Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Build a Small Model Railroad


Build a Small Model Railroad offers step-by-step advice and instruction on constructing small railroads for compact spaces!

The 84-page special issue includes HO and N scale railroads and an in-depth look at the staff-built Virginian layout - one of the most popular and versatile construction series of the past decade.

Order your copy today »



Narrow gauge logging in less than 4 x 7 feet

This compact layout has a lot to offer

Santa Fe and Southern Pacific in a spare room

Tehachapi in the 1960s inspired the freelanced HO scale Oak Valley RR

Big time railroading on a door or two

The N scale Pennsylvania RR Juniata Division is built for mobility

Verstaile room-size layout

Two upper-Midwest railroads cross in a typical town

Lots of switching in a small space

A module that serves as a complete layout or part of a larger system

Alice Street in 4 x 8 feet

A highly prototypical N scale track plan for a Santa Fe rail-marine operation in Oakland, Calif.

Railroading on an apartment shelf

An HO short line that fits neatly along a living-room wall

How to build lightweight sectional benchwork

Combine commercially available kits with two types of foam for a sturdy foundation

Build the Virginian: Plan and operation

Part 1: Hauling coal on the HO scale Virginian Ry.

Build the Virginian: Benchwork

Part 2: Building solid benchwork that's easy to expand for our HO layout

Build the Virginian: Track laying and wiring

Part 3: Getting trains up and running on our 4 x 8 foot layout

Build the Virginian: Scenery

Part 4: Our HO scale layout gets some mountain scenery

Build the Virginian: Structures

Part 5: Coal mines, company houses, and more complete our project railroad
5 compact track plans

5 compact track plans

Pack lots of fun into a small space.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy