O-Scale Layout

The pastime of building and running model railways has been around at least since the turn of the 20th century. In the beginning model railroading was primarily for children and the trains were built with that in mind. The earliest model railroad layout were O-scale, which are a bit larger than the typical trains older children and adults focus on these days when they do elaborate model railway layouts.

That said, the actual definition of the O-scale is not really standardized, and American and British model trainers each have slightly different specifications. In fact, Soviet and other European countries also had the own particular versions of the O-scale. This meant that trains and accessories don’t always match up if they are bought in other countries or from different manufacturers.

Over the last twenty years there has been an effort to standardize the scale so that it would truly be to scale. The earlier O-scale layouts were not true to their 1/48 scale.

This is important because the recent focus of model railroading is on accuracy and interchangeability. This means you may be able to use the products from different companies in your O-scale layout. In the past the British used a slightly different O-scale for their trains which were more for adults. With the new improvements in the O-scale, these differences might disappear.

The O-scale layout has a very long and convoluted history, but things are getting a little easier for the model railroader who demands a true standard to get behind when starting out on the adventure of railroading. Perhaps it will spawn a new generation of Internet international railroading where trains, buildings, landscapes and props could be traded across the ocean. It would certainly allow a greater range of choice in products if there were truly an international O-scale layout standard.

Choosing Your Model Train Scale

When designing your model railway layout, one of the first things to consider is determining which model train scale you’ll want to use.

Scale is the term used to identify the actual measurement of the model compared to its prototype. Your scale will determine the overall layout of your model railway, among other things.

Scale affects model railway layouts because it ultimately determines how big the train set will be, how much money can be devoted to your hobby, and whether you have the patience or the dexterity to detail with very small trains.

Luckily, there are quite a few options when it comes to selecting your model train scale.

Some of the more popular model train scales include:

  • O Scale ‘“ O Scale is usually used for general toy trains. This classic scale has been used by the Lionel Train Company since its inception. If you have younger children who enjoy the thrill of an impressive locomotive, or if your children are helping you construct your model railway, then an O scale may best suit your needs.

Most O scale trains run on AC current and feature standard, three-rail tracks. Because of their larger size, the scenery of O scale model railways layouts tend to be much smaller than the train, but this is usually not a problem for novice model railway train enthusiasts.

You can also find a nice variety of accessories when using O scale, which may make the process of building a model railway a bit more fun.

S Scale

  • S scale model trains are reminiscent of days past, so many baby boomers of today enjoy using S scale because it reminds them of the trains from their youth.

Although not as popular as the O scale model railways, you can certainly still find a nice selection of S scale accessories for different types of model railway layouts.

HO Scale

  • HO Scale – If you are new to mode railroading, then you will have likely already seen HO scale train sets.

HO scale offers model train builders the best of both worlds when working with model railway layouts. This is because it’s large enough to work with easily, and small enough to fit on a reasonably sized platform.

If you are looking for a scale that offers a huge variety of accessories and supplies, then look no further than the HO scale.

Z Scale

  • Z Scale ‘“ If you have a passion for model railways, but standard model railway layouts take up too much space, then consider the intricate Z scale.

Your ability to manipulate and maneuver the accessories and equipment of a Z scale may prove challenging, but it sure does make a fantastic accessory in your den or office.

The super-small Z scale is surely the most complex in terms of model railway layouts, but it can provide you with the opportunity to become a model railway builder, even if your space is at a minimum.

Choosing your model train scale first when deciding upon your model railway’s layout is the easiest way to get your train up and running. With a bit of forethought regarding your needs and desires, you can be showing off your model train sooner than you think!