Skip to content

OO Gauge

Bachmann Green Locomotive
Rustic Wagon
Rolling Stock
A range of OO Bachmann Mini figures
OO scale Track

N Gauge

Bachmann Green Locomotive
Rustic Bachmann Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock
Wooden Boat with laser cut peices painted in a black and white hull
Small strip of nickel plated N gauge track
Featured Products

Train of the Week

Model Railway Guide

Which Gauge do I choose?

When starting in Model Railways, the first choice is which scale to choose. This is down to personal preference. The two main scales in the UK are OO Gauge (1:76) and N gauge (1:148). O gauge (1:43) has also been rising in popularity due to recent increases in Ready to Run (RTR) Locomotives and rolling stock.

OO gauge:

OO is the most popular scale in the UK and has a wide range of models and support in all aspects of the hobby. Models can feature a high range of detailing, and due to their size, OO models are easy to handle. OO gauge does require more space than N, and the limitations on aspects such as curves may limit design flexibility, though, in recent times, the micro layout has become popular as this aspect at least allows your models to be used and for highly detailed scenery to be created.

N Gauge:

Space is the main advantage, allowing a full layout to be made in a relatively small space—especially compared to OO gauge. Models do include a high level of detail and have a wide variety of locomotive and rolling stock options, though not as wide as OO. Layout wiring is similar to OO; only the smaller aspect of the track introduces any level of additional complexity. Some of the cons of the scale are that they are more fiddly to handle and, despite their smaller size, are comparative in pricing to OO.


In the end, the choice is up to you. Many find pleasure in exploring more than one scale. Consider your budget, the space available, and any limitations to handling then scale models. Whatever your choice of scale, we have a wide range of rolling stock, track, and scenic details in stock and are always happy to help and offer advice.

Analogue or DCC Control? Making the Choice for your Model Railway.

Whether you are just starting out in model railways or a lifelong veteran, the choice when starting a new layout or updating an old one is the selection of the control system for your layout. This guide is intended as a basic introduction to terms used and the merits of these two options.

Analogue Control:

Also referred to as DC control, it is a simple system: the more voltage that you apply to the track, the faster your model locomotive transits your layout. Simplicity is the key advantage of this system, and it is straightforward, requiring only a basic level of knowledge of wiring to use effectively. Analogue is also relatively cheap compared to DCC and allows older models to still be used. The downsides of Analogue are that generally, only one locomotive may be used per controller, and if more than one model is required to be on the same length of track, isolating sections must be set up for only one model to be in motion at the same time. This will add to the wiring requirement for the layout. Control of accessories such as point motors or signals also needs dedicated wiring to the item, which can add to the level of wiring complexity under the layout baseboard.


Digital Command Control has been around since the late 1970s but has become more popular recently with the adoption of an international standard for DCC equipment, created by the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association). These standards allow equipment created by different manufacturers to communicate with each other and work effectively. DCC allows you to control the locomotive, not the track. Unlike analogue, the track is always live due to a 16v AC current. The controller sends signals through the track to a decoder fitted in the model, which interprets these instructions and makes the model act accordingly. The advantages of DCC include a reduced and simpler level of wiring, easy double-heading of formations, individual control of lighting, and, if fitted with appropriate decoders, the use and selection of sound—bringing a whole new level of life to your models. DCC, with an appropriate controller, may be integrated with a personal computer as well as allowing control through smartphones or tablets. Accessory control needs an accessory controller connected to the track—reducing the level of wiring. Any accessories, such as point or signals, only need to be wired to this decoder. However, there is an additional level of cost to DCC: each model requires a decoder or 'chip' fitting, and the fitting may be an additional cost. Then there is the cost of the controller itself—fortunately, there is a healthy second-hand market for these, and also, the level of cost rises with the complexity of controllers. The majority of locomotive models manufactured these days are DCC ready and may be quickly fitted with a decoder. Many older models may be retrofitted to DCC, but others, due to age or type of motor, may be difficult or not cost-worthy for conversion.


Budget is the first thing to consider, but the desired level of features and layout size influence the final choice of Analogue over DCC. DCC has a greater overall cost but greater flexibility.


Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, so it is a personal choice as to how these are balanced. Whether it is the simplicity of analogue or added features of DCC, our web store and friendly staff can assist you with your choice of control system.

airfix logo bachmann logo hornby logo humbrol logo revell logo scalextric logo tamiya logo


We are very sorry, but the browser you are visting us with is outdated and not complient with our website security.

Please upgrade your browser to a modern secure version to view our website.