Will OO trains run on HO track?

OO and HO gauge model trains are the most popular but can you run OO trains on HO track?

To answer this, it’s worth first recapping what these two main model railway standards are and the differences between scale and gauge.

What’s the difference between OO and HO track and trains

HO gauge, widely used in Europe, features trains with a scale of 1:87 or 3.5mm to the foot, meaning they’re 1/87th the size of the real thing.

On the other hand, OO gauge, popularized by Hornby, also has a track scale of 1:87 but a slightly different scale for the train bodies, at 1:76. This difference originated in the 1920s when German toy manufacturer Bing created OO, designing it to be compatible with existing HO track, while accommodating smaller British locomotives. (British locomotives were smaller than European engines there wasn’t enough space inside the models for the motors at this scale so the bodies of OO gauge trains were made slightly larger at 4mm to the foot).

It’s been like that ever since. 

So, can OO trains run on HO track?


Although I model mainly 009 scale (which is OO gauge models on N width track) I also make OO gauge layouts and have occasionally used HO track (I picked a job lot up at a boot fair) and not had any problems using it with my rolling stock. 

Recapping on the explanation above, OO and HO gauge railways both have a track width of 16.5mm so an OO train will run on HO track.

If you’re interested in more model railway tips, I recommend What is EM gauge, how big (or small) are N gauge model trains and What is Z gauge.


Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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