Suspend model railway from ceiling – Ian’s

I always marvel at what’s in my inbox each morning. A suspend model railway from ceiling? No problem, here’s Ian’s

“I have been building this layout over the last three years starting at the age of 65.

It is hung from the garage ceiling on four steel rods and can be winched up to allow my wife to park her car.

The board is 8X4 feet. Because of the tight curves I have used a number of diesel locomotives. I hope it is of some interest to your members.



suspend model railway from ceiling

suspend model railway from ceiling

suspend model railway from ceiling

suspend model railway from ceiling

suspend model railway from ceiling

model train track plan

Now on to Dangerous Dave, who has been in touch. I think he’s been on the sherry again:

“Hi Al

Not a lot happening as yet …been away on holiday ..then been doing a lot with my Koi Pond to day first time for a while got to visit my loft and Model Railway …I have a new Loco coming this next week the Class 43 HST which of course has had a lot of publicity this last few weeks as its the 40th Anniversary of this famous High Speed Train …but to be going on with I have just made a fun video trailer which I am sure a few will find amusing !!



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

“Iā€™m a 3 rail O gauger. I use Gargraves track and turnouts. I use chicken grit for ballast and paint the platform an earth brown. I decided that it is to critical to attempt ballasting the point area. Everything else gets ballasted and no one notices, or if they do, do not comment.

Thanks for the tips.


“Hi Al, I want to tell you about a rack I made to reduce neck strain while working on couplers and upside down ho engines. Can you help with that?

Tricky Dick”


A big thanks to Dick, Ernest, Dave and to Ian for sharing another suspend model railway from ceiling on the blog.

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.

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

30 Responses to Suspend model railway from ceiling – Ian’s

  1. NJ Mark says:

    Great layout, Ian. I like the “suspense” . Dave, it is always fun to watch your videos. Cheers! NJ Mark

  2. Raymond Bove says:

    Hello Ian,

    Congratulaions on a vry nice layout, lots of atmosphere, nice tracklaying and ballasting. But ho did tou “suspend” it exactly? It’s something I’ like to do in my loft.


    Hello Dave,

    Always envoy your videos. I had been missing them. Thanks,


  3. David Hannan says:

    Looks fantastic Ian!

    Would love to see a video of the lowering mechanism and how you fitted it.

    I have done something similar in my garage with pulleys – not for a railway but it could be adapted.


    Dave H

  4. Nice your layout Ian brought some memories for me as im 63 and when i was 12/13 my day made me a 6×4 layout that layed on my bed to play with and it pulled up to the ceiling for me to sleep it was on ropes and pulleys

    thanks for sharing Paul

  5. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Very nice layout with excellent detail

  6. Phil says:

    Ian – great idea and looks good. Can we have details of how you suspended the layout and arranged the winch please? – and a track plan of your layout would be great.

  7. Gerald says:

    Another great video by Dave. Making trailers for movies could be your next career.

  8. Macbear says:

    Totally agree with earlier contributors. I particularly like Ian’s final picture showing the stream and works. Dave’s “time out” has been noted, but a great clip to dispel the grey, showery skies of Norfolk this afternoon – many thanks.

  9. gary schlesinger says:

    how does one keep the layouts free of dust? and, if not, how are the layouts cleaned to rid them of dust?

    if this one is in the garage, and as large as dave’s is, how are they kept clean?

    my layout is still in my head but i have plans. thank you for these wonderful pictures and videos.

  10. Chris Rohrer says:

    I love Dave’s videos, but for the first time, I found a glaring error. Freight is spelt freight not frieght. Keep them coming. My own layout has only been 4 years planning and 5 years construction. Now that i have retired, i am spending more time on it. The main track is laid, just 20′ (6m) to go and finish wiring up the point motors, ballast the track, put in the platforms, buildings and signals. This site inspires me even though my finished result will not be as good as those layouts featured. Keep it going.

  11. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Looks Great

  12. Ray Suckling says:

    I too am building an 8×4 layout as I am restricted for space as well But have chosen to build it on castors with sides and a top to keep the dust to a minimum. It would be nice to see a plan of the layout as it is always good to see how others tackle an 8×4. I am modelling in the steam era and know just what you mean by tight curves. I will send in some pictures when it is a little more advanced.

  13. robin hallam says:

    Even small can be made to look big.
    what is gauge you are running and like others, how did you arrange the winch?
    very well done.

  14. Curly Dave says:

    Excellent detail Ian very realistic.

  15. Rod Mackay says:

    Ian, lovely layout, beautifully scenicked, it really looks “together” which is no easy thing to achieve. One issue, however, that really stands out – those signals with the yellow arms with black chevron and fishtail ends, are “distant” signals, used only to give a driver advance warning of whether he needs to be ready to stop at the subsequent red stop signal(s) protecting a station or junction ahead. Most of your signals need to be red ones, to stop trains running onto facing points that haven’t been set for them, or stop them coming out of lines or sidings onto a route where another train may be approaching. Trains don’t stop at the yellow ones, they’re only a warning, usually a mile or so from any junction or obstacle and out on plain line. All the best,
    Rod ( ex-signalman)

  16. Ben H says:

    That looks good, I have though about doing the Same thing in my garage, This is the first one I have seen like this, glad you sent it out.


  17. Mike says:

    Very nice…I really like your local coal supply yard…..Mike

  18. Ian Mc Donald says:

    what a great layout. another great video.

  19. Ian says:

    Thank you Rod I wil try and sort my signals out.
    Thank you everyone else for your great comments
    on my layout I appreciate them. Ian

  20. Ian says:

    The layout is OO. I have sent Al a photo of my
    original layout plan. Regards Ian

  21. Max Richards says:

    Hi Alister, My first email to you! From Oz.
    I thought I would let you know what I do for Ballast and Dirt and a thought about security fencing. If I can make it myself I will.
    I came across this idea for dirt…use dirt! How you ask…? well my driveway is all crushed granite and when I looked at it I thought I could get some dirt from it. A shovel full through a fly screen as a sieve gave we a fine stoney dirt but I thought I needed a powder. Enter my wife’s old stocking. I sieved it through that and I had the dirt powder I wanted. Then paint the board with watered down PVA glue and shake the powder on. Dirt! When dry I put glue again and then grass to finish the job. Looked great too. The grit left over was the perfect ballast!
    Then the security fence. I found some 1 inch square wire mesh and thought that would make a great fence. Then glued some fly mesh onto it after cutting it diagonally. then some silver spray. great fence!
    I run an HO gauge.

  22. John Simon says:

    Hey can somebody post a diagram or more photos of these suspended layouts. My basement has a small footprint but has a 20′ ceiling. This would be ideal for this location. I gave my last layout – 16′ x 20′ on 6 “tables” to a local club when I moved from the East coast to the West Coast and now am starting an N gauge layout.

  23. James Marek says:

    Ridiculous video!

  24. Dave, I can see that you truly enjoy life. Charlie

  25. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Ian….great job….layout looks great……and what a fabulous idea in the garage.

    Dave….great video as always. Wish I could get that quality.

    Tricky Dick….nice work station. I always have trouble with changing couplers.

  26. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool. I hope mine turns out as good as yours.

  27. Jim Sutterlin says:

    What happened to Ginger
    I’d be interested in seeing how you raise and lower the layout using rods
    Jim S

  28. Bill Holmes says:

    Ian awesome layout, I would like to see pics of the mechanisms you used to suspend it and raise and lower it.


  29. George Moffatt says:

    gary schlesinger ,

    First, to keep dust down in a garage, paint the floor if it is bare concrete. Concrete can be real dusty.

    Consider cloth-type shower curtains hanging from long plumbing pipes attached to the ceiling. The cloth type com in a variety of colors and hang neater than the plastic when they are pulled open.

    Also, I’ve seen curtains that hide stuff under the train table that are lifted up and affixed to the ceiling by hooks when the layout is being used. Usually, small wooden or metal pipes sewed along the bottom of the curtains that can be attached to the ceiling hooks. The curtains also make a nice valance when operating the layout

    Also, buy a good electronic dust collector or two, depending on the size of the layout, for when the garage door is open or you are doing other work.


  30. TJK says:

    Dave is the best!
    Who knew he had a little James Bond 007 in him. šŸ˜†šŸ˜„šŸ˜†

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