titleIt all started when Don Coker said something like, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if everybody in the Gn15 Consortium made a Christmas centerpiece railroad for the holidays?” Some of us (well, me at least) were struck by the wisdom of this idea!

Sharing with family and friends … capitalizing on the “trains are cute” syndrome … having fun with the hobby in a non-serious way … sounds good! So herewith is a page of Christmas Pizzas — idea-starter layouts that just go around in a circle but look good and are fun for everyone at the holidays!

My hope is that you all, regardless of your scale, can make a tiny, show-off layout for your family and friends to ooh and ahh over come December.

Gentlemen, break out your X-acto knives …you only have three months!


You don’t have to make “big” layout, though. For example, below is a design from Japan in N scale that is 150mm (6 inches) across. “Densya no Kanzume” means “Can of Streetcar”. It’s by Akihiro Morohoshi.


Jim Favre, of Dalton MA, has already designed his Christmas pizza — and he made a breakout diagram so we all can follow his example! It’s 16 inches in diameter in Gn15 scale.

Jim points out that the scenery as drawn is all custom designed by him, but the as-built layout will include some of his wife’s Department 56 buildings. An astute move!

The entire “baseboard” is built of blue (or pink) insulating foam, 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Note that Jim’s planned “layer cake” structure is six layers tall … a good 12 inches (30 cm) high!


And this HOn30 layout by Jeff Hartmann of Long Beach, CA measures just 11″x12.5″ . Trains are from AHM (no longer available) with N-scale mechanisms added by Jeff.


You can let your imagination roam to find a basis for your holiday layout. Below is Pulga Española, a Spanish tramway modeled by Terry Allen, from Burnham, England. It’s built to the size of an A3 sheet of paper–420x297mm (16.5″x11.7″)! Terry comments: “I started by bending a piece of Peco flexitrack in a 5″ circle, and after that the rest was easy.” The layout is to On30/O16.5 scale; the steam tram engine is converted from a Gnomy streetcar, and the steam locomotive is built around a Hornby railbus motor unit.

terry1 terry5









(below) Another flight of fancy comes from the irrepressible Jim Favre, whose Naughton Atoll Railway occupies just a 6″ square of real estate–and it’s G scale (Gn15)! Yup, that’s a 4″ circle of 16.5mm track.


(above) And no collection of pizza layouts would be complete without an example from the master of the genre, Black Dog Mining Co.’s Steve Bennett, Exeter, England. This one is On30/O16.5 and features Steve’s BDMC rolling stock in a setting that’s just 12″ square.

So how about it, folks? Put together a pizza layout, make your family a part of your hobby this Christmas, find inner satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, and above all — take photographs and send them to the <Small Layout Scrapbook! We’ll be putting together a report on Christmas Pizzas early next year, right after the holidays!

Incidentally, it doesn’t take a huge effort to make a pizza layout … the 15″ square Gn15 seaside tramway at the right took me under two hours to make as a prop for a photo shoot. Simple or elaborate, though, I’ d like to see your effort and to share it with your fellow modelers.


Carl Arendt

Webmaster Carl Arendt died on March 4, 2011 in Olympia, Washington. Carl came to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon where he graduated with a degree in physics and met Sheila, his wife of 49 years. Carl started work for Westinghouse Electric Corporation where he spent his entire career. During this time, he and Sheila raised their three sons. Following retirement from Westinghouse, Carl threw himself into the world of micro-railroading. In 2002 he started this web site, and authored three books on the subject. This web site attracted a large worldwide following, and Carl built up a collection of friends who came to know and respect him even though most had never met him in person. Such was his personality that it shone through across the ether. He and Sheila moved to Olympia in 2009 to be close to their son Giles and his family, where Carl enjoyed time with his three grandchildren. His wit, erudition, and creativity made this true gentleman a joy to be with, in both the real and the virtual world. This site is a trove of microlayout ideas and examples, and so long as it continues will keep Carl's memory alive and further the hobby he loved.

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