All about N gauge trains

If you would like to know about n gauge model trains, this article will get you on the right track ( pun intended)

Lets dive in and get started.

Because of the many sizes that model train manufactures handle, scales and gauges are used to standardize and understand the dimension of model trains. Some are more practical than others, depending on the situation or layout that a person wants.

N gauge trains, also known as N scale trains, are a very popular standard for model trains, used in many countries around the world. They are specially popular in Japan who are fantastic modelers.

These trains get their name from the track gauge they use. A gauge track is the inner distance between two parallel rails on a track. In the case of N gauge trains, this gauge is 9 millimeters. This measurement of gauge track started the name “Nine millimeters gauge trains” which became “Nine gauge trains” and was finally reduced to “N gauge trains.”

N gauge trains, like any other train, use a scale to in order to represent the exact dimension of real trains. This scale can be different from country to country and even from manufacturer to manufacturer within countries. In general, this is how scales are handled for each country:

– United States of America. N gauge trains use a scale of 1:160.

– United Kingdom. N gauge trains use a scale of 1:480.

When making a small representation of a larger object, we use scales. Scales are used in maps, dioramas, graphics, and of course, model railroading.


The purpose of a scale is to make the representation’s dimensions equivalent to those of the object, so that the representations looks proportionate in every part. Scales are measured in ratios.

A ratio is composed of two numbers, separated by a colon. For example “1:20.” For representations that are smaller than the objects than they represent, the first number will always be 1, and it represents one measuring unit in the model, such as 1 inch, 1 foot or 1 centimeter. The second number is the factor by which the first number has to be multiplied in order to obtain the equivalent of the dimension on the real object.

If it sounds confusing to you, don’t worry. It’s much easier than what it sounds like. For example, let’s say that your model train has a scale of 1:30. If a window on the model scale is 1 inch long, then that window will measure 30 inches long on a real train. If a wheel’s diameter measures 2.5 inches long, then the real wheel’s diameter will measure 75 inches long.

Of course, scales can be used when making representations that are larger than the objects that they represent. For example, in pictures of insects or microorganisms. In those cases, the first number will represent how many times the picture or image has to be reduced in order to get the real dimensions. For example “1,000:1”

N scale model trains can and often do differ a bit from country to country, although all N scale model trains are small. For example, in Europe and the United States, N scale model trains are built at 1:160. In England, N scale model trains are built at 1:148. And in Japan, N scale model trains are built at 1:150.

Even within a country, some manufacturers may use a different scale for certain N scale model trains. For example, in Japan, N scale model trains that represent the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) are built at 1:160.

Therefore, when buying N scale model trains, you should confirm the scale before you get a train, and don’t rely only on the origin of the manufacturer to assume a certain scale. Specially if you are very strict about keeping a layout scale.

Leave A Reply (No comments so far)

No comments yet

model trains for beginners