Layout Eye Line

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Section Hand
Jim: I'm at 5'10 or 11" or there a bouts.

I'm one of those who believe model railroads look the best when viewed at near eye level rather than looking down on the layout and that why I suggested 48-50 inches for the upper level of the new layout. On my CM&NR there is a section of the layout that's almost at eye level and it adds a new dimension to viewing this section of the model railroad.

Saxeville Tunnel.JPG


Greg , don't you find that by viewing at eye level you miss things that are further back , especially if they are smaller than items in front of them?
Jim: The added height of the layout adds I believe more dimension to the layout and the illusion of distance. There's is a lot of layout below the higher areas of the layout to maintain interest. The turnouts leading into the mine hoppers are hidden from view, but the signals on the mine structure indicate the turnout's position for the operators to properly spot or pick up the coal cars under the hoppers.

The average viewer can see the is the rolling stock and locomotives on the mine yard tracks, but not the tracks themselves.


I want to call attention to the items at eye or that are above eye level like the mine structure.

Jim, the entire layout isn't at eye level which would make it hard to operate, maintain and construct.

The Saxeville Interchange is high, but the operator can see the locomotives and rolling stock and all the turnouts have dwarf Green over Red signals to aid the operators through the turnouts.

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When I built my current layout, I wanted it to be visible to grandkids and young neighbors' kids, plus I wanted to be able to view it sitting as well as standing. I have a base height of 32-1/2" with a grade that goes uphill to 36" above floor level. When I am standing, this gives me an airplane view of the 12 x 14 layout of about 200 scale feet above the "ground"!
The way I got it is that 96% of the time we see trains from the side more than below or above them... So the logic then is to build at least a large portion of the layout at about chest or shoulder height where we only need to bend down a tad to view the model from the side. So the question is: Is this concept to be based on my own height or a shorter or a taller person's height ? Or, do we want to look down on the entire thing ? There's no rule. It's up to each of us.. Personally, I do like it high up.. One reason I don't care much for modular-club layouts is seemingly always looking downward on everything.. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to