How to Buy an OO Scale Model Train

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How to Buy an OO Scale Model Train

For model train sets there are certain size specifications that have emerged as the most popular in the UK. The OO scale is perhaps the most recognised of these and a number of various designs have been made in this size to replicate the real train models that run on British lines.

eBay has many different models of train in a variety of sizes, including the OO scale, to satisfy railway enthusiasts in the UK who wish to start or add to a collection.

Sizing of Railway Models

The specifics of railway model scaling can become quite complicated, especially is comparing the different models together. Railway models are scaled in relation to the actual trains they are replicating and the size of the track they run on (this is known as the gauge). The range of track sizes from various countries around the world has meant that there are an assortment of different sized trains on the market – popular ones being the HO, G, O and Z scales aswell as the OO scale.

OO Scale

  • The OO scale is classified as one of the 4mm-scale standards. This means that the model train is scaled as 4mm to equal 1 foot. The gauge distance – that is the perpendicular distance between the track rails – is 16.5mm.
  • Despite the OO train models running on a 16.5mm gauge, it has been found not to be completely compatible with the 4mm scale standard. Some modellers find that the HO scale is better suited to the gauge distance, although this sizing is associated more with the North American railway companies.
  • However, OO scale model trains are still widely made, bought and sold in the UK today. Since their introduction in the 1920’s and enhancement in the 1930’s by model railway brand Hornby, the OO has remained a popular scale used by train enthusiasts. Ready-to-run train sets made in conjunction with the OO scale have increased the attractiveness of these modes even further with amateur and first-time railway modellers due to their easier set-up and use. Aswell as Hornby, Bachmann Branchline are another widely used company who specialise in the OO gauge scale.

Buying Consideration for Model Trains

  • Consider specific real-life train models that you may have an interest in and see if models have been constructed of them. For example, ‘Flying Scotsman’ or ‘Network Rail’ models can be searched out and there are even versions of Virgin trains for more modern train lovers.
  • Model railway collectors like to replicate the feel of real life train settings as closely as possible. This means that railway stations, crossings, buildings, nature environments and even miniature humans can all be included as parts of the whole scenery people create. Think about what type of train is desired, for example which era it comes from, and plan accordingly for which background it will suit running on.
  • Model trains are mostly now powered by electricity but there are also some old-fashioned steam engines still available on the market. Read into benefits of both and on what background the trains will run before making a purchase.
  • If buying for children, then consider the ease of use for the model train. It might not be preferable buying them a model that needs self-assembly for example; ready-to-run or pre-assembled kits are more suitable in this respect. Also look out for such franchises as Thomas the Tank Engine or Harry Potter versions that may interest them even further.  
  • The price of the majority of OO scale train models is affordable for most UK buyers, although some complex and/or rare models can fetch up to £1000. Plan accordingly with how much the model train will be used and at what level when setting a budget. 

eBay has become the place to go for many railway modellers to search out and ask questions about OO scale trains between each other. The ability to find items second-hand models that may not be on the current market any longer has increased its benefits even further and in respect makes eBay the most capable website to make a purchase from. Below is some advice for bidding techniques and how to stay safe using the site before searching out an OO scale model train and making a bid.

Advanced Tips for Buying on eBay

Before making a purchase of a model train in store or from a selected online outlet it is advisable to try out eBay before making a final decision. The main benefits of this come with the fact that all the different types of train can be reviewed against each other and the best deals can be found. There are plenty of second hand models to be found within the marketplace which can work just as adequately as a brand new version. Once accustomed with the site then below is a few further tips that can make the difference between finding the best OO scaled train possible.

  • Buy at auction. Although unpredictable, using the auction facility to buy on eBay gives the best chance of picking out the best deals. ‘Watch’ the item if it is not ending soon and only make bids in the last stages of the listing. Bidding too early can attract competition and push the price up.
  • Best offer. Some sellers who have listed the model train with a Buy It Now figure will welcome any offers even if it is below this amount. Use the Advanced search page to bring up all the listings that a best offer can be made on.
  • Check end times. Some listings will end at an inconvenient time for most people to be involved in the final bidding process. For example, if the train listing is due to end at 3.30am then it may put off potential competitors from being involved in the final bidding stages.
  • Check the seller. If worried about the authenticity of the seller then a good tip is to not only check their rating and feedback comments but also what other items they are selling, if any. If they have further model trains for sale then is probable they are clued up about them and can provide more information about them if any queries arise.
  • Favourite seller. Once an item has been bought and also delivered satisfactorily by a seller then they can be added to the Favourite Seller’s list. If they have further OO scales trains for sale then these can be bought knowing the seller can be trusted.
  • Bid irregular amounts. When coming to make a bid on an auction, eBay provides the chance to outbid others but also make a maximum bid. This means eBay will bid this amount automatically on your behalf until someone else betters it. A good tip is to bid a few pence more as a way of seeing off competitors. For example, bidding an odd amount of £13.21 will see off a rival who has only bid £13.20.
  • Paypal. Although traditionally on eBay personal cheques and even cash were used as payment methods, Paypal is the safest and most efficient way of purchasing an item now. It is preferable to avoid sellers who don’t accept it.

How to Search for a 00 Scale Model Train on eBay

To begin a search for the most relevant model train set then consider a few methods. If the required brand or model of train is known then type this into the search bar at the top of the eBay home page and review the results that appear.

If this is not the case, then simply typing in “OO scale model train” will bring more generalised results. However, this will only bring up a restricted amount of the trains listed on eBay by sellers in respect to how they have worded their item. Another way to bring up more results is to type in “train,” then click on the ‘Trains/Railway Models’ category from the preference menu on the left-hand side of the page. Then by selecting the ‘OO’ option from the ‘Scale (Gauge)’ section this will bring up a selection of more refined results.

To continue narrowing down the listings it is possible to use the preference menu further to differentiate between such aspects as the type of product, be it singular train models or complete sets, the brand and power supply. Likewise, it is possible to use the ‘advanced’ search page located next to the search bar and also sort the listings to bring up the most suitable items at the top of the page.


When coming to buy an OO scale model train, it is important to know exactly the size of the track already owned and if the train will actually run properly on it. Do as much research as possible from expert model train websites and ask as many questions as possible either online or in related stores. Using eBay is a smart way of finding the relevant train and making a purchase as long as a careful budget has been planned and the site is used as safely as possible.

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