N scale model trains are the second smallest scale of model trains. The smallest is the Z scale which is scaled at 1:220 and runs on a 6.5 mm track. The N scale model trains are known for their compact size which allows for an amazingly detailed layout in the smallest of spaces.
Although the track gauges are all the same for N scale model trains, the actual scale of the model differs between countries. The American and European N scale model trains are scaled at the same 1:160 scale as the tracks. However, the British N scale model trains are scaled at a slightly larger 1:148 scale and the Japanese N scale is manufactured at a 1:150 scale. As a result, although all N scale model trains can run on the same track, they may vary in size. If you’re looking into collecting N scale models and building a layout, be sure you know the exact size of your models so you won’t have different sized trains roaming your layout.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the N scale, there are many organizations and groups dedicated to building models in that size. N scale model trains are the perfect size for any home, especially smaller homes that aren’t able to dedicate too much space to the model. If you’re looking to start collecting and building model trains but don’t have too much room to spare, then N scale model trains are just for you.
Though N scale model trains rank second in popularity compared to the larger HO scale, there is a definite advantage in choosing to build your collection in N scale. Because of the smaller size, you can fit more trains, track and accessories in one area than you could if you were using HO scale. Some N scale enthusiasts recommend that you set aside a space large enough for a medium HO layout and then build in N scale. Doing this will allow you to better imitate the real world in your layout by incorporating more details and allowing your trains to move around corners more comfortably.
Building N scale model trains is so popular, in fact, that there is a magazine called N Scale. It is published bi-monthly and is a good source of news, tips and techniques about this specific branch of the hobby.
For the serious N scale model trains collector, there is a yearly convention, held by the N Scale Collector Society. According to their mission statement, they are "dedicated to the preservation of the history of N Scale Model Railroading." In addition to the annual convention the society offers auctions and a magazine.
For more information regarding N scale model trains, please refer to the sites below. Be sure to check out our pages about Model Train Sets, Bachman Model Trains, Ho Model Trains, Lionel Model Trains, and Live Steam Model Trains elsewhere on this site.