Moving to a tiny home sized space means a re-organisation of my micro layouts.

It’s been a while since I posted a blog entry on this site, and mostly that is because there wasn’t much happening with my model railroading apart from enjoying operating my various micro layouts. But in late February 2023, things changed in a big way. We moved into a tiny-house sized space on my wife’s parent’s property. This meant, amongst other things, that I had to rethink the micro layouts I had and how best to fit my model railroading hobby in our new living space.

Over the course of about a month, I got the Brazillian micro layout set up on top of a cut-down version of the bookcase I originally had the Box Street and Pier 39 layouts set up in at our previous house. The Ruston layout, as it is small and housed in a plastic storage box, was moved into the living space and when not in use is stored under the bed. When I want to use it, I move it somewhere (anywhere suitable really) and connect the controller and play trains – about a week ago as the weather was nice I set it up on the back patio and played trains for a while in the sunshine.

Above: Brazillian Micro Layout on the shortened bookcase.

I also had to decide what to do with the other layouts. The Box Street micro switching layout and Bamboo Island Tropical Pizza layout were both decommissioned. That’s a nice way of saying they were dismantled and all the bits pulled off them that were re-usable were stored in boxes. The Pier 39 micro switching layout went into storage, mostly because I couldn’t bring myself to dismantle it at the time, and still haven’t been motivated to. The Petra pizza layout stayed intact and was placed on top of one of my computers in my work area but wasn’t really usable due to it’s location. Sometimes I look at it wistfully, remembering when I could run trains on it.

Above: Petra pizza layout, on one of my computers.

But I have a plan to dismantle the Petra pizza layout and replace it. The plan is to build another HO scale layout approximately 4×2 feet in size which will have an Inglenook track arrangement on a lower level at the front representative of a small US industrial area served by 2 railroad spurs, and another switching track arrangement on a higher level towards the back focusing on the terminus of the Petra branch as a point-to-point switching layout. Technically two micro layouts merged into one.

Above: Possible track arrangement for the 2-in1 HO scale layout

I even toyed with the idea of adding some operational HOn narrow gauge track, but I soon decided that would be folly. The scenery will probably be mountainous, as it is to replace the Petra pizza layout which has mountainous scenery. The motive power for the Inglenook trackage will be small 4 axle switchers, with up to 40 scale feet cars being the norm. The motive power for the upper level will be a Plymouth ML-8 and an NSWGR X class switcher, cars up to 40 scale feet in length being used. The layout will go in the empty shelf space underneath where the Brazilian micro layout is, as shown in the first photo in this post.

Above: Construction started on new 4×2 feet layout

So since then I’ve been building the two-in-one layout, the waiting for supplies to arrive or be purchased taking more time than the actual layout construction itself!

I also recently purchased an N scale Kato Pocket Line series Steeple Cab and 2 freight cars set and enough Kato N scale Unitrack to build a 6 inch radius loop. I have heard good things about the Kato Pocket Line sets – the locos are apparently reliable and very good at low speed, and they look pretty good too considering the price. The plan is to build a micro layout maybe as small as about 24 x 14 inches, depicting a freelanced Japanese electric railway, with a loop of track, some turnouts and some scenery as a bit of an experiment.

Above: Possible Kato Unitrack N-Scale Japanese themed track plan.

I’ve just got to decide whether to try to source a box the right size to put it in or build a box myself. So far, in my searching on the internet for a suitable sized box, it looks like I might have to build my own!

1 Comment

James, MRT · May 29, 2023 at 9:02 pm

Great article Jim, it just goes to show that even in tiny spaces, the great hobby of Model Railroading can be enjoyed. I myself had a few very tiny layouts over the years due to space limitations also. But it didn’t deter me from enjoying the hobby in other ways such as super-detailing scenes or hand-laying turnouts. I think you will enjoy the M Scale aspect of the hobby, that is my modeling scale, it will allow much more in your given space, and the equipment these days is as good or better than HO.

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