5 Innovative Layouts to Inspire your Winter Scenes

As the weather grows colder and the holiday season approaches, there’s no better time than now to find inspiration for your winter themed model railroad! Let’s take a look at some of the most inspiring seasonal layouts we’ve come across while researching for our own holiday scenes.


Winter railroad set in the mountains

1.    Winter Railroading in the Mountains

This layout evokes mountain railroading at it’s finest. Set in the foothills of an imposing mountain range, the layout features striking cliffs and rocky forests, with snow-capped peaks providing a dramatic backdrop to the scene. Snow-sprinkled trees surround a mountain lodge, while several loops of track wind their way through the valleys, passing through majestic rock cuts and impressive tunnels.

We love the level of creativity and detail in this scene. Especially how forced perspective has been used in the creation of the mountains, making the scene appear much larger than it is. The track plan also offers plenty of variation, with several routes to choose from, running at different elevations in the valley. The trees and landscape additionally display a cold winter flare, having been lightly doused in snow material.

Railroad set by a lake and mountain during winter

2.    Lakeside Winter Scene

Here is another example of a meticulously crafted mountain scene. The centerpiece of this railroad is a tranquil lake, surrounded by rocky hills, similar in design to those in the previous layout. The hills in this scene are used as both a dramatic scenic element, and as a way to conceal the track as it winds around the back of the layout, giving the illusion that the trains are heading to somewhere else off-scene.  

Water is rarely used as a prominent feature in winter layouts, which is why we like this plan. A lakeside cabin can be seen on a small island, connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge, and you can almost smell the wood smoke coming from the fireplace! In the foreground, a railroad bridge over the water adds some additional dynamic interest to the train’s route through the scenery.   


Traditional Alpine Christmas village with railroad

3.    Traditional Alpine Christmas Scene

Out of all the winter layouts featured, this is perhaps the best representation of a traditional, small town scene at Christmas time.

While the previous layouts have been mostly rural, this stunning railroad incorporates a classic European village, evocative of a traditional Bavarian Christmas scene. The cars along the snow covered roads add an extra level of detail to the whole scene, truly bringing to life the feeling of winter and festivity.

In the background the village is framed by a densely packed forest, liberally blanketed with snow powder. A small tranquil river cuts through the middle of the scene,  and flows into a dramatic mountain valley, framed by multiple bridges for both cars and trains.

This layout serves as the perfect inspiration for someone looking to create a diverse winter landscape, with plenty of scenic variation for their railroad to pass through. Did we mention that all of the buildings and lamp posts have been equipped with working lights?

Just beautiful all round.

Winter main street with railroad

4.    Main Street in the Holidays

This winter layout features the familiar scene of small town America during the holidays, evoking memories of our own childhood as well as countless Christmas and winter movies. The scene consists of an icy main street with shops and homes on either side – accompanied by parked model cars.

A combination of both scale kits and ceramic “Department 56” style buildings have been used in this scene, and each structure has been given additional detail, right down to icicles hanging from the roofs – a clear demonstration of how much passion and time went into this layout.

We love the addition of snowy tire tracks in the road, and  the plow trucks piling up hills of snow behind the main street stores add a further wonderfully lifelike touch. 

Christmas tree and train loop

5.    The Christmas Tree Loop Expanded

We know that for many of our readers, a winter layout isn’t your primary railroad, and simply means something to put around the family Christmas tree. The image above is a fantastic example of making the most out of this. There is just so much going on here compared to a standard Christmas tree setup!

In the middle of the scene lies a snowy hill surrounded by multiple loops of track and countless snow covered trees. The working Christmas lights on the trees and buildings across the layout present a really festive atmosphere – perfect for adding an extra level of cheer to your living room during the holiday season. The snow covered hill at the center of the layout conveniently covers the tree base while a tunnel passing through it connects the two sides of the scene.

Remember, these are only five examples of the endless opportunities which holiday layouts present! We’d love to hear what your winter scene plans are. Get in touch and tell us about – or show us! – yours.