Small shelf layouts – Bee’s

Bee’s added to the small shelf layouts on the blog:


I started small for two reasons.

Firstly, my wife and I do live in a large house but after 51 years of marriage there isn’t a lot of uncovered space. I also had small amount of trackage and six engines from 40 years ago that was only enough to build a small setup. Three of the six engines worked so I was in pretty good shape. Unfortunately none of the old switches were recoverable.

Secondly, I had never done scenery of any kind. I was really intent on doing something neat but was not sure how well it would go. Your site was very helpful in this regard. Lots of pointers on what to do and a bit of how to do it. I was a late comer to the print out houses and such, but I did make two of the engine sheds just to see if I could do it. Although they came out great I did not find a place to use them. I am confident they or better versions will be in the next layout.

The entire layout was based on an old article I read in Model Railroader’s TRACK PLANNING IDEAS (1981). This layout was called the Gump Stump and Snowshoe. I call mine the BJandCK. This is based on the initials of myself, my wife, and my two sons.

I can’t really tell you how much actual time it took to build. It was done in spurts and sputters over approximately 6 months. My guess is I could do the entire thing today in a few days.

small shelf layouts track plan

Not sure what scenery will come out of my head, but I will cross that trestle when I get there.

Thanks for taking the time to publish any of this. Keep up the good work on the site. I look forward to your emails
every morning.


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small shelf layouts

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Small shelf layouts:

small shelf layouts

small shelf layouts

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shelf track

shelf layout 10

(images are clickable by the way)

“Hi Al,

I was able to get one of the Mobius cameras and it is impressive. It is quite small and reasonable for the budget minded. It is also small. I was able to mount it on a small flat wagon with some double sided tape. Then I took it for a spin around my layout. This time I went what to me is clockwise. Perhaps in a week or so, I will make a video other way around. I certainly found it entertaining. Perhaps your reader will also find it interesting.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Bee for adding to the small shelf layouts, and to Rob too. I loved Bee’s narrative – just goes to show the thorny issue of space is always something that gets in the way of having a go.

And I can’t wait to see his engine sheds!

Rob’s also no stranger to the site – have a look at some of his other posts. Stunning stuff.

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide – it’s the easiest way to side step the pitfalls and traps we all fall in to.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

51 Responses to Small shelf layouts – Bee’s

  1. Dave G says:

    Great train ride, thank you!

  2. Bernard Schainholtz -Still Plays says:

    Fantastic layout

  3. Terry says:

    Excellent work, Bee. I assume the layout is HO since you did not say. What ever, it is a nice track plan and very good scenery. Thanks for showing it.

  4. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks to Bee & Rob for sharing their layouts. I really enjoyed your video Rob and I’m looking forward to your next one. Also would it be possible to share your layout too. Thanks again! Rossco Adelaide, South Australia

  5. christine says:

    Video was cool but to scale the train was going like 500-600M.P.H.

  6. Ben Hawkins says:

    Looks Great,

  7. Peter Bourboulis says:

    Bee nice layout in such tight space.
    Rob terrific layout and the tour using the small video can was great.
    Thanks for sharing all.

  8. NJ Mark says:

    What a great show for an early morning. I loved both layouts!! These two modelers have showcased technical and artistic abilities that put a great smile on my face. Continued success. Cheers! NJ Mark

  9. Glyn says:

    Beautiful scenery and attention to detail Rob – as always. Also a really nice start to your layout Bee – you had a great narrative and interesting track plan. Glyn in Illinois.

  10. Dennis in Texas says:

    Rob and Bee great videos. Mobius cameras are avaiable from Amaxon and other places. I have one and use it to checkout how my track work is going. I have found problems with my trackwork using the camera als how my scenery looks from the train level. I agree Rob how about a track plan for your great layout and more picturs of your scenery, great job!

  11. Tim Morlok says:

    Both are nice layouts! Rob, I agree with the mate in the video….a little slower speed would have made it easier to view the scenery and some of the movements on curves made me dizzy. Tim

  12. tom says:

    Both outstanding!!!!!Trains run too fast!! What SCALE?

  13. Stuart Capstick says:

    Farland Howe looks even better from the cab view that does from line side. Congratulations!

  14. Frank Mucciolo says:

    Looking for all size screws for model engines, especially steam engines. I notice that on many cars the trucks are attached to the body by rivet, so if the rivet is removed are there rivets out there that can be purchased to reattach the trucks back on to the body. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Thomas Meleck says:

    Both of these layouts look terrific. Thank you for posting. The train ride video did seem a bit fast, but it was fascinating to watch.
    Thanks again.

  16. Bonny says:

    I’m with Tim and the others about the speed. A more realistic slower speed not only would have allowed me to view the lovely job on the layout but, hopefully, I wouldn’t have come away with motion sickness! But it was a nice ride anyway with really smooth rail travel.

  17. ARNIE STEINER says:

    Firstly, congrats to Bee. Very nice job for a first scenicking effort. Also think you made a nice choice of area to select to model of the original track plan given your limited space, track and rolling stock.

    And to Rob: Love the Farland and Howe layout and onboard camera ride. The layout looks different from approx. a year ago…larger (?).

    Thanks for sharing! — Arnie

  18. I’m very new at this. I’v always wanted to build a train layout. Now that I’m retired I’m building. Your pictures and etc. have been a big help. Looking at your layouts help me o just biuld. I’v had to take time off because of cancer, so now using your layout allows me to build not to much trial and error. Thanks a lot.

  19. CLARK DE MUTH says:

    Looks great layout. Only thing missing was signal lights not working and no mile post markings and quarter mile , must have these so you can tell where you are at, plus yard limits and W signs. No switch signals also. I am a old rail and look for a lot of the real things that are out there. The more things you have , the better the layout. The small things make it look more real. One item that is not there is the telegraph line poles and the dog houses along the line. Even now, these are missing now days with all things put under ground or run auto

  20. Ian Mc Donald says:

    a great bit of modelling the detail is great the video very good thanks for sharing .

  21. CLARK DE MUTH says:

    Speed was great. Looked real. Just like if you were the hog head in the lead unit.

  22. marvin ketchem says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  23. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Looking Good

  24. paul Otway says:

    Great layout bee.

    Most of todays model trains are well made. I recomend Bachmann.

    Mind you I am a member of the Bachmann Colllectors Club.

    Paul Form OZZIE

  25. Ken says:

    Your making me jealous lol its very beautiful layout

  26. Peter says:

    One of the best layouts I’ve seen on this web site.
    Great ride & terriffic scenery.
    Thanks for posting.


    what a wonderfull video and how lucky you are to have room for such a great large layout like this. i am probably like many others very jealous. but carry on your wonderfull work

  28. Paul Vogel says:

    Wow Farland, what a wonderful layout. Just added you to my list of model train heros. Thanks for sharing Paul

  29. Gavin M says:

    I think this layout allows most pensioners the opportunity to enjoy the hobby
    where space is a constraint. thanks.

  30. Russel Kunz says:

    Really nice job! Many people want to say what they think is wrong, however, I want to say what is right about your layout and the train ride.I felt like i was sitting on top of the locomotive and hanging on, great job and video. The details go on forever, don’t get worried about them. Thanks

  31. Larry Aronson says:

    Loved the “Engineer’s eye view,” Rob —

    Please post a link to where one may purchase the camera rig that you used to accomplish your amazing video!


  32. Andrew says:


  33. donj1044 says:

    A run around track would make this layout a lot more fun to “operate” try it

  34. Raymond Appenzeller says:

    Awesome train ride and layout! Thank you for sharing it!

  35. john andrew says:

    Bee you have been busy ,what a great layout, the speed of the train only means you are a very good track layer the only bit I am not happy with is that you let life get in the way of layout building for 40 years thank you and best regards John A

  36. Outstanding work from Rob! Excellent layout and video. I’m jelous!!

  37. James says:

    looks like fun

  38. Bill Riley says:


    Do you put bookshelves together? I too have limited space but many no longer needed bookshelves — so did you use the individual shelves for your layout? Either that or I misunderstood the term shelf layout.

  39. Jim AZ says:

    Nice layout, Bee. Just like the original from back in the day.
    And I’m sure Rob will slow down the running speed in future cab rides. His layout has great detail not to be missed. I know when I first started videos and cab rides on my layout, my speeds were sometimes too slow.
    Thanks to Bee and Rob for sharing.
    Jim AZ

  40. Susan Cannon says:

    “I’ll cross that trestle when I get to it.” Love it!!! Thanks for sharing. What a great layout!

  41. Bob Durino says:

    Nice layout. The origin of this track plan dates back to the very early 1960s as a feature article in Model Railroader Magazine, published monthly in the U S. The title of the article is, we’re going on memory here, is the Gumpstump and Snowshoe Railroad, a small switching layout. Check MR MAGAZINE INDEXES and you will find it.

    This is not a slam on the featured layout or builder. It’s a reminder to all, in this digital age, that the roots of this hobby go back to tin plate, Million Dollar Lionel collections, $50,000 boxed NYC HUDSON’S, and the first magazines on American HO, half O scale, or OO in the UK.


  42. Ross Johnston says:

    Hey Rob! I loved your video ride around your layout and I can’t wait to see the next ride in the opposite direction. Thanks! Cheers Rossco, Adelaide, Australia

  43. Bill McCourt says:

    Enjoyed the Cab Ride! Well Done! Does the Mobius camera also record the sounds or did you add that later?

  44. Robert Brady says:

    Now for BEE’s I don’t understand all the go nowhere layout, I do understand the lack of room. Then you show a complete layout that will take up a bit of room. What scale are you going to model ? If it’s just the two of you don’t you have a second bedroom you can use? Keep us updated and maybe it will become clearer to me. Good luck B.
    The Critic

  45. Robert Brady says:

    Bill, just like a movie cam it records / plays sound

  46. John Birch says:

    Both layouts are very good and give a realistic sense of space. (A niggle that I have with some layouts – too much track in too little space.)

  47. DANIEL SILVA says:

    Fantastic, an awesome setup. Great way to show the layout with the camera on one of the trains. Enjoyed the ride along.

  48. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Very nice all!

  49. Will in NM says:

    Bee, Great start on your layout. Always good to see someone make a start and get some trains running, even if it’s only a few switching moves. Looks like your future layout plan will be great. Please keep us posted.

    Rob, Loved the Mobius run but would appreciate it if you ran the train a bit slower so we have time to appreciate all your modeling works. Perhaps the next video will be a little slower-paced.

  50. Sparky says:

    What an awesome layout giving us all such perfection to strive for. Your cab tour was very enlightening. I can see you wanting to cover the greatest area in the shortest time. I just stopped several times to admire your work. Well done.

  51. Larry Ayers says:


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