Club Exhibition 2023 – Layout Challenge

The clubs next exhibition will be on Sunday 29th October 2023, 10:30-16:30. We will again be in the Pinewood Hall next door to the Pinewood clubroom. Put the date in your diary, more details willfollow later.

And Now, A Challenge…

At the show last October, member Andy Kilpatrick noted that the smaller layouts often seemed to be attracting more attention than the large ones. This might be partly an optical illusion; after all, 2 people standing in front of a 4’ layout looks a lot busier than 2 people standing in front of a 24’ layout! However, it is perhaps also partly the result of a small layout looking like something that the average beginner can relate to, and hope to create at home. With this in mind, I would like to try to have a few more small to medium sized layouts for this year’s show. I’m therefore issuing a challenge; build a small layout and get it ready to exhibit in 9 months.

By small layout, I mean something that falls into the micro/cameo/small layout category. These have been defined as “…small model railroads, usually less than three or four square feet in area, that nonetheless have a clear purpose and excellent operating capability”. In terms of size, something that could fit into a boxfile, suitcase or (at the maximum) onto a medium sized table, such as one of those in the clubroom. It should be possible for one person to carry the whole thing single handed (folded or dismantled if necessary), and to transport it in an ordinary family car.

This would be a great opportunity to try something new, such as a change of scale or gauge. Fancy trying something in 0-16.5 or the new Peco TT:120? Tempted by pre-grouping railways, EM/S4 or the Darjeeling Himalaya Railway? Already got a loco you really like but that doesn’t particularly go with most of the other rolling stock in your collection? For such a small layout you won’t need a lot by way of track, locos and rolling stock, so why not give it a go?

For inspiration, have a look at the following websites:

One of a couple of complete micro layouts from Scalescenes that fit into a boxfile. Primarily designed for 00, but can work perfectly well with EM/S4 or 009.

Mostly US prototypes, but lots of ideas, down to shoebox size layouts.

A Hornby Magazine challenge to build four layouts, one in each of N, 009, 00 and 0.

A step by step account of building a 00 layout just 30” long.

A team of modellers built this in just over 14 hours, including converting locos and stock to P4. So no telling me that 9 months is not time enough to build something!

N Gauge coffee table layout


The layout should fit (dismantled if necessary) within a 3’ x 2’ x 2’ envelope, with a maximum length of 9’. This should include the scenic section plus any fiddle yard board(s), but not stock boxes/power supplies/extra storage cassettes, nor any support structure (there will be tables available at the exhibition).

Maximum area of the scenic section is 8 square feet.

Maximum weight 25kg (55lbs in old money).

The layout must include a length of track (points are optional).

The layout must include some form of operation, ie not a static diorama. This does not have to include a locomotive; a working crane loading/unloading a wagon on a length of track would qualify.

The layout must not have been previously exhibited.

The layout must be available for the BRS exhibition on Sunday 29th October 2023.

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