Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How much space is enough?

Alright apologies upfront, I don't normally ask for advice, after all this is meant to be about modelling, not offering advice. But here I am asking something fairly simple, but complex.

A bit of background first. For those of you who've been bored to the point of REM sleep with my stories of moving, houses, building, selling etc. you know how long this has gone on. Well the decision has been made, with the cost of real estate agent fees and now stamp duty, we are going to extend. So now specifics of room size.

The magic question is... How much space do you need in a train room and why?

Yep sorry, but really I do need your help, thanks.


  1. Ooh, now there is an open ended question. I am considering the same issue as I am likely to build in under the house to achieve the same intent - a dedicated train room.

    I figure that about the size of a single garage (or large dining room) would be about right. This should give enough room for a moderate sized around the wall (with peninsula) or a central layout with a modelling/guest area by my reckoning. So, that would be about 4m x 4m in total?

    Of course, if Splitters Swamp Ck wants to go 'Empire', you may need a bit more than that :)

    Cheers, Gordon

  2. The Law of Model Railway Layouts states: 'The layout you want to build will always be 10% bigger than the space you have to build it in...' ;o) In all seriousness, the size of the layout you build should depend on what sort of layout you want and how much time you have to spend on it. I like lots of detail so I have never been interested in a large layout. Lambing Flat covers only two sides of a double garage with a penisula fiddle yard in the center, and that much has taken me 30 years to build... The best way to get discouraged in this hobby is to attempt to build a bigger layout than you have time and/or money to build and maintain.

  3. Prepare yourself for a bag of different, but totally correct, answers. I cant really give you an answer because I am still struggling with it. And I will have an 80sq mtr room, get that into ya!!!! But that doesn't mean I have to fill it, and it doesn't mean I have to build it all next week. For me layout building is a fun thing to do and I can see me doing little bits here and there for years. Perhaps the best way to do it is design what you want then design the size of the room. Good luck..

  4. Good luck on what size you end up with. We moved from Sydney to the Central Coast in Feb 2010. In Sydney I had use of a 5.9 metre by 3metre section of a seperate building. I was able to fit a reasonable layout in, but the worst of it was only being able to have 24 inch curves at maximum & I also had a fair amount of heavy grades, 1:33- 1:40.

    The move presented me with a seperate double garage seperate to the house, which had a double garage as part. The seperate garage is 6x6 metres, I wanted to extend it by 3metres for a garden shed & W/shop but too espensive, so I put a seperate garden shed in for a fraction of the price.

    The garage then became my train room, & whilst I have basically stuck to a similar plan that I had in Sydney, this size gives me more, I only have one very short 1:40 grade with the next heaviest being 1:50. The curves are 28" minimum & all the benchwork & bases are almost finished with around 50% track laid & ballasted.

    Dare I suggest that I am more than happy with that size, & while not huge, its quite ample & I could suggest somewhere around that size would be ideal.

    The thing is that my layout will not be just one for my own exclusive use but used within a group setting, thus it may be different to your needs.

    Colin Hussey

  5. Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to respond. I suppose I should keep in mind the fact that currently my 'train room' is in one half of a carport, so it won't take much to improve on that.

    I enjoy all that a Branchline can mean, so it does not need to be huge to enable me to be happy with my space allotment. A wise modeller once said to me, that we need to set ourselves up how we enjoy to model. Not to satisfy the needs of the people that may drop by for a running night, a few times a year. Along with that I'm also conscious of allowing space for others to be a part of the layout process, as railway modelling is a very social enterprise!

    The builder is putting some ideas together, and I'm asking for a space approximately 6x4m as a starting point. We'll see how the costing comes along before anything is set in stone.

    Thanks again, Geoff.

  6. Wrong question... better to ask what do you want your rly to do - a stage for a 1000% detailed micro scene, a large operating layout to run trains between source and destination, a series of switching puzzles, or layout modules to take to train shows? Also, do you require your hobby to take up how many hours a week? Do you need a work bench, lathe, mill, place for the lads to watch a DVD after operating? Answer those questions, how long you expect to live (so how much rly could be built) and how much $s you have and that'll give a reasonable starting point. Nick