N gauge trains


The Costs of Building N Gauge Model Railway Layouts 

What does it cost to build an N gauge model railway layout or to buy one ready-made? Let’s just look at one and the costs of buying one ready-made or custom made. People sell their already complete layouts from hundreds to thousands of dollars. At the same time I know of folks who spent several thousand dollars to build their model railway layouts. Then if you want a custom build layout what does that cost?

Buying a Layout versus Building and Layout  

For our purposes here we are going to assume that you are building the model layout from scratch with a combination of patterns and kits as well as doing it all without kits. These railway layouts are not just off the shelf kits. There may be some components that are off the shelf, like trees or bushes, but even the buildings are not straight from a kit. 

Buying a Layout Complete 

Here are some examples of completed layouts that are currently for sale on eBay and Craigslist. These are not kits from which to make your layout. These are completed and mostly custom layouts. Please note these examples are from real advertisements that appeared at the time this article was written. This website does not offer model railway layouts for sale - these are examples only.


$375 Shipping $128.50 

Custom built 11’ X 5’ and 23” wide. 3 separate sections. Mounts to the wall with 12 screws must go into wall studs. 3 sections are made of MDF with pine laminate for edging. 9 ¾ inch radius for the track. TRACK NOT INCLUDED. No scenery or structures. Layout ONLY. 

N-Gauge Old West Train Layout 

$3000 plus local pick up only 

This one is 37” by 65” with an overhead system of lighting and with backdrops. Includes trains Athearn engine, roundhouse, Bachmann cars. Includes bridges, trestle, cows, tunnels, boats, silo, cars, buildings, people, horses, logs, wildlife, and lakes. MRC railpower 1300 power pack with sound generators. Impressive layout.

N Gauge Model Railway Layout

$1500 plus local pick up only 

Layout ONLY. NO trains or power packs. 9’X3’ all new Peco and Atlas tracks. New turnouts, gates and set up like Washington DC. Able to run two trains at same time – park 4 complete trains. Lit backdrops. All structures, buildings, trees, bushes, bridges and more.

Custom n-gauge Kato layout w/backdrop/wired

$995 plus shipping $90 

This is custom that was started with a Kato kit. Backdrop on 3 sides, set can be changed with several options. Track plan, mountain tunnel, seasons, pond and waterfall, 24 pine trees, 2 switches, 1 bridge, 1 double crossover, 2 bumpers, straight and curved track included, bridge, 3 seasons, smaller mountains, 24 deciduous trees, special effects, lichen, and moss. 2 train operations possible, yard track,  

NOT INCLUDED: Trains, transformers, roads, houses, figures, signs, and lights. 

N Gauge Custom Built 3 X 6 Kato Layout with Vertical Lift Bridge

$3750 includes shipping. Cost is $3350 if you pick it up. ($400 shipping allowance) 

3X6 foot layout for two trains at once and motorized turntable. Passenger platforms, train station, two removable sections of upper level diorama. Custom made with Kato Unitrack wired for DC and DCC. All structures, streets, sidewalks and ground cover included. Built the way you want it built with all new materials.  


$1799 plus $45 minimum shipping more depends on location

Custom built when ordered. 32” X 56” using Kato Unitrack with two independent operating loops. Crossover turnout everything already wired. Bridges, turnout controls, Lightweight 2” foam board construction grade and durable. Takes 2 months to make. No two layouts are alike. Power packs and buildings not included but can be added at cost.

So you can see from these examples that if you have a n gauge model railway layout built for you it can be incredibly expensive, you do not have the satisfaction of building it yourself and there is always the issue and cost of shipping. As you can see from some of these examples shipping can cost at minimum about $100 and with the larger units it can be as much as $400 or more.

Please note the above model train layouts are not being sold by this website and are simply examples of n gauge model railways advertised for sale at the time of writing this article.

Model Train Resources

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What’s different between HO and OO?

HO Scale is commonly used in the USA and in various countries worldwide including Australia and New Zealand. It is bigger than N scale and is the most popular scale worldwide.

OO gauge is very similar in size to HO, and is the number one seller in the United Kingdom. The gauge of the track is the same, remembering that gauge relates to the actual distance the rails are apart and not to the scale size. OO gauge and HO is 16.5 mm between the rails.

However, the scales are slightly different. OO scale is precisely 1/76th of the real size, or put another way, 76 times the models length equates to one real sized item. OO scale is 4 mm to the foot, meaning 4 mm on a model equates to one foot in true life. Based on that, a person who is six foot tall in real life would be 24 mm tall in model sizing (6 times 4 mm = 24 mm).

Compare that to HO scale which is 1/87th of real size, or 3.5 mm to the foot. Using the earlier scenario, a person six foot tall would be 21 mm tall (6 times 3.5 mm = 21 mm).

The two scales are very close, so that’s why manufacturers decided on using just one gauge for both OO and HO.

N Gauge Railway Layouts

N Gauge Buildings

N Gauge Model Railway Layouts

Small N Scale Layout

N Scale Scenery

N Gauge Track Plans

Miniature Scenery

Ngauge book

N Scale Book Info 

ngauge track plans book

N Scale Track Plans Book Info

How to N Gauge Model Railways Using Modules

Building a railway layout progressively in stages (or in modules) can make a lot of sense as it allows for trains to start operating as soon as possible. Many N Gauge model enthusiasts build their modules to a standard 4ft x 2ft area and simply clamp them together with others to create one large model railway layout with almost limitless possibilities.

However, to transport the railway modules to another location such as a local model railway club or model train show requires care so as not to damage anything. The lighter and smaller each module is, the easier it will be to relocate safely. There are usually doors to get through and sometimes stairs to climb, so a 4ft x 2ft size is the easiest.

The baseboard weight can be reduced by using plywood for the underneath framing as opposed to other timbers. Each piece needs to be at least 3 inches (preferably 4”) deep when using 3/8” ply. The other option is to use ¼” ply attached to a boxed section made up from timber strips. This will make the frame lighter, but it will still have strength to support most small N gauge railways.

It is important that modules align correctly with each other and don’t move once in place. The problem is that relocating the modules can upset the alignment if they are not secured properly. Brass dowels used by cabinet makers are ideal. Holes can be drilled and the male pieces can be glued into one module, and the corresponding female pieces can be glued into the other module.

Coach bolts (with washers and wing nuts) can be used for holding the modules together (using predrilled holes) with a washer and wing nut. The modules can be fastened together with case latches fitted on the side panels. The latches will help pull the modules tightly together to join the N gauge model railway layout into one piece.

N gauge track can be laid across adjoining modules. Remove the required ties (sleepers) and drive brass wood screws into the board under (and almost touching) the rails. The screw can then be soldered to the rail. The track is laid right across the joint. Then each rail should be soldered to the screw heads on both modules. The rails can then be cut directly in line with the module joint using a razor saw or slitting wheel (disk) attached to a drill. After cutting the track, the two modules can be separated so the rail ends can be gently filed to remove rough edges and burs. Enjoy your railroading.

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