About N Gauge

New to the world of British N Gauge?

Wondering if the smaller, 9mm track gauge is right for your model train layout?

A bit of background information will help. Let’s start with the nuts and bolts of the actual name. This is no randomly selected title. It refers to the specifics of the track. The track gauge measures 9mm and of course ‘N’ is the first letter of the word ‘nine.’ Hey presto, you have N Gauge.

The N Gauge scale operates based on a ratio of 1:148. The track and rolling stock appear about 10% out of scale when put together.

Scale Matters

Choosing the right scale is paramount. This is the aspect that will make all the difference to the look and feel of your finished model railway layout. The right scale is a personal matter. It is the one which fits the space you have planned for your final layout. Too small and it will all seem squashed. Go too large and it could appear sparse.

How Does N Gauge Compare to OO?

It’s vital to get a balanced view of the advantages and disadvantages before you begin. We’ve outlined the main pros and cons below to save you wading through endless model railway sites.

The Pros...

OO might be the most popular scale but it does have its down sides. The main area in which N Gauge trumps OO is space. If you’re working in the typical loft space, N Gauge is an excellent choice. You’ll be able to include more diverse features in your final model railway layout. Experiment with placing large areas of countryside for a more varied scene. Add longer trains into the equation. In short, you’ll be able to create layouts with greater realism.

The Cons...

The down side to N Gauge is the difficulty in creating finer details. OO is a better choice if detailing is your thing. The smaller and therefore more fiddly nature of N Gauge products present difficulties for certain sections of the model trains community. Young children and adults with dexterity, sight or motor skills problems often find them difficult to work with and operate.

The N Gauge Community

This range has a hard core of devoted followers. There are plenty of clubs that span the length and breadth of the UK if you want to meet and swap stories with likeminded folk. Not to mention the huge online model railway forums and communities, an absolute goldmine of help and advice.

Who Manufactures N Gauge Model Railways?

If you like to be reassured on the quality front, you won’t be disappointed with the solid, reliable names. Popular manufacturers of N Gauge products include some of the most respected names in the business. We’re talking Graham Farish, Dapol, PECO, Metcalfe, Gaugemaster. Not forgetting the really big cheese, the much-loved Hornby.

Graham Farish is perhaps the most fruitful manufacturer of N Gauge, creating everything from British locomotives to rolling stock and buildings.

Peco produces track and kits of British-style buildings.

Dapol makes rolling stock.

Hornby handles British outline buildings that fit the N Gauge requirements as part of its Lyddle End line.

CJM Models is another source of N Gauge products. They cater for those searching for specialist, hand-built locomotives and rolling stock.

Great Deals on N Gauge Model Railways

Don’t dismiss Ebay in favour of specialist stores. The world famous auction site is one of the finest online sources for N Gauge model railways products. If you’re looking for a bargain or don’t live anywhere near a specialist store, Ebay is a godsend. The prices are often surprisingly cheaper than those in model shops. What’s more, you can often pick up hard to find, bespoke and original models. It’s also an excellent source for partially or fully built layouts that aren’t available elsewhere.