HO model trains are probably the most popular and common gauge of model trains. If you’re an adult, they’re probably the trains you owned as a kid and if you’re a kid, they’re probably the trains you own now. More than two-thirds of train modelers use the HO scale.
HO model trains are scaled at 1:87 and run on a 5/8 inch (16.5 mm) wide track. This means that anything made to HO scale is 1/87th as big as the real thing. In other words, an 87 foot boxcar is 1 foot long in HO. The HO gauge was first introduced in the 1930’s in order to establish another compact miniature system. The name HO stands for Half of O. As the name suggests, HO model trains are exactly half the size of O gauge model trains. Although they are smaller than the O scale trains, HO model trains are big enough to be extremely detailed and precise.
The HO scale is a great size for people using a small room for their model trains. It is quite possible to plan a layout for HO model trains on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. Though the smaller N Scale Model Trains were introduced later, the popularity and practicality of the HO model trains won out and they have remained on top.
The HO gauge is a great size for all families and are safe enough for children. If you’re looking to start building and collecting model trains, look into the HO scale. They are the most common, which means there are more parts and accessories for HO model trains than any other scale. Hundreds of different locomotives are available, as well as thousands of cars and even more accessories and parts.
Because so many products are easy to find for HO model trains, you can build an entire HO layout with ready to use equipment, from kits or from scratch. If you are just getting started with the hobby, it is recommended that you begin with ready to run products. A train set, which includes a locomotive, cars, track and a power supply, will be everything you need at first.
To learn about all of the products made for HO model trains, read the yearly HO catalog that is published by Wm. K. Walthers. Since new products are introduced monthly, reading a magazine like Model Railroader is a good way to stay informed.
For more information on HO model trains, visit the sites below. Also be sure to check out our pages about Model Train Sets, Bachman Model Trains, Lionel Model Trains, and Live Steam Model Trains elsewhere on this site.