Fitting Point Motors – how to save yourself time now and avoid disruption later

Point motors are expensive and fitting them under baseboards takes time which often holds up layout construction. Here’s a great way to get your track laid now while still allowing point motors to be fitted later but without relaying the track.

This is another great tip from the members of the ModelRailwayEngineer Builder’s community.

It came up during a recent discussion about fitting point motors. The conversation expanded into their cost: point motors aren’t cheap and to equip an entire layout the cost can quickly become significant. It’s also time-consuming.

If only there was a way to lay track and points now and retrofit the point motors later?

And a technique to do just this is precisely what several members suggested.

Just one point motor is purchased and this is used for sizing and positioning of all the all the locations you want powered points. The holes are then drilled (for the drive rods) and the track laid.

In this way, the track can be put down and the points operated normally — Hand of God etc — so you can get on with the layout. Later, when you have more time or money, the point motors can be added without too much disruption.

Thanks to Allan, Jonathan and David for their suggestions.

The ModelRailwayEngineer Builders community is free to join and provides a safe, friendly, forum where you can get answers to problems, share your progress and help others with their model trains and layouts. To join click on this link and click on Join.

> 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.


Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of 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 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,
  1. Good idea but would it work for n gauge points that don’t have a centre hole for a pin to go through?

    • Hi Chris, yes. The hole for the pin is moved to the outside, so it’s just a case of positioning the point motor to line up and drilling the hole/slot ther instead of in the middle. Andy

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