Model Railroad History


                            HO MODEL TRAINS – AN EXCITING HOBBY


HO Model Trains first appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1930’s. Originally, it was an alternative to OO scale and later became very popular in the United States. HO model trains really took off in the late 1950’s after interest in O scale started to decline. Hobbyists began to demand more realism and trueness to scale as well as more prototypical operation. At that point HO model trains were advancing so fast that by the 1960’s they began to overtake the O scale toy train popularity. Gilbert (makers of American Flyer) and Lionel began manufacturing HO model trains and accessories. Today there are many, many manufacturers in the United States as well as other countries. Since the advancement in the 60’s, the model railroading hobby spread out into other scales besides just O and HO scale. Space was often a problem for the hobbyist so HO model trains took on some smaller brothers which were N and Z scale. Just to give you an idea of size, N scale is approximately one half the size of HO, and Z scale is one third the size of HO. These new scales made it possible for hobbyists with small spaces to develop layouts to compare to the larger HO model trains. As time went on, manufacturers developed more and more products and accessories for all of the scales. HO model trains also have three larger brothers called S, O and G scale. S scale trains are approximately one third larger than HO model trains and O scale trains are double the HO scale. Finally we have G scale which is the largest of all. G scale trains are designed to run indoors and outdoors. The manufacturers of model railroad equipment and accessories are coming out with some very exciting new products that promise to revolutionize the hobby as a whole. So let’s recap what we have discussed so far. There are six scales altogether, Z, N, HO, S, O and G. The popularity of the model railroading hobby is growing by leaps and bounds today. Modeling in Z, N and HO model trains are the most affordable of all the scales. Product availability is the widest in N and HO scale. Internet shopping for your supply’s in the market today is the quickest and most reasonable way to grow your hobby. Another more interesting place to experience the hobby is to look in your local newspaper or your favorite hobby magazine for the next and nearest train show. Attending a show is very exciting because now you can see your favorite scale in actual operation on a real railroad setting. You’ll usually find the most popular scale being HO model trains. That size layout is large enough to see the fine details but yet still small enough to fit most hobbyist’s space requirements. HO model trains are still the most popular of all the scales to model.