Continuous running in less than 4 square foot.

Stockburn is an N scale continuous run micro train layout.

The layout at a glance

Name: Stockburn
Scale: N (1:160)
Size: 24" x 16"
Prototype: Freelance
Era: Early 1950s
Style: Continuous / pizza
Benchwork: Foam board
Roadbed: None
Track: Kato Unitrack
Turnout minimum: n/a
Min. curve radius: 6"
Max. grade: None
Scenery: Static grass and ground foam over Sculptamould
Backdrop: none
Control: Kato controller


Trying to get continuous running in 4 square foot or less in N scale is doable but not quite as easy as you might think. Luckily Kato has the Pocketline series of train sets that can negotiate very tight radius curves.

The inspiration for this little layout came from a 009 British layout by a gentleman named Steve, you can find his layout here:

What I really liked about this layout is the backdrop down the middle that splits the layout into two scenes, the station scene and then the field with sheep on the other side. I decided to do something similar although I decided to forgo the backdrop down the middle.

Nano Ridge Track Plan
Nano Ridge overalall view
This overall shot shows the layout setup on a small table ready for operation.


Construction of such a small layout is rather easy and went very rapidly.


Given that the layout was designed to sit on top of a table or book case, it has no legs. This made construction of the base very straighforward. I used some 2" (50mm) thick insulation foam board for the base and carved out the tunnel and hills using a sharp craft knife. Finally I painted the sides and underside flat black.

My usual construction methods were employed on this layout: Static grass and ground foam over Sculptamould on foam insulation board.

Track and Wiring

The track is Kato Unitrack from their Compact CV1 set which has 6" radius curves. A single set of power feeders is sufficient to power the whole layout and connects directly to the Kato controller. I drilled a small hole through the base to run the feeder wires through.

The track is from a Kato CV1 set.

I chose not to paint the rail on this layout and ballasted it using Arizona Rock and Mineral N scale Northern Pacific ballast which I feel is a close match for the molded plastic ballast on the Kato Unitrack.

The train going around "Great Bend". Ballast is by Arizona Rock and Minerals.


For this layout I opted to use a Woodland Scenics Dansbury Depot in N scale. It is a pre-build structure with a lot of nice details and interior lighting.

The beautiful little station and figures are by Woodland Scenics.


The scenery on the layout has a bit of a European flavour largely due to the tunnel portals which are from Peco. I created the hills by carving insulation foam board and covered this with Sculptamould. Lastly a layer of static grass and ground foam covers the Sculptamould.

The train blasts through the tunnel, the engineer giving us a wave.

Static grass was applied using the Woodland Scenics Static King. I used a combination of light and medium green in 2mm and 4mm lengths.

Scenery products are from Woodland Scenics. Simple details like vehicles and figures really help to bring a layout to life.

All the trees on the layout were created using Woodland Scenics tree armatures that were painted a matt brown and covered with Woodland Scenics medium green clump foliage.

Trees created with Woodland Scenics products.


This layout really offers some great detailing opportunities. The station parking lot is a great place to add some vehicles - these are a set of sedan and pick up truck by Busch.

A freight train zooms past the station. N scale vehicle set by Busch.

Figures are a great way to bring a layout to life and all the figures on the layout are by Woodland Scenics. The station is a great place to add some travellers and passengers waiting to catch a train. An Engineer was added to the locomotive.

The station and passenger figures are from Woodland Scenics.

The far side of the layout features a field in which sheep are free to roam guided by their shepherd, another great detailing opportunity.

A train passes a field with sheep and a shepherd.

Rolling Stock

For this layout I have one Kato Pocket Line passenger train set and one Kato Pocket Line freight train set. These are loosely based on actual Japanese prototypes. The trains are exceptionally good slow speed runners and boast a good amount of detail for their small size. The quality of these sets is just astonishing given their price point, definitely value for money!

Passenger train entering "Great Bend" after passing a field with sheep on its way to the sattion.

To lend a British feel to the layout I also added some Peco freight wagons. These are very neatly detailed and perfect for such a small layout.

Some Peco goods wagons lend a British feel to the layout.


Train ducks into the tunnel.

Theres not much to say about operation on a layout such as this as the trains simply runs around the loop of track chasing their tail. It is relaxing to sit back and enjoy the trains running through some beautiful scenery, disappearing into the tunnel and reappearing at the other end.

Final Thoughts

Despite this layouts tiny little size it was a load of fun to build and its great to sit back, relax and watch the trains run around chasing their tail.