Where’s Best To Build Your Model Railway

Wondering where to build your model railway? Loft, Garage or Shed, oh my! Here’s the pros and cons of each.

Along with which wood to build your model railway baseboard picking where you’ll build your layout presents many challenges and I’ve seen them in each of these spaces along with, of course, the trusty spare room.  There’s even the option of of building under your kitchen floor – as the wonderful Dennis Parker has done with his delightful Glendower railway (via British Railway Modelling):

But most of us don’t have space under the kitchen floor so this isn’t achievable.

model railway in loftInstead, we’re stuck with the usual suspects – the spare room, garage and shed – and while researching these options I found a great post by Brian Lambert covering the benefits of each type of space for your railway.

A quick summary is below and you can read the full post here :


  • Advantages: Out of the way and can offer a large area to use.
  • Negatives: Temperature can be a problem as can lack of height to walk around; may be limited in the weight that can be supported.


  • Advantages: Same as lofts.
  • Negatives: Similar to lofts, plus prone to dust and insects.


  • Advantages: As per lofts
  • Negatives: Electrical supply may be an issue; like garages insects can be a problem.

Spare Rooms

  • Advantages: Great for comfort,
  • Disadvantages: None.

Where do you have your model railway? Do you agree with Brian’s observations? Add your thoughts below or tweet me at @modelrailwayeng.

This post is part of my beginner’s guides. For more like it see my parent post, beginner’s guide to model railways and the companion article Beginners Guides: The four best train sets.

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Picture credit, Glamhag

  1. What I was getting at is that building a large loft layout can take a few years. Over that time for a retired person there strength and agility can weaken and using a loft ladder especially if trying to carry things up and down can become impractical. It would be particularly galling to have built a fine layout and not be able to use it any more.
    A proper staircase is much easier to use and safer too. A shed or Garage would be easier to access.
    One friend did have a loft room built with stair access but also had a stairlift put in as his mobility was impaired. Unfortunately not all of us could afford such a solution.

    • The readers of MRE are spread across a wide range of ages but with equal numbers in their 30s,40s and 50s to those older so I write for all. I take your point however and will update the article with a note. Thanks, Andy

  2. You are obviously young. If you are taking up the hobby in retirement beware of using the loft unless it has proper stairs . Otherwise you may find yourself unable to get up a loft ladder.

    • Don, I didn’t express a preference for lots or others? I merely highlighted some of pros and cons of each which in itself was a summary of a post on the subject by Brian Lambert. I agree stairs may be problem as we get older but there’s not much I can do about that, unfortunately. Andy

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