HOn30 Narrow Gauge

I'm also starting to get into HOn30. Also known as HOe (in Europe) or HOn2-1/2. This is HO "scale" on N gauge track. N gauge track measures 30 inches in HO, hence the "30" in HOn30. 30 inches in also 2.5 feet, that's where the "2-1/2" in HOn2-1/2 comes from.

I had (or so I thought) "invented" this concept, in an unusual way. Having no idea that HOn30 existed, I came across a drawing of a narrow-gauge mining loco in an old dictionary my wife's aunt gave us. I noticed from the measurements this mining loco would scale - in HO - to using an N scale Bachman 0-4-0 Docksider with a modified boiler. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found this whole sub-specialty in HO narrow gauge existed!

The drawing above is from Appleton's Cyclopedia of Applied Mechanics: A Dictionary, D. Appleton and Co., 1880. Here's what it says about illustration, "Figure 2891 represents a locomotive built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, and working in a gold mine in Forest City, California. Iy is employed in a tunnel 4,000 ft. in length, in which is a track of only 20 in. gauge, laid with T rails, and having grades, some of which are as steep as 200 ft. per mile."

The more traditional HOn3 is 3 feet or 36 inches between the rails. The nice thing about HOn30 is there are a lot of N scale mechanisms that can be used to make an HOn30 locomotive. Below is a comparison of HO, HOn30 (or N gauge), and Z gauge track. The Z scale 0-6-0 will be used to make a 18" gauge mining railroad.

For more information on HOn30, see the HOn30 "mail car" page.

Train & Trooper is a good source of parts and kits.

Locomotive Photos

Narrow-gauge HOn30 mining layout.

WWI trench locomotive from Brick Price.
A narrow-gauge railbus with a drive from an N-scale trolley.
Scratch-built narrow-gauge Shay, includes basic plans.
Grandt boxcab converted from HOn3 to HOn30.
6 wheel gasoline locomotive.
Etched brass GE 25 ton locomotive kit.
Grandt GE 25 ton locomotive converted from HOn3 to HOn30.
Roco 0-6-0 locomotive "Americanized".
Chivers Forney locomotive.
Gem 0-6-0 locomotive.
Chivers Porter locomotive.
Class A Climax kit locomotive.
Handcar converted from HO to HOn30.
Unfinished HOn30 projects.

These photos were taken with a Pentax 35 mm camera, with the aperature stopped down to f22. Extension tubes - 31 mm, 21 mm and 13 mm plus various combinations of these - were used for the closeups. Lighting was accomplished by using two Sylvania DWC 150 watt tungsten floodlights. Colors were corrected by using a blue Tungsten filter (type 80A) on the lens. When taking pictures of your own, be aware of the following: 1) use a tripod, 2) use lots of light, 3) use at least 200 speed film, and 4) close the aperature down (the higher the number the better) to get a good depth of field.

copyright 1995-97 MLRollins