Model Trains Scale HO – What All Beginners Must Know

By David A Allison

Most Model Trains Scale enthusiasts are adamant about their model train scale of choice. I personally like the HO model train scale for a number of reasons. Some of these are size, detailing of the train cars and scenery and availability of the parts and accessories.

HO Size

The HO model train track is 0.65″ wide and the cars would be approximately 10″ long as compared to a 75′ train car. This scale is 1:87.1 (or 0.138″ per foot). When designing a layout, you would need to keep these scales in mind when drawing out your plan. Also, keep in mind your space requirements. The complexity of your planned layout needs to be determined to fit onto your base. Think about turning radii of the tracks and accessories used so as not to overcrowd your layout.

Detailing The Layout

There are many sources of accessories for your model trains scale layouts, especially for HO scale trains. You can build inclines, mountain passes, towns-only your imagination is the limit (given enough room). Be careful not to make your inclines too steep. Real trains cannot tolerate an grade of more than 2%, usually though kept to only 1%. The maximum grade for train models is determined by the weight of the engine(s), the number of cars it has to pull and the power of the engine(s). Model Trains Scale enthusiasts have some of the most elaborate layouts imaginable-from entire towns filled with people to logging mills to snow covered mountains complete with tunnels.

Accessory Availability

HO scale model trains are one of the most popular scales, so as you could imagine, the ability to purchase accessories is almost limitless. Searching for sources on the internet is very easy, just search the term “HO model trains” or “model trains” or anything close and you will see more sources for parts and accessories than you can every have time to look at.

Model Train hobbies are one of the most rewarding pastimes you can become involved in. You can develop your layout to any degree of complexity and size you have the space and budget for. HO scale trains are the most versatile in my opinion, allowing amazing layouts within smaller spaces than some of the larger formats without giving up detailing.

David A. Allison

Model Trains Scale Enthusiast

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4 Responses to Model Trains Scale HO – What All Beginners Must Know

  1. John says:

    Once you experience ho scale you will never look back. Because ho scale is popular there is a huge variety of accessories. I have a detailed ho scale train set that takes up little room but gives me a lot of pleasure.

  2. Gary Margolis says:

    MY train always uncupples is there any thing i can do besides glueing them together. Thanks Gary

  3. builder kim says:

    Hi try changing out your couplers to new ones.or see if your trucks or wheels are tracking true.If it disconnects at the same spot check the grade or if the track is not true.Most reasons is the coupler is done with or wheels are tracking wrong.

  4. builder kim says:

    Hi everyone.Im a scratch build modeler.I take junk and make it into something useful for layouts.I have many builds.From telephone poles to ho scale trailers to building homes.Bikes,beehives and to many to mention.Im not profiting off anything.Just want to show others how to save lots of cash and make your own stuff and most times its more realistic and better than plastic you over pay for.If the owner of this site is interested in seeing stuff hand made.Or members let me know and I will send in a few samples of my builds.Thanks for your time builder Kim

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