Choosing The Right Model Train Scale To Keep Your Dream Railway On Track

If you have decided that you want to build your own model railway, one of the first and most important decisions you will have to make is which model train scale you will use.

You may think this is a simple case of just choosing which one you think looks best, but there are some other more important considerations that you will need to take into account if you want to keep your dream of building the perfect model railway on track.

Model train scale is the measurement of how many times smaller the model train is compared with its prototype (original train).

This is displayed as a ratio, for example N scale model trains are 1:160, which means they are 160 times smaller than the prototype train.

What does all this really mean to a model railway builder though?

Well, this can influence many decisions when considering which model railway trains you want to buy and what layout you will be able build.

This leads nicely on to the first point, which is that the scale of the model locomotive and other vehicles will have an impact on the size of model railway you can build within a certain area.

For the same size room, you will be able to fit less of an HO model trains layout in than you would if you were using N scale model train parts and accessories.

Therefore, if you only have a small space in which to build your model railroad, but you have big dreams of what you want to fit in it, then you should choose a smaller scale, which even gets as small as Z scale, at a ratio of 1:220.

This brings up another factor, which is important to consider too and that is choosing a model train scale that is manageable for you.

If you have fingers like sausages like I have, then handling the tiny Z scale trains can be incredibly fiddly and near on impossible!

My father, whose eyes aren’t want they used, can hardly even see them and so it doesn’t bode well for getting any satisfaction from watching them run around the track!

At the other end of the scale (if you’ll excuse the pun!) is the last point I would like to mention with relation to choosing a model railroad scale.

This is that you will also may also need to choose a scale that suits it’s environment and that is designed for purpose.

I am talking here about G scale, or as it is also known, the garden scale.

These trains can actually be various different scales, but are designed to be used both inside and outdoors.

As you can imagine, the larger size lends itself well to fitting in with the naturally surroundings of your garden.

The likeliness is that at the end of the day, you will have to make a compromise with all of these points taken into consideration.

The key is to always do you research and plan your model railway carefully.

For more information about model train scale, including more different scales explained, images to show the differences in sizes, additional advantages and disadvantages of each scale and the difference between model train scale and gauge, visit my website by clicking on the links below.

Tim McCarthy is a model railway enthusiast with many years experience in the field of model trains. For further information on model railroads, including more on model train scale please feel free to head over to
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