Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 02 Jun 2011 11:52 am

HO Railroad Layouts Meet the Size and Detail Fancy of Most Any Railroad Modeler

The Christmas tree used to not be complete without a model rail road roaming around its trunk. But model trains are certainly not just for kids. On the contrary, model railroading is sometimes referred to as the “world’s greatest hobby” for enthusiasts around the world. To call railway modeling just a hobby is like calling “The Golden gate” just a bridge.

The idea of model railway was first pioneered as early as the 1840s. Since then, the craft has evolved and travelled a tremendous length. The world of model railroading is literally divided into many shapes and sizes, and amongst these, the most popular is the Ho scale, which is equally popular, both in US and places like Japan and Australia. Incidentally, in the UK, a system called 00 gauge predominates. Both the 0 Scale and Ho Scale use the same size tracks, but the 00 Gauge models are built to a bigger scale. The 0 scale was also dominant in railroad modeling in US, but after the arrival of HO railroad layouts, it has lost its previous popularity. The name of the HO scale has come from half 0, as the newer HO railroad layouts was almost approximately half that of 0 (zero) scale. The HO railroad layout is basically used indoors, considering the smaller size.

HO scale is further divided into more choices, representing both standard and narrow gauges in roughly 1:87 scales. The standards are set by different organizations and industry watchdogs like NMRA (in North America) and the NEM (in Continental Europe). The 16.5 mm HO (NMRA) and HO (NEM) represents the standard gauge. The classic 0 Scale system also runs on tracks of this size. The 10.5 mm HOn3 (NMRA) system represents the 36″ gauge which was once common in American mining railroads and short lines, particularly in the Western States. The 30″ gauge is represented by the 9 mm HOn30 (NMRA) and HOe (NEM) systems.

The first tracks available for the HO railroad layouts were basically available in standard lengths and curvatures, which gave modelers quite few limitations in designing their layouts, but with the introduction of “flex track” which can be bent at any angle within reason, the world of HO railroad layouts has almost no limits.

The HO railroad layouts are also available in a few different brands such as Ready-to-Run, Shake-the-Box and Craftsman Kits. The Ready-to-Run can be put into action just out of the box whereas the Shake-the-Box variety needs a little bit of assembling. The Craftsman Kits are only for the biggest fans of railroad modeling as it needs quite a lot of time and skill to build out.

The biggest advantages of the HO railroad layouts are that the sizes lie in the mid range, as they are large enough to fit a lot of details into the whole layout, yet not too small to handle for the adults. The children can also play safely with them without any fear of danger.

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