Ho Scale

What does HO Scale Mean?

If you are ever fascinated by the intricate craftsmanship of model railway, then understanding of HO scale can offer a better understanding of this small yet fascinating world. HO or H0 is the most popular scale of model railway around the world. In simple terms, these abbreviations represent 1:87 scale of the model railway compared to the actual large-sized variants. For those interesting in learning more about model railway, HO scale is 87 times smaller than the original train. Similarly, HO rails are spaced 16.5 mm apart, which mimics approximately 4 ft 8 ½ inch of standard railroad gauge. It is also interesting to note that HO is almost half the size of the original model railroad version, ‘0 scale’.

HO Scale Train Sets for Sale

Woodland Scenics HO Scale Grand Valley Layout Kit

Grand Valley Layout
For use with your scale model railroad

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Price: $498.99 $391.66

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Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Ready – To – Run Ho Scale Train Set

0-6-0 steam locomotive and tender with operating smoke and headlight
3 Freight cars and off-center caboose plus 132 piece accessory set
47" x 38" oval of snap-fit E-Z Track

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Price: $229.99 $125.86

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Bachmann Trains Santa Fe Flyer Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set

EMD FT diesel locomotive with operating headlight
2 Freight cars and off-center caboose
36" circle of snap-fit E-Z Track

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Price: $129.99 $69.99

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Bachmann Trains Thoroughbred Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set

F7 diesel locomotive with operating headlight
2 Freight cars and wide-vision caboose
47" x 38" oval of snap-fit E-Z Track

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Price: $129.00 $79.97

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HO Scale Buildings

HOn2 Scale Narrow Gauge Loco Shed

Includes unassembled pieces.
Expertly designed in Germany by Busch.
True to life detail.

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Price: $33.24

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Model Railroad O Gauge Tunnel Portal – Set of 2

Made in the USA
Perfect for accenting your railroad layout
Polystyrene with wood cap

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Price: $39.99

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Model Railroad O Scale Timber Frame Retaining Wall- Set of 2

Measures 9"L X 8"H
Matching Tunnel Portals Sold Separately
Solid Wood with light brown stain

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Price: $29.99

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Model Power HO Scale Building Kit – Bella’s Farm House

Molded in realistic colors
Easy to assemble
Detailed instructions

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Price: $37.73

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How HO(H0) Scale Became the Dominant Model

It is often said that the origin of HO scale lies in financial difficulties of toy manufacturers after the First World War and the concept of mass production. As production shifted from gas plants to electric powered factories, firms in Europe and the United States became interested in developing model railroads in large numbers. At the time, railroad formed the backbone of major economies around the world, therefore toys became a hobby. Soon, hobbyists demanded real-life models of railroad that were more practical and functional.

The first initiative was taken by German firms after the end of First World War. Factories in Nuremberg and Leipzig produced table-top versions of HO models. In addition, the onset of Great Depression and the Second World War nearly crippled the development of model railway in Europe. However, factories in the United States took advantage of mass production responding to demands from hobbyists in North America in 1950s.

The revival of model scale also meant that H0 scale challenged the widely-used 0-Scale models available in the market. For hobbyists, it was easy to use H0 standard because it offered practical solutions to use model railways in tiny spaces such as homes and lawns. In contrast, the larger 0-Scale model was only feasible for display purposes. Hence, the North American industry thrived on the stories of ‘Great Outdoors’ enabling hobbyists to build enormous models in outdoors around their homes. In Europe, it took almost two decades until the HO scale was acknowledged as suitable for hobbyists. By 1960s, the tide had turned against the original ‘0-Scale’ version as HO became the more popular choice among hobbyists. Makers of large-scale model trains in Germany and the United States entered the race by designing some of the most popular HO scale model trains. In the late 70s, toy manufacturers from Japan and South Korea also took notice of the popularity of HO scale making it the most popular design format.

Variations of HO Models

Modern HO models are built around two-rail tracks, which are subsequently powered by direct current. Variation in voltage provides direction, speed and control making it easier to create reliable trajectories on a longer track. Another version of Command and Control relies on sending signals to digital coders on the train. Still, a third- variant uses alternate current to control small studs on train tracks. Due to the popularity and sheer number of designs, large model train suppliers have multiple catalogs offering several varieties. The easiest is ready-to-use design where the entire train set is per-assembled for immediate use. Similarly, shake-the-box kits are popular among hobbyists who require larger model sets, which require assembly. On the other hand, craftsmen kits offer most flexibility by allowing model train designers to try new concepts and built large-scale versions of train cities.