Spaghetti free wiring

Here’s a handy little tip to reduce cable chaos on your layout.

If, like me, your model railway cable work looks like a bowl of spaghetti this is for you.

When wiring up my layouts I start with the best intentions. Order, structure and neatness is my aim. But over time this usually goes the way of all good intentions. Extra droppers are needed as the track changes, a new circuit to power a lighting arrangement or even point motor and existing wiring is removed as components are no longer used.

Alternatively, if I’m building a quick temporary project for a test, review or tutorial on MRE, I might not even start with a clear plan and the electrical wiring is a scrambled mess of wires from day one.

Wires criss-cross each other, loops of wiring hang down and entwine and twist around each other like a bindweed on the fruit trees in my garden, but worse.

Richard’s impressively organised wiring using the cable tie mounts.

Just recently however a member of the MRE group on Faccebook, Richard Bridle, shared an update on his layout and how the wiring was complete.

My eye was instantly drawn the little black cable ties – visible in the above photos. I’ve not come across these and they’re just what I need to keep my cabling under control.

These are available from B&Q or Screwfix.

Using them is simply a matter of peeling off the backing to the sticky pad, pushing them into place and holding for a second, and then thread the cables in and out of the four way slot.

Unfortunately, you have to pass one end of the cable through rather than just securing an existing run so can’t use it to secure an existing cable run without either disconnecting one end or cutting the wire passing it through and soldering it back together. But this works for me as I can then replace any overly long cable or incorrect colours at the same time.

Best of all they’re very cheap, just a couple pounds for 20 (at the time of writing).

I’m now rewiring one of my layouts using them and it makes keeping the cables under control so much easier.

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, 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.
  1. As a telephone engineer (now retired) we’d used these for many years. Cable ties can be purchased that are really small and unobtrusive, the same size that comes with the horrid DIY extension kits for the inside of a socket. I was a GPO telephones boy and was trained how to ‘do it properly’ with all the cabling laced in. It looked fab but if some were added then it tended to go a bit pear-shaped. I still make wiring into a ‘form’ as we call it, but use those tiny cable ties.
    Very satisfying when it’s finished, and if more have to be added, then a snip to sacrifice a few ties and then re-do isn’t too painful.

  2. Very good.The idea is to thread zip ties through the slots,loop them ,and
    then pull the zip ties tight when you are finished,if we are ever finished with wiring.

  3. If you couldn’t thread the wires through the sticky base you could loop a cable tie through the base and use this to secure around the wires

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