Friday, August 14, 2009


There are dozens of scales in model trains, from the long-established and very popular 00/H0-gauge to the newly devised T-gauge, but one that combines all sorts of goodness is 0n30, narrow gauge 0-scale trains that can run on unmodified 00/H0 track.

The biggest producer of 0n30 (1:48 scale to the rest of the model world) equipment is Bachmann, and it has a number of delightful ‘olde worlde’ US subjects, all from bygone eras. One of the earliest Bachmann 0n30 products was the 0-4-0 Porter tank engine (shown in the pictures above) based on an eight-tonne narrow-gauge original. It’s a quiet and smooth runner, and pulls very well indeed, considering its size. This one Emily runs on South Hills Lines, a fictitious (but fun!) layout based on the local geography around SMN Towers. The real locomotive is tiny, so even at 1:48 scale, Bachmann’s model is only palm-sized, yet there’s enough room for fine detail, especially inside the light-equipped cab.

Enthusiasts for 0n30 (and this includes SMN of course) reckon that much of its appeal lies in the quaint charm of the models, though this reviewer reckons its popularity is at least as much to do with ease of use and the ready availability of H0/00 track and equipment. The world of 0n30 is not all plain sailing though - sticklers for accuracy point out that many modified 0n30 trains have little or no basis in the real world, being kitbashed freelance models that belong more to the realm of storytelling and fantasy than the ‘real world in miniature’ normally associated with model trains.

What does SMN think? We don’t mind - 0n30 looks good, allows for lots of imagination, is not too expensive, so what’s to lose?!

Visit Bachmann here.