Popular HO Scale Train Engines

March 24, 2022

Popular HO Scale Train Engines

Model train railroaders are often challenged to find the most optimal layout for the size of their space. Whether you’re seasoned or a new hobbyist, you’ll want to incorporate intricate details while simultaneously making the design easy to see and work with.

HO trains are the most popular because they’re small enough to use in tight areas but not so minuscule that they’re difficult to layout. Because the HO scale is so popular, you can find nearly anything for your model train world. Hundreds of manufacturers offer specific designs that will work with your layout. Products in this scale are highly available, and prices are usually affordable because of the competition. If you’re looking for HO scale train engines to use in your layout, these are some popular models:


Amtrak EMD F40PH Phase II

This locomotive is an updated version of the Phase I HO scale train engine

  • Each variation has accurate body details for its era. 
  • The entire cab interior is painted in appropriate colors and is incredibly realistic. 
  • The engine features a working strobe, backup, head, and marker lights. 

Because the design was sourced from original blueprints, the dimensions are accurate and make this an ideal addition to an iconic train set.


Rapido Trains GE B36-7

In the early 1980s, General Electric built diesel engines to transport freight on accelerated schedules. These locomotives had high horsepower and operated in the U.S. through the 2000s. Since then, most of the units have been exported to South America. Model railroaders can get their hands on this Southern Pacific locomotive, however. It features road name-specific detailing, suitable body styles, and working ditch, head, and marker lights as appropriate.


Athearn Genesis EMD GP15-1

This engine satisfies train enthusiasts who want to get going quickly. It arrives fully assembled, and its plug-and-play technology makes it DCC-ready. Modeled from drawings, photographs, and field measurements, the engine’s scaling is accurate and current. Transparent cab windows give you a view into the full cab interior; high detailing makes this locomotive aesthetically appealing. The Genesis driveline, precision flywheels, and gears make for smooth, quiet operation.


Rapido Trains EMD SW1200

The design and scaling of this locomotive stemmed from field measurements and original blueprints. It’s created for top-notch pulling power and features a heavy die-cast structure. The full cab interior also features working lights, illuminated headlights, and number boards. The comprehensive underbody conduit detailing is remarkable, representing the outstanding Rapido Train craftsmanship.


Athearn Genesis EMD GP7

This DCC-ready locomotive has a heavy die-cast frame for steady traction and towing force. The all-wheel electrical pickup and drive provide consistent, smooth, and quiet operation, and the wheels feature RP25 contours, which are compatible with a wide variety of track brands. Finally, the engine is accurately scaled and detailed, with transparent cab windows and a complete cab interior.


Weathers Mainline EMD GP9

This engine is based on the second phase of GP9 units produced between 1955 and 1957. 

  • It has a straightforward, boxy structure with its trademark stocky hood. 
  • The heavy die-cast chassis makes this a solid, powerful locomotive. 
  • The all-wheel drive, electrical pickup, and machined brass flywheel make this model move realistically.


Atlas Master Class GE DASH 8-40B

General Electric first produced this diesel engine in the late 1980s and is still used by Amtrak today. The realistic model features directional lighting, a snowplow, shock absorbers, and multiple hoses. The intricate details include painted crew members, windshield wipers, fine-scale handrails, metal grab bars, and coupler cut bars. Perhaps the most notable characteristic, the dynamic brake gear located near the roof between the engine and cab, is replicated accurately. 


Why Choose an HO Scale Train Engine

A model HO train in focus against a blurry train scene

HO scale train engines are excellent for beginner and lifelong model railroad enthusiasts of any age. The versatile size is large enough to highlight details and small enough to fit into many layouts. Overall, these HO scale train engines are excellent additions to any collection.

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