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Small layout, big opportunities

No matter how much space you have, there are ways to make the most of it. In this photo of my layout under construction, you can see how I planned for adequate aisle space and even a workbench in my small layout room.

I’ll be co-hosting a new show along with John Farrington and Scott Thornton called, Small layout, big opportunities, on the Model Railroading Live YouTube channel. William “Big Bill” Graham will be the moderator of the live broadcast for the four part series that is scheduled beginning Saturday, September 12th at 9 PM (EST). While the main focus of the series is on smaller layouts, much of the information can be applied to any size layout. Each show will focus on a different topic of designing, building, and operating a layout.

John Farrington's Somerset Industrial Complex layout demonstrates that you can have lots of operation in a small space without overcrowding it.

The first show will be an introduction to building a small layout. We will discuss building an “achievable” layout, given the space and needs of the modeler.

Show #2- Designing a small layout. Factors to consider when designing a layout including track planning, industries, and construction methods.

Show #3- Operations on a small layout. Adding time to an ops session by incorporating prototype procedures. In addition, we discuss switch lists, crew size, and other ways to improve operating sessions.

Show #4- Operational details and super detailing. Operational details add realism and time to an ops session, while super detailing can enhance your model railroad.

One of the best features of doing a live show is the capability of the audience to ask questions and make comments. Big Bill will be monitoring the chat and will ask questions to the panel.

I hope you can tune in and watch the four part series live on Saturday nights at 9 PM (EST). If not, the episodes will be available on the Model Railroading Live YouTube channel for you to watch it later. Here is a link to the Model Railroading Live YouTube channel.

Until next time, stay safe and I hope to see your comments on the broadcast.

2,017 views5 comments


Alex Bogaski
Alex Bogaski
Sep 12, 2020

Looking forward to it, Tom! Should be very interesting!


Michael Armstrong
Michael Armstrong
Sep 11, 2020

Wow, Tom, that's great to know that you'll be co-hosting the YouTube show. I'll certainly try to join-in if possible. Best wishes for a successful first show! Mike


All us old geezers are always home at 9 on Saturday night! 😆 Looking forward to watching.


Living in the UK I won't be able to catch this live (2 am here). However, I will definitely be watching it later. Looking forward to it. Lee in UK


Tom Oconnell
Tom Oconnell
Sep 10, 2020

Tom, best of luck on the you tube show. I will try catching it live. Regarding your layout, I never thought of it as small, but your central aisle and work bench picture really show that it is. The photos of your layout and the exceptional scenes over the years always have the feel of a large layout. Thanks for sharing

TomO in Wisconsin

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