Expert specializes in model train layouts for small rooms

EVERETT — Mike Scheerens has been a model train enthusiast his entire life.

When he was about 10 years old, he watched his father, James, build tracks for HO-scale trains, one of the largest models available. When his father tried a smaller model called N-scale, Scheerens remembers the size was better suited for him.

“He tried fiddling with the N-scale and he couldn’t do it because it was too small,” said Scheerens, 47. “He threw it away and I took it out of the garbage later and fixed it. I got it working.”

That fascination with model trains hasn’t disappeared. Scheerens earlier this month published a book, “Apartment Model Trains: Two Examples,” to share what he’s learned about building model train layouts in small apartments. It’s also a way to preserve the ideas he originally posted to a website.

Scheerens in December 1999 started building a model train layout that would loop throughout his roughly 500-square-foot, one bedroom Everett apartment. He attached the railway to wooden planks and positioned them under cabinets in his kitchen, around a stacked washer and dryer, and eventually around his bedroom.

He designed paper mountains and painted broken foam pieces with beads on it to look like seawall or rock. His basic construction tools were a 25-foot tape measure, a 45-degree triangle, pencils, a handsaw, Elmer’s wood glue and a cordless screwdriver fitted with drill bits.

The whole arrangement had to come down in 2007 when Scheerens, who works at Boeing, moved into a two-bedroom apartment. He dreamed up a layout supported on the tops of bookshelves and plastic storage containers. The layout wasn’t completed in 2011 when Scheerens moved again into his approximately 900-square-foot home. He started in September to build another layout where his black Lionel locomotive can now pull several cars along part of his living room wall. He’s planning to expand the route throughout his home.

“It’s kind of like an art,” he said.

Scheerens said he’s found most of what he needs to build his layouts at local hobby and hardware shops.

One store which supplies Scheerens and others who build model train layouts is Broadway Hobbies in Everett. The store hosts a train club so people can share their layout ideas and problem-solving tips. The club’s discussions often include ways to build layout in small spaces, said Lou DeBenny, the store owner.

His store also sells magazines and books that can help create layouts, DeBenny added. Still, the most common problem he’s heard when it comes to building happens when the designing and buildings is supposedly complete.

“The beauty is that the second they say they’re done, they want to do something different,” he said.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Vegas, LA, Phoenix, and more destinations from Paine Field

Alaska Airlines will fly to eight West Coast cities out of Everett starting this fall.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Marysville police send abandoned, unclaimed bikes to Zambia

“Out where we are, a bicycle is upward mobility,” said Kelly Huckaby, a missionary in Africa.

Man shot dead after argument at bar south of Everett

Police say an employee of the bar shot and killed the man, who had opened fire in the parking lot.

Most Read