getting started....again

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getting started....again

  • Was looking for some guidance here - I remember as a kid always having
    a train under the Christmas tree - now that I'm starting my own family I would
    like to keep the tradition going.

    However, I have no clue on what to look for - the obvious thing I don't
    understand are the sacels - O, N, S etc - can someone suggest a website
    to do a little research before buying my first set or give any advice

    I really have no clue on what I'm looking for - are scales interchangable? Can a locomotive for an O scale work on a N scale. Whats best scale for limited space?

    Right now I would only be "permitted" by the wife to have the train set under
    the tree (I will work on that condition) My main concern is buying a set at
    a reasonable price but also not limiting myself to any upgrades or expansions of the set - meaning I don't want to outgrow the set but be able to add to it.

    Thank you for helping out a completely lost newbie
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  • Here is a web site that may also help you


    I am a person with a very active inner child. This is why my wife loves me so. Willoughby, Ohio - the home of the CP & E RR. OTTS Founder 

  • Hello njrob,

    If you are primarily looking to put a train around the tree, then I would consider some of the larger scales like G or O. N and HO scales are better suited to tabletop layouts or layouts built on custom bench work. One caveat, start with a good idea of much vertical space you have under the tree. We have a G scale Bachmann Christmas train and it requires the tree to be well elevated to allow the train to run smoothly without hitting the lower branches. Have fun


    Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site and our videos at

  • Hi njrob

    You have good questions and have come to a good place for answers.

    You should also check your local libraries and local hobby shops. You should also think Gauge and not Scale. Gauge is basically the size of the track and Scale is basically exact length and height in proportion the a real train.

    G gauge = 1:22 to 1:32
    O gauge = 1:48
    S gauge = 1:32
    HO gauge = 1:87
    N gauge = 1:160

    O gauge is more commonly refer to as Lionel 3 rail, although Lionel is not the only one making O gauge trains.

    Here is a link that you may wi***o check out.

    I hope this is a start for you.


    I am a person with a very active inner child. This is why my wife loves me so. Willoughby, Ohio - the home of the CP & E RR. OTTS Founder