How to Choose the Right Train Set For Your Space

Model trains give older and young people a sense of fulfillment and purpose and create a safe space for young people to step out of their testosterone-addled peers to develop. Model trains are where one can make new worlds, narratives, and histories. However, selecting the right train set for your space can be a little tricky. 

You need to consider two significant factors; gauge and scale. Gauge is the width between two running rails of the truck while the scale is the model train’s size compared to a real train.  

Here is all you need to know about the popular scales to help you choose the right model train.

O scale

O scale model trains are more extensive in size and the most popular train sizes in the market. They have a scale of about 1/48. It is small enough to fit in your room perfectly without taking too much space but big enough that the track, stock, and accessories are easy to place and work with. The gauge on an o scale model train is about 1¼ inches between the running rails. This is the size that most kids and train enthusiasts envision when they take up model trains as a hobby.

HO scale

HO scale model trains are half the size of the O scale. They are a widespread scale, usually a scale of 1/87. It has a gauge of about 16.5mm, which is the most popular of all track models in stores like hearns hobbies. HO scale trains are a bit small compared to the O scale, but the tracks and accessories are easy to handle for an average person with good eyesight and motor coordination. These model trains are perfect for individuals who take model trains as a hobby but don’t have enough space to fit the o scale models.

N scale

N scale model is a smaller train scale, at a scale of 1/160. They have a track gauge of 9mm but have different rail heights, referred to as codes. For instance, Code 45 is 0.0045 inches in height. This is an important aspect you should understand, especially if you plan to mix old and new rolling stock because the old stock is not running efficiently. N scale models are small, yet all hobbyists love them because they are the best size to use in wargaming simulations.

Minimum curve radius of the track

The minimum curve radius is the smallest distance from the center of the track to the center of a curve. For instance, O scale model trains have about a 2ft minimum curve radius. It is essential to check with your manufacturer to get the correct specifications and avoid buying layouts with a lower than minimum curve radius. When the curves are tight, the rolling stock will have a hard time staying on the tacks.


When choosing the best train for your space, you have to think about the radius the curves have to be in the layout, the availability of stock and size you are interested in, and personal preferences. N scale models are great for small spaces but can be challenging for people with eye problems. It is advisable to talk to hearns hobbies experts to help you choose the right model train to enjoy your hobby fully.