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Basic Knowledge of N-Gauge Model Railway 🚄

N-Gauge is a model railway with a scale of 1/150 and is called N-Gauge because the rail width is 9 mm (Nine).

It’s the most popular in Japan, and its big feature is that we can enjoy it on a table or in a small space. It takes less space than HO scale (Scale 1/80).

There’re many makers and dealers of N-Gauge in Japan, and there’re many products.

I’ll explain the basics about N-Gauge to you.


What you need

To play with the N-Gauge, you will need a “Rail" for the layout, a “Train car" with a built-in motor, a “Power pack" for connecting the rail to a home outlet and driving the cars, and a “Feeder" for connecting the rail to the power pack.

Electric power running on the rail rotates the motor of the car. If you buy the “Endless Basic Set" described later, you’ll have everything you need.


Connect Rails

When connecting the rails, be sure to insert them slowly on a flat surface such as a desk. If it floats at the joint or there is a gap, it will cause the wheel to slip off.


Installing the feeder assembly

Insert the feeder into the power rail. The feeder is a small but very important entry point for the running current from the power pack to the rails. Let’s insert the other side of the feeder into the power pack.


How to load a car

When you put a car on a rail, you should use a tool called a Re-Railer. Place the Re-Railer on the straight rail and slide the cars slowly. When the cars are completely on the rail, remove the Re-Railer.


How to drive a car

Driving a car is easy.

Turn the direction switch on the left side of the Power pack from stop to forward. Then turn the speed dial on the right and the train will start running.

To back up the train, set the speed dial back to its original position, and then change the direction switch from forward to reverse.


2 major brands: KATO and TOMIX

Speaking of N-Gauge in Japan, 2 brands called KATO and TOMIX are famous. These 2 companies are a comprehensive model railway company that cars, rails, control equipment (Power pack, etc.), structures (Buildings such as station buildings and scenery), diorama production equipment, etc.

Rail differences between Kato and Tomix

The big difference between the two companies is the feature of the rail. The rails of the two companies are not compatible, so you have to decide which one to use first. However, if the car is for N-Gauge, you can run on either rail.

I recommend KATO for beginners.
The reason is:
1. The base of the rail is wide so it is stable.
2. A unijoiner is used for the joint of the rail, so it is easy to put on and take off, and it’s less likely to cause power failure.
3. Since there’s a double-track line, a double-track layout can be easily constructed.

On the other hand, TOMIX has a lot of special rails and the width of the rails is narrow, so the layout is more flexible. If you really want to enjoy N-Gauge like diorama, I think this is good.


Getting Started Set

Both companies sell introductory set of rails, cars and power pack for beginners. It’s also good to choose a manufacturer with an introductory set that includes your favorite train.

KATO N Gauge N700A Shinkansen Nozomi Starter Set


Buy rail set and cars separately

If you don’t have your favorite cars in the introductory set, you should buy rail set and cars separately.

KATO rail set Endless Base Set M1 is a set of rail that can be assembled with endless rail, power pack and re-railer. Everything except cars is included.

When you buy cars, there’s no problem even if the maker of the rail and the maker of the car are different. It’s also an advantage that you can choose your favorite combination.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing cars is that there must be 1 power car (motor car) in the car set. All the car sets shown below include a power car.

N-gauge can be enjoyed by adults who can afford it.

Let’s run your own N-Gauge. I hope your play becomes more fun!


You can buy all the N-Gauge products in the picture on this page from

While you are in Japan, you can ship them to your home or hotel, but unfortunately you cannot ship them overseas to your country.

You can use Overseas Forwarding Services to solve this problem. This is a very useful service that will make your online shopping more global!

Yamanote Line Basic 4-Car Set


Narita Express Basic 3-Car Set


JR Shinkansen Hello Kitty 8-Car Set


Osaka Loop Line Basic 4-Car Set

Hankyu Line Basic 4-Car Set


Twilight Express Basic 6-Car Set (1989-2016)


Steam Locomotive D-51


Structures & Layouts

#n_gauge  #trains

Toy Train Actually Running – Wakayama Electric Railway