Steve’s O27 layout

“Hi Al,

Here is a photo of 45543 in 1960s condition after I weathered it.

I used a thin wash of grey, black, and brown water based paint mixed together, to create the grime and dirt and soot.

I also painted on the stripes, which warn that the locomotive is not run under overhead electrification.

I used insulation tape to guide my paint brush, when I did the stripes.



It has been A while since I submitted something but I finally have enough completed and of a good quality that I can show it. I work with O27. It was what I had the most of and it goes back years for me. This post will be about my new control panel. Me layout is DC. Someday I would like to try DCC but all my locomotives are old and DC.

Pict 1—this is my track layout so you have an idea of what I am working on.

Pict 2—this was my temp control panel to test track and switches. I made It from old switches and wire I had on hand

Pict 3—this is the new panel and transformer. You can’t see it in this picture but just to the right is a small transformer that can be used to run a train in the yard to build a train.

Pict 4—this was a test wiring for switches with LEDs. All my switches are old Lionel O27 #1122 I picked them up for good prices at train shows and rebuild them. I took them all apart and rebuilt them to work on a separate power supply. I don’t need the track power on to work the switches. This works nice because it gives me time to set the switches up in the direction I want to go. It was a lot of work but worth it. One of my biggest problems was how to operate the switch and have the red or green LED stay on. The switch is a momentary single but the LED is a fixed low voltage. There were a few ways to do this but I was thinking about the price. I have 18 switches so it adds up fast. I used a DPDT momentary switch with one side working the switch and the other half tied to a double coil DPDT latching relay that controlled the LEDs. I played with this for months but it works perfectly.

Pict 5—this is the new panel it is a sandwich of a piece of plastic, a picture of my track layout done on Auto Cad and a piece of hard board. Each track section has a DPDT center off switch that changes the transformer side and has a duel color LED, blue or yellow to show which lever works that section. All the uncouple tracks have been rewired so they work with a SPDT momentary switch I think there are 16 of them.

Pict 6—this is the panel wiring as you can see there is a lot going on. I have had a few small problems with a solder joint coming lose and a LED go bad and let me tell you it was not fun to fix. No really I enjoyed it.

Pict 7—this is the new panel with lights on you can see the LEDs are a little Bright I am happy with the panel it does everything I wanted it to do. Now that I have it complete there are a few things I would do different on the next one. I would have made it just a little bigger. Some of the switches are very close together and it was hard to wire. I should have given a little more thought to the wire layout it got very congested back there. I should have used more different color wires and the LEDs are a little bright.

That’s it for now. I am working on pictures of the whole layout and may have more next week

Steve from Toms River ”

And lastly John has been in touch again – yesterday I said I had only every published two shunting puzzles. John replied with” “At the close of this installment I noticed you said that you have only published two shunting puzzles…

I know you have published 3 or four of my little layouts.. Shunting puzzles each…

You mentioned you were going to publish my “Lostend Foundry” layout )another puzzle featuring your cutout scenery but I do not recall seeing it published… Would you like me to resubmit Lostend Foundry?


John from California”

Apologies to John – and yes, please resend your Lostend Foundry (I get so many mails it’s hard to keep up sometimes).

In the meantime, here’s one of John’s previous posts.

That’s all this time folks.

Please keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going – whatever layout you want to build, it’s all there.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Do you know, I think it is still the thing I get the most comments on.


Cabinet model railroad

“I am 78 been playing with trains for about 75 of those years the lay out I have now started about 15 years or so ago

The HO is my main inters two main building are plastic two are wood kits the rest is scratch built

The N gage is housed in a cabinet the idea would be great for an office or small apartment

If you are interested in more pictures I can take as many as you like


John’s cabinet railroad reminds me of Steve’s layout – he built around his sofa in his living room.

“It’s too cold to do much with my South Wales layout in the garage, even tho it’s insulated and heated.

I’m actually in the process of changing the back scene to give it a makeover, but have not operated it since before Christmas.

I have re- vamped the shunting puzzle I built 18mths ago, it’s been standing on edge for over a year. I bought a DCC diesel to use on it and created a factory back scene. I’ve also put some ground cover to make it more realistic and I can operate it at my desk indoors, in the warm.

The points are operated by brass rods above the baseboard but hidden under a plinth with a Nissan hut on top. A second hut hides the DCC control box. The 3 uncouplers are operated by coffee stirrers which are pivoted to push the ramps up.

I’ve had great fun using it and it’s good for keeping my old brain ticking

The DCC sound makes it more interesting too.

Hope you like it

Best wishes


Far Nissan hut has power cable visible. Outlet other Side to bus bar”

(All images are clickable by the way).

A huge thanks to John and Alan. Alan got me thinking, I’ve only ever published two shunting puzzles, this one and Cameron’s.

That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And whether it’s shunting or scenery that’s your thing, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Updated every day!


More model railroad tips and pics

“Hey Al,

Loving your website. It has been very inspiring! A lot of great folks with great ideas. Thanks to everyone.

I have attached a photo someone might find amusing. First I must apologize for some flaws in the photograph (ie: no balast yet, etc.).

When I was changing my bass guitar strings I was thinking what a waste to throw these away. So for now I chopped them up as a junk load. One could do many, many different things with this so called garbage. And in my case they are about 3 feet long. And guitar players have much thinner strings so there is even more options there. That’s all for now.

Cheers and thanks again,


“For N-Scale lighting I use the chip LEDs. With a handriveting tool and a rivet, I can punch exterior light shades out of a brass strip. Predrill the center of the light shade before punching it out, then solder the shade to a piece of 1/16 X .014 round copper tube. The wire from the anode of the LED goes down the center of the tube.

The cathode gets soldered to the underside of the lamp shade. So the ground wire from the power supply gets soldered to the tube, and the hot side goes to the wire. The chip leds are great for interior or exterior lighting. I’ve used an Arduino computer to adjust the intensity of the LEDs for indoor and outdoor lighting to make them more realistic.


“Hi Al,

I just finished building a grandstand for my hockey rink. For once I remembered to take pictures as it progressed. I took half a styrofoam box that a building came in, cut it to fit, painted gray for cement. Glued the people onto plastic strips then glued the strips onto smaller strips of styrofoam, painted then glued in place. Glued a picture of our Pittsburgh Penquins on the back. Here are some pictures.


Linda’s last post is here – and it’s a cracker.


I know you don’t use photos like this but think you might be interested in any case.

The photo below is an abandoned Parisian railway.

Photo at the bottom speaks for itself.

Happy Rails!


I did enjoy putting today’s post together. A big thanks to everyone, especially Linda for that wonderful how-to. I think the grandstand looks great when you consider what it’s made from. It just goes to show, with a little imagination…

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still going strong.