They may be small themselves but most model railways take up a fair chunk of space. You may think you don’t have enough room in your home but there are still lots of small places where you can put a railway.
When you think of model railways, what comes to mind?
For most of us, apart from delightful tiny trains trundling around miniature worlds, it’ll be the large area they occupy.
This can be a problem if you don’t have enough space but these clever ideas will help those with even limited space build their railway.
Inside A Coffee Table
This is just genius. Incorporating a model railway into a coffee table is inspired. You get a railway you can use all the time, visitors can admire it and yet it doesn’t use up any space. If done well, the layout will also be tucked away safely, free from prying hands.
On A Window Sill
Window sills are wasted on plants and ornaments when you could have a railway running along them. And the typical rectangular shape of window sills makes them ideal for many long layouts.
In An Old Fireplace
Many old houses (in England at least) have fireplaces that are no longer used. These vary in size but larger ones could be used for a small N gauge layout. Just make sure you seal off the chimney and it’s properly cleaned first, the dust and dirt will play havoc with your engines and track.
In A Suitcase
What more needs to be said, it’s a railway in a suitcase! Using a suitcase has a lot of advantages, you can close the lid and put it away safely and dust-free when not using it but it’s easy and quick to set up when it comes to working on it.
Can you beat these for small places to put your railway? Where is yours? Add a comment below.
- www.carendt.com: Layout ideas and track plan scrapbook for micro layouts.
- Designing small shelf layouts: PDF download document of notes and plans for shelf layouts. (THe original link to amherstrail.org sadly no longer works, this is a web archive copy).
- The £35 challenge: My series on building a model railway in a small box for just £35.
- Planning, Designing and Making Railway Layouts in Small Spaces:
> 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.
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.