Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

Make Your Own Spectacular Background Scenes

Dimensions For Mountains and Hills

Ron models HO and asks:

“I want to add a small hill in the foreground and some mountains for my trains to pass through further back on the layout. I’m more concerned about the mountains because I will need probably two tunnels and am not sure of the correct dimensions to make the mountains so they don’t overly dominate the scene or take up too much space. I don’t have tall superliners, so working on an average height of 2 inches I thought the tunnel clearances should be another inch. I’m just not sure how tall, wide, and deep to make the mountains bearing in mind I’ll have a bridge crossing a canyon between the mountain tunnels as a feature. What would your readers suggest? I know I will need a couple of hatches to get to train derailments.”

Add a comment and view the comments blow.

4 Responses to Dimensions For Mountains and Hills

  • David Stokessays:

    Get yourself an NMRA dimension gauge as this has the recommended tunnel dimension requirements, known as “the loading gauge”. Or do some research into the railway you are modeling, use its dimensions adjusted upwards to account for 1:1 size hands.

    Never build any scenery where you need to get a the track, for cleaning and train recovery/rescue. You could build hatches into the viewed scenery, leave the unviewed scenery open for access, or ensure underworld access from beneath.

    As for size of hills and mountains, anything towards the front of the layout, where you need to reach over to get at rolling stock should be sized accordingly and can reach to the floor if you want.. Mountains, towards the rear, can reach the ceiling, and if you are modelling a canyon, to the floor.

  • phil johnsonsays:

    anything in front of the track, I keep at 3-6 “. As for your mountains, David is right on. How tall they are doesn’t matter. oh, yeah, suggest no turnouts in that area.

  • Dwight Campbellsays:

    All I can do is echo what David and Phil said. Go online and search for NMRA RP-7.1 this Recommended Practice has a lot of info on track spacing and tunnel clearances. I am not a geologist but I don’t think hills and mountains sit next to each other, (I may be wrong), so you might think about separating them with a river, plus it is a great device to build depth in the scene.

  • Frank Bsays:

    Draw a sketch plan of your intended layout at the top of a page, then project lines downward from this to draw what it would look like from the front.

    Also there are some model railroad planning programs that allow you to create and include 3D scenery and view it from any direction. (E.g. Hornby VR2 (which is a old one, basic but .useful).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

Model Train DCC HELP


Submit Your Model Railroading Questions!

Before you submit your model railroading question please add some feedback, answers or comments to other postings on this model train blog. What goes around comes around... so if you can help others in the hobby, someone else may help you.

Important - Please add plenty of supporting details to any question you submit (eg. scale, solutions you have already tried etc.) , as the clearest and best questions usually get the best answers. Also, please check your spelling and punctuation as all questions need to be approved by the blog moderator prior to publication. Approved questions are normally published within a week (if not sooner).

Submit your model train questions here.

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

Download Your Free Catalog

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Model Train Help Ebook


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.