Off my trolley – modelling traction in N

Let’s take a slight diversion away from layout design to consider what one might run on this N gauge traction layout.  At moments like these I sometimes wish I had chosen HO to model in.  There is a good range of traction models and kits in HO, and I would have an excuse to run my HO Con-Cor ‘Electroliner (when are you guys going to do a run of this superb model in ‘N’?)  And of course if I were rich enough, O gauge beckons.


But back to N gauge.  Firstly ready to run USA models.  These are limited to the rather basic Bachmann Brill and PCC car….

$T2eC16VHJHIFFhi0pvg,BRzrmJl4ew~~60_57 $(KGrHqF,!rMFIhbNCUfUBSIjSBt-eg~~60_3

And the very nice Peter Witt….


The Brill looks a lot better with the cut out passengers and original mechanism removed, and replaced by a Tomytec chassis.  You can see the mechanism, but at least you can see through the coach from one side to another.

One must also mention the ‘shorty’ Bachmann coaches.  These have a lot of potential to convert them into interurban cars….


If you are ‘freelancing’ to some extent, there are some very nice models coming out of Japan.  These include cheap models by Tomytec and Bandi, and some very nice models by Modemo….

$T2eC16VHJHYFFkP1fOBJBSOFZY8sLw~~60_3 $(KGrHqR,!hIFEBNFOl(4BREREEzGC!~~60_3 $T2eC16hHJHYE9nzpgI2vBQ8SGzLbkw~~60_3 $T2eC16NHJGkE9no8gGE!BQhWkGdW,g~~60_12

And expensive kits or models by small manufacturers such as World Craft and Masterpiece….

10189726b  10235379b

Some of these models have a real US look, especially if the pantographs were replaced by trolley poles.  Unfortunately, like many US or UK companies, models are often on limited runs and you need to spot them and buy them as available.

A third source of models is 3D printing, usually on Shapeways.  A number of manufacturers make 3D models, of some interesting prototypes.  (See, and amongst others).  3D printed models need careful finishing, but the quality of models improves by the week….

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Lastly, track.  N gauge tram track is made by Kato and Tomix, and the really adventurous might try the Proto87 Street Track ( , that should be adaptable from HO to N.

So in summary, a certain amount of conversion and scratch building may be necessary to model an N gauge traction line.  But that in itself is an attraction.  This may also affect one’s choice of prototype – but that’s for another post.

About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Jon's layout ramblings, Layout design, Traction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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