Sunday, 31 March 2019


On the pick-up goods, Guildford shed's No. 33019 simmers in the goods yard at Porth Emmet Railway Station - click to enlarge.
Recently I was commissioned to build a traditional 5 x 4 foot trainset. I've wanted to build such for some time, so this build was going to be even more fun than usual. I have a feeling that even the most serious diehards of the hobby secretly crave a traditional trainset, though they might not mention it to their peers!
5 x 4 feet of roundy-roundy trainset joy. Operation is surprisingly fun, with much of the charm being to simply let a train run round and round and round and round and round and round.... Click to enlarge.
Design wise, seeing what could be shoe horned on to a dining room sized board without cramping things was going to be fun. With the sharp set track curves, I could have packed a lot more track in, but then I fear any lean towards 'realism' would have been compromised.

Part of the brief in addition to the set track, was to use as many pre-made items as possible, partially to keep the cost down (because I wouldn't need to charge for scratch building), but also to achieve a speedy build if to demonstrate that model railways don't have to take years. However, whilst all the tricks of the trade were embraced for rapid result, I wanted the scenic treatment to be at the same level as my more serious model railway builds.

The layout took just 11 working days, spread over a two week period. This layout will be on permanent public display at Kernow Model Centre's new Guildford store from May 2019.

Day 2 in to the build, two 5 x 2 foot boards allow the layout to be split down the middle for ease of transit. 5 x 4 feet is quite a big area to cart about as one piece. The laser cut baseboards were supplied by


  1. Porth Emmet eh? saw that.

  2. It's not the size, it's the quality. Maybe you should describe it as a diorarma.

  3. ELEVEN DAYS?!!?! Cor I feel like such a slacker.

    Beautiful work, as always, Chris.

  4. Hello Chris, I've been admiring your modelling work for some time now. I have some questions - is this layout in h0 gauge? Is it a realistic model of train infrastructure or just simplified (e.g. shorter distances, some signals or poles omitted etc.)? Hope you'll reply. Best regards from Poland!

  5. Once long ago two gents were asked to make a peco track plan and Bredon was created, this is easily on par! I have a shelf layout and wish for the day when I have enough space to watch trains go round!

  6. What a nice little layout...great detail and very atmospheric despite being a loop.

  7. This is so amazing. There seems to be so much space. I love the way you manage to create two scenes with a natural form in the middle to separate. This is what it's about and I love the idea of being able to have a train run around.

  8. Wonderful. After years of trying to build a garage sized layout and getting nowhere beyond tracklaying. This marvel has provided me the inspiration to downsize and to replicate with some changes. I wiil use 8x4 or 10x4 for main body of the layout with an L shaped extension providing a small terminus with staying tracks behind. This is to create a small "system" type layout with the illusion of trains travelling from point to point.

    Thank you.

  9. Thank you for the inspiration, Chris. I now have my own 6’ x 4’ layout in the dining room, and the family loves it!


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