Model train table dust covering

Pete’s been in touch with a clever take on model train table dust covering:

“Hi Al, Pete from Fl here.

First i would like to thank you for all the videos and pictures. All i can say is WOW.

I’m new to the hobby. Started my first layout in January, n scale 2′ x 5′, good size for a beginner as myself. One of the questions i had was keeping dust to a minimum.

I goggled this question with little satisfying results. So my idea was to make a cover. I sure this idea isn’t new,but i have not seen it anywhere.

The cover is made of cardboard, 1/4″ styrofoam sheets from dollar tree. Added some ideas

to top and front. Soon realized this could be a project in itself. No scale used, just come measuring, cutting and hot glue.It works well,lightweight,stays in place, easy to remove and put back on.

Pictures below of cover and few pictures of layout and lights. Added building and towers with lights last month, parking lot lights this week.I like it. I think i’m on the right track.

Still a lot to do.Changing tunnels some, reason for no portals at this time and a lot of other things to do.That’s about all for now. Have fun.




model train table dust covering

model train table dust covering

model train table dust covering

model train

model train

layout 6

A huge thanks to Pete for sharing his take on model train table dust covering. It’s funny how after years of doing this, I still think the simple ideas are the best ones.

Now on to John. He’s made another model from the print out scenery range.

If you want to have a go at building any, you can get them here – and also in the old store here (I’m slowly switching them over to the new store. Going as fast as I can!).

And here’s some pics of the foot bridge. I dropped it before I took the pic, so the roof got bashed a bit. Sorry:



If you want to have a go at building the bridge, you can get it here.

Please do send me the pics of your handy work – I love to see them.

That’ all this time.

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get off the armchair and on to the starting blocks.



PS (Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.) Still going strong!

32 Responses to Model train table dust covering

  1. Eric says:

    Pete layout looking good, cover excellent idea for a small evenly shaped layouts. Do have one niggle with your layout and that is with the two floodlights it looks more like a football (Soccer) ground than a model railway. Streetlights are cheap on Ebay or Amazon, fiddly but better effect. Dust is an annoying problem for all of us N gauge modellers, but a ladies make up brush solves a lot of problems for lightly brushing it away, available from all chemists (drugstores).

  2. Danny Marso says:

    Pete, your layout is great, I have been out of the hobby for thirty years, just getting
    Back into it. Your cover is great, dust is always a problem ,looks like you solved it.
    Great work!

    Danny,Rhode Island
    D&W RR

  3. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Pretty slick cover….AND….Your railroad is looking very good….Mike

  4. Richard Dahlgren says:

    I think you might have printed out a track plan of John’s layout in the past.
    Is it possible, with his permission, to print it again along with the dimensions?
    I really enjoy his enthusiasm .
    Thank you.

  5. Kumar Vartak says:

    Hello Pete,
    I am from India and have a moderate Marklin HO Analog collection.
    Dust is a very big problem here.
    This a great Idea , Only I think it will be very large and bulky, hence make it in two sections
    I have a layout on an old Table Tennis Table 9 X 4 ft hence the above suggestion
    Thanks good Idea will try it out any suggestions welcome.

  6. Lee Barry, CEO LZPMRR says:

    nice cover, cheap to make. I have one for my Z scale layout. It is of LEXAN clear plastic. It is 1/2″ to 3/4″ larger than my layout and about 10″ high. I used the expensive LEXAN material so I could get it “broke-up” and only have one place to glue together on the bottom part. The top is a solid piece of LEXAN 38.75 x 28.75 and is flat. I had 4 pieces of LEXAN (2-28″; 2-38″.) broke up into 1/2 x 1/2 angles x the respective lengths to hold the top piece. So far I have had no problems. Also I had 4 pcs. of LEXAN broke up 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 12″-14″ long to use as handles to carry the top with, After experimenting with the 3/4″ angles I went to a larger size of 3/4″ (this is glued to the sides of the cover ) x 1.5″ which is used as the handle part. So far it works pretty well. I haven’t run my layout in about 3 months due to my bout with pancreatic cancer stage 4. If I knew how to transfer pictures from either my camera “chip” or from the gallery on “Z Central Station I would but I am a computer illerate.

  7. Stephen Makie says:

    Great Job Pete! Looks fantastic, hard to believe you’ve been out of railroading for awhile.

  8. Hi Pete — very nice idea of a dust cover when operating a small layout especially one that’s uniformly shaped (e.g., square or rectangular). But with larger layouts it becomes somewhat more difficult. However, an aid to keeping dust off a layout is to use a Vacuum Cleaner Micro Attachment Kit that fits and attaches to most vacuum cleaner hoses. I use it on my N scale layout a few times a year on terrain, buildings and rolling stock. You can see a picture of the kit at “” or “”. it’s under $10 from most merchants.

    By the way, light-ups of they layout are always a nice touch for dramatic effect. Good luck with your layout and keep at it. — Arnie, Staten Island, NY

  9. Hy that looks great love the way youve made it look like a building too Great Job
    all the best anthoney

  10. JERRY BIRKBECK says:

    A very timely subject. I am constructing a small terminus along the internal wall of my garaage with an off site fiddle yard. The total length of the terminus is 4.8m with a width of 0.6m. I have a real problem with seeds and dust covering parts of the railway which even after using a vacuum cleaner is still a problem. In order to create a proper setting for the railway I will be constructing a proscenium arch to provide a sense of theatre to the railway. However, this will be quite extensive and the lower level of the tracks etc is 1.3m above garage floor level and the height of the `opening’ will be no more than 450mm. The aim is to hide either LED spot lights or LED tube lights behind the upper `gantry’ of the arch. The dust etc to be minimised by using widths of corrugated clear sheeting, covering the layout on a 60 degree pitch from the wall. The two open ends will be enclosed by a sheet of MDF with two access points to link the layout to the fiddle yard. The backdrop will be curved MDF sprayed with a sky finish and a three dimension effect achieved with the townscape and rural landscapes created from cardboard cutouts either using a photographic copy of the landscape, trees and buildings etc. Well that’s the theory! Any thoughts or comments welcomed! Thanks Jerry

  11. mark st john says:

    great little layout pete
    good detail and the lighting is superb
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  12. Mark Johnson says:

    Lovely cover Pete, truly inspired. A nice little layout as well. The only issue is those lights, way too bright. Put a bigger resistor on them and they’ll be great. A few really bright lights never looks as good as a handful of slightly dimmer ones.

    John, they’re called risers and treads, but you keep calling them whatever you want as long as you keep sending in these videos. They are as entertaining as they are helpful, and your enthusiasm is infectious.

    Keep up the good work peeps.

    Mark J

  13. Jim Roche says:

    Great Job Pete! I too have an N scale layout six feet by four feet and Dust. I think I”m going to try this.

  14. Frank says:

    Pete, Fl

    Great looking layout Pete…keep up the good work. It keeps me out of trouble
    and I’m well into my eighties. For dust.I suggest using old sheels or get some on sale such as Walmart. They will collect dust and don’t shake them too much
    after awhile. Then toss them in washing machine…dust down in the drain.
    Good luck.

  15. Robert Starcke says:

    Pete: Really a neat idea! I am working on a modular layout, so I often work on a single module while the others sit on the storage shelf. Dust can be a problem.

  16. John Reynolds says:

    Great ideas here…
    The cover could be a model in itself… Well done!
    The layout it hides is rather neat also!
    John from Cali

  17. Cutting the stairs that way is hard. If you use a barbie skewer with the point as a the marker you can score the paper and fold it with no cuts at all. It will be one piece.

  18. KEITH CAREY says:

    I really like the cover. That is awesome. Really!

    I agree the lights are too bright. I am building a multi-level layout after 50 years. The way I measure inclines is the bubble on the level slides smoothly upward! Curves are measured with pivoting the butt of the tape measure with the tape extended. Just do it!

    I am buying plug-in lighting that you have to buy the plug in lights in different colors. Very costly, though. Oh, and the water tower height seems breathtakingly too tall.

    Great layout. I will tackle the styrofoam stuff for the first time. I would rather use that thin sheet stuff that looks like drawer bottom wood.


  19. James David Doljanin says:

    Good job Pete ;I like the nighttime lighting, Thanks for remembering me, someday soon hopefully I ll have a layout going for the grandkids, cant believe I was 12-17 years old with two layouts seemingly just a few minutes ago .
    J Doljanin Bridgeview Illinois 51

  20. Tom Franklin says:

    Pete, you have many clever ideas. Love your warehouse cover. Your layout looks good too! I hope to enjoy more of your posts down the road.

  21. James Richards says:

    John…. is so entertaining…. and actually makes you feel that “I” can do the same thing…… Thanks for posting his videos!

  22. Pete,

    Congratulations on your out of the box thinking to solve the dust problem. What’s really great is how terrific the construct looks!

    Many thanks for this great tip!

  23. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Pete……. great looking layout…….nice work…….I agree with someone above that the lights are to bright, but that’s easily fixed. The dust cover works well for smaller layouts but with the larger layouts, the dust brushes seem to be the best way. My layout is HO 9 x 7 and I tried with the idea of a thin plastic covering but it was a hassle putting it on and taking it off.

  24. Robert Brady says:

    Fine for N scaler’s but what about us HO er’s ? We have dust too. Lol.
    The Critic

  25. Bill in Virginia says:

    Love that dust cover Pete! Very unique and functional. I’m sure it’s a good conversation starter as you bring people in to see the railroad

  26. David V. Corbin says:

    At 10 square feet, that is a great idea, congratulations…. Alas by the time a layout [yes, n-scale] gets over 40 square feet (and has a 30″ rise above the base board – I have been searching for something…..

  27. James Logue says:

    Great ideal! Love the cover and the layout. Keep up the great work.

  28. Erick says:

    Nice workmanship, Would like to see more.

  29. $100 Bill says:

    Great idea for small size. I wonder what others may be using on larger layouts. Perhaps several small covers ? Let’s hear from some of our HoF guys,

  30. Brian Olson says:

    At one time I had a layout, and this was to keep the cats off it. I connected a large pice of sheet plastic, one side firmly connected to the back all, the front part could be lowered over the layout and secured. Coming back to run trains, I just pulled the connecting string to raise the plastic sheeting back up. Both times the cord would be secured by tying the strings to small connectors like you would see on a boat dock.

    The most ambition cover was done by a construction company who finished off our walks out basement. They loved the layout so much they insisted on building a very secure, framed would cover.

    Once the basement was finished, it was back to running trains with secure doors to the layout area..

  31. TJK says:

    Nice job on replicating a building as your dust cover.
    Lift handles are discrete on the gable rooftops.
    My layout is 17.5’ x 7’ I have to use the discarded makeup brush method, not my old makeup brushes, my wife’s. 😆

  32. Mr. Ron from South Mississippi says:

    I have my doubts about how much dust your cover will keep out, but only time will tell.

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