Neil Rushby’s Trawden

I recently mentioned Neil Rushby’s Trawden layout. When keying that reference I was looking at the actual magazine articles and while I remembered he does maintain a very enjoyable blog I neglected to include a link to the actual layout itself. I thought I’d take a moment and post this while I was waiting for my coffee to brew this morning:

In the web page, Neil does a wonderful job of introducing this really neat little 4×1′ OO scale layout. The layout is an almost perfect example of fitting a lovely and well-balanced scene into what might at first appear to be an impossibly small area. It’s very photogenic and supports prototypical operation. As I mentioned, this was the first time I had ever really seen a “micro layout”. At the time I was working on my own HO scale switching layout in a space of about 6×2′ – actually, it was on the back of a recycled interior door. I’ve always been attracted to small layout designs but had felt that the twelve square feet I was working in was the smallest practical limit. Seeing Trawden really showed you could go smaller. Much smaller. Not only was the excellent use of small space so encouraging but throughout the four part article Neil described just how economically it had been built. The layout and it’s stock were almost completely scratchbuilt and the little that wasn’t, was bought secondhand. Living on Prince Edward Island I didn’t have access to the traditional well-stocked hobby shop and had little money to spend. I was scratchbuilding everything and felt really alone in my pursuits when I flipped through the pages of Model Railroader and compared my motly collection to the world Kalmbach presented to me.

Re-reading the above paragraph reminds me of a couple of blog posts I’d like to finish and post here sooner than later. I’ve never posted my own version of my top ten most inspirational layouts and I’d like to do that, just because it’s fun. On a much more personal level I have been thinking about a set of posts dedicated to trying to recognise those modellers whose work have really kept me going in this hobby. The hobby of model railways is such a large part of my personality and it’s been a mechanism to rely on during tougher times. Recognising fellow modellers whose work inspired me to keep going in the hobby and in general is important and I hope that the posts will recognise that. Expect to see a thank you to my parents, both fantastic artists and modellers and some of the most genuine and loving people I will ever have been lucky enough to know. Expect also to see my amazing wife Krista, not a modeller herself but a real and genuine advocate for my participation in the hobby and one of the few who really get me and do so in a way that makes me feel pretty terrific about the man I turned out to be. Further afield, expect more about Neil Rushby’s work and similar modellers who just seem to really “get” what building a model of a railway is all about.

Also, I mentioned that I was interested in bringing in parts of my enviornment when keying these posts. I wrote this early on a Monday morning starting around six. My music for the morning has already started with The Shins and their Ports of Morrow album. The lyrics are kind of immature and are pretty damn cliché heavy. However the arrangements are really well done and the overall sound is terrific and the album is one I enjoy.

Hello Monday



  1. Thanks for sharing your layout planning ideas with your readership, Chris. The examples are many and varied! So much space is wasted in many model railway designs. A defined space certainly leads to more operation in the full space available. Now, to choose…?

  2. Hello and many thanks for such kind words about my earliest ‘serious’ layout. It’s a huge pleasure to hear that it hwas well received.

    cheers, Neil

    1. Thank you for putting together that terrific layout and the three-part article in the first place. I count Trawden on my list of first inspirational layouts for what it proved could be done in terms of space utilization, story telling, and it stood as a great testimony for what can be done on a smaller budget.

      I hope you had as much fun with that layout as I did reading about it.

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