Model train layout ideas

I do enjoy seeing your model train layout ideas pop up in my inbox.

And Peter has been in touch with a theme that I don’t think I’ve seen before – a train museum!

I liked it for two reasons:

1) It’s a great theme to put lots of trains in a small space.

2) Layouts with a clear theme always seem to turn out well.

I know I’m always banging on about making a start, but coming in a close second has to be picking a model train theme.

Now let’s have a look at Peter’s layout:

“You have published a few of my layouts in the past….all H/O continental layouts etc..and decal application:

I thought I would have a go at some UK modelling…

The pictures are of a ‘Steam Museum’ I knocked together in a few weeks..

After purchasing some second stock from E-Bay..mostly DC with a few DCC loco’s..

The tanker wagons are ‘Roco’ European not UK….but they sort of fit in ok..

The engine shed, just home made..

The led lighting from E-Bay ‘China’..very cheap.


Peter, Liverpool.”

Steam museum

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model railroad museum theme

model train layout ideas

steam engine museum theme

model train layout ideas HO scale steam engine

model train layout ideas

steam engine smoke

model railway led lights

model train layout ideas steam engine water tower

model railway turntable

model railway sidings

rusty steam engine model railway

A big thanks to Peter.

Hope you enjoyed this one – your model train layout ideas always keep me entertained. There’s something about this hobby that gets deep under your skin – I got this from Ken that sums it up well:

“I don’t have any trains Al except a couple of used HO cars I bought at a 2nd hand store just because I could.

I’ve love trains since I was a kid in the 50’s growing up in a small town in lower Michigan with a freight line running through and a spur for the feed mill.

My brother and I walked the rails for miles in the summers. In 1960 we moved to another small down and our bedroom window was 50 feet from a DT&I line that ran a freight thru at nite around 2 am.

My brother would get a flash light out and give a couple of quick blinks to the engineer who the started doing the same. Some times we opened our curtains quietly and turned the room lights on so they could see us waving. Got the same from the cab. Made our nite and hopefully brightened up the crews nite.

When we both went to college, the line was torn out so our younger brothers missed out.

To this day, i have lived close enough to lines to hear the whistles and horns through the day and night. Always seems to be a comfort to me and a reminder of special days and nites.


If you feel like Ken, and a tinkering with a layout is an itch you really want to scratch, my advice is pick a theme and make a start.

The start is everything.

Here’s Peter’s start:

laying track  model railway

Look what he ended up with! On quite a small space too.

That’s all for today folks.

And if today is the day you press the fun button to see what you can do, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



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

model train answers

26 Responses to Model train layout ideas

  1. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Ken. Outstanding. Nothing else to say

  2. David says:

    What an excellent idea Peter. I suspect like many modellers I have over-indulged in loco purchases over the years. Sadly there is a limit to running time, yet it is a shame to keep everything in cupboards or drawers. Thankyou for sharing it.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    love all those old time locomotives with the modern automobiles .Just bustin .Lol
    The Cridic

  4. David Howarth says:

    Nice layout peter with looking like plenty of detail , and nice to see just steam layouts

  5. Dwight in Toronto says:

    Growing up in a suburb of Toronto (Canada), I could hear the night-time rumblings of Canadian Pacific freight trains running about 5 miles away. And yes indeed, it was always an oddly comforting sound, instilling the sense that all was right with the world. Every bit as calming as a good rainfall.

    Fifty years later, I’ve been living on the north-east fringe of the greater Toronto area in my retirement, and every night I’m fortunate enough to hear the 120-car, triple-headed Canadian National freights running, coincidentally, about 5 miles away. And it’s still every bit as comforting, and often makes me think back to listening in the stillness to those very same sounds, so long ago.

  6. Arthur Romano says:

    That’s quite the gaggle of steamers. Wooo wooooooooo!

  7. Bill in Virginia says:

    Fantastic concept to model a museum like that. What a wonderful way to display locomotives!!

  8. George Zaky says:

    Wow- A lot of horsepower in a small space. Some switching puzzle. Nice.

  9. Erick says:

    Looks great? I hope mine turns out that goods.

  10. Bob says:

    Great layout but, would have liked to see trains running.

  11. Mr. Ron from So Mississippi says:

    Great idea for a museum. Solves the problem of having to pick a specific era to model. Back in the late 50’s, my house in Boston backed up to the B&M mainline. Freights and passenger runs were common day and night. I don’t know if it is still running today.
    BTW, Alastair, I have been using your printed buildings as a starter. I paste the paper cutouts to 3mm plywood and cut them out. I also cut off the tabs and miter the corners; makes for a sturdier building. As for a theme, I modeled all the local businesses in my area and incorporated them into my layout, which happens to be Marklin with foreign rolling stock. Here I have mixed foreign trains with American surroundings. Talk about a theme; to each his own. My theme is one world which combines German with American and probably a lot of Chinese thrown in; China being ever present in materials used and products bought. Can’t escape them, so might as well use them.

  12. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Peter……that is really cool… must have been fun collecting those steam engines and displaying…….glad to see that old rusted engine stuck in the corner. Great job.

    Ken…..there is something about these Iron Horses that just gets in your blood.

  13. wayne says:

    great layout. I do n scale

  14. robert tiemann says:

    love those steam engines, cool lighting too.

  15. Terry Miller says:

    WOW that’s one heck of a dining room! Must be in one of those old European castles with a dining room that can seat 24 people!

  16. Old Taz says:

    Really! Really! Really! Nice. Well done! Great work man.
    So where’s the couch? (Don’t need one with that layout. )

  17. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice looking layout Pete love the steam!

  18. Garry Schneider says:

    It is posts such as yours that make me a perpetual subscriber to this very fine Blog, or whatever is the proper term this week.
    When I was a ten year old in Montclair, NJ, in the early fifties, we lived in a house pretty far up on what were exaggeratedly called the “Watchung Mountains”. Where, from my bathroom window, in the Winter, sitting on the steam heated radiator, early in the morning, I had a great view of the NYC sky line, but more importantly, a view of the Eire Lackawanna tracks that ran down below Valley Road. On cold mornings, the steam engines pulling the freights would puff up a seemingly unending series of tight clouds of smoke. They smoked much better than my Lionel O gauge units down on my set up the basement.
    Thank you for what your wrote. Garry

  19. Andrew Aves says:

    Wonderful idea Peter – Love it – Thank you for sharing it with us
    Andrew in Oz

  20. Peter Clare says:

    That’s the last layout ? – no more room for any more: The one in the dining room can be moved out if necessary..
    I have a big HO layout in a spare bedroom [Swiss/Austrian] but it is fixed. and a HO layout in the double garage, {DB – German] again fixed.
    You can see these on U-Tube under [Peter Clare] or type in ‘Tinka and Bella’ my cats, but it leads onto my other video’s..of the other two layouts.


    Peter Clare

  21. Rich B. says:

    Just amazing… almost a shame to have so many cars, roads and parking lot taking up space, too many people (Maine with refugees, building new housing complexes now). Kidding on RR, not ME though. Sure does fit with museum displays. Do believe consensus is with complete agreement here this AM.


  22. Brian Olson says:

    Now this is an outstanding idea! I’ve been to the Colorado Railway Museum in Denver several times, a wonderful collection of engines and cars. A great idea for any layout. Awesome!

  23. jjim heck says:

    Trains don’t die, they just don’t run properly. Brushes on
    motors can be replaced. mix and match components
    trains should run, not be in a museum.

  24. Don says:

    love the lighting at the depot & can anyone tell me why you never see auto haulers on the trains, there are lots of cars & trucks but no haulers to carry them?

  25. Steve Ruple says:

    Clever idea Peter, thanks for sharing.

  26. robert dale tiemann says:

    i have always loved steam engines. what a layout. steam museum, terrific.way to go.

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