Railroad modeling can be enjoyed in small spaces…for some ideas please see CATEGORY: TECH – LAYOUT CONCEPTS.  Effective mini-layouts can provide hours of entertainment for a keen operator, but having space for building the layout, let alone space for the layout, can be a challenge.

I live in a condominium apartment, a one bedroom with a “den”.  It would be a messy proposition to build a layout in an apartment living room or bedroom.  I am lucky to have access to a hobby room in our building.


Our hobby room is half garage, half kitchen.  There are large wooden tables for benchwork.  The “kitchen” has countertops and a sink is available.  The Fillmore Roundhouse, among many other large items, was painted and weathered in sections on this island countertop.




Some residents have donated various tools that are hung on the wall for everyone to use.  The vise is also very handy.  The Fillmore Staging Elevator and Staging Fiddle Yard were built here.


As for hand tools needed for model railroad construction, I keep them in one large plastic bin.  Fillmore was built with hand tools, except for the electric drill and later I bought an inexpensive jig saw primarily to make the cutouts for the Digitrax UP5 Plug-in Panels.  The hand mitre saw (on its second blade now and needing another) fits inside the bin with handle removed as seen below.


I bought a cart from Home Depot which I use for transporting the tool bin to the hobby room.  The plastic bin on top is a container for quilts I found at the local craft store.  I keep my screws, fasteners, punches, and drill bits in it.  I can stack building materials on top of this prior to making off for the hobby room.  The cart is kept in my storage locker when not in use.


To use the hobby room, all one needs to do is sign out the key and sweep up afterward.  It is a great way to keep the mess out of the home.  If someone is considering down-sizing to a condominium apartment, a hobby room would be an attractive selling point to the railway modeller.