Making the 300 square inch challenge look convincing is not going to be easy. How do I make such a confined space realistic? My most recent idea….add some height. Lots of layouts in my view are too flat, with nearly everything at baseboard level. Most of my current favourites have most of the track work elevated so that it passes over bridges and sits on top of arches. This goes a little against micro layout theory where the horizontal rather than the vertical dimension is used to trick the eye into thinking it is looking at a bigger space. Paul Lunn explains this concept thoroughly in his book on Micro Layout design, a title that I’d thoroughly recommend, and probably the most thumbed book on my bookshelf in the last month.

The question is then, can I get away with an additional level of scenery? So, back to the mockup, more offcuts of timber and the third level has arrived behind the upper level passenger line. Of course one variable that I still haven’t sorted out is how high to place the passenger track above the goods yard, and that might make some difference. My current intent is that a set of railway arches will run along the back of the goods yard. I quite like the look of the Scalescenes product to do this, so it might be time to print a set out and see how they might fit.


I think the effect on the mockup is quite pleasing. The back yard containing the outbuildings will end at a retaining wall above the platform, and will add to the atmosphere of a cramped inner city location. This is definitely something to incorporate into the real thing.

The idea of mocking things up has worked so far and has really helped formulate my thoughts. I’m sure the same approach is going to continue as the layout gets built. The current project plan is to build a baseboard and lay the bottom level track and once this is done mock up the next level again possibly after having assembled a couple of arches.

Now to do something about the baseboards for real, oh…and buy a pair of left hand points. I’m sure that wont be the only thing on my shopping list for the York show on Easter Monday.

And for anyone interested here’s a link to Paul’s book on Amazon: