Planning A Small Model Train Layout

C & G RR Layout

The C&G Layout by Chuck Shutz of West Palm Beach, Florida, is a great example. Click on the image to see more pictures of Chucks layout.

When you plan a small model train layout, it’s important that you know the limitations the small space imposes on you and your model train set.

Although the space you have available for your RR layout might limit your choice of scales, the major limitation is usually in the choice of themes you can model. In most cases main line model train themes wouldn’t fit.

Whereas, given that you only have a limited space available for your layout; industrial, branch line and tramway themes are possibly the best model train layout options to consider.

If you must have a mainline theme, but don’t have space for it, then you’ll probably have to scale your model train layout down. If don’t want to compromise, then don’t start a small model train layout.

There are a number of differences that you will need to accept or adapt yourself to when choosing a small layout: the curves may be too sharp, the angles of the switches may be too steep, and the sidings too short.

With a small layout everything is compressed to the max. But when you think about it, although a small layout may not be your first choice, it is better than no train set at all!

Article by Robert Anderson, author of the best-selling Model Train Help ebook.

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I am a complete model railroading novice, and I’ve started this website to share what I learn with others who are also new to the hobby and want to learn about it. I invite you to sign up for my newsletter and get the free report: 7 Model Train Mistakes To Avoid.


  1. Great job! I like the realism in how the roadway looks worn and grass in the yards looks like it could use a mower.

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