Yard Design 101: What you need to know about designing model railway yards

Think creating yards for your model railway layout is simple. There’s a lot to them than you may think.  Watch this and get the inside information plus loads of tips on yard design.

The tips below are based on real-world rail railways and even if you’re not trying to build an accurate (to real life) model layout, designing your yards and sidings correctly using the tried and trusted techniques from full size train yards will make operating your model railway a whole lot easier and more fun.

fiddle yard designIf you’re looking for more information yard design, read the Ten Commandments of Model Railroad Yard Design by Craig Bisgeier at Housatonic Railroad, available here.  It’s a gold mine of good tips. There are also some good fiddle yard design ideas by Stephen J Chapman here.

If you want some bedtime reading on the subject, there’s also a highly rated book on the very subject by experienced layout builder and show exhibitor Richard Bardsley called Designing and Building Fiddle Yards: A Complete Guide for Railway Modellers – available from Amazon.

Finally, to give you something to aim for in your yard design, take a look at Bailey Yard, Nebraska, which is the largest rail yard in the world, handling an astonishing “10,000 railroad cars every 24 hours”.

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. 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. What an absolutely great site. As a 62 year old, I am embarking on my first layout. As a child in the early 60’s, I have very fond memories of playing with my dublo train set.

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