Caravan railway


Steve’s recent “Sofa Layout” was an excellent illustration of using available space if you don’t have a basement or a loft. Garages are often too crowded. I live in the countryside & don’t have either & my workshop/shed is too dirty for a model railway. My solution was to buy an old caravan which I park next to the house. At 150 pounds it was cheaper than a new shed. It is waterproof, dustproof and has tons of cupboard space. I took out the beds etc and put in some light worktops.
I was able to build a layout 14 feet long down one side, 6 feet across the top and 8 feet down the other side with room for a small workbench at the other end.

Here are some pictures if you are interested.

Baobab Junction in the Kabanga Enclave, between Rhodesia, Zambia & Botswana where the Mwena RIver runs into the Zambesi.
( this way I can run US, UK & European locos & rolling stock all given as Gift Aid to this remnant of colonial Africa).

Please keep up the great site. Thanks to all the contributors. Can we have some “industrial” cheats to download so we Europeans can use them?


How impressive is that! I loved it. Well done to Duncan. Just goes to show, where there’s a will, there’s a way…

Latest ‘ebay cheat‘ sheet is here.



PS Have a look at the video below.

45 Responses to Caravan railway

  1. What a fantastic idea. The layout looks excellent with lots of attention to detail without being too overcrowded.
    Wonderful stuff!!

  2. WoW! you’ve done a very good job and I can see you have covered all aspects of railroading. I hope you enjoy a lot more years with your railway!

  3. How did you make the curb along the street. The curb is fantastic especially with a street that looks like asphalt and the curb looks like concrete. That detail really makes the street seem so real. Fantastic job.

  4. by the way, what is a caravan?

  5. What is a ‘caravan’?

  6. In Britain a caravan is a lot like our “house trailer”.

  7. For those people in the USA a caravan is called a camper in the States.

  8. A caravan is a trailer… i.e. house on wheels you can tow behind a car.

  9. For John & Terry, it looks lke what we colonists call a camper.

  10. If i recall correctly a “caravan” is what the British and perhaps a a few others, call a “trailer”. Kinda like “boot” and “bonnet” for “trunk” and “hood”.

    Or more importantly what we Americans call trains “cars” they call “wagons”.

  11. Now that is what I call making good use of a caravan

  12. LOL…..can’t resist the temptation to pick some nits!!!

    A camper is what you put in/on the bed of a pickup truck, usually has no wheels.
    A trailer with a tongue, attached to a ball at the back of a vehicle is a “travel trailer”…..not to be confused with a:
    Fifth wheel……which is the kind of trailer that sits OVER the bed of the pickup truck, and connects to a frame bolted into the bed, much like the tractor trailer that hauls cargo.
    The British “caravan” is usually like a travel trailer…

  13. What ever you called it. The setup is great, good job.

  14. Great job done, really interesting scenery

  15. Fantastic layout! Would never have thought of using a caravan; great idea.
    It must be a few years since you lived in Rhodesia.
    Neat way you’ve placed the bridges.
    Your baobab trees really capture their majestic stand against the sky.
    Good job catching the boat design.

  16. great job. yes if theres a will theres a way. keep up the great work.

  17. a great idea using a caravan thas also what aussies call them. send more photos. can the the caravan be moved, could be an idea for going to shows great layout plenty of everything love it.

  18. The ultimate answer to portability. Ideal if you move house, just hook up the railay and take it with you!:-D

  19. Great idea! Own space and transportable!! WOW

  20. Great and great information with so much update

  21. Looks great, but some pictures from the outside would be great to put it into perspective. My wife and I live in a motor coach while we travel for work, and maybe I could talk her into something like this.


  23. And should Duncan need to move, he doesn’t need to tear it down, all he does is hooks it up to the car! Brilliant!

  24. A great idea. I even have the room for it. I’m certain my ” Building and Zoning Officer” would not approve it however, unless I was planning on moving into it. Something to think about.

  25. A great model, by the way did you remove the wheels from the caravan – I’d hate to hear about some lowlife towing the love of your life away.
    Keep modelling.

  26. WOW, well done! I love camping and model railway but never thought of combining it together! Brilliant Idea! 🙂

  27. You should show a photo of the Caravan (from outside).

  28. Excellent idea. We have a 36ft x 12ft static caravan at the top of the garden. Is there someone brave enough to tell my wife I need it more than her. I think I’ve got more chance of building a model of the London Underground under the floorboards.

  29. Brilliant, great use of any space available. You may have started something new. Would this possibly be called a “RAILER”, railroad on a trailer?
    Love it.

  30. Excellent idea and what an interesting layout, Love the use of the cupboards for displays etc. and as one other person beat me to it if you do move you don’t have to dismantle the layout just tow it to your new home, you may well have started a trend here

  31. busy for a few weeks,you are a star,fantastic work mate.

  32. your work is fantastic butiful great. love it. sheldon

  33. Absolutely Brilliant. and if you go on holiday you can take it with.

  34. I would like to add to a prior question– How did you make the street curbs? Larry from Corpus Christi

  35. Hey Duncan, your my hero. I’ve had a motor home for sale for over a year with not to much luck due to gas prices. Maybe I’ll keep it and turn it into a hobby center. I’ll move my train layout into the motor home and free up a lot of much needed space in my work shop. Great job on your layout. Paul

  36. This would be an ideal installation for a backdrop of translucent plastic material with a sky blue coloring and some indication of clouds. It would make the windows less obvious, still permit illumination, and add to the sense of outdoors.

  37. This is one for the books !
    I can see a lot of FOR SALE signs coming down.
    Sheldon, Phoenix

  38. very nice lay out

  39. Well done D. A couple of comments.
    You can now “trailer” your layout with you on vacation and have joy on those bad weather days.
    You may want to put covers on the wheels and tires to keep the sun from slowly turning them into undesirable rot.
    For log periods, jack up the caravan to relieve continuous pressure on springs and tires.
    ’nuff said on comments.
    Beautiful work on your layout.
    Bruce in SC USA

  40. looking at some of these layout pictures I often wonder “what scale is this?”

    It would be nice to know.

  41. Great for transporting to exhibitions! No set-up or take-down to do!
    Regards, Dirty Dave!

  42. Great use of an old travel trailer… sounds like you didn’t pay very much for it, either… how about a photo of the outside of the trailer? -Bob W, NH, USA.

  43. What a great idea, great thinking and a super good, loving it

  44. Curbs. Use 1/8 inch square dowels cut to length and painted off white concrete color
    Easy to age with some gray.
    Paint or use number 2 pencil to outline expansion joints and don’t forget the weeds the grow up at the joints.

  45. SUPER setup. My neighbor has offered me a free Winnebago motor home with blown engine. Thought about making a kids fun ‘guest’ house for grandkids who seldom visit. Would be great for a train ‘room’. Could mockup/paint exterior to look like a diesel loco or coach. Thank you, Steve. Would appreciate photo(s) of your caravan exterior.

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