Copyright 2002 T. Sheil & A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved

All Gauge Model Railroading Page

Doorway layouts

Small model railroads that offer tons of fun!

An old but effective trick for making a small layout is to build it on an old door.  Layouts of this sort are usually made for children, or are set up during the Yule holidays.  Some people use these doorway layouts as portable displays.  While serious model railroaders strive for larger areas, the doorway layout is a good way to have a permanent, portable layout in a small area.

The original doorway layouts were simple ovals of O27 track.  O27 is the most versatile track system for this peculiar type of miniature railway.  It is sturdy, and its tight curves and shorter straights allow plenty of action in a very small space.  The only scales more suitable for small spaces are TT and N.  (We have covered small layouts of this size in their respective sections already.). However, their small size makes them vulnerable to misadventure.  For that reason ,the larger scales tend to fare better when mounted on a door.

Classic O gauge is not quite as versatile, requiring a door with a minimum of 32 inches of width.  MTH's O track is even more difficult, being more rigid when connected and difficult to use in under 34 inches.  Atlas O is an anomaly.  Atlas produces a good 27" diameter curve, but its smallest switches have a curve of 36 inches.  Using Atlas O for doorway layouts is challenging, to say the least.  The same goes for HO, where tighter 15" radius curves by Atlas must be used instead of the common 36" radius curves.

The main problems with doorway layouts is in the trackwork itself.  You may have to cut track to make it fit, or fudge it into place.  Cutting is not all that hard.  A hacksaw can do the job with classic O and O27, while the Atlas "snap saw" can be used for nickel silver and brass track.  It takes a bit of work, but the end result is a permanent layout which offers hours of enjoyment.

The doorway layout can be set up easily, stored easily, and transported with little fuss.  Though small, it has interesting applications.

Note: on most layouts, we have used buildings and scenery.  You may have to adjust them differently.  These buildings and scenery are not "official."  They are but one example of the many ways you can scenick your own layout.  Their intention is to show you what can be done.  Also, with O and O27,there are operating accessories available.  Not only can you replaced buildings with these action trackside accessories, but we recommend it.  A few accessories added to a doorway railroad increase the fun.

We have used three different widths for doors: 30 inches, 32 inches and 36 inches.  The width used for a particular set of layouts will be stated in the heading of that particular set.

As if that were not enough, we have added Expanded Doorway Layouts using two and three doors.  These allow you to expand your model railway the easy way!  You will find them below the links to the regular doorway layouts.

Find the layout size and track system of your and click the appropriate link below:

30 x 77 inches 32 by 77 inches 36 by 77 inches
O27 layouts O Gauge (O-31) Layouts O Gauge (O-31) layouts
More O27 Layouts Atlas O Layouts O27 Layouts
Atlas O Layouts Atlas O Layouts
More Atlas O Layouts HO Layouts
MTH Layouts

Expanded layouts - click the links below:

Expanded O27 Doorway Layouts Expanded O Gauge (O-31) Doorway Layouts Expanded HO Doorway Layouts
Extra-Large Expanded 027 Layouts Expanded Atlas O Doorway Layouts

Animated Doorway Layouts - click the links below

O Gauge Animated layouts O27 Animated layouts Atlas O Animated layout MTH RealTrax Animated Layouts

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