James’ N gauge

“Hi Al,

This is my 2 mm (‘N’ Gauge) micro wagon repair shop layout.

It is based around the traditional inglenook track plan with magnets buried under the track for automatic uncoupling.

I built this layout when I was about 16 and had a free weekend. I found a short odd shaped piece of wood in the garage and thought ‘I can get a layout onto that’.

The whole project was ‘completed’ (we all know a model railway is never finished) in about 10 days with a few extra bits of detailing added, such as the spares on the pallets, as time went along.

The whole layout was built using a mix of heavily modified kits and pre-built buildings from Peco, Bachmann & Hornby with some scratch built items such as the shed ‘spot lights’, point levers, signs, wagon spares and general line side clutter.

Sadly the layout hasn’t been used for a while so when I put power to it I discovered that not all the lights were working. Namely the interior shed lights and one of the yard lamps in front of the shed, so the layout doesn’t look its best in these photos but I hope you get the idea.

I hope you (and your readers) enjoy viewing this layout


James C”

A wonderful N scale (I’d go blind making one like that). But it got me thinking. The smaller the layout, the easier they are to store and sell.

That’s all for today folks. But don’t worry. Back tomorrow.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you grab your dreams by the scruff of the neck, 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.

31 Responses to James’ N gauge

  1. george says:

    good job.

  2. Don Ripper says:

    Hi James,
    How do you do it? A lot of N scale stuff is just too ‘chunky’ to look right but your fencing and lattice-work lamp posts are spot on. Let us into your secret?

    All the best, Don

  3. Nice job you have done there James

  4. Hi James, Wow it just shows what a bit of imagination can do, even a small layout can have a practical use, awsome work!!!

  5. bernard the smith says:

    Well James , once again words fail me . I wish,I wish!!
    in the mean time i,ll carry on with my “large ” N gauge layout , it measures
    3ft by2 ft. so by comparison to James its almost roomsized, never mind about the billiard table
    with all my best wishes and regards to you from Bernard

  6. steve says:

    Very good job. Gives me some ideas for my 2foot x 4foot layout. Thanks.

  7. Roland Burch says:

    Great job James.

  8. Glenn Roach says:

    A good looking layout. If you make any expansions keep up the good work on the scenery like on the original it will look great.

  9. Joe Porter says:

    What a fantastic model

  10. James says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Don, All of the fencing is etched brass (that I picked up from Warley show) and the yard lamps are from Viessmann (product codes: 6532 & 6531).

    They are pretty good but are a little fragile so be careful when fitting them.


  11. tuckman says:

    I think you all hit it on the head.great job.

  12. paul Otway says:

    looks good amazing what could be done with small scales.

  13. THOMAS says:


  14. chris says:

    A very nice job done, like the detail for such a small layout

  15. Rod Mackay says:

    Lovely job James. My signalbox overlooked a wagonworks for years, and I used to love watching the evening shunt. The beauty of a wagonworks is that each vehicle would get shunted several times, eg for inspection, then to the lift shop for a spring change, then to the air brake test road, then to the paint booth… great for getting extra shunting out of a small layout.
    Every now and then, as I sat in the window with a hot cup of tea, watching them work in the rain, one of the shunters would yell “Haven’t you got anything BETTER to do?” Errr, nope…

  16. litacats says:

    Hi James. what a great idea you have and a great layout.
    we are ho scale but we accidently bought a wonderful train the royal blue but it is only n scale so we are going to incorporate it at the back of our layout. I would love to have a whole N scale layout but we need to finish this one first, Oh dear there lies the problem when does anyone ever finish a layout.

  17. JACK says:

    very nice work, keep it up.,
    best regards

  18. Ken Hecker says:

    James, that’s a wonderful 10 day project. Amazing how much detail can be compressed into an N scale layout. Any chance you might be considering expanding on this into a larger layout? I’m too much of a klutz to work that small (I’ve killed a ready made N layout, and failed at HOn3). Now I’ve chosen On30 for a couple dioramas, with the intention of turning them into a layout when my wife isn’t looking. Since I’m 66, I should actually finish by the time I’m 80. Oh, right, train layouts are never finished 🙂

  19. Richard Sappelli says:

    It is truly amazing what one can do in such a small scale. You have got to have talented fingers.
    Good for you and great work.

  20. George Hewitt says:

    Inspirational. Motivates me further to get back into modelling.

  21. Jim says:

    Neat stuff!!!! Love the fine details.

    Jim AZ

  22. Cary says:

    Very nice, a fun project without the commitment of space and cash, just the fun part! Love it, considering something similar as a break from my large scale garden railroad project. Thanks for sharing James! Cary in Kentucky

  23. tom in az says:

    Like Al I have enough trouble with HO. By the way how old are you now? 16 and a half? You must be to have the eye sight to do this. Great Job. Tom in Payson AZ

  24. imthepoppa says:

    I’m in awe!!!! i truly am inspired.

  25. Barry Hespenhide says:

    Excellent job to say the least

  26. Very nice usage of space. Lightning is nice and okay. In this real era few can afford to leave many lights on.Oh oh, I’m getting political….Thanks for the view.

  27. Kaustav says:

    Great job! N Scale models have come a long way in terms of details and functionality and this is the proff that it can be built to a very fine standard. Really enjoyed the micro. 🙂


  28. Frank says:

    Wow, that’s so cool. You took a small piece of wood and maximized the real estate without cramming it full of stuff. You made do with what you had and did the same level of work as someone would do on a larger layout.

    Sometimes less is more.

    Frank in Orlando

  29. Vernon Paulson says:

    Dig the inspiration when you were 16!
    Your vision(not eyesight) for this layout is really cool.
    I think perhaps you have inspired me to actually look at my trains and get started.
    Thanks, man, appreciate the share,
    Green light on. go

  30. Brian Olson says:

    Love it!

  31. matthew p schulze says:

    I LOVE the attention to detail… Thats what really makes these layouts come alive….big or small.

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