HO on a shelf

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I'm considering an HO shelf layout around my hobby room; I would like to get some suggestions from you folks.

For the different size shelving, what number of tracks would fit comfortably?

1x6 shelving

1x8 shelving

I'm not considering anything fancy, but would like to have at least one track to make the entire loop, maybe a few sidings to park different trains. Possibly a double mainline if there is room. VERY limited switching since it will be above the door and windows...mainly just a run around train.

I'll do some minimal scenic'ing, maybe some building fronts against the wall, etc.

Just wanted to pick your suggestions and ideas.



Railroad Photographer
I'd suggest picking up the Kalmbach softcover book "Small track plans" by Iain Rice. It is full of shelf layouts, many great designs. Just loaned my copy to a friend earlier this week.


Michael T
I was figuring someone on here either had built a shelf layout, or had a shelf layout, and could let me know.


Registered Member
Staff member
Well I haven't built one, and for what it's worth, if it was to be me, I go for the widest boards.
My reasoning is with a little width you will be able to make it more scenic, instead of running in a straight line you can have gentle curves so that the train will appear more realistic while running. IMHO straight track is boring :D but necessary in some places



Michael T
I'll figure out the lay of the land when I can get some answers on how many tracks will fit on a 1x6 and a 1x8. Might even go to 1x10, but that's about as wide as I'd want to go for this project.


New Member
I do a shelf layout in a mobile home bedroom....rom is 9'X13' (into the closet)boards are 16 to 18" wide...5/8 plywood base....4 of my boards are 8' long....a few sectons are shorter...it goes from the door..around the room...to the same door...I can put a drop in bridge at the doorway to have continous running (circle) if I'm workin on the layout...It was designed as a swithching layout...Wabash Columbia branch...It goes through 3 walls....from the hallway (staging yard)...into one side of the closet...and out the other side....supported by large shelf brackets and 2X2 posts (legs)....MRC DC Tech II power...one P2K GP7 handles all the work....code 100 brass track...
pretty simple....

Kawasaki ZXR250
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