Model Trains – HO Scale

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 42,376
    Dave Swanson, Executive Director of The World’s Greatest Hobby Program, discusses how to get started in model railroading including the HO scale.

    Dave Swanson: Hi! I am Dave Swanson with the World's Greatest Hobby program and we are helping you get started in model railroading today. In this clip we are going to be looking at HO model trains. HO trains are the most popular scale of model trains and comprises over 50% of the market of model trains. HO is the great compromise in model trains. It's large enough to be able to work on, but small enough that you can build an extensive layout in a relatively small amount of space. In fact on just a 4/8 sheet of ply wood you can built a very nice starter model railroad in HO scale.

    The HO train you see here is a high quality model train built by Walthers. It has a modern diesel locomotive and several freight cars. One of the important things to look at when selecting a model train is what kind of track does it use? There are two basic kinds of track that you are going to be able to choose from. The first has the road bed and the track all as a single unit and it just snaps together. This is referred to as Easy Track or Unit Track or True Track. In my opinion it's the best option for getting started in model railroading because it's the easiest to put together.

    Another option is snap track which doesn't have the road bed built into the rail. While this does provide some flexibility, it is a more difficult starter arrangement. Another thing we want to look at are Couplers. It's important to look at what kind of Couplers are on your trains. In general most modern trains use Knuckle couplers. I would encourage you as you select a train set, to select a train set that has Knuckle couplers as that's the more advance technology.

    There are some other factors in train and set selection, you may want to consider that, it is really of a personal nature. Do you want a passenger or a freight train? Do you want an old tank train or modern train? All of these kinds of trains are available on HO. The nice thing about model railroading is you can have the exact kind of train you want. In our next clip we are going to go beyond the train set and show you some of things you ought to be doing once you have brought your train set home.