Some Ideas For Expanding Your Model Train Layout


There comes a time in every good man’s life when they simply must have more. No getting around it, no sugar-coating, no skirting the issue. Your model train layout simply needs to expand, and there is no time like the present!

While this is a fun thing to think about, expanding your model train layout is something that will require a lot of thought and imagination. There are more than a few things to consider. First and foremost: space.

To find the necessary space to expand your train layout sometimes you might need to look beyond the obvious. While your present layout may have taken all the space available in it’s current location, you need to think out of the box for a successful and creative solution. Here some ideas that will get your gears turning and help you come up with an expansion that makes sense and at the same time adds to your overall experience.

A new house! Okay, probably not the most practical solution, but if you do happen to be moving anytime soon, you will definitely want to consider how your model train layout can fit into your new abode. But for most of us, it’s a matter of using the space we are occupying now.

Obviously, if you have enough space in the room you’re now in, you could simply expand there, either with an added table arrangement, or possibly on another level, or maybe both. Remember to keep any grades you build into your layout sane, so that there won’t be any problem pulling a long train.

An adjoining room might also furnish a solution. I’ve seen layouts where the action continued through a wall and into the next room, as if entering a tunnel and coming out the other end into a different room. With this arrangement you can keep the same theme, or switch up if the trains and rolling stock make sense there as well.

A long running track, throughout the house can be done, but it’s difficult to theme this in any meaningful way, (unless you want to theme the whole house!!!) and it’s more to show off the trains themselves.


Another complete new layout in another room would give you the ability to change things up completely, or show a different aspect of your current theme.

Changing your location to an outside venue will open up whole new worlds of possibilities. Just be aware that much of your scenery may be living and will require more maintenance than artificial indoor models. (Of course you don’t HAVE to do that…)

Of course, you need to think about how you want to enjoy your passion here. Do you want to shuttle from room to room, or even outside? What do other members of your family think? (You did ask them, didn’t you?) How much will it cost? How long will this take and do I want to make this kind of investment?

As you can see, the answers are only limited by your imagination. The key is to spend some time, do some serious planning and see just how you can make this expansion of your model train layout a success!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Grant November 2, 2007 at 9:20 am

Time to expand! the table (2×4′). It just isn’t working. This got me thinking about a new expansion plan…

Devon Graff November 4, 2008 at 8:07 pm

I’m pretty sure I’m ready to take my model railroading to the next level and actually building a table for my trains. I’ve been into HO model trains since I was 8 years old, I’m now in middle school and I’m getting tired of running my trains on my bedroom floor… I have little or no experience with actually building an HO layout so I’m looking for as many helpful tips as possible before I get started. So if anyone is willing to give me some advice I’d very much appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Devon Graff

Sid Busick November 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I am not currently a train modeler. My Dad use to do this when I was just a tyke. I am planning to build a new home. I would like to do a whole house train. Themes are not somehing I have entertained. One train with 7 or 8 cars running on a single track going from room to room. Whistling, Clikety-Clack, a headlight, some working mast arms, a suspension bridge. Is there a plastic see through base where I can mount the tracks and see the whole train operating near the cieling?

Brian January 7, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I’m ready to expand. I don’t have much room though. I have just under 4′x6′ of space. It’s an HO layout that is only a 36″ circle. Any ideas?

wilburr January 15, 2009 at 9:15 pm

i have a basic loop on a higher lvl and want to do ops on the lower level. nice concepts. keep up the great work.

Brandon December 24, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I hope soon to expand my 3×7 table some day… just dont have room in the basement..

Nick December 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

i was wondering if someone could help out with my railroad. one thing i need help with would be the mountains can anyone give me a material to use.
i thought of using pink foam. would that work?

nick December 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

i want to do some weathering when i get some cars and trains egines.
i got this site from a friend of mind and he said that you might get me a weathering kit and send it to me.
would you

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