Steve’s living room railway

“Hi Alistair

I sent you some photos of my front room layout some time ago in its early stages.

Here is the completed item with local train comprising of N2 class tank loco and two suburban coaches in station. Just minor finishing touches are required to scenery. I have linked up a small Mp3 player to a speaker under the church and it plays a peal of bells ringing out for the wedding party at regular intervals. There are flashing lights in the pub (like a disco). Looks good when all lit up at night.


Well done to Steve – I remember the original photos – he’s done a sterling job. Love it!

“Hi Al,

See attached images, recycled tracks used for modelling.
Hope you like it.


Don’t forget if you are heading off to ebay, save your dollars with the ‘ebay cheat‘.



PS Comments below!

37 Responses to Steve’s living room railway

  1. Bob O says:

    The diversity of small layouts are awesome. Very nice Steve.

    I had so much old straight track, plus sections of flex track that I did the same thing, only I put them in a gondola. In this case it is scrap, but will take some more and make a “new” rail load for a flat car. I also place pieces at different locations to mimic old rails that had been torn up and replaced.

  2. Anthony says:

    Steve, excellent work, great conversational piece, sounds and activity make it real.

  3. Tom says:


    Steve has one fantastic model railroad … right down to the fine detail.
    I know Steve will have many hours of enjoyment for a hobby well done!

    Thanks Steve and Al for sharing!

  4. Duncan Galbraith says:

    Hi Steve, I like this compact layout,it is very neat and looks like an interesting operation.We don’t all have basements, so it’s a great idea for a flat! Good idea to put the townscene up on the hill, thanks for the ideas, D/

  5. dave says:

    Good one Steve, fist class layout you have made there in the limited space

  6. Frank P says:

    Hi Steve,
    Now isn’t that the height of laziness. Sitting on the couch, a DCC controller in one hand, a cold drink in the other, all the while watching a ball game on the TV. : ) Layout looks great. Seems like you built in a lot of switching possibilities. Good Job.

  7. Nice layout, really! I am guessing that you live in a small place and perhaps you are not married? My wife would not allow me to upper part of the house, only a portion of the basement to have my set up! I am jealous that you get the living room! How did you do it? Just joking it is amazing what you have accomplished! Well done!

  8. Well as I’ve always heard Older modelers say, “if you really want a layout, you’ll find the space somewhere, that’ll make eveyone happy” (“The Other Half”) and they may even become to enjoy it. This is one of those occasions, well done and I hope your other half gets involved in the future, well done, Steve, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  9. paul Otway says:

    Neat layout.

  10. TOM says:


  11. chris says:

    Great idea and very impressed at what you can do in a compact area

  12. Steve Helm says:

    Thanks for all the comments folks. I am divorced which gives me total freedom of my flat. I am also disabled and have limitations on my mobility but I have plodded along at my own pace. It has taken me 18mths to get to this stage and earlier this year I fell and broke my wrist (8 weeks in pot) but despite that I kept going at it. The layout has still more work to be done but I am running trains on it daily now and enjoying every minute. Thanks to you all. (Not forgetting you AL).

  13. Andrew Lord says:

    Congratulations on a magnificent layout. You have proved that despite your mobility limitations anybody can do anything if they put their mind to the task. Enjoy the layout and have fun.

    Andrew Lord

  14. Robert Arnold says:

    Your hard work and effort has brought you the attention and notoriety you so well deserve. Your regard to detail is an inspiration to us all. Keep up the amazing work.
    Regards from Canada.

  15. david says:

    w,ell done ,what a layout,do you think you will extend the layout in the future if you do can you show us ,how you extended your layout,thanks and well done .

  16. Glenn Roach says:

    I did not look at this the first time it was avaible. But I am looking at it now and what I read is a true inspiration to any/all to show that it can be done.

  17. Tom says:

    Today I was taught something very important: I learned some much needed humilily
    If it were not for Al’s website: Steve your imput on the website I would not have had this opportunity.
    Steve: I tip my hat to you and shake your hand for a job well done.
    Thanks Steve for enlightning me about triumph over adversity. It is dedicated people like you that makes this hobby: model railroading: one of a kind. I am truly impressed!
    Al: Thank you for this wonderful website and your work in sharing what you receive: This is a favorite spot for me.
    From the comments of so many people dedicated to model railroading has not only given me more enthusiasm in my N scale model railroad: but many tips to use as I start to build it.

    Thanks to Al: Steve: all: for sharing



  18. greg gaal says:

    Al, gotta love ya. All has the innovative touch. Always. Thank you. Greg- USA.

  19. Andrew says:

    How anyone short of an Olympic gymnast could bend, twist, reach, touch and build that layout is a wonder! And you confess to mobility problems. You sir are in ispiration to us all! Keep up the good work, a brilliant layout in restrcted space, very imaginative to fit so much in.

  20. Lee Barry, CEO LZPMRR says:

    what gauge is this. I’m into Z and my layout is only 37 x 27 10 and too large for my LR. Super nice job tho.

  21. George Jarry says:

    Dear Guys,

    Sorry to be the only negative observation, love the design, almost perfect details, but my wife would kick me out of the living room! model and all!


  22. Robert Shuman says:

    Very well done. Great load for a flat car!

  23. Stan Roelker says:

    It is amazing the effort people put into finding “space” to build their railroad, their passion! And I continue to appreciate the fellow who puts this website up. Thank you and keep it up.

  24. Fred Pohl says:

    Hi Guys I have seen some awesome layouts in my time Its amazing how You can build around the sofa in the living room I was at DIsney’s Epcot Center on Orlando
    Florida and they have a very Impressive “G: Scale layout at Epcot and I can realte to it I was posted to Germany in my active Army days ANd I shot a lot of 35 mm color slides of The Deutsch Bundesbahn (German Federal Railway ) off duty many a time I would go to the main depot of Bahnhof as they call it and it was amazing how many moments I captured there If you come to the Orlando area we also have our Commuter Service SUNRAIL up and running

  25. michael raphael says:

    This must be a Pullman car layout…LOL

  26. Brad says:

    I am into HO scale but was thinking about,if done correctly,adding an N scale to appear to be “off in the distance” It would require artistry I do not have,but possibly a thought for someone.Or if you have N scale,a Z scale “in the distance” could work as well.It would be tricky depth perception beyond my capablilties,but having seen some of the work on here,I’m certain someone with expertise could pull this off

  27. Michael says:

    Any chance we can see LARGER images? Thanks!

  28. Mike Ilkenhons says:

    Steve: I couldn’t get away with that place for a layout. My wife has a lot of pull when it comes to “room use”. However, as a retired golf instructor, I converted my golf room to trains. My layout tKes up half of the room. My racks of clubs are in a closet, sold or gave away memorabilia. Loving every minute of getting back 8nto model railroading. Nice work on yours… and the built in “observation lounge” fits perfectly…👍

  29. Skip Duld says:


  30. AL, Thanks again for your efforts!! Hats off for Steve for his living room layout. He
    is a man of many talents. Being an old electrician, the first thing I look at is the
    control panel. Steves looks superb . and he only used four ac plugs! Thanks
    again to Steve for sharing…..RJL ….Ohio USA

  31. Andrew says:

    Great layout and I would love to see a track plan

  32. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    The first thing that comes to mind is you must have a very understanging wife. Hope she enjoys this well done railroad as much as all of us.

  33. Jim Gerstley says:

    nice layout. Thanks for sharing. Love to see the track plan. If I had enough space, I’d put in some prototype radius curves instead of just straight track, even if only turning 20-30 degrees or so. But realize not many, including me, have that kind of space.

  34. Dan Williams says:

    Brad, I am working on setting up a new layout table and I plan to do what you said. It will be HO with an N running in the background as if off in the distance. Hope I can pull it off.

  35. Bozo says:

    Nice. But I bet Steve not getting any now!

  36. Donald Corinna says:

    Looks great! However, I have 2 -4×8 layouts with problems at turns. How do you manage rolling stock on 15 in. curves? Am looking for pass cars but am advised need 20 in. or more radius, Thnx, Don Corinna

  37. HAL says:

    I really really wish your photos would get bigger when clicked on…isn’t there any way that could be accomplished?

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