Discover Model Trains and Scale Trains

Where Model Trains Began

Model trains are fun for kids and adults alike. Model train manufacturers have done a great job of recreating life-size trains as realistic models. And they’ve been doing it since the late 19th century when electric model trains first appeared. Take a moment on this website to discover the magic of these model railroad collectibles. Collecting and having fun with these machines is a fascinating hobby.

Germany is where it all began when the Marklin Toy Company introduced its full line of model trains sets back in 1891. Their first prototypes were based on earlier toy models and were available in three scales.

These early model trains were made from tin and were very crude, but they were a great success.

Lionel Trains

Lionel Trains

In 1901, Joshua Cowen entered the market with Lionel trains. Lionel trains would soon come to dominate the market in America.

Lionel Trains wasn’t the only one. Of course, there were other model railroad companies that came on board with their own lines of model trains. Ives, American Flyer, and Marx all introduced model railroads.

Because model trains are so interactive they are a great choice, and they are lots of fun for both children and adults. Even the youngest children can enjoy them. It’s not uncommon for adults to recall their first model train set when talking about their fondest childhood memories.

Lionel Trains was quick to recognize the importance of starting model train collectors at a young age and that’s why Lionel created wooden train sets for ages 4 to 6. By the age of 8, kids are ready to be introduced to S scale trains, G scale trains, and the ever-popular HO scale electric trains. And the hobby continues into adult life.

Of course, expanding on your model trains is just a matter of time, money, creativity, and space.

Understanding the Scale of  Trains

If you’re considering collecting, one of the first steps is to understand the terminology used. The scale is the term for the model train’s comparative size in proportion to the real train. The gauge may be the distance between the rails, which in actual life would be 4 ft. 8 and ½ inches inside-to-inside in between the rails. The scale explains how these measurements are reduced when it comes to the models.

There are several different scales of model trains to choose from to fit your space, budget, and personal preferences. For example, if you are limited by space you can choose one of the smaller scales. Here are some of the most popular scale choices you have.

Z Scale

1. Z Scale is a 1:220 ratio. It is tiny and highly detailed and is an excellent choice if you have limited space.

N Scale Trains

2. N Scale is a 1:160 ratio. It is the second smallest scale available and it’s a great choice for the hobbyist that wants to be able to incorporate scenery and longer trains.

model trains

HO Scale Trains

3. HO Scale is a 1:87 ratio. It is probably the most popular scale of model trains. There is an endless supply of Ho Scale trains, railway cars, train tracks, buildings, and railroad scenery. The detail on HO Scale trains is good and a fabulous setup can be put together in a reasonable amount of space.

S Scale

4. S Scale is a 1:64 ratio.

It is larger than the HO Scale trains and is popular among those with plenty of room. It is the scale of American Flyer products.

O Scale

5. O Scale is a 1:48 ratio. It is a popular choice for young children because they are able to easily handle them. Lionel trains carries a full line of O scale for the young ones.

G Scale

6. G Scale is a 1:22.5 ratio. G Scale is the perfect choice for the garden setup. Bachmann, L.G.B, and Aristo-Craft all make G scale trains.


To put together your set, you will need at least one engine along with some railroad cars. You can decide whether you want passenger railroad cars or freight railroad cars. And of course, you will need the railroad track. The type of track and how much track you’ll need is a personal choice.

You’ll also need a transformer to provide the electricity for your set. Then all that’s left is the scenery you want for your model railroad collection. Choose trees, tunnels, people, signals, or a host of other items.

If you are looking for a fun and rewarding hobby, why not discover the magic of collecting and having fun with model railroad sets? That’s why we named this website, Model Train Fun.