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Model Train Categories
HO Scale Model Railroads & Trains
Model Train Categories
HO scale represents 1:87 scale, which is about half of O gauge, hence the name HO. This size train originated in
Germany and was first produced in the '20s by Bing, a company in Nuremburg, Germany. They introduced a
tabletop railway after World War I that was produced for a gauge of 16.5. Trix Express displayed a gauge at the
1935 Leipzig Spring Fair that was described as half naught gauge, which was abbreviated 00. The production of this
size model train increased in response to the Great Depression, when people were attracted to the smaller size and
lower price of these trains.
After World War II, HO scale model railroads grew significantly in popularity. As these trains were easy to
mass produce, their prices were lower than the previously popular O gauge trains. Layouts were easy to construct
using manufactured pieces, and they were easy to tuck into a corner of the basement. By the '60s, HO scale had
surpassed O gauge as the most popular scale in model railroading.
HO scale is currently the most popular scale in model railroading in the United States and continental Europe.
A vast number of items are available in ready to run, snap-together kits, and craftsman kits.
HO scale was originally written H0 scale and called half naught scale. Hobbyists in the United States
who were not used to saying the word "naught" changed the term to O and began using the letter O rather than the
number 0 when referring to HO scale
The majority of HO scale model trains run on two-rail track using direct current. A few use alternating current
and use tracks that supply the power through a third rail
In 2014, the world's longest HO scale model train was 1,134 feet long. It consisted of 23 locomotives and 1,662
cars. The train took about 30 minutes to pass by