Excellent model railroad storage shelf

Alan got in touch. And I have to say, I agree with him. Why just dump your unused cars and locos in a box?

“Hi Alistair, I just thought that you may like to see the sought of thing that an odd mind like mine can come up with.

I wanted a storage shelf for my ‘O’ gauge vehicles and this was the start of “Justash Elf Village”, I could’nt see the point of plian shelves would appreciate all comments good or bad as we can always learn.

There are more photo’s of this and ‘Tramps End’ if you wish to see them.


And if you’re after more inspiration like this, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

61 Responses to Excellent model railroad storage shelf

  1. david says:


  2. RTURNER says:

    really a good idea

  3. kenny clarke says:

    great idea my mind is geting on a bit but certinly not as good alan,s

  4. a great storage idea,some of the cars/vans are certainly not trash. With large layout what about a multi-storey carpark to keep the stock active and enhance the scenery.

  5. Ivan Hunt says:

    Imagination is a marvellous thing. Congratulations on a brilliant idea. Quite often when we store rolling stock, vehicles etc we are inclined to forget what we have (I do anyway) This is great. Congratulations and thankyou for sharing

  6. Jake Bechtel says:

    EXCELLENT! Not only does he put his “abandoned” stock to use but he does it with skill and beauty!

  7. Stanley says:

    Or, incorporate as an above ground parking garage similar to Chicago on your layout.

  8. Peter Adams ( Australia ) says:

    Hi Alan ,, What a bloody good idea ,,, I love you ideas , please keep them coming ,,,, Peter ( Australia ),,,,,,

  9. Peter Adams ( Australia ) says:

    Hi Alan ,, What a good idea ,,, I love you ideas , please keep them coming ,,,, Peter ( Australia ),,,,,,

  10. Robert says:

    I like it
    Very inspirational

  11. Charlie Peterson says:

    Great idea! Time to get unused cars and locos out of the box.

  12. Jimbo says:

    Awesome idea. One could also go a step further and put shelves like this into a working layout.

  13. John says:

    I have seen a lot of ways to store items from a layout, but never one like this. Great work, I think this will be hard to better.

  14. Johnstuf says:

    What a great way to go! So many of us box them back up and forget what we have until we pull them back out. This way you can enjoy them all the time. Using scenery to enhance the look is another plus.

    Keep those great ideas coming!!!

  15. Dingo says:

    We hping to move to a farm soon and on this farm there is an old Nissan Hut (ex war hut for soldiers) and it’s my plan to turn it nto a musuem for scale models both plastic cars trucks and railways. This have given me a good idea on how to go about it. It’s a great set-up.

  16. Alan says:

    Many many thanks guys. There would have been a lot more to “Justash Elf” but we only had 5′ to play with. The scenery was decorated by rosemary, my wife, she also built the walls stone by stone. As for your comments, Brilliant.

    “Tramps End” is just a diorama but I’ll see if I can get it on for next week.

    All the very best guys, Alan and Rosemary

  17. Jason says:

    awesome foreign engine and cars

  18. Brian Clauser says:

    Just plain cool!

  19. Doug says:

    Excellent idea, but how do you keep the dust out?

  20. Ian says:

    just a great way to display everything and everybody gete a look not hidden in a box the background is also worth taken a look at its great.

  21. Great Ideas Here Alan! I like your Shelving Design!

  22. John says:

    Looks lovely but is it not bit of a dust trap. I like to keep my stuff in boxes so they stay nice and clean. Good idea if you need to display it all. When I get stuff out of the boxes and put it on the layout it seems fresh to see it again where as if it has been on display you seem to get used to seeing it all the time.
    But if I wanted to display it this is certainly better than plain wooden shelves for sure.

  23. David says:

    Very smart idea. That’s great that you can see every thing at one time, instead of having to dig in a box. Better for the cars too.

    Thanks for the idea.

  24. Scott Cameron says:

    A wonderful idea for displaying my out of period trains and vehicles, and other non-train related items I build.
    Thanx for this.

  25. Chris K says:

    Very timely. Thanks for the tip. I was getting ready to start building a storage shelf today.

  26. paul starr says:

    very colourful,great idea.but as already mentioned by John a bit of a dust trap

  27. Bob says:

    Very great idea. It’s the best way to store pieces not being used at the moment and allows a person to remember what is avaiable and easy to get when an idea strikes. Also, thanks Al. I really enjoy your emails and have your favorite resources.

  28. Alan Boswell says:

    Hi Guys, Thanks again for the comments, as for the dust, well we are old friends….

  29. Ben Zalewski says:

    Beautiful idea.
    Would love to see the “Tramps End” you menti9on.

  30. Paul Otway says:

    Jolly good show, absolutely fabulous

  31. Dean Douglas says:

    Great idea. My grandfather and I setting up an O guage layout and we have some shelves that would work perfectly for this.

  32. Capt. Geno says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful ldea!

  33. Brian Clauser says:

    I Like It!

  34. Always good to see other peoples ideas. From them, other ideas spring.Great to see all the articles over the last year, here’s to seeing even more. Can we see some actual layout plans too when people send in there pictures it would help ever so much to get more perspective. Also Al, please increase the font size of your email when you send it out to us all-my poor eyes are straining to see the print!!

  35. Phil Allen (NZ) says:

    Great idea i love it. You always need somewhere to put retired gear.

  36. JIm says:

    A dust trap yes, but with the blow duster used for computers, and the swiffer-type dusters, this can easily be taken care of.

  37. dave jarman says:

    when i had my lay out at my old address i used to have an (upper level) over a part of the track with sideing etc where i ( parked) all my old gear if i ever wanted 1 of the trains down all i did was alter points to which ever i wanted, never had to handle them and they were on display for ppl to see. cars where parked up there to in what someone once said looked like an area where new cars are stored..
    i`m just about ready to start a new layout at this address now got a bedroom virtually to my self.. at least 3/4 of it anyway 🙂

  38. Matthew says:


  39. Great idea. Now I have to unpack the boxes that are in boxes to see what I have… Really a nice set-up…

  40. Don Gamache says:

    Very cool. I have a lot of old Lionel and Ives stuff that would look good on shelves like that. Much better than plain shelves. Good job that!

  41. Louis Seldon says:

    Can anyone tell me the schematics for a reversing track, please?

  42. larry lumbo says:

    like your collection I wish i can followed your foot step,very nice……

  43. Vernon says:

    Great idee cool loved it

  44. John Reynolds says:

    Justash Elf Village… Ouch!
    Love the name though!

  45. William Itinger says:

    Another good idea to put in library

  46. Methuselah says:

    What a marvelous idea! Thanks, Alan. The scenic touches really improve the whole “open storage” bit. I have a space I can use just 30″ wide, 4 or 5 shelves high. Now, if I can just figure a way to do something similar, but with all my N-scale extras on one or two top shelves, and below that some of my dozens of model autos at many different scale sizes, ranging from 1:24 to O to HO to N to Z and even smaller, with many sizes between. Can I keep all that from looking like a messy hodge-podge? I must try it.

  47. GOPAL DAGA says:

    Excellent idea. It could be further improvised. Had I been you! I would have parked all the vehicles as if they are at street crossings with red signal on. However, it’s never to late. Can be organised, if you fee. Good luck.

  48. Mustang says:

    What are pilan shelves?

  49. Dave Biddles says:

    Pilan shelves are exactly the same as plain shelves after you have learned to proof-read your inserts !

    Alastair – Anyone said Thank YOU for moderating such an excellent and appreciable site. Very useful hints-n-tips which I selectively use for modelling wargames because I just ‘appreciate’ rather than partake..
    That said, have you considered a ‘bring-&-buy’ page for your “fan-club” to sell-on their surplus rolling-stock / exchange spares / or gift oddments of ??? items that other hobbyists can’t locate /?

  50. What a GREAT idea!!!!

  51. Great ideas and real nice backgrounds. The works really look good with the addional backgrounds and sidings work added. Since I’ve shelved my items NOW I can do some background work to make it more attractive. Thx for another good idea.

    Harold Jr.

  52. Larry "POTTS" Kettles says:

    Hey, this guy makes me look bad. He scenery on his storage shelves and my layout is not finished

  53. derek says:

    really good idea in fact excellent

  54. Tom Murphy says:

    Sure is a fantastic solution to that old storage problem with everything at hand, identifiable and ready to use. Great job mate,

  55. Andy Wood says:

    A great way to rotate stock on a larger layout too

  56. I need a place to store railway cars. I might try putting the railroad freight cars in rows like the lories, buses and cars. It would be easy to use my leftover sections of flex track that way.

  57. Raty1959 says:

    Brilliant looks great

  58. Laing says:

    Very nicely done are the back drops o or ho ?

  59. Chuck Reid says:

    Great idea…. like the storage solution…..thank you for sharing…

  60. What a nice presentation and excellent piece of workmanship! I’ve been worrying about how to do this for my own set-up. From the photo, it would appear that Alan is working in a fairly large scale, O or S? I am modeling in N so I suppose if I tried his approach, it would scale down considerably – or am I mis-iterpreting the photos?

  61. Derwin Emerson says:

    Still another great idea! I could even visualize the back of the shelf with a scene on it as a backing to a layout – still another useful purpose. On one side the diorama as backdrop for a layout while on the other side safe, attractive, clean shelving for the train, cars, and pieces. Never can be enough shelving for all the parts and parcels! Thank you for sharing. Trainman

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