Building An N Gauge Layout

So, you’ve decided on N Gauge for your model railway layout. Congratulations on your smart choice! You’ll be able to use the space for your finished scene to its maximum potential.

Now the most important decision is made, it’s time to think about buying and building the track.

Stuck for inspiration? You won’t be for long. Take yourself off to a local model railway club or check out the sites dedicated to layouts. Alternatively, pick up a copy of Railway Modeller from your newsagent.

New railway modellers need to think and plan carefully! Don’t fall into the trap of getting too ambitious too soon. It’s incredibly tempting to jump in feet first. Before you rush in like a bull in a china shop, do your research. It will pay dividends in the long run. Keep the following tips in mind and you’ll be on the right track.

What Kind of Layout Should I Select?

This issue should be at the top of your list. It’s the starting point for any model trains enthusiast. There’s no right or wrong layout as such. The correct choice is the one that best fits the vision you have for the finished layout. To help you decide, here are two of the most popular layouts:

Shelf Layout - consists of straight tracks that run end to end of your layout. Particularly good if space is at a real premium.

Continuous Loop - these take up more space but can look pretty stunning! You also get to add more features along the way.


The great thing about planning an N Gauge layout is product diversity. Whether you’ve got a passion for steam locomotives, 1980s products or contemporary model trains, the N gauge range will do you proud. Choose your era carefully. Although it’s pretty likely you’ll have a strong personal preference, take a bit of time to see what’s available online and in your local model shop. There’s no point picking an era only to find the products don’t suit your vision or your pocket.


Setting is another important point to mull over when planning an N Gauge model railway layout. Are you planning to create a fictional layout from your imagination? Or would you prefer to put together an authentic scene based on a real location? If you can’t decide, use a bit of artistic licence and combine the two.


These are the elements that make a model railway scene stand out. Get creative and add personal touches to give yours a unique look. Think carefully about adding special features that will complement your era and setting. It could be a busy shunting year with multiple tracks, tunnels or large modern train stations.


There’s no point planning an N Gauge layout if you don’t have enough room to operate it! You’d be denying yourself one of the greatest pleasures of the model trains enthusiast. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the fruits of your labours come to life at the end. Set aside a dedicated area for operation and make sure you can access and work on all sections in comfort.
*Don’t forget to take the position of your power points into account! You don’t want a network of ugly wires ruining the appearance of your masterpiece.

Budget Wisely!

There’s nothing more soul-destroying than seeing a half-finished track. Make sure this fate doesn’t befall you by working out a budget that takes scenery and locomotive/rolling stock into account.

That’s all, folks! Have fun and let your imagination loose. There are few limits to what you can do with a bit of planning, budgeting and creativity.