Expanding a train set.

So you have bought a train set and want to know where to go next? What turns a toy train in to a layout?


The best thing you can do is get a baseboard. you don’t need to be a carpenter. There are several companies that make high quality baseboards. The lead time is 6 – 10 weeks. Some are made out of softwood and some are entirely made of plywood. Additionally you can get flat packed kits, made to order, at a reasonable cost. For example a 600mm x 1200mm kit is £76.


Exhibitions and Museums can be a good source of inspiration. The Layout below is at the Ribble steam railway. This is a simple track plan with three ovals.

Layout Inspiration

Extra Track

Ebay is a good source of cheap track Freetrackplans.com is also useful for ideas.

Track geometry can be complicated. Hornby has four different radii. It is best to follow a design done by someone else . Then you will not be buying the wrong track and expensive points.

Types of Layout.

This is another complicated subject although there are two main types, Mainline and branch line. Ovals can simulate mainlines with an up and down route. The problem with mainlines is that they need a lot of space. The minimum is probably 6′ x 4′ . Even this takes a big chunk out of a room.

Branch lines can look more realistic, an 8′ x 2′ board placed along a wall is adequate for this. The disadvantage is that you can’t just leave a train running. If you are using short wheel base locomotives it is a good idea to use electrofrog points.