Why Model Railroad Hobbyists Love HO-Scale Train Engines

From expert model railroad hobbyists to those just starting out, understanding the different scales of model train sets is important. Although each enthusiast has their personal preference, many agree that HO-scale train engines and train sets offer the best benefits for those getting in to the hobby.


Model railway sets are made in a variety of sizes to suit the individual hobbyist. One of the most popular of those sizes is referred to as the “HO-scale” (pronounced “aitch-oh”). The scale has a ratio of 1:87 and is approximately 3.5mm to 1 foot.

The HO-scale was originally created out of necessity. The O-scale (which has a ratio of 1:48) used to be the most widely used size, up until the beginning of the 20th-century. World War I and the Great Depression forced many families to downsize their homes, leaving little room for O-scale tracks.

The HO-scale was developed in response to both the lack of space in homes and the lack of funds that most families had. It provided an option that fit into smaller spaces and allowed hobbyists to continue their passion.


HO-scale train engines and train sets are the most favored size among model railway enthusiasts. Its popularity continues to grow because of its small size, its relatively low price, and the variety of HO-scale train engines and accessories that can be found.


Although S-, O-, and G-scales are still used, they are much larger than the HO-scale, making it more difficult for modelers to fit the designs into small spaces. The HO-scale gives hobbyists more room and more freedom to design their railways.


Another advantage of a smaller size is that it uses less materials, making HO-scale train engines cheaper than its larger counterparts. It’s true that the N- and Z-scales are even smaller than the HO-scale, but because of how tiny they are, the manufacturing process is a lot more difficult to include the details that hobbyists love, making N- and Z-trains much more expensive than the HO-train sets for sale.


Because of the popularity of this size, many manufacturers that produce accessories, such as buildings and scenery, for HO-scale steam locomotives and train engine sets have switched over to the HO-scale, further increasing the popularity of the scale.

An effect of the popularity of this particular size has resulted in a variety of HO-train sets for sale. You can get 50-year-old HO-scale steam locomotives that were made from plastic molds, or you can get ones made of brass ranging from twenty to thousands of dollars. No matter the hobbyist, there is something for everyone!


TrainLife offers hundreds of products in the HO-scale. You can look at HO-scale steam locomotives and HO-train sets for sale here!



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