HO is 1:87 scale running on standard (4'8 1/2") track. HOn3 scale (the
"n" stands for narrow) is 1:87 scale running on narrow GAUGE (36")
track Normally you would have a HO scale model running on 9mm
(N-gauge) track Notice I said N-gauge, not N-scale. While you could
run the equipment on n-scale track, the tie spacing and general
appearance would be wrong. There are companies that sell HOn3 track.
So basically, it is the same SCALE running on different GAUGE track...
Um, I think you're confusing HOn30 with HOn3. HOn30 (or HOn2 1/2) can
run on N (9 mm) track gauge, and is supposed to represent the 2' gauge (7 mm
in HO scale) that was prevalent in New England (Maine, especially) and
various other places (sugar cane plantations, cranberry bogs, etc.).
HOn3 runs on unique rail made to be 1/87.1 scale of 36" (10.5 mm).
Micro Engineering makes this with switches, flex track, etc., along with
Shinohara (Walthers). HOn3 is what the Colorado narrow gauges run on, plus
Eastern prototypes like the East Broad Top.
I think the reasoning behind the HOn30 idea was that these modelers
started with N gauge mechanisms and put HO scale bodies on them. Now that
manufacturers have started with it, they're stuck with the HOn30, instead of
going to the prototypical HOn2.
Paul A. Cutler III
Weather Or No Go New Haven
One question... I'm not a narrow gauger so I may have this mixed up but
isn't HOn3 a 36" gauge track? And, isn't N gauge different than 36" in HO?
I was always under the impression that HOn30 was HO scale using "standard" N
On Wed, 05 Dec 2007 20:01:07 GMT, Dan Merkel wrote:
Hon3 _IS_ HO scale 3 foot gauge railroading.
HOn30 uses N scale standard track which is very close to 30" in HO scale;
On30 uses HO standard gauge track which is very close to 30" in O scale.
Of course the tie scale and spacing is off, so actual N or HO track will
not look right. The real nexus is, as noted earlier, the ability to use N
scale or HO scale standard gauge locomotive mechanisms (both steam and
diesel) as the underpinning for narrow gauge locos in the next larger
Actual 30" ( n30 or n2 1/2) railroads are/were rare to nonexistent.
Myself, I wish it (n30ism) hadn't happened - I'd love to see the
availability of HOn3 locomotives at the price levels of HOn30, which could
be done since there seem to be a lot of newly created ..n30 locomotive
mechanisms which could just as easily have been models of the to my mind
better looking and more rooted in actual prototype (e.g, East Broad Top,
D&RGW, etc.) three foot gauge. Not that Dave Frary's Maine two footer-ish
models don't look great, but two footers were really a minor sideshow in
railroading and beside, most importantly, to me they just look funny. I
think they may look funny to practitioners of n30 modeling, since a lot of
them seem to go for a Malcolm Furlow influenced cartoonish look.
HO is standard gauge prototype, modelled to 1:87 scale and running on
16.5mm gauge model track.
HOn3 is 3ft gauge prototype (for example the Colorado narrow gauge)
modelled to the same 1:87 scale but running on the corresponding
narrower model track, ie 10.5mm gauge.
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