Model Garden Railways – Choosing A Scale

Please note: This post deals with model railways. A similar post for miniature railways (such as those you can ride on) will follow.

Before starting to plan your railway, you need to know what size to build it. There are several standard scales available to garden railway owners, each with their own pros and cons. I have discussed some of the more popular scales below…

Model Scales

N and Z

These scales are generally considered far too small for garden railways. The track and scenery will be too small to really apreciate against the backdrop of your garden, and will be easily damaged.


This should be an absolute minimum for a garden railway. It has the advantage of being very widespread – so track, trains and accessories are pretty cheap. However, I would recommend something a little bigger.

G & O

I would recommend using one of these scales for your railway where possible. Their size means that your trains will be easily visible in all parts of the garden, and can make for some impressive detailing.

1:8 & 1:16

These scales will be discussed further in a future post.

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