Barry’s been busy on his railroad layout…

Remember the model railroad layout in Barry’s basement?

Well take a look at it now.

I would absolutely love to know how he models his water scenery – it’s perfect! Barry – if you’re out there, there’s a few people out here who want a step by step from you.

(Leave a comment for Barry – you never know…)




More stuff like this at my fave modelling resource.



114 Responses to Barry’s been busy on his railroad layout…

  1. Very nice layout,
    I was wondering just how long did it take you to complete,
    and the size of this lay out.

  2. Great looking layout. I like the detail. Could you include a layout/track plan? Keep up the good work. Larry

  3. just curious, Barry are you or were connected with a law enforcement agency?? I ask because we are usually the only ones who put patrol cars on a layout.

    best regards

  4. The water is outstanding and looks very realistic,we would love a titorial on how you achieved this please ?
    Thank you for the inspiring pictures,Barry.

  5. Tutorial even !

  6. well done,i loved the water it looks so real,please tell us how you did it

  7. Really like this layout and yes i would love to see the trackplan on this one.

  8. Verry nice, this has given me encoragement I have been trying to get my baseborad right , for a 1950s coal mine with mining village .
    I will be looking at your exlent layout , for ispreation.
    well done

  9. I agree with all of the above. A beautiful layout.

    I too would like to see a layout/track plan.

  10. Excellent…gave me some ideas for my N-scale. What scale is this? Would love a layout plan.

  11. Loved the water. Thought it might be gin!?

  12. Very nice well planned layout,

  13. Hi Barry, I am impressed by you layout and was wondering what is the overall size of the layout as I am restricted for room and if possible would like to see a plan of the layout

  14. I have to appreciate Mac’s question, as a former cop, myself. What I’m really curious about, is the building where the patrol cars are parked. Is it the police dept., or maybe a donut shop? :) Sorry, but I’m afraid there is a bit of truth in the age old conjecture. Especially in NYC. Really a great layout. Very neat, and well executed.

  15. very nice well thought out did you design it all or did you use a plan?

  16. Your layout looks very nice with a lot of work done. My only question is when are you going to weather the rail and put ballast down?

    It will really make a difference in the looks of your layout.

    Keep up the good work.


  17. Smashing layout with beautiful craftsmanship.
    It looks as if you have two entirely seperate loops which are hidden by the magnificently constructed banks and hills.
    Is this correct ? The reason I ask is that I am restricted to 8ft by 4ft baseboard and like the idea of two or more tracks where the rising and lowering sections are “way off yonder” and give me room for a little more creativity. once again, congratulations on the layout and the quality of the photographs.

  18. Thank you Barry.. keep it up.. it counts.
    Henry Paiste

  19. Man that’s some layout and I was amazed to see the Amoco sign tucked away in the corner of one of the photos, boy we haven’t had Amoco in Australia since the mid-70’s. The water is fantastic how about a tut on it.

  20. Very nice. Is it finished?
    What would you change if you were to do it over again?
    What scale is it in?
    Could you please publish the track plan?
    I’ve got dozens more questions, but please tell us about haw you do your water.
    Very inspiring.

  21. A really nice layout. Would like to see a better picture of the water scenery if possible, as what is shown in the group of photos doesn’t seem to show very much of it.

  22. Very well done and realistic

  23. You’ve done an excellent job on the layout. The details look great, although the landscape did look a little bland in colour. Could you please send all of you’re plans to this layout? You’re a great inspiration. Trevor

  24. Excellant job on all facets, design, detail, photo’s, EVERYTHING!

    As others have asked, I would like to see your track plan, what gauge and all.

    Super job, thanks for sharing.


  25. You are truly an Artist. The pictures indicate discipline, professionalism and commitment in your work, you should be proud.

  26. well nice work i am also intrested in how you did the water effect as iam working on a harbour at the moment and this would fantastic on my layout keep up the gd work happy modeling

  27. hi i like your layout am i right its an american theme?
    i hope my layout turns out a good quality as yours

    how do i put my pics up as i am doing a south wales theme

  28. Great looking layout , but where are the trains?

  29. Hay ,are you sure you didn’t use n scale buildings and ho scale track?cant tell without the trains.

  30. G’day Barry,
    I’ve sent your Photos all over The States and also most of Oz everywhere they have been very well received. I also was fortunate enough to share the Construction of my N Scale Layout with 3 Grandsons and while they have not stayed with the Hobby themselves when they got older they still visit regularly to run Trains and still find it interesting and often speak of their time,covered in plaster and paint working with Pa on the Trains and that’s something money can’t buy and you and I and our respective Grandkids will never forget. A Excellent effort on your part and a Great Advertisement for the Hobby.
    Cheers, Denis.

  31. Wow, that is a real nice job! I am glad your grandson was able to “assist” you. I like the details and this was a real labour of love.

    When you have time, you can help me and my 3 year old grandson too!!!

  32. very nice layout & need stones on road bed

  33. Great work youi have done there Barry, a layout to be proud of

  34. I am impressed. Your 140 hours get a lot more accomplished than I do. I like the multiple levels. I will starting my first N scale this fall. Thanks for the tips on how you do your water.

  35. Excellant work I am hoping to find the time to build my layout soon. Al I sent you the brick house photos hope you got them.

  36. Great layout and nice to see would of been better to see an over view of the whole lot ,so you could see all tracks

  37. the water is that just polyurathane allowed to spill and dry? it is nice

  38. looks wonderfull and realistic wish i had that amount of room to work with. i am in planning stage of a modern n gauge english diesel lay out which is very difficult even at this stage so heres to you for a very good job well done

  39. The workmanship is superb, what now ? Trains, carriages,goods yards,MOVEMENT to hold interest ? Have you considered the costs of parts and the man-hours, yours looks very expensive in both aspects, hope you enjoyed doing it and do not feel lost now it is finished. I wish I could do it, how do you get the time ? I`m envious . Keep going and thanks for the example. Roy

  40. Barry,

    I’m just getting into the hobby and your layout has given me tons of ideas. What a great job you did. Everything is so neat and simple. I can only imagine how much work it took to make it look “simple”.

    The chain link fence next to the park area, your lake, the oil storage units all are just perfect.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  41. Hello,

    Great layout, well done. can you please send or post instructions on how to do the water?


  42. Hi,I’m53 years old and had a small lay out when I was younger, and miss the memores.Donn’t have the money or space to do a lay,so I like looking at your layouts.Could you send me more layouts?Please keep them coming,”I love them” I watch for them every day.Thankyou so much,Keep them coming!

  43. Very nice layout, looks HO to me. I’m starting an S-gauge, high rail, American Flyer at this present time. I have my benchwork finished, 8x6x14 ( a thick “L”). Your scenery is excellent! I can only “hope” mine will look half as good.

    I’ve been spending the last couple months “aquiring” track,cars,rubber roadbed, large transformer, etc. Between Ebay, Train shows, local train stores, I’M BROKE. But, I’ve amassed allot of vintage AF items.

    I’ll keep reading and absorbing all this information.

  44. It looks very nice. It will be interesting to know how do you change levels of the tracks.

    Keep going

  45. You have a wonderful layout, I’am sure you put in alot of blood, sweat and tears into your layout and enjoyed every moment of it. I was wondering if you would share how you did some of the projects of your layout. Example how you did the water scenery. I would really like to know how you did it Once again beautiful job.

  46. What a great layout. I’m just trying to get mine up and running. This hobby isn’t a hurry up and do it kind of thing,you have to plan and try different things to get it the way you want it to look and run. Keep up the good work.

  47. Very impressive. Thanks for the inspiration.

  48. The seven year old grandson and I are working on a 4’x12′ layout and we like several areas of your layout and will probably use them for guides and inspiration. I’m a 75 year old grandmother that has wanted a model train layout for years. I received a Lionel when I was about seven years old and it hooked me!

  49. What size is the layout? The scale is HO or other

    Thanks , Donald

    March 4, 2010

  50. Great job on your layout.I also would like to see an overall view of the entire layout.

  51. Beautiful layout!!! Full of imagination and perfet details.

  52. its looking grate how long to complet it and the cenery ect i could do with a few pointers cheers

  53. Great Layout. I’m just starting out with N scale and have some of the same buildings. Hope to get started building soon. I’m making room in the garage now to start.

  54. Hey, I really like this layout!! Wish I had a plan to build one similar to this track plan. Great Job!!!

  55. Hi Barry,
    That indeed looks like some excellent work.
    I’m in the process of building myself and as I have included a harbour, I would be very pleased to learn how you achieved the water effect if you would choose to share it with us.
    Kind Regards

  56. its a work of art it looks like the track was the eazy part u made a train set in to a living thing

  57. Great looking layout. I am interested in the overall track plan as I am currently planning to build an “N” guage layout. Your photos are very inspiring. Thank You

  58. Great work beautiful layout and scenery. I too am ex police and doing an entire emergency services section on my layout. I notice a couple of people asked if you were done with it. One of the first things I read when starting this hobby was that no matter how much you put into this hobby it is never really finished because you will always find something to change. Best of luck to all since this small hobby you’ve embarked on will now consume your life.

  59. Great layout i am ex fire service and i am including all 3 services in my oo layout.

  60. Fantastic layout, I enjoyed every moment and have been studing it as I do want to incorperate a refinery in my layout, so far am still in design of the layout and am hindered to 8’x4′ in a ho scale and do want to include a tanker ship at the refinery. You have juss
    t insipered me to look at the layout in a different manner and hopefully will be able to include both these items in the design. Exellent pics and awsome craftmanship. Keep up the great work and thanks for the insperation. The refinery did you model that yourself or was it a kit?

  61. Wonderfully splendid,delightful!


  63. What a stunning job youve done i was blown away.I wish mine will look like that when i am finished
    i just had an idea for water. get some blue laminating plastic it has a sheet of clear plastic over the colour crinkle to clear side to make wayves or ripplesin the water saves on paint all you do it cut out the shape and stick it to the main board get some white paint and brush softly over the ripples it gives little white cap effects thenpaint the whole thing with a Matt varnish try it and see
    again well done on a great effort

  64. Well done. I would like the plans for n.
    The water looks great.

  65. Your layout appears to be two loops, or flattened circles, with no turnouts (switches) or sidings or connections between them. This greatly simplifies the wiring and helps avoid derailments and you don’t have to be concerned about coupling and uncoupling. I hope you can access the inside of the tunnel from the end, just in case, rather than from underneath. You have minimal need for rerailer track sections, which are available both straight and curved.
    In the NJ Transit waiting room at Hoboken, NJ, the “Railmen for Children” have a layout of this type to raise donations for their holiday trains. It is all on the same level, with a passenger train on one track and a freight on the other, all Lionel. I have seen a derailment caused by the inadvertent uncoupling of a car which was soon after crashed into by the engine, made worse by their running trains too fast. But it is generally very reliable. You push a button to make it run for a few minutes at a time. Unfortunately it was flooded with salty water during “Sandy” and the track is now quite corroded.
    A much larger HO layout of this type is in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. It also has HO slot cars. It is particularly impressive when they run it as a night scene. They charge a small admission fee.
    Using two levels is a way to avoid the layout appearing to be too crowded with track. Using one loop for passenger traffic and the other for freight adds interest. If their engines are different, they are likely to run at different speeds even from one power pack and speed control. And you can run them in opposite directions!
    Having recently dismantled a ballasted layout to try to salvage its nickel-silver “Snap Track”, I recommend not adding more ballast. I had to soak the track in water and then brush it to get off the ballast, only to find that some sections had been soldered together. I have already quite a few broken plastic ties and next will probably have some melted ones as well. What a broken-down railroad these will make although more ballast could conceal much of that. You may someday want to reuse your track.
    Also, it is good to make the layout in sections around three by four feet, bolted togeher, so you can put it in the trunk and/or back seat of a car if you ever move, without having to use a chain saw.
    You have wisely chosen to include residential, commercial, industrial and rural areas for more realism. But the churches are on the wrong side of the tracks for easy access by their parishoners. Streets running at other than right angles to the layout edges help reduce the rectangularity of the layout. I don’t recall any towns built in what appears to be an abandonned quarry, but there may be one somewhere. Even so, it looks great. For the future, I recommend John Anderson’s book, “Track Planning for Realistic Operation”, especially the first edition.
    If your layout is against a wall or in a corner, consder using a painted backdrop, even perhaps on a window shade roller, and/or a large mirror.

  66. Great, I;m 73 just getting started,Would like to know size of layout, Also how did you do water? Thanks

  67. This layout is HO scale and made in (3) 48 x 96 sections so someday my Grandson can separate to enable him to move it. I did a water tutorial for some readers almost (2) years ago that Al published and I’m sure he would email it to you if you asked him. I made this for my Grandson who was 7 at the time and so I tried to keep it simple with non-connecting loops and no ballast to keep the engine maintenance to a minimum.
    I have recently started my own new layout with a helix at each end to transfer to the other level. Al published my beginning stage pictures about a month ago and there will be more to come.

  68. when will he be ballasting his track?

  69. Nice, take your time. This is a hobby, not a job!


  71. I think your layout is great! I just started my layout. I’m using two separate lines. I’ll have a passenger train and a freight train. I just have to decide which buildings to use. I’ve been acquiring buildings for several years. I’d like to use them all, but I have over four hundred. My layout is 6×16. Set up in my family room. I would also like the info on the water. I’m having trouble throwing anything out because I start thinking what I use this for on my track. lol. Thanks, JOHN

  72. Hello,i just wanted to ask you how you’ve made the pond(the water). Im a 14 year old modeller from india! Thank you
    Yash Vivaan

  73. This looks realy good ,I sure would like to have something like this.I only have room for a 4 Ft. by 8ft so i do not hav much room

  74. Great work. What is the size of the layout? It looks 4 x 8. I’m working on a 4 x 8 logging layout as we speak. The water process on your lake will be used on my log pond.
    Keep up the good work.

  75. You did a great job. I am in the prosess of makeing me a layout but I have not figured out what I am going to do at this time. This will be my first time.

  76. Hey, where’s the yards? There’s no operation here? Do you intend to grow it later?
    See you.

  77. Wonderful job! I am a 76-year old woman, who has wanted a model train since I was four years old. Last year on my birthday, my husband gifted me with one. Shortly afterward, we went to visit my son out of state, and he had some trains that a neighbor wanted him to sell on ebay. He did some pricing, and we came home with 93 pieces! The man was happy with $250. They were in new condition, and all in their boxes.

    This meant it was time to get serious about a layout space. We had a contractor give us a new room by closing in our carport, giving us a 16×18 space. Awesome. I am so excited, and have been building and collecting in anticipation of the completion of this room. It’s nearly finished, and my husband is ready to begin the building of tables.

    I have followed Al’s advice as to where to find suggestions, and will follow some of his, but would welcome any from this group of modellers as to how to best utilize this great space. We are thinking of using 5-ft. tables, 2 ft. from the walls so that we can reach over. We’ll use three walls, as there are two doors on the fourth, leaving me little workspace, but I have the adjoining sun room in which to work, too.

    We have about decided to use “blue foam”, that is, extruded polystyrene from Dow, for our base, as I like the idea of using it to carve into for lakes, streams, etc. I’ve been experimenting with plaster products, forming rocks, and so on, and getting the feel for that sort of thing. My husband is good with problem-solving (something he did for GM for nearly 40 years), and seems to have good ideas with regard to wiring and designing track layouts. We have a son who is an electrician, as well.

    We want to incorporate the areas of the country where we have lived; the west coast, midwest and deep south, as well as places we have loved visiting, such as the national parks; Rocky Mountains, etc.

    Having said all that, what are some of the pitfalls we might want to avoid?

    Many thanks, y’all!


  78. Hi, this is very nice lay out so I can learn something from it. It’s not really big lay out but OK for small room, thanks. Tony

  79. I admire the layout. Would like to know the width and length. Love all the detail.

  80. hi you make very good ı am making my layout in TURKEY

  81. Please I’m need of help!!! I’m helping Shriner put a candy land train table play station for under previledge children need some who lives in Houston, Texas who we can ask questions please!!! Email me at

  82. I really liked all the detail in your layout. I do not do trains, but Ive been doing layouts for Stationary live Steam Engines and all the accesories that you can power with the Engines. I have one that resembles a Carnival with sidewalks, picket fenceing, parking lots and a small lake or pond , wich I might say looks quite well with the water kit I purchased from Woodland Scenics. I also have a bunch of misc. Trees, park benches and of course people. I am now currently working on an older Steam engine with all vintage tools and workshop items. Well anyway your layout is Outstanding! Keep up the good imagination.

  83. Your layout is awesome and detailed beautifully. I’m sure must have had a lot of patience in constructing it. is it on you tube and could I watch it more closely, since I had a 5 * 10 feet layout dismantled since I moved places and need to rebuild it.

  84. Hello from Chicago. Very nicely planned and nice looking layout.

  85. Looking really good. Just needs to treat himself to a decent Camera. lol.

  86. Great work, Barry!
    It looks like HO scale on a 4′ by 8′ layout? If so, I think something similar could be reproduced in N scale at 2’6″ by 5′ or so, for those of us with extremely limited space. I have only 27″ by 60″ available in a rented apartment, and want to do a 1870s to early 1900s scene in the rural western desert, in N scale. Suggestions will be welcome.

  87. Barry Clay said at 5:48 pm
    looks very realistic, we would love a titorial . . . Freud would love-yah too !

    A dozen ways of water representation but none beat successive pours of clear resin – over a painted bed, embedding successive layers of plants / ‘store-carts’ /fish/water-fowl or for the Emergency-services scene – the boot (trunk) of a car – options of a recovery-in-progress. The ‘less’ but quicker/easier/cheaper is to paint the stream/pool bed [ the deeper, the darker towards black in the middle – then, cover with a sheet of hammered-glass [broken pieces are ok as, dependant on your ‘weather finish’, you can further ruffle the surface by highlighting the crests with white before sealing with gloss varnish. Of course, for a mill-pond surface, instal the glass hammered-side down. Love the tips (and comments ) but not a railway modeller – just a modeller/wargamer with scenery. One day – lottery permitting, I’ll be opening up a South Wales N gauge emporium.

    If undertaking the ‘drown vehicle’ option, to simulate refraction, cut the vehicle at the surfaced-level @ 45o and then extract a 10o slice from the underwater setion. If your [probably] working in a shallow representation, then split the remainder horizontally along the axle-line which cuts down [literally] the depth you physically need – black’n’brown paint around this cut-down camouflages the ‘sin’ of it’s incompleteness ! Now pour [about a pint sorry] of resin . . . . in successive layers, or it will never fully dry ! but taking the opportunity to add the occasional plant/fish/litter.

    One complaint about all you railway modellers . . . Your beautiful layouts are always so, So, SOOO CLEAN ! Life is grimy, nay dirty and sadly, also with litter blowing and unweeded kerbs and verges – get realistic and ‘moss’ your roofs after the seagulls have passed-over etc, etc

    Otherwise – Your all doing so Very Well

  88. pps. On the subject of coal-stocks

    try cutting-open a water-filter cartridge [over a bowl] and you have all the ‘small-coal’ that you’ll ever need – much over the carpet – guess who got it wrong with no bowl !

  89. that was very nice

  90. Barry, your added detail is excellent you are to be given a gold star for your work and the time you have put into it

  91. I’m very new at this, but I have seen some water features that are actually a clear resin over the top of the ‘painted’ scenery below…rocks, logs sand etc. I recently saw this at the Railways Museum in Ipswich, Queensland Australia.

  92. What scale is this? It appears to be HO. It looks great, what type of electrical power you using? I like what appears to be the thought of building with sides up. Seems to work great for mountains and tunnels.

  93. ” I did a water tutorial for some readers almost (2) years ago that Al published and I’m sure he would email it to you if you asked him.”
    Can you send me a copy?

  94. The water is the best I have seen, so along with all the others I would be very interested to know how you achieved such a realistic effect.

    I am building a layout in my basement where there is natural rock and would like to attempt making a waterfall. Any ideas would be welcomed.


  95. Astonishing, I have just bought a 3.6 metre x 2 metre and thought how much detail I have on my board, yours seems to go on forever. Must keep in touch, I don’t mind at all you responding to my email, I get so much pleasure in what Alistair sends me. I live in Australia and when my wife gets home tonight I will ask her to photograph mine and somehow add an attachment, regards John.

  96. SPECTACULAR. just wish I had 1/4 of the talent and patience

  97. A very well done and really nice layout.
    One question – what gauge is iit?

    Almost looks like G gauge.
    Hope you answer.
    Thank, RJS.

  98. It is always a joy to see exciting layouts, thanks – I wish I could put my efforts into such a great layout. My forte and pleasure is in the building of HO, N and Z structures, but I am having trouble finding much of a selection in Z scale. My trains are the steam train era. Any ideas? JP

  99. Barry –

    Just getting started in HO. Can you tell me what brand of track and turnouts you are using and is it code 100 or 83? It would be great to also see a track plan. Great scenery! Thank you. Tom

  100. Beautiful job Barry–wish I were younger I might try and take on something simular

  101. Outstanding layout in every respect! Thanks for sharing your information. I look forward reading more from “pros” like you you, Barry, as us “beginners” continue to learn and grow.


  102. The layout looks really good and I like the way you did your streets and parking spots. It looks like HO scale? Good job and how do you power your layout? Also would like to see mpre pics of just the water area, to get some ideas for my own layout.

  103. Barry, Can you please tell me the size of your basement layout? Thank you. If you don’t have time to grant my next request, I will understand. Request : a step by step method that you used to build your layout? Thank you. Rocco from new jersey.

  104. Magnificent! Hope you heed all the calls for more information about how you created a spectacular layout. Details please! Your many admirers are clamoring for more information!


  105. Great layout! I was wondering if this is an n scale or Ho scale. I’m just starting my layout and will want to expand. I would love to see the track plan to see how you created a second level.

    Warm regards ,

    Please come to my study and do mine for me.
    Will you? :)

  107. Very nice job! I would like to see a small video with trains running. I like the idea of building in a valley, excellent!

  108. Outstanding design. At first glance, I thought some of the pictures were live shots of days gone by.

  109. YOUR LAYOUT IS NOTHING SHORT OF FABULOUS! I am new to Marklin HO C-track. Where can I get C-track layouts (4×8), small I know, but that is it. Do M-track Pieces have the same dimensions as C-track. I can find M-track layouts, but I need to be able to know what M-track piece nos. are the same as C-track nos ? Is this possible? Regards, S.W.

  110. The best layout ever I seen ,Beery I’am a new Train guy I am doing for my grand kids I want your help can you give me some layout with our lot of investment and enjoyable I just fininsed my 9×5 Table ,I’am getting all the lay out with mostly with rack .I like some bulding water churches people and good scenery.Let me know you that anything that available. Thanks ,Matt abraham

  111. Great stuff. I have the same town hall building! I love your street lines, too. I’m trying to figure out hoy best to do my street

  112. Thanks for sharing. How many layouts have you done now?

  113. Hi Barry
    Congratulations on your design of the lake. I am in the fortunate or unfortunate (from a cost point of view) position of starting from scratch (picking up from my childhood days) in developing a HO gauge layout. I have contemplated hills and valleys as well as a rail underpass for a level crossing (big in Melbourne, Oz as present). Now I can add a lake to the design. Thanks for sharing. It saves a lot of brain power and eliminates trial and error. Regards

  114. A different concept that you have used for the layout which I very much like. Some great little details around.

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