Lionel Used

does anyone know the difference between the gages in model rail roading?

they advertise: HO gage-N gage-O gage-S gage etc.

if youd like the in depth version to your question ie: scale differences, why they are, and how they came to be.... then please feel free to email me. its a long story. the easiest answer is:

O gauge = O scale = the largest scale you listed. (Lionel)
S gauge = S scale = American Flyer = smaller than O, but larger than HO.
HO gauge = HO Scale = 1/87th = the most popular of all scales = "Half O" scale (its half the size dimensionally from O scale. it is the only scale that can ride on another scales tracks. [will fit on 2 rails of O scale track, since O scale is the only scale that makes a 3 rail version {YUK!}])
N gauge = N scale = the smallest of the scales you listed.

all these listed are 'standard' gauges. that means they are models of the "standard gauge" real life 4'-8.5" rail system. real life trains at that measurement in the US are called "standard gauge". plain HO, O or N refers to a model of this, in their designated scale proportions. HO is 87 times less the size than 1 of the real thing for instance.

also dont be confused by "standard gauge". way back in the early part of last century, Lionel used to make 'standard gauge' scale trains. this was before the advent of model scale size designations like O, HO, and N. reason was these scales werent invented yet. more about that in the email if you wish.

if the model scale designations are On3, Nn3 or something like HOn3 (most common), then these are model designations for models of 'narrow gauge' real life trains. these are trains that have rails spaced closer together than the standard 4'-8.5". notice capital scale size, and little n. the number designates a whole other range of scales. there is an HO2 1/2" for instance. that is just a smaller, narrower gauge than even the HOn3 version which is already a narrow gauge.

in real life, trains are only, wide gauge, standard gauge, or narrow gauge. no scale for them since they are the real thing. if i had to guess, the order youve listed the scales in is by their popularity.
i am guessing that youve already seen a model in each of these sizes, i will remind you that there are pictures everywhere of these 4 scales set right next to each other for a comparative view.

as one would gather from this sort of picture, the N scale is almost ant sized compared to O scale. the above listed answer by Mike gives you the sizes of the scales. i can only always remember the HO one. i personally dont know anyone who refers to models by the scale ratios. its always HO gauge, or Lionel, or N scale etc etc.

Find Lionel Used On eBay Below:

Lionel 2 used boxcars 6 9831 pepsi  6 9228 CP
Lionel 2 used boxcars 6 9831 pepsi 6 9228 CP
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Lionel O gauge Freight cars 2 6 9819 6 9887 FARR with boxes
Lionel O gauge Freight cars 2 6 9819 6 9887 FARR with boxes
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Lionel O gauge Freight car 6 26513 NYC Emergency caboose with box lite blinking
Lionel O gauge Freight car 6 26513 NYC Emergency caboose with box lite blinking
$30.00
Lionel O gauge Freight cars 2 6 17305 6 6232 with boxes
Lionel O gauge Freight cars 2 6 17305 6 6232 with boxes
$22.00
Lionel O gauge Freight cars 2 6 9803 6 17018 Northwestern with boxes
Lionel O gauge Freight cars 2 6 9803 6 17018 Northwestern with boxes
$22.00
LIONEL WAFFLE SIDE BOX CAR  15001  SEABOARD RAILROAD 0 027
LIONEL WAFFLE SIDE BOX CAR 15001 SEABOARD RAILROAD 0 027
$21.00
LIONEL REEFER CAR  9863  REA  0 027
LIONEL REEFER CAR 9863 REA 0 027
$21.00
lionel train car lot
lionel train car lot
$25.00
Lionel 385E 20 Drive Rod Screw
Lionel 385E 20 Drive Rod Screw
$1.00
LIONEL 25000 LEHIGH VALLEY RED ROLLING STOCK CAR
LIONEL 25000 LEHIGH VALLEY RED ROLLING STOCK CAR
$16.98
Lionel LTD Edition Series Southern Pacific U36C 6 8960 and 6 8961
Lionel LTD Edition Series Southern Pacific U36C 6 8960 and 6 8961
$182.00
LIONEL SUNOCO DOUBLE DOME TANKER 6465 VINTAGE 2 COUPLERS SILVER GRAY
LIONEL SUNOCO DOUBLE DOME TANKER 6465 VINTAGE 2 COUPLERS SILVER GRAY
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LIONEL M K T FREIGHT CAR 16233 DOUBLE DOORS The Katy Serves the Southwest
LIONEL M K T FREIGHT CAR 16233 DOUBLE DOORS The Katy Serves the Southwest
$75.00
LIONEL GONDOLA FREIGHT CAR 6012 BLACK
LIONEL GONDOLA FREIGHT CAR 6012 BLACK
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Lionel 12791 Animated Passenger Station with box MIB 1991
Lionel 12791 Animated Passenger Station with box MIB 1991
$30.50
2pc Lionel CTC LOCKON Train Track Terminal Connector
2pc Lionel CTC LOCKON Train Track Terminal Connector
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Lionel 681101 Polar Express Remote Control RTR Train Set O Gauge w Smoke Sound
Lionel 681101 Polar Express Remote Control RTR Train Set O Gauge w Smoke Sound
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Lionel 236 Steam Engine Locomotive 6463 rocket fuel and coil made usa new york
Lionel 236 Steam Engine Locomotive 6463 rocket fuel and coil made usa new york
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Lionel Post War Railroad Working Flood Lamps OB
Lionel Post War Railroad Working Flood Lamps OB
$48.96
LIONEL O Gauge POSTWAR 497 COALING STATION 1953 1958
LIONEL O Gauge POSTWAR 497 COALING STATION 1953 1958
$116.46
Lot of 66 vintage 027 O Gauge Curves and Straight Track 3 Rail Good US Seller
Lot of 66 vintage 027 O Gauge Curves and Straight Track 3 Rail Good US Seller
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Vintage Lionel Coal Bags 206 lot of 2
Vintage Lionel Coal Bags 206 lot of 2
$49.99
Vintage Lionel Electric Train Set Box EMPTY
Vintage Lionel Electric Train Set Box EMPTY
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Vintage Lionel Coal Bags 207 lot of 2
Vintage Lionel Coal Bags 207 lot of 2
$39.99
Lionel 700E 60 Crosshead Shoulder Rivet
Lionel 700E 60 Crosshead Shoulder Rivet
$1.39
Lionel 711 207 Rivet 7
Lionel 711 207 Rivet 7
$1.17
Lionel 3360 65 Shoulder Rivet 2
Lionel 3360 65 Shoulder Rivet 2
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Lionel 342 112 RIVET 4
Lionel 342 112 RIVET 4
$1.00
LIONEL 2037 Locomotive 2 6 4 Steam Engine Old Vintage RR O Guage Train For Parts
LIONEL 2037 Locomotive 2 6 4 Steam Engine Old Vintage RR O Guage Train For Parts
$29.88
Vintage 1951 Lionel Trains Instructions for Assembling and Oerating WILL USED
Vintage 1951 Lionel Trains Instructions for Assembling and Oerating WILL USED
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LIONEL NO 138 OPERATING WATER TOWER FOR TRAIN SET
LIONEL NO 138 OPERATING WATER TOWER FOR TRAIN SET
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Lionel Trains 6019 Remote Control Train Track  ORIGINAL Box
Lionel Trains 6019 Remote Control Train Track ORIGINAL Box
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