The HO model railway scale is the most popular in the world, and for good reasons. It is small enough that you can make elaborate layouts even in a relatively small space, and it’s also large enough that you can see the wonderful details that make a model train layout so enchanting.
To maximize your enjoyment of your model railway, you should get a basic setup going, and then gradually add to it as time and money allow. When do you stop? Probably never. Model railway fans tend to be devoted for life.
Here are some of the basic pieces you’ll need for starting your HO scale layout.
Make sure you have a good DC transformer. The one that comes with a basic train set is OK, but if you can get your hands on a decent transformer, your train will run better. Have 6 to 10 wheel sets. Keep half a dozen or so couplers handy, and a couple of packs of rail joiners. Also make sure you have some insulated joiners. Terminal joiners work better than plain terminal track and allow wires to be kept hidden. You should also have a collection of ‘odd straights,’ which are exactly what they sound like: odd sized pieces of straight track.
Get some rerailers. These are sections of straight track that look like road crossings. And you’ll need a few basic tools and supplies. You should also have a roll of three-strand wire from an electronics store, a pair of needle nose pliers with a wire cutter, and a couple of screwdrivers ‘“ slot and Phillips head.
When it comes time to actually start putting down track, start small with maybe an oval with a couple of sidings. You can add to the complexity infinitely, but this design will get you going.