How to Wire a HO Scale Train

By Cameron Easey ; Updated April 12, 2017

Model railroads have different scales. Scale is the size of the train and the track that the train is moving on. The most common scale for a model train is called "HO," with 0.14 inch on the model representing one foot in the real world. Wiring will need to be done after you have laid or set the track in place. However, you will require a power controller to drive the train and a track that has a terminal connector for the electrical wires.

Set up two saw horses side by side so that they are four feet apart. Lay a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood on the saw horses.

Lay the track in place on the plywood in the shape of an oval. Connect each section of track using two track joiners. Secure the track to the plywood with a tack. Tap the top of the tack using the hammer to secure it to the plywood.

Attach the electrical wires to the screw terminals on the power controller. Tighten the screw connectors with the screwdriver.

Locate the straight track with the terminal connector. This is where you will connect the wires from the power controller.

Drill a hole through the plywood with the power drill. Run the electrical wire under the plywood to the terminal connector on the straight track. Attach the electrical wires to the screw connectors and tighten with the screwdriver.

Things Needed

  • Saw horses
  • Plywood
  • Track
  • Track joiners
  • Tack
  • Hammer
  • Power controller
  • Screwdriver
  • Power drill
  • Electrical wire

Tip

Attach a slider switch between the power controller and the terminals on the straight track. This allows you to move the train in reverse.

Use a green colored mat and add scenery to create a layout for your model railroad.

About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.