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Getting Started

What Scale Suits Me?

The first question that you need to ask is 'What scale suits me and my surroundings?', look at the area available to lay out your train set and decide what is best for you. Scales are always shown as ratio. For example, 1:20 scale means that one metre on the real item is represented by 5cm on a model. To help you, we have listed the most common scales of model railways products from smallest to largest.

N Scale

The most common of smaller scales, models in this scale run on 9mm wide track (this track width is also called track gauge). Graham Farish, Bachmann Trains and Liliput have models that are produced at a scale of 1:148 (British N Scale). This scale is ideal for modellers where space is premium in their homes.

HOe Scale

This scale is largely used for European & North American narrow gauge railways, the models are produced at a scale of 1:187 and run on 9mm wide track. HOe scale layouts tend to be of industrial scenes from the last century. The Liliput range include HOe locomotives and rolling stock.

HO Scale

The principal scale used in many countries around the world (except the UK). Bachmann Trains, Bachmann China, and Liliput have HO scale models in their ranges. HO models are produced at a scale of 1:87 and run on 16.5mm wide track with layouts of any era, from the earliest days of the railways to the present.

OO Scale

The most popular scale in the UK, this is the scale that most modellers use to depict scenes from the UK's very long and diverse railway history. Models are produced at a scale of 1:76 and run on 16.5mm wide track. Our Branchline OO scale models can be found in many model shops around the UK.

ON30 Scale

Larger cousins of the narrow gauge HOe models. Produced at a scale of 1:45 to run on 16.5mm wide track. Popular themes for layouts include the smaller gauge railways that were a large part of the transport infrastructure of nations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century's as shown in our Bachmann Trains Spectrum range.

O Scale

The largest of scales for general indoor use, these highly detailed models are produced at a scale of 1:45 and run on 32mm track. Bachmann Trains O scale range is used by skilled modellers to create exhibition standard layouts.

G Scale

For models that are produced at a minimum scale of 1:32 and run on 45mm track and are suitable for running indoors or outdoors. Bachmann Trains and Aristocraft produce models in G scale.

Your First Train Set

Purchasing a train set is the ideal way to start your model railway. A basic train set will contain everything that you will need to get started; locomotive, rolling stock, track and controller. Branchline and Graham Farish have train sets available with either analogue or digital controllers. They also include a locomotive that is unique to the set, making them highly collectable.

From Train Set to Layout

A train set can be expanded into a layout by permanently mounting the track on a baseboard and then adding additional track, rolling stock, scenic materials and accessories that you require.

Our Scenecraft range of lifelike products includes a large range of buildings, figures and vehicles suitable for layouts in OO, N, O, HO and G scale. Woodland Scenics are the world leader in scenery products and allow you to add real life natural features to any layout including bushes, grass, rocks, trees, water and even snow. We have everything you need to complete a layout, making it very easy for you to set the scene that you would like.

Take a look at our videos page for hints and tips on how to build your layout and add scenic detail.

Choose an Era

This is a hobby that allows you to build your own miniature world based on the areas of rail transport that you most love. Modellers often recreate real locations and periods in history when devising their model railway layouts.

All of the Branchline and Graham Farish models on our website feature an era symbol; this represents the years in which the locomotive or rolling stock was operating on the railway network.

  1. Era 1 1804 – 1875 Pioneering
  2. Era 2 1875 – 1922 Pre-grouping
  3. Era 3 1923 – 1947 The big four – LMS, GWR, LNER and SR
  4. Era 4 1948 – 1956 British Railways Early Emblem
  5. Era 5 1957 – 1966 British Railways Late Crest
  6. Era 6 1967 – 1971 British Railways Blue Pre-TOPS
  7. Era 7 1971 – 1982 British Railways Blue TOPS
  8. Era 8 1982 – 1994 British Railways Sectorisation
  9. Era 9 1995 onwards – Post Privatisation

Digital Control

Our digital control products make controlling your layout a simple and easy process. The Bachmann 'E-Z Command Dynamis' utilises the latest wireless technology for remote operation, allowing you the freedom to move around your model railway as you wish. Drive different locomotives and operate different features on board a locomotive such as lights and sound. The Dynamis unit will also operate turn-outs and accessories at the touch of a button.

Further Inspiration

For further inspiration, we would suggest visiting a model railway exhibition. They often have many wonderful and creative layouts designed by experienced modellers, which are fascinating to look at. Check if Bachmann will be visiting a show in your area by visiting the Roadshow section on this website.

There are also many model railway magazines available to give you advice and news from the worldof model railways. Here you can find out about all the latest product releases from the model railway manufacturers.

Your local model railway club can also be a great source of help and assistance when constructing your layout. Club members meet together and visit shows to build their modelling skills, share knowledge and make new friends. Details of local clubs close to you can be found on our Model Rail Clubs pages or join our own dedicated Bachmann Collectors' Club.

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