Brian’s Model Railway Room – BMRR#1

One particular room in my house that has needed a lot of work since I moved in a few years ago, is what was once a garage, but I’m now calling my Model Railway Room.

This is how the room looked at first:

For those of you that had read some of my topics on hoarding, I would like to add that most of this stuff isn’t mine, well technically it is, but it was here when I arrived!

I gradually cleared the room out and I put in a ceiling. This is me during the early stages of the work… a good few years ago – I love reminding myself of the progress I’ve made from how it all was:

I eventually painted the beams and walls, and laid a carpet to make the room far more comfortable and bright.

Since then I have got to work building the benchwork for my model railway, using mostly free wood that has found its way to me. The baseboards [to the left] were once table tops from an office [the ones to the right are old kitchen worktops].

There is still work to do here and I have positioned some boards temporarily just to show the layout I have in mind:

The room has a few features I am taking into account and they dictate some of my ideas, these include:

  • a staircase and doorway I don’t want to obstruct
  • a radiator I don’t want to cover so the layout will narrow here and go up and over a shelf
  • two windows I still want to be able to reach so I am keeping the baseboards narrow here; one will be a similar depth to the shelf.

The model railway will be in N Gauge and overall it will be non-prototypical – that is, not based on any real place, although I might incorporate some real locations or buildings, or use them for inspiration. The railway will be of an imaginary era, but taking some elements from World War II and beyond to form a kind of dystopia I think.

I think I will mostly use steam engines, but probably some diesel too. I will mix-and-match wherever I see fit.

Gauge and Power:

During my childhood I began a basic OO-gauge model railway in my bedroom, but it didn’t progress very far, mostly due to a lack of money, but also the space there was very limiting.

While I have more space available now, some 4 x 5 meters, I have intended for a long while to delve instead into N Gauge.

To keep costs down, and for various other reasons, it will be a DC layout rather than DCC.

I’m also keen to make things myself – scratch-build, where possible and practical, rather than buy kits or things that are ready-made.

The Layout:

The basic idea is to construct two loops in a ‘dog-bone’ fashion with various stations, goods-yards and facilities and features dotted around the room.

This means there will be four sets of rails passing the front window (in Area 1) which is the initial area I’m trying to focus on. I also wanted to add a 5th rail here to be used as a test track since it is next to my desk; I would give it the ability to be isolated from the rest of the layout. I also saw that I could use this as a little passing area.

After mulling over this for a while I realised I could make even better use of this section as it could incorporate various features to make this far more versatile than a simple passing area.

I considered how I could use the area for:

  • Allowing trains to switch loops.
  • Allowing trains to change direction.
  • Allowing trains to pass others.
  • The whole area could be used for shunting, staging and as a general goods-yard (when not being used by through-traffic).

These ideas would give my layout different ‘modes’ depending on my mood. I like the idea of allowing a couple of trains to circle the layout on their own, while also having the option to do some shunting. Having a train doing its own thing while I play at shunting seems like a fun idea.

Once I had formed this list of “what I wanted this area to be able to do” I began sketching on paper how best to link the four or five lengths of track with pointwork to enable these features. It took me a few iterations before I realised a couple of simple solutions.

At the moment I have two ideas in mind and the final outcome will depend on what track I ultimately get hold of. In addition to using reclaimed wood for my benchwork, I’m also keen to use other second-hand stuff, including track. For now I only have medium-sized points which are too long for this purpose.

I could bring trains into the area on either of the two loops, or four tracks, and with the aid of points divert that train onto any of the other tracks. However, the use of crossings (if that’s what I ultimately get hold of) could add some of the potential versatility; having crossings at one end of the ‘yard’ could allow trains to pass from one loop to another, while at the other, where a full compliment of points or turnouts might be, would provide trains with the freedom to pass to any other sets of rails.

1:144 Models:

Taking a look now briefly at some of the other features of the layout as whole, I have from time-to-time been assembling some 1:144-scale models. This is, I realised, a similar scale to that of N. As you can see, I have so far assembled a German U-boat, and a small Junker airoplane. I am currently in the process of assembling an old Seaplane I liked the look of. I’m hoping to incorporate these into the layout over time, such as with a small airstrip and a harbour scene.

Sharing Progress

This is my progress so far. I have also created a video for Youtube [below] illustrating all of the above. While I have been preparing the room and getting to this stage I have also been watching other people on Youtube sharing their involvement in this hobby and others. But, alas, I have found myself ‘sitting and watching more than getting on and doing’ and this frustrates me; I have found myself falling deeper and deeper into a bad routine, an addiction, of sitting at my computer and then, on days where there is nothing pressing to drag me out, I can find myself still there for most of the day. It’s like trying to overcome an addiction to caffeine by cutting out coffee and instead consuming twice as much tea. I hope that by sharing my progress I will spur myself into action since I’ll be keen to give regular updates. There is something about the concern to not let others down which seems, for some reason, to be more important deep down than disappointing myself – I find this with work, so hopefully it will apply here too!

Click here for the next update:…/bmrr2…


  1. Oh my goodness!!! I had a small electric train set as a child, but it had enough tracks to build a small circle, not even 1 metre in diameter. Having a whole room dedicated to that purpose is my 10-year-old self’s dream! Actually, forget that, as a 26-year-old I’d still love that!

    • LOL my first train set, I was about 10 also, was just a loop also. I ran it on the floor until it collected too much fluff and my dad had to build a baseboard for it. I eventually got some more straight track but couldn’t afford enough points, so progress ground to a halt and I lost interest.

    • Actually, and to clarify, there will be two normal loops to leave two trains running on, but through Area 1 I’m trying to give the option to reverse a train under my control, just with careful isolation.

  2. Just discovered this! Am constructing a small American switching layout myself on salvaged pieces of extruded insulation foam.I’d love to share this with my other Word Press train fans! May I?

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