A video update from Dean on his N scale

Dean’s been back in touch – his last post is here.

“Al, here’s a new video which shows the construction and installation of two industries for my Piedra Blanca and Pacific RR

–a coal and gravel dealer (built from an N Scale Architect Kit) and

–a scratch-built bulk oil dealer

I’ve included a lot of information on my scenery techniques. Because of that it’s about twice as long as I had planned, but I hope you can use it.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

“Hello Mr. Al

Been receiving your e-mails for sometime now and have they been a help. Thank you.

Here’s my first layout since 1963 and am using the cars and most of the lock’s.

I started in Oct. 2016 and is a real challenge. I fully recommend do your homework before even starting. You give some great points in this area Mr. Al.

The gauge is HO on a 5 x 9 ft. Flat 3-4 thick plywood. (Scrap.) Almost all fixtures are hand made from photographs and a little help from the City Secretary of a small town in Aubrey, Texas. She helped over the inner-net with the pictures and building compositions. The rest is from around Herkermer, Kansas. (Pop. 150)..

I used Peck flex and Atlas track and switches tacking on a cork beading. The tunnel complex is cardboard strips from old boxes, wire mess for screens and plaster of Paris.

Pictures are of the up and running phase. Still have the yard to do. Anyone with suggestions? Sure can use some advice and ideas. Have about 37 inches by 28 inches in a try-angle shape to work in.

Thanks everyone for your blogs and comments. Took many to heart.

Blessing and happy railroading.


A big thanks to Dean and Chris. I never get tired of seeing what appears in my inbox, and I hope you’re the same too.

The Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to join the ranks.

And that’s all today, folks. Please do keep ’em coming.




Another update from Eric

Eric’s been in touch again – and you all know how much I love an update (his last post is here).

“Hi Al,

Well it doesn’t seem long since I sent in my last update on this layout which for all is in N gauge.

I am not going to bore everyone with all the specs again. But this is getting near or is completed.

We now have people and lots vehicles on the streets including funeral procession and a couple of caravans and scooters there are quite a few more trees and bushes in place to make it more lifelike. Added to that my total lights have reached 169 which I will do as my final update on this layout, the last lights are yard and signal box lights

This video has running sessions from different angles with a range of carriages and engines, even my first set of royal mail coaches that are now over 30 years old which I normally use for fitting clip on track cleaning pads to, they do a grand job at keeping the tracks clean with a few drops of methylated spirit on them.

I took the running session using a small tripod so not jerky as update 1, after the running sessions there is a close up tour of the town and yes it is a little unsteady at times but not too bad, it’s short too.

Yes in the tour you can see all the joins in the boards and I make no apologies for those as all the higher boards are fully removable to give me access to the tracks and wiring below which is essential for maintenance and accessing any derailments (thankfully hardly any of those to date).

All that is left is to say I hope you enjoy the video.

Happy modelling

Eric (Leeds) UK”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

“Lee I have been receiving your messages for over a year and really like them. Many tips have been very valuable.

In June of this year I started to build a new layout modeled after a small Connecticut town where some road work was going on. One piece of equipment is not to scale because I cannot find it . Finishing up a few scenery issues and fine tuning the running two trains. I might add a few smaller buildings but not now.

Notice your card structures in the background.

Also solving a few small electric issues .

Great fun.

Thanks for all you do .



That’s all today folks. A big thanks to Eric and Frank. It just goes to show it’s all about rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in.

And if you’re feeling left out in the cold, the Beginner’s Guide is here.


The most important thing in any model train layout

Here’s what I love most about this hobby, or maybe this hobby and this blog: making a start!

I often say it, because I know so many folk on the newsletter think about taking the plunge – but it just never happens…

So why am I saying this (again)?

Here’s why. Have a look at what Eddie’s done, but first have a look at his first post, which is here.

Now have a look at what he’s done:

“Hi Al,

I got in touch with you in March to introduce my loft railway.

I have made a bit of progress on the landscaping front since and I thought I would share it with you,

I have named the layout ‘Tarry Mill’ after the farm my mother was brought up in in Scotland.

I started the landscaping down on side, and I am about a quarter of the way down.

It comprises of two inclines, raised section and one tunnel portion. I used expanding foam filler for the surrounds of the inclines and foam insulation board for the hill and tunnel section.

The tunnel mouths and wall sections are made from foam insulation boards. I scored it with a pencil to give a stone block effect and textured them with a small blade, once painted and a quick dry brush with white to highlight looks not too bad.

I have used sawdust and wood shavings for ground cover. I dyed it green, dried it then put it through a blender to fine it up. I also used Javis scatter to highlight some areas.

I have enclosed a few photos, I hope they are good enough to publish?

Keep up the good work


Just goes to show what a little vision and a little work can do. And of course, making a start…

Now on to Dangerous Dave. For some reason his emails have been landing in my junk folder, so I’ve missed a few from him.

But here’s his latest – no train action towards the end, but as he’s been such a big part of the blog over the years, I though why not:

“Hi Al,

Just loaded this video ..it explains a lot re not running many trains of late ..had problems with the ECOS control system so struggling with an old Hornby Elite system ..just can not get used to it again ..I have had the ECOS sent back to Germany for repair ..but could take some time ..have also been trying out the Go Pro mini Camera, you can see the results on here ..not fantastic on the railway , but later in the water on my pond it works great ….you will also see how I have been occupying a lot of my time lately…



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming – hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

And if you’re bored of watching, rather than taking part, start your layout today – what’s stopping you? No really, what is stopping you? The Beginner’s Guide is here