Building a Lego Engine Shed

NB member Omid built this recently, and here he is to tell how it went:

For as long as I’ve been fascinated by trains, I’ve had a similar soft spot for the various bits of infrastructure that come along with them. Stations, sheds, huts, depots and signal boxes – without these humble buildings the railways we know and love wouldn’t be the same. They are hives of industry, keeping both the engines running and the passengers warm and dry (most of the time).

I’ve been working on my home layout for the best part of a year and it’s evolved quite a lot in that time. Ideas and builds have come and gone, but the one constant has been the railway and I knew as soon as the space was available that I wanted a big engine shed as the centrepiece.

Sometime back in April I added a new table and the extra space finally gave me enough room to start the build properly. The gaffer, of course, had to be my favourite minifig from the original 4564 set I got for my birthday back in 1996!

After laying out the foundations and getting a basic idea of the size and scale of the building, it was time to crack on. I got lucky as around the time I was planning this stuff, the dark red masonry bricks made a brief appearance on my local PAB wall. I’d stocked up just before the country went into full lockdown which saved a fair bit of expense!

I’d just finished my rebuild of the 4564 engine so the acid test for any building would be fitting the loco in comfortably, without looking too tall or weirdly proportioned. So I ended up just building the whole thing up around the parked engine until it “felt” right.

After a few long nights of trial and error, and plenty of head scratching around the doors, the basic shell was more or less completed. The front profile ended up being fairly square, and while in hindsight I could definitely have done some things differently I’m still pretty happy with the end result. I opted for a small side extension which involved rebuilding the rock walls, but gave me a bit more internal space to work with.

The next step in the project was to build a bunch of machine tools for the engineers to use in their repair jobs.

I’ve had a slight obsession with machine tools and metalwork for years, and some of my favourite YouTube channels are machinists just going about their daily jobs and talking through their processes. I’d had an idea of building some replica tools for a while but didn’t really have anywhere to put them, so this was a good excuse to get that project started.

The first thing I built was a lathe, and I’ve since added a grinder, gear cutter, 3-axis mill, shaper and drill press, plus a Henry Hoover and some other workshop accessories. All of these are available as PDF instructions over on Rebrickable if you’d like to make your own.

Here you can see most of the equipment in place and the gantry crane up above. I was lucky enough to own the 8286 3-in-1 Car Set as a kid, which saved forking out a small fortune for a large metal hook! You can see some of the extra tools off to the right in the alcove.

The striplights are built out of a bunch of 1×2 trans plates and the standard Power Functions lights. I’ve been tapping into my rusty GCSE-level electronics knowledge to get some LEDs wired up in various other parts of the layout so I’ll probably revisit this in future, but for now the less-fiddly option works just fine.

Here’s a shot of the finished model, taken downstairs on the kitchen table! I was particularly pleased with the roof vents, which were more the result of a happy accident than any predetermined maths but hey, you make your own luck right?

The shed now happily dominates the top part of my layout, but even still it might be due an extension at some point. In July LEGO dropped the 10277 Crocodile Locomotive which firmly put paid to my “this should be big enough for anything I run” theory!

You can follow along with the progress of my layout over on Instagram under the @nwbricks handle. I post updates most days and occasionally release free instructions which you can always find on Rebrickable or my website

Thanks for reading!