How long is an N scale Mile?

How many feet will you need to recreate one mile in N gauge and how to work around the space challenge.

If you’re planning a model railway based on a section of railway in the real-world you’ll want to know how many feet you’ll need for each mile of ‘prototype’ track.

This works out to 33 feet, reached by diving 5280 feet (the number of feet in a mile) by 160 – N scale is 1:160. On my calculator this works out to 33 ft, or 396 inches or 10.05 meters if you work in Metric.


An N scale mile is:

  • 33 Feet
  • 396 Inches
  • 10.05 Meters

For most of us, this will result in the realisation we have no where near enough space to recreate a real-world/prototype railway to scale. The answer is clever technique called compression which I cover here.

Essentially, this is a technique where only the most important elements of a area are recreated in your model or shrinking expanses down to a size that fits our layout sizes. So if you had 10 miles of rolling countryside, you’d cut this down to say quarter of mile or 8ft in N gauge model scale.

>A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

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