£35 Model Railway In A Box Conclusion, part 8

Although the core of the model railway in a box challenge wasn’t completed last time, there were a few little bits around the layout I wanted to tidy up.

First up, was the track work.

As mentioned back in part 6, I wasn’t completely happy with the track work. Or rather the sleepers. I’d ballasted them but in most harbour/dock railways the rails are bedded into the stonework of the dock and the sleepers aren’t visible.

I fixed this with some clay, as used on either side of the track in part 5.  This was pushed into and over the sleepers and a wagon run over the track to clear rogue clay off the rails.

The result is far more pleasing in my eye and looks more realistic.

Next up, was finishing off the engine shed. The windows and doors were added; as was the roof.

I also made a small works office using the same technique as described in part 6

While tidying up the track, I also refined and cleaned up the vegetation. I’m a bit fussy about my scenic elements and knew these bits could be improved.

Lastly, I took the controller and main switch and fixed this into the framework of the box. Previously, the circuit board and knob for the controller were floating around at the rear of the layout at the end of the wires. Now their secured in place which is a lot safer and neater.

Overall, it now looks a lot better and I’m finally happy to call it done.

Although I didn’t make the timeline I set out with, it is a fully operational, fun little model railway, built in a box and for under £35.

For the last time, here’s the progress status;

Project Status


  • Track: Budget £5, Spent £5.
  • Materials (box): Budget £10, Spent £9.98
  • Electrics: Budget £10, Spent £9.99
  • Trains: Locomotive, £10.
  • Total: £34.97


  1. DONE: Choosing gauge, layout size, theme and track plan. End of August.
  2. DONE (two weeks behind schedule): Aquire basic materials: wood, track, electrics. End of September.
  3. DONE (one week behind schedule): Lay and ballast track and electrics. End of October.
  4. DONE (January, 6 weeks late): Get rolling stock and make scenery and/or buildings. End of November.
  5. DONE: (Mid-Feb). Add finishing details. 2nd Week of January (allowing for Christmas holidays).

For previous instalments, see the project history here.

> 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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