Athearn HO ModelsAthearn HO scale trains offer modelers the best value in HO scale model trains. From steam and diesel locomotives, to freight and passenger cars, and vehicles, Athearn has the models you need for your club or home layout. Most Athearn model locomotives are available in either DCC ready DC or DCC with sound. Athearn freight cars feature separately applied roof walks where applicable, metal wheelsets, and body mounted McHenry scale knuckle couplers. Athearn HO also has vehicles including busses, trailers, and containers. Shop Now
Athearn Roundhouse ModelsAthearn Roundhouse is the starting point to a lifelong model railroad hobby. Athearn Roundhouse models offer a hobby-grade model that can be upgraded to the individual modeler's taste. With features such as accurate paint schemes, molded on detail for durability and DC locomotives that feature a 21-pin board that easily allows the upgrade to a decoder for DCC. Athearn Roundhouse model trains are packed with features that will please both the novice to advanced modeler. Shop Now
McHenry CouplersMcHenry offers a trusted line of quality, long-lasting HO and N scale model railroad couplers. McHenry scale knuckle couplers provide realism and reliability for modelers wanting to upgrade their HO and N scale models. The lineup includes accessories such as centering springs, HO and N scale coupler boxes, and convenient packs of couplers in three, six and 25 pairs. McHenry products are known for being easy to use, effective, and affordable. Shop Now
HO Scale Model Trains
HO scale, or 1/87th scale, is currently the most popular model train scale within the model railroading community. The name itself comes from the term “half O” which prior to HO was the dominate modeling scale. The first commercially available HO scale trains can be traced back to Nuremberg Germany in 1922 where a small “table top” railway had been introduced. The first of these sets relied on a clockwork mechanism but by 1924, electrical versions of HO scale trains had been introduced. Throughout the rest of the 1920s and into the 1940s, HO scale continued to grow and offer competition against OO and O scale models both in Europe and North America. It was in the period of the 1950s and 1960s that HO scale trains really saw a boost in popularity.
With suburbia and the post war housing boom, many Americans were drawn to the HO scale model trains as they could incorporate more of a model railroad in a smaller space. HO also offered a realism which was not seen in the earlier O scale trains. Hobbyist could now include operations to their model railroading experience and populate their layout with towns, cities and parks and fields all built in a small basement, study, or spare bedroom. HO scale trains were growing to the point that even the O scale manufacturers noticed and followed suit by producing their own line of HO scale locomotives, rolling stock, structures, and accessories.
Irv Athearn was in the perfect place and in the perfect time. After receiving a large response to an ad about his O-scale model railroad, Irv Athearn established Athearn Trains in Miniature and started selling model railroad supplies. By 1947, Athearn had started producing HO model train kits. An ad in the May, 1949 Model Railroader gave the HO customer the “Golden Opportunity” to replace obsolete equipment with their new economy 40ft boxcar kit with new simplified construction that was perfect for the beginner. This was the very beginning of what modelers now refer to as the “Blue Box” era. Although they originally came in a yellow box, Athearn quickly transitioned to their light blue boxes with copies of stylized American railroading paintings on the package. These small boxes became a key identifying object for Athearn for over 40 years.
At the edge of a new millennia, Athearn introduced a new line into the family: Genesis. The Genesis line would feature details never before seen in a factory produced model trains including road and road number specific details. In the past, modelers would spend hours adding specific details to the model of their choice. Now, Athearn Genesis would bring these models ready for the layout with its road and number specific details. After seeing a gradual decline in kit sales, Athearn introduced the Ready to Roll line in 2001, answering the demand for models that were ready for the layout. In 2004, Horizon Hobby officially purchased Athearn and immediately started laying the groundwork for new models. Since then, Athearn has become the industry standard in HO model railroad products. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or brand -new beginner, Athearn has the right HO model train for you.