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

All Gauge Model Railroading Page


Holiday Display Layouts

Big action in small spaces


Collected for you are a large assortment of layouts designed for holiday displays.  They have been carefully planned to allow a balance of action plus room for scenery, taking into account that most will be used under the Yule Tree.  We have accounted for both the tree and its stand in these plans.  All layouts allow continuous running of trains.  Many include linear tracks for trolleys, track gang cars and other "bump and reverse" type motorized units.  

There are layout plans for O, O27, Standard / Wide Gauge, G & #1 Gauge, HO and N scales.  The greater majority of plans are for O and O27, seeing and these are the trains most likely to be run around during the holidays.  Many families bring out the old train set which was inherited from a parent, grandparent or even great grandparent. For sake of completeness, layouts have been included in other scales.

I drew up these plans with the newcomer and holiday train operator in mind.  Experienced operators and model railroaders usually have access to other, more intense track plans which they adapt for display use.  My intention was to provide for both the casual, seasonal train user as well as the dedicated hobbyist.

Plans for O and O27 were intended for conventional track types, such as tubular rail made by Lionel and K-line, and the Real Trax system of MTH.  For HO and N, we used the common American types typified by Atlas.  Track by LifeLike and Bachmann should be compatible with the HO and N plans.  G Scale uses standard track, along the lines of LGB and Aristocraft.  One special set of O layouts was made for Atlas track.

Click Below to find the layouts:

O27 Layouts for a 4' by 4' area

O27 Layouts for a 5' by 4' area

O layouts for a 4' by 4' area

O layouts for a 5' by 4' area

O Layouts for 5' by 5' and 6' by 4' spaces

HO Layouts

N Layouts

G / #1 layouts

S Gauge Layouts

Standard Gauge Layouts

Atlas O gauge Layouts

Notes for newcomers and casual operators

I am convinced that the best trains for indoor operation during the holidays are O and O27.  They are sturdy and reliable. They are the right size for most of the porcelain and ceramic buildings, withstand the onslaught of children and pets, and are the easiest to own, run and maintain.  G scale is good if you have room.  HO and N have a limited appeal, since they are fragile and are not recommended for homes with pets and children.  Standard gauge can be formidable, but it is heavy.  Read various articles on this site to determine which trains would be best for you.

If you are running an older train, take time to maintain it.  Check the O/O27 manual on this website for information on operating and maintaining trains.  Too often, trains are handed down without the manuals.  People do not know how to oil, lubricate or maintain them.  Likewise, be aware of safety factors involved in electric trains, be they old or new.  Protection from fire and electrical mishap is essential to enjoyable operation.

If electricity is a problem, battery-operated trains are available.  There are several G sized trains out there which are affordable and attractive, operated by common batteries.  Unfortunately, newer battery-operated O and HO trains tend to be of poor design and construction.  "They don't make them like they used to."  Maisto and Walmart have very small, battery-operated diecast trains available.  

If you choose an electric set, note that O and O26 sets tend to be sized just right to accompany the miniature buildings by Dept 56 and Lemax.  A good starter set is all you need.  Extra track is quite affordable, so you can replicate any of our layouts for holiday display.  Lionel, K-Line and MTH make excellent starter sets.  Note that Lionel sets have O27 track, while MTH and K-line come with their own versions of O track.  (I prefer O27 size track for holiday layouts, although others opt for O 31").  


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