Arnie’s track plan and pics

“Hi Al,

I was overwhelmed with the number and content of responses to my recent submission on my nighttime LED lighting project. As I have no way of directly responding to specific inquiries from within your website, I was hoping you would allow me the liberty to address some things on your posting. There you can see many of my layout videos and send comments, suggestions and questions directly to me. I would be more than happy to answer any communications I receive.

But for now, I want to thank all who responded for their great, supportive feedback. I am humbled by your comments and the sense of inspiration that many readers feel to go forward with developing their own layouts and projects.

And thanks for the suggestions made by Deano, Scott, Glenn and others. To answer a few points: Bill I apologize for the incongruous McKinley Explorer cars; I was eager to video lighting effects and so I just used what I had at arms reach to run through the station. But you can see my Alaskan McKinley Explorer on my layout on Youtube.
As for the layout itself, the video only centered on the south side of the layout; the valley side.

However, the layout, despite its impression of greater size, dimension and depth, is only 8 feet by 5 feet. I’ve attached some layout overview photos and a track plan of the SV&GS layout that readers requested.

As for the vehicles, while I customized the buses with LEDs myself, the cars were purchased from a merchant in China. The LEDs in the cars a very bright despite there miniscule size (1.8mm?). This causes light flaring and bleeding through the plastic bodies. So I had to separated the bodies from the undercarriage and paint the interiors with flat black paint. Then where light still shone through, I touched up the exterior paint. And lastly I painted the perimeter of the lights to make the lenses look smaller and more to scale.

And again my thanks to you Al for making possible this forum for all to participate and enjoy.


Another big thank you to Arnie!

And don’t forget the ‘ebay cheat sheet’. Latest one is right here.



58 Responses to Arnie’s track plan and pics

  1. Beautifull! Just wish I had the Time, Money, and Space.

  2. Impressive, stunning.
    I love the river very well done.
    This layout is fantastic.
    It shows what you can do if your patiant

  3. Arnie, beautiful job! Have fun and enjoy playing train. No matter how old we old farts get, playing train is in the blood!

  4. It would be nice if the country that the layout are located in would be published. Is this possible?

  5. Raymond M.:

    It’s really not THAT expensive to have the beginnings of a layout similar to Arnie’s. Yes, I’ll admit it takes time and effort. But, you R retired…right? The basic layout from which Arnie’s Empire is derived was published years ago by Kalmbach (I think). It’s the last chapter in a softback book called “NINE N SCALE RAILROADS YOU CAN MODEL”… It has a complete (though basic) set of istructions w/photos to create your own pike in a minimum of space. I feel it’s a nice primer for those of us on a shoestring budget. Granted Arnie has certainly raised the bar for excellence here. But, if you look…copies are still floating around on ebay for only a few dollars. i don’t have my copy handy. However, even the smallest railroad in the book has the potential to be a showpiece….. Heck, you may even be able to find a reprinted update at your local hobbyshop….. Just doin my part to promote the World’s Greatest Hobby…. Deano

  6. Arnie.
    This is definitely a work of art and a labor of love. Absolutely AWESOME!!!! I am new to the hobby of model railroading. I am beginning an ‘N’ scale layout on benchwork that measures 40″ x 106″. I really would like

  7. Arnie,
    Sorry for the incomplete message… keyboard seems to be very sensitive this am…lol. Anyway, I would like to duplicate your layout. Are you modeling in ‘HO’ scale? I would really like to chat with you. Please contact me at the email address listed on this email if you are ok with this. Thanks….and, again….Great job.

  8. Great talent. Very nice layout, must have taken forever to complete. Love the river .keep them coming, realy enjoy e mails.

  9. Fantastic Layout, I Love the way the whole Layout is set,I have just started on mine, but I cannot see it getting to your standard, Well done!!

  10. Arnie,
    spectacular craftsmanship as always!!!

  11. WOW!!! Now these pictures are even better than the prvious ones. Will we get to see your upgrades to the lighting. A split shot showing us before & after under the same lighting conditons woudl be nice (just my prefernce). This would make it so we wouldn’t have to jump back & forth from the previous emailing to the newest one. But your layout looks awesome to me. Nuff’ said, keep up the goooood work.

  12. Such a wonderful layout. Absolutely stunning! Thanks for the info on the layout.

  13. Congratulations Arnie. Very nice detailed work.
    Still trains keep us busy.

  14. Terrific layout!! Makes me think hard about the possibilities!

  15. HI Arnie…Can you suggest a HO track plan incorporating a nice size classification yard for a 6′ x 4′ layout? And, is yours an N scale or HO? I can’t tell from the pictures. Hope you reply and thank you.

  16. very nice

  17. Beautifully put together, I particularly like that viaduct, was that a kit or did you scratch build it?

  18. Very impressive layout Arnie – Will spur me on the greater heights in completing mine. As for your issue in using LED & light flaring & showing through the sides or the models – what I do is use a small piece of insulating tape (Black or Grey) & wrap it around the LED so only a small section is showing through the front of the LED to point where you want the light to show. It works well & saves painting the model both inside & outside.

  19. If I had only known how great help I would have received in the begining by

    joining your club. Your work is purely and simply a work of art.

    A millon thanks for all the short cuts, tricks and common sense combined

    to complete masterpieces. Thanks again!



  21. yeah i saw this layout its awesome i buildt this as my first layout from the atlas book nine N scale railroads you can model ..It was very cool but moved so i had to take it down …I like how Arnie changed the track plan and made more interesting …I have continued to build layouts and went from N to G to O and now back to N all because i wanted a layout to operate that wont brake the bank and take up to much space ..I have made 3 diff N scale spreads since i got back into that scale and now i changed track manufacturer also from atlas to kato snap track ..Its easy and fast to change around ,my layout can be seen on youtube search under trackspike64

  22. Like my son said to me today dad you may be getting older but you still are a kid in side you still like to play with trains. This is a very nice layout alot of fun times still to come enjoy.

  23. What a stunning layout. I have been following the videos over the last year and really appreciate seeing these overview photos and track layout plan. You have exploited that 8×5 space to its full potential. Congratulations. All the praise you have received is well deserved.

  24. First a hardy thank you for what you do bringing us together worldwide and giving us these great pictures .To the builder you do a great job.I feel as though i have been here before because the realm is here to feel that.Great job .

  25. Stunning

  26. Excellent job. I started out 2 years ago with a O scale and soon ran out of room. In hind site I wish I had started out with an HO scale. However, I do have some room in another area and might start an HO layout. Your work is certainly an inspiration on what can be done.

  27. these pictures are stunning the amount of train play is fantastic the river scenery just wonderful keep them comimg or if you have a utube site please let us k now.

  28. Excellent!

  29. fantastic layout, spurs me on to get mine finished

  30. Great lay-out and love the river. All works well together.

  31. Fantastic layout.

  32. looks great i too just started N. With 4×12 working on it for 12 weeks steady and sometimes I think Im not getting anywhere. Been off sick w/ knee problems so standing is a problem. maybe tell me how to puts PIC’S here I will do so.

  33. absolutly fantastic, an incredible lay out, must have taken ages, most impressive

  34. Arnie
    That is a superb layout you should be very proud of it i wish mine could look like that well done

  35. how did you make the river and how did you paint it
    it looks great

  36. Really nice layout

  37. Hmm, 5’x8′ you say? sure is a great use of the art of illusion. a beautiful job. as to the comment above about being retired and having time to do this: maybe the person is on a fixed income and does not have the funds to put out on a layout. those like my rich brother in Va.Beach,Va. no nothing of or perhaps as he has made it well on this earth tend to forget there are plenty of us out here in poverty world that are no well off.

  38. I have seen a lot of layouts but this one looks fantastic. It really does look like the real thing. Paul. UK.

  39. Arnie,
    I love your set up! Can i get some better pictures of your plans?

  40. don’t apolgize for using mckinly hell my layout is aproduct of my mind & represnts no one or anything in paticular

  41. Stunning, the illusion of depth is awesome. Gives us all something to aspire to. The water is so realistic. Would love to know how you did that too. Thanks for sending the video and the pics. Keep em’ coming folks. Love the site Al. When I stop working 60 hours and cleaning up after two kids and pets, I’ll start a layout. I’m saving all of these posts to refer to at that time.

  42. LOOKING GOOD!!!!!

  43. What is the large structure seen in the first picture?
    Who makes the model?

  44. “It would be nice if the country that the layout are located in would be published. Is this possible?” ditto John plus city, & maybe an email address so we can ask to visit if we live in the area?

  45. Gauge would be nice?

  46. 6 switches (turn outs) in the first photo, any problems with switches in this gauge? BEAUTIFUL LAYOUT

  47. Great Photos arnie! I appreciated looking at your track plan. Cheers

  48. Very cool.

  49. really nice layout, more pix and/or a video would be nice too

  50. Arnie,
    Great Photo.
    I would like to do similar layout, on 8′ x6′ board any suggestionfrom the geniuss.
    Take care
    love amit

  51. Seem that this hobby is similar to owning a Corvette. Owning one and affording one are two separate concepts. :-)

  52. thanks for the pics I am getting same great ideas for when I start. there are great lay outs mick

  53. Love the Susqauhanna layout and those Rose houses. Reminded me of Pittsbirgh, Pa.

  54. beautiful

  55. UNBELIEVABLE ! for an 8X5 layout incredible detail, the river is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Would have like to seen the heliport and what they’re flying.

  56. Not much to say but WOW!

  57. So, that’s what an impressive layout looks like! Arnie, that’s a great advertisement for enjoyment and expertise. That shot along the river is stunning. I’ll just sit and admire the set of photos for another 30 minutes or so…! Steve (NZ)

  58. REALLY NICE!!!!!!

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