Building model railroad tunnels

Henry’s been back in touch – this time it’s all about building model railroad tunnels.

I do really enjoy seeing how a layout develops, grows and changes – I think it’s one of the things that makes this hobby so enjoyable.

“Hello Alastair

I look forward to receiving your emails every day. It is always a pleasure to see what other modelers are busy with.

On my own layout, modeling South African railways, I tried to incorporate as many of our country’s bio diverse areas as possible. It ranges from very high and steep mountains to vast expanses of desert and coastal areas and also large industrial areas.

One item that was missing from my layout was a tunnel, though there are some hidden tracks.

So, I decided to add a tunnel portal to one side of the linear climb that connects the upper and lower levels of the layout.

Here is a picture essay of how it came together, and I am also posting a link to a youtube video, showing the process, including casting the rock moulds, etc. It is a bit long, just under 24 minutes.



building model railroad tunnel

railroad tunnel adding polystyrene

building model railroad tunnel

building model railroad tunnel

building model railroad tunnel

adding scenery tunnel

adding scenery tunnel

tunnel adding rock

adding rock and scenery model railrod tunnel

Now on to Lawrence, who has taken the first steps of his layout with a bit of planning and a track plan:


I Enjoy your site, keep up the good work.

My retirement will give me the opportunity to build a layout which I created on paper many years ago.

I’m still a little short on space, but I think I can overcome that problem by taking over the entire garage and parking my wife’s car outside in the driveway. She doesn’t know this yet, so I’m gonna surprise her after I start the first phase of the layout.

I’ll let you know how this works out.

My Yalaha & Shoreline RR will transport passengers from the Okahumpka commuter station to the seashore/ harbor/ casino station.

Sheets Creek Harbor area. This location will have a par 3 golf hole, a casino, a restaurant, lighthouse and a commercial tugboat business.

The Okahumpka area will have a freight terminal, a tank farm, a gas station and a chocolate making plant.

I always wanted a chocolate factory, and also be able to run 2 trains in opposite directions at the same time.

The layout is designed and ready for construction to begin. I’m getting anxious.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


track plan

A big thanks to Henry and Lawrence.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

7 Responses to Building model railroad tunnels

  1. robert dale tiemann says:

    really cool layout. i like the tunnel a lot. i was thinking of putting an under water tunnel in mine.

  2. Colin edinburgh says:

    Lawrence. Glad you’re finally able to build your layout. Looking at your track design there are a couple of items you may wish to address. You have no or at least very little train or wagon/carriage storage. I think this will frustrate you as your locos etc collection expands. You have no facility to turn a train round or run it in the opposite direction other than to reverse the train. Perhaps, a couple of items you may want to incorporate into your design before you start building.

  3. Stephen Dean says:

    Excellent example of installing a tunnel.

  4. john tupy says:

    great step by step procedures!

  5. Jim says:

    Nicely done! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Michael says:

    Nicely done since you have the time and room that’s great!! You have good ideas for making a lake

  7. Susan C says:

    Dear Lawence: Just think – once you tell your wife she’ll be parking outside instead of in the garage so your train layout can be bigger, you’ll eventually have all the space you could want! Once the divorce is final, of course. LOL. I jest… Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

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