How to build a model train roundhouse

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to build a model train roundhouse
(Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Model trains are a popular pastime for adults and children. Enthusiasts may want to build entire layouts that include multiple tracks. When multiple tracks are used, a roundhouse is an easy way to help manage train storage and track usage. These buildings take their name from their traditional round structure. Model railroads do not require an enclosed building for the roundhouse to function. This simple wooden platform can be used with a toy railroad or a more sophisticated model.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sheet of plywood
  • Compass
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Lazy Susan turntable
  • Railroad track
  • Rubber cement
  • Styrofoam sheet

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  1. 1

    Determine the scale size of the railroad track. Determine the size of a railroad engine. The roundhouse should be large enough so individual cars can be parked to the side of the central circle that will turn.

  2. 2

    Place a sheet of plywood on a flat surface. Place a train engine on the plywood. Open the compass so one end is at the front of the engine and the other end is at the back of the engine. Remove the train engine. Add 1 inch to the opening length of the compass. Place the pointed end of the compass in the centre of the plywood. Draw a complete circle.

  3. 3

    Cut out the drawn circle. Remove the circle of plywood. Sand the edges so they are smooth and the circle is a little smaller than the opening from which it was cut. Drill a small hole near the edge of the circle. Glue the turntable from the Lazy Susan onto the centre of the wooden circle. Set aside to dry.

  4. 4

    Determine the number of parking spots required for the train cars. Set a length of train track around the edge of the opening in the plywood for each parking spot needed. Allow for space to add the track that will run from the overall layout to the roundhouse. Adjust the track as needed before gluing in place on the plywood.

  5. 5

    Cut away any excess plywood. Decorate the top of the plywood for the terrain as desired. Allow all paint and glue to dry before continuing to the next step.

  6. 6

    Set the circle back into the opening in the plywood. The roundhouse circle will now be higher than the rest of the train platform. Place the styrofoam sheet under the plywood platform to make it level with the roundhouse circle. Cut the styrofoam as required to fit the shape of the plywood platform and glue in place. Add a section of railroad track to the roundhouse and glue in place. Allow the glue to dry.

  7. 7

    Grasp the small hole previously drilled in the circle with a finger to turn the roundhouse. The track should line up with the previously glued parking sections of track as it is turned.

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