HO shelf layout – Peter’s

Peter’s been in touch again with his HO shelf layout.

(Last time, he showed us how to add loco liveries.)

This time he talks us through his layout:

“1. Thought you might be interested in the following….

This is the smaller of two layouts I have… the other in an attached double garage…mainly German..



Bedroom layout…

What one can ‘cram’ into a 11’ x 15’ ex. bedroom..

The layout has two layers… and three tracks…

The inner track runs only on top level

The two outer tracks run on both layers…[with a double gradient at one end]

This makes them approx… 104’ long each]

Why ?….One can easily run 2 trains on the same track, with a good interval between trains..[about 80 seconds]

At a push 3 trains..

The trains approximately 9’ long [loco + 8 carriages or equivalent trucks]

The layout is Swiss/Austrian….H/O….digital sound..[in most cases]

And not reprehensive of anything special ‘location wise’..

The lighting bought on E-Bay [China] at a fraction of the cost from the UK..

The catenary is home made [Very low cost]…The posts and ‘cross wires’… just for looks..

longitudinal wiring was not done…gets in the way of cleaning the tracks..

and I have 2 cats… not a good combination..

2. Just an interesting point on model railway insurance…

I am currently with the ‘Halifax’…

Who have done in the past an ‘unlimited’ insurance on the house and contents… [including the model railways…]

But the attached garage was limited to £2000…

Even though 11 inch cavity walls [no windows] and concrete roof [no roof lights] and electrically operated main door with it’s own alarm system… and PIR’s connected to the house alarm system inside..

All the other companies I contacted, did not want to know [insure] the railways at all..

So I had to take out a separate insurance for the garage [Magnet]… who specialize in model railways..

This year however….The ‘Halifax’ changed it’s policies….now the attached garage contents are ‘unlimited’ and the policy was £100 cheaper…



HO shelf layout track plan

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO loco

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO turntable

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

HO shelf layout

A huge thanks to Peter for sharing his HO shelf layout.

I get quite a few mails pointing out cats and railways don’t mix.

But sadly, I get a lot more mails from folk who have lost their layouts, mainly due to flooding. So I thought Peter’s commments on insurance were worth talking about.

If anyone has had any good or bad experiences about insuring their layouts, please do leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

(Or if you just want to comment on the layout, that’s fine too.)

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to take those first steps for your own stunning layout.



PS More HO shelf layouts here.

Latest ebay cheat sheet here.

36 Responses to HO shelf layout – Peter’s

  1. Rob says:

    I am moving to a house which has had the detached garage professionally converted to habitable suitable for business use (photo studio). It will be my train room.

    Barclays home and contents is unlimited with no single item over £2500 for contents. I declared model railways and total value and they said collections were viewed on single item value status.

  2. WOW, Love to see all this in motion!!!!
    Farmer AL

  3. george zaky says:

    You have enticed us with your artistry and talents and we beg that you give us more such as a video with lights on. Since you have another larger layout we urge you to let us in. More please.
    An admirer of your work
    George from New York

  4. Roger Coleman says:

    An interesting discussion point on insurance is new for old cover I have some really old stuff and would not want to replace with new?

  5. Ed Hansen says:

    Just out of curiosity, Peter, how much is your total layout insured for (replacement value)?

  6. Kevin McArdle says:

    Great job, beautiful layout. Who cares if cars, engines, railroads don’t mix. It’s your railroad, all the critics can pound sand. Happy modeling.

  7. Marklin ed says:

    Are your trains MARKLIN? The layout is wonderful. Thanks again. Great looking, like to see them running.

  8. Tony G says:

    Peter, the insurance is note worthy, as I have a considerable amount invested in O scale trains and equipment . I am not on any flood areas but a fire can also wipe me out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
    Tony G from NY

  9. NJ Mark says:

    Beautiful layout, nice details. Cats and 3yr old grand nephews and nieces do not mix well. Cheers! NJ Mark

  10. Larry Kettles says:

    Outstanding. Nice work


    I see all those tankers on the edge of your layout without a fence. Do you have any accidently knocked off? It such a beautiful layout I personally would need damage control to operate such a beautiful layout.

  12. Barry S Pearlman says:

    If trains or anything else electronic or electrical get wet, (inclining cat urine) , As quickly as possible go to the store and get a couple of gallons of PURE DISTILLED WATER and dump it into a tub big enough completely hold the dirty part, RR car, loco etc.

    Soak the part for a couple of hours, then dry with a hair dryer set on low or an air gun connected to an air compressor. Don’t overlook internal parts such as motors, DCC circuit boards etc..

    Keep in mind that not all things are waterproof, such as decals, water based paint,and metal things such as coupler springs and brass parts which may corrode.. .

    Cardboard houses more than likely goners. It’s worth a try; it can’t make things any worse.

  13. Chris Rohrer says:

    I’ve just insured my collection with 120 locos plus uncounted carriages and trucks but probably about 200 passenger and 300 trucks (freight cars for those across the pond). I’ve put a nominal value of £15,000 on it. I couldn’t get cover with the house insurance, but Magnet charged £81.
    My collection comprises 50% Uk with the rest mainly Swiss but with a few German, French and US. This layout will never get finished as i will have to move in a couple of years’ time, but i’m spending the time learning how to set up DCC as I only converted lasy tear.

  14. Chris Rohrer says:

    I’ve noticed that we rarely see any Continental layouts on here. Nothing wrong with what does get put on here, but it does make a pleasant change.

  15. George Becker says:

    Very nice

  16. Thanks your e mails give me more information than others I have to pay for.

  17. Jim MacLean says:

    Really nice layout & well thought out. Could a video be in the offing? Insurance info is very informative. Jim from CB.

  18. Alan McTavish says:

    Would be nice to see a more detailed track plan.
    Great job Peter

  19. Nonny says:

    Great layout.

    Have you any idea of the gradients to / from and working head room in the fiddle / storage yard ?

    It’s an idea that I would like to work into my proposed layout.


  20. Franco428 says:

    Just how many pieces of rolling stock is on his layout???

  21. Peter Clare says:

    As the insurance for the house and contents is ‘unlimited’..[including the railway].
    I do not have to give them any figures on the value…
    Some insurance have limits [like say £75,000 for contents] just an example..

  22. Peter Clare says:

    ‘tankers on the edge of your layout without a fence’
    The layout is supported by 25mm x 50mm softwood..with 9mm plywood base..
    I have put some 2mm stiff cardboard strips along the edges 75mm deep..
    projecting 25mm above the track level and painted grey…
    Stops anything going over the edge…

  23. Peter Clare says:

    Luckily my two twin cats do not ‘pee’ on the layout, nor chase the moving trains.
    They tend to sleep on the window sill..
    There was a period some years ago, when one used to bite the heads off the telegraph poles…
    And they are pretty good with the ‘catenary’ wires..not noticed any damage to these…which is surprising when they walk about on the layout..
    I do try to keep them off the layout as much as possible..

  24. Peter Clare says:

    Are your trains MARKLIN ?
    The layout is 2 rail…
    Most of the stock is Roco/Fleischmann…
    With quite a bit of HAG/Marklin hamo/Trix…..loco’s
    I have a large selection of Swiss re 460, 465’s
    In some cases I have had to purchase 3 rail for unusual liveries and then converted them to 2 rail..[HAG and Marklin]

  25. Peter Clare says:

    The height between the 2 levels is 140mm and the gradients approx 3.00m.
    In hindsight….the height would have been better at maybe 300mm plus..which would require a longer gradient..but better access to the rolling stock..
    The trains have no problem with the current gradient…but I think they go through tyres a bit quicker….

  26. Peter Clare says:

    Would be nice to see a more detailed track plan ???
    The track plans were drawn out in ‘Corel Draw’ for A3 size printing..
    I converted them to .jpg and reduced the size to enable mailing to Alastair..
    What did you have in mind when you said a ‘more detailed track plan’ ?

  27. Peter Clare says:

    Analog/DCC ????
    Actually, my layout can run on DC or DCC….
    I started off with DC using Hammond & Morgan transformers..[3 tracks]..mainly for testing..then joined the 3 sets of wires together and used a DCC transformer/controller..
    The points are insulfrog…so if I wanted both lanes live..I used Hornby 8232 spring clips…
    But in the main I did not use these..

  28. Greg Schaefer says:

    The cantenary is Interesting. I have been wondering if I should build my Howard Street railway with dcc and just use overhead wire for show. I sometimes question my ability to get that work done reliably.
    Regarding insurance, when I had my bigger brass locomotives, Allstate told me that it was covered under Homeowners insurance, but advised me to take “lots of pictures ” to prove that I actually owned the models. Not overall views, but each individual brass engine with the labeled box that it came in. Luckily I never had to make a claim.

  29. Andreas Kilian says:

    Peter, thanks for this excellent presentation. Two things: I am toying with the idea of using the Maerklin Flex Track (2205) rather than the more common 2200. Any major negative / positive points? I am interested in your catenary constructions, such as what material for the posts and wires. Did you solder them? Any info you can send in this direction would be greatly appreciated.
    PS: have you ever visited Hans-Peter Porsche’s mammoth display?
    Thanks, Andreas Kilian

  30. Terry Miller says:

    From the layout diagram it looks as if this is a point-to-point operation rather than a loop. Am I correct or do the red and blue lines actually connect with each other on the left hand side of the layout?

  31. SealionSteve says:

    There is a computerised catalogue system available from modeltraincatalogue.com for £10.99. Although there is a fair bit of work involved typing in the details of your collection and taking the (optional) photographs, this could be very useful in the event of an insurance claim. In using it I have in effect done a stocktake of my stuff and in the process discovered a few items I had forgotten about or thought lost. Without being morbid, it could also be a great help to one’s executors! I had been toying with the idea of writing a similar database system myself but given that for 10.99 I could have 80% of my ideal, I bought it. No connection other than being a satisfied customer.

  32. WOW!!…………………

  33. John says:

    I see Rob quoted Barclays Insurance saying ‘collections were viewed on single item value status’ That could mean an access is applied to each claim. I.G. 20 Engines worth £100 each. 20 Claims = 20 x £100 less 20 x £100 Accesses, Pay out = £0. Plus increased premium next year for making a claim
    Check it out as I was caught on this with a removal insurance claim where several items were damaged or lost.

  34. Mike Balog says:

    Hello Peter:

    Wonderful layout. Wish you had a Video of your trains running. Can you tell us where the different levels on your layout are located? Could not tell from the photos or the layout diagram. Is your Storage Trackage Area UNDER the rest of the Layout? I thought of doing the same putting together a Shelf Layout with Walter’s Union Station on the Top Level and an underground passenger yard beneath it. What is the distance between your top of the layout and the bottom in INCHES for those of us Across the Pond… HAPPY EASTER OR HAPPY PASSOVER TO ALL… From Mike Across the POND in New Hampshire, U.S.A.

  35. Thomas Meleck says:

    I discovered after our house fire that my collection would have to have been collated beforehand along with descriptions, prices and photos in order to be fully compensated for financially. Fortunately, I only had a very few trains from my collection stored in our attic (which suffered most from the fire).

  36. Paul Bejger says:

    Very nice layout. A lot of railroading in a relatively small space. Thanks fir the tip about insurance. You could have a lot of time and money invested in a hobby.

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