Why and what I think I’ve acheived

A week ago and in this exact same space I already had a layout underway. I was pleased with the work I had done and still like the idea of a bakery cart as a layout base.

The layout cart. Plywood construction throughout and the work surface is set at 48". The surface area itself is 22x44" overall.

The layout cart. Plywood construction throughout and the work surface is set at 48″. The surface area itself is 22×44″ overall.


I tried a variety of different layout plans on this base ranging from those that extended past its edges to those fully contained within. It was tricky to fit an HO scale plan into this space. Reverting back to my native N scale I felt there still just wasn’t enough space but certainly, things did work better.

I have the good fortune to be a regular operator on a couple of local layouts. During those sessions I habitually gravitate to yardwork as a firm favourite role on any layout. I paid extra attention to those car movements within the yard I enjoyed most and took those to be the ones my home layout should support. Being a fan of prototype railroading I tend toward drilling long cuts of cars so the plan needs to have a decent switching lead to work from.

I’m blessed to have been invited to build a model railway in our home using space borrowed from some fairly public rooms. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts our house is smaller. We enjoy really distilling the most value from each room. Each time I looked at the footprint the cart occupied it bothered me that I wasn’t deriving as much value from it as I felt I should be.

Here's the overall view. Once I have the levellers installed on the legs both modules will sit a little higher bringing the track base to around 52". It nicely straddles our that little yellow table as I hoped it would.

The new plan. 9″x8′-0″ provides lots of room to drill long strings of cars. I like that.


Here I am today. This new variation uses almost the exact same area but I feel really brings me closer to what I wanted all along. I am really pleased with how closely it hugs against the walls only projecting nine inches into the space. This won’t move into the living room for now and will remain in our dining room. Should our plans for the space change the entire layout is designed to break down into components quickly to be packed away between operating sessions. I’ve been thinking about track arrangements, themes, and what features I want to incorporate into the layout and I look forward to settling these soon so I can keep things moving forward. Thanks for following along and the comments so far. I’m so happy to be able to share this here. Thanks!

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6 comments

  1. Chris, great to see your efforts in place a I heartily agree with you about the suitability of the layout in its space and its ease of movement will help, and with a modular approach nothing to say that you could build some more in the future to mix things up a bit. One little idea of you are concerned about wobble would be to put some horizontal spacers at bottom of legs to protrude out by a couple of inches, with rubber feet maybe. I am excited to see this come together and I can tell you are itching to get on with track laying ;)

    1. I like the outrigger idea to increase the footprint for more stability. Since I still need to buy and install levellers on the legs it’s an option to keep in mind.

  2. I like the added space Chris. This is a much better plan than your initial bay window idea. Is there anyway that you would allowed to add one more section to span the lenght of that wall. If I recall correctly you must have another four or five feet at least before you hit the bookshelf

    1. You’re right. There is probably another four or five feet along that wall but it’s over a radiator so not sure about using it. If I get this first eight feet I could always try a third module on the other end for an L shape.

      1. My layout is over a radiator for over two thirds its lenght and I think it is a good thing. When the radiator is on that foam sucks up a lot of heat. Even when the rad is off for a few hours you can go over and the foam is still warm, giving off some heat to the room.

      2. I think what might work for me would be to have the extra length used as a switching lead. Something that could fold down when not in use.

        I’m settling on a 36″ minimum mainline radius curve and number eight turnouts. With that kind of paradigm in place, the extra switching lead may come in handy.

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