‘O gauge,’ with 32 mm tracks and wheels. This scale was perhaps the most popular one of the 1960s and 1970s. While O scale trains started out being mostly indoor trains, the scale eventually became popular for outdoor garden railways as well.

The most popular scale model railroad in the world is ‘HO scale,’ with the HO standing for ‘Half O’ because it is half the size of O scale railroads. There is a huge selection of kits, parts, locomotives and accessories for HO scale trains. One reason this scale is so popular is that it is one of the most affordable. O scale model trains tend to be proportionally more expensive.

Part of the fun of model railway track plans is that you can gradually add to them over the years: cars, locomotives, scenery such as trees, even papier maché mountains with tunnels are reasonably-sized projects for HO scale model trains. Another advantage of using such a popular scale layout is that you’ll have an easier time purchasing secondhand accessories, and if you join a model railway club, you will probably meet plenty of enthusiasts who also have HO scale trains.

Making model railway track plans is an activity that school-aged children, their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents can all enjoy.

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H0 Model Trains

H0 model trains are the most popular size/gauge in the world. The scale and gauge used in H0 trains are have the most real scale gauge ratio possible.

H0 model train specifications

  • mm = 16.5
  • scale = 1: 87
  • Scale foot = 3.5ft
  • Preferred radius = 6ft

H0 scale models have the exact size gauge as the UK only OO gauge. This means it is possible to use stock from each gauge on the same track.

The main advantage of H0 model trains is that ready made track and rolling stock is readily available. For beginners H0 model kits are the easiest way to get started with model railway trains.

I would recommend that beginners choose H0 scale model trains and then just ignore the rest. When looking for new trains or track, just look for ‘H0 scale’ as the plethora of scales and gauges can be easily confusing for any beginner.

H0 scale model trains are the most likely gauge that will be stocked by your local shop. Before deciding on a gauge, it’s worth visiting your local model railway shop to find what gauge is the most common.

Having a choice of equipment locally is certainly helpful in the opening phase.

As discussed H0 is model train gauge that is favored in the United States so if you live elsewhere it might be worth checking out OO or N gauge.

If you wish to learn more, its worth checking out our model railway guide: