Second opinions on a shelf layout idea?


Dec 29, 2005

it's been a while since I've posted here. My previous layout project was put on hold after moving to a place without space for anything, but now I was able to convince her who must be obeyed into allowing me to use one wall of the bedroom for building a layout. Given that space is still a bit limited, it is still going to be a shelf-based layout, but with somewhat more possibilities than before: the main limitation is that it can't really exceed one foot, with *maybe* a section 18 to 24" wide to allow a loop. Length can be up to 10 feet, but some modularity would be highly preferred (4x1 foot modules)

I've drawn several plans but I have difficulty on deciding on any of them. I took a few minutes to fill out the Givens and Druthers form, so maybe someone of you has an idea on what kind of layout to build.

I'll take pictures of some of the plans I drew up and post them to show what I've come up so far later.


Givens and Druthers

(Railroad Name)
Scale: 1:160
Gauge: (Std, Narrow) N, standard

Prototype: (the railroad you want to model)
Era: 30's to 50's, mostly steam with possibly early diesel
Region: Generic central europe/British Isles..
Railroad: Generic European (mix of bits and pieces of British and German prototype, not decided yet on which one to model exactly.
Space: 4x1 foot shelf in bedroom, theoretical maximum space is 300cm x 50cm, so I thought about several 4x1 foot modules to also allow them to be easily transported in case of moving elsewhere.

Governing Rolling Stock: (Biggest planned)

Three to maybe five axle steam and possibly diesel locomotives with two axle cars. Have got some two bogie cars but for more modern eras, but I feel that to do them justice the whole layout needs to be bigger than this, so maybe that for another time if ever.

Relative Emphasis: (move the V)

Track/Operation .................................................. ..Scenic realism
Afraid that too little operations will get boring, but mustn't be an insane clump of track either.

Mainline Running .................................................. ........ Switching
On a shelf there is little room for a loop, but there might be room for a small loop.

Operation Priorities: (rearrange as required)

  1. Local Freight Operations
  2. Passenger Train Switching
  3. Engine Terminal Movements
  4. Helper District Operations
  5. Main-Line Passenger Train Operation
  6. Long Freight Train Operations
Typical operating Crew: __1____
Eye Level (Owner) ~70 In.

Want a 'here' and a 'there' to move between.
Want nice grey industry and nice green nature. (contrast between the two...)
Might consider dedicating one part of the layout for switching puzzles, regular inglenook or something.

desired normal train length: engine and three to four cars
maximum acceptable mainline grade: no idea, must run some tests on what the engines can handle
primary track system? sectional and flex
couplers/uncoupling system: manual. Switches also manual.
DCC or DC?: DC, with some module system to allow running of two trains.

my favorite aspects of model railroading are

1 operation of a scenicked layout
2 building structures
3 detailing locomotives and cars to exactly match a prototype

I have 0-20 hours per week for model railroading
I have 10-150 $$ per month for model railroading (depends on time and enthusiasm at the moment)
I can go many weeks without being able to run my favorite loco on a continous run of track. (last time I had a continous run of track was looong ago. Got enough spare track to build a loop on the kitchen table if needed...heh)

-- edit: I just noticed that there still is the track planning board...for some odd reason I failed to see it earlier. Is there any way of moving this thread there?


Dec 20, 2003
Visit site
Without looking at any of your plans, my first thought was an interchange to town shortline, with some "scenery" in between.

The "main road" could be mostly hidden and serve as your loop and/or staging, while the shortline would serve the industry that you are looking for.


Apr 28, 2008
Madison WI
If you want a small run-around, put in a 3-5"x3 track transfer table, with a track on the other end just long enough to hold you longest engine.
Operation: pull car(s) onto transfer table, uncouple engine, move cars to side, pull on to other track all the way accross the table onto track onto other end, couple and your engine is on the-back?-sorry. engine starts on back not front. and do it backwords the way I told you.
If you want more ideas go to:

Have fun.