Claus’ N scale layout

“I’m into N Gauge Layouts (Continental outline) and wondered if anybody in your circle would like to see some of my efforts from past years? I originate from Austria, hence all my layouts have working catenary systems.

Here are a few…



“Hi Alastair

I thoroughly enjoy your website – you have some great contributors. I live in New Zealand but loosely model the Santa Fe diesel days of the 1950s to the 1990s.

When I turned 65 I considered it undignified for a pensioner to have to use a duck-under. So. On rebuilding my layout following the earthquakes of 2010-11, I built a lift up access in the corner by the door.

Fortunately I have not had any accidents involving trains going over the “cliff” but the potential problem needed addressing as I do not always close the lift up section when operating. Far too late I considered fitting micro-switches to the tracks operated by the lift up section. Instead I came up with the attached cheap, simple and effective manual alternative using a piece of wire and a short length of foam plastic.

Fingers crossed I don’t get lazy and forget to install the foam buffers!

Kind regards


I do love the different solutions and tips people send in. I think it’s wonderful too see so many different ways of sorting out different problems.

Reminds me of just how different we all are. Do you know some people mail me the kindest words about this site – others just hurl abuse (really nasty abuse too). Suppose one man’s pleasure is another man’s poison. Having said that, nothing split the pack more than this one.

Folk either love it or hate – there is no in between. I’ve just started something needing a whole load of wood – so I’m in the “love it” camp (and I can tell you, I need all the help I can get).

Anyhow, thanks to Claus and David. And please keep them coming. Hope you enjoy them all as much as I do.

Don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet is here.



43 Responses to Claus’ N scale layout

  1. Well Done

    Very nice layout, like the catenary, which is something many dont bother with due to its complexity,


    Steve ( North Wales UK)

  2. Lovely layout. I agree with Steve Lewis the catenary must be complex to install and maybe maintain, never the less very good indeed.

  3. That is a lovely layout.
    Sorry to hear that some people criticise this site.
    They must be the ones that haven’t got the talent to do these amazing
    Layouts. They are not worth the time that it takes to do this lovely hobby.


  4. Claus,
    A working catenary system must have been an electrical feat. At least having it inside eliminates the summer sagging and winter icing ingigenous to Austrian weather. Living in sunny California I miss the Wiener Gemütlichkeit but not the winter weather.

  5. Now here is a display built on patience. Great job?

  6. re. Catenary: True and true again….it requires a great deal of patience and – most important – very careful positioning, especially around bends. In Tunnels I use special tunnel catenary, which is a fixed brass rail, thus eliminating any flexing when locos are passing. Having suffered a stroke some years ago, I now have only one working eye, which does not help matters. Also it is important to have the tunnel roofs constructed so they can be removed, in case of a train getting “stuck” anywhere. As you all know, with N gauge any access for “Fingers” is extremely difficult. I restrict most layout sizes to a size, that would fit into a large estate car. I have also made layouts which “plug together”, hence being made bigger overall. On the joins of larger layouts, with “bullet” locators, there is always a tunnel, which a) hides the join and b) allows the catenary brass bands to meet, slightly overlapping on one side. If anybody would like pictures of such a constructions pse. let me know, and I can get my trusted camera out to send detailed shots to Alistair (because he’s better in posting those than little ole me). I will have a word with my grandson, who might be able to show me how to make a short video, as I’m not too hot on such things. Meanwhile I wish you all a very happy x-mas in the hope that father x-mas (Santa Claus – without the “e”, remember?) brings you lots of goodies for your N Gauge hobby.

  7. Beautiful work. It is amazing how much detailed you have in N scale. Keep up the great work. All the best for the Holidays

  8. I enjoy seeing the fine work of others and this is a wonderful example. I don’t have a railroad (yet) but am considering getting started. I’m having trouble “starting” as I don’t have the skills or perhaps patients it seems to take. After seeing all the great railroads on this site it makes it difficult to vision beginning. Great job Claus

  9. Fantastic job to everybody, I look forward to these emails everyday. I am in awe of the creativity and resourcefulness of all the modelers submitting tips and layout photos. I’m building scenery items now and almost have a track plan finished so you will see it here first. Thank you for keeping me inspired everyday. To the nasty ones don’t knock it till you try it. Peace and good tidings to all on this holiday season.


  11. What a great layout …such detail at the “N” scale level…..

    Tom..Shrerwsbury PA

  12. I only been here a few months and thankfully haven’t seen anybody who has criticized any of the work and effort that has been put into the items shown here and if they do turn up now and then, they’re not worth worrying about.
    I’m slowly building up a good little library of tips and how to and soon hope to be able to start building a layout.
    Keep up the great work everybody and to all here I wish you a very SAFE and Merry Christmas

  13. great job good thinking to keep from going over cliff

  14. Really impressive- I built a catenary layout many years ago and it was immensely difficult to get it to work correctly.

    Respect is due to Claus!

  15. nice n scale lay out folding part looks good different way than normal most go up or come out or off good job .

  16. What a treat to see detail like that. I’m in the thros of building a 2nd “N” scale layout and appreciate all of the contributions from fellow modeler’s. A “hearty” thank you to “Al” for “hosting” all of this “good stuff”!!!! and by the way – Here’s to Railroads!!!!! Gotta love em!

  17. Great job

  18. Claus.
    My sausage fingers won’t allow me to work with N gauge. My congratulations to you for having the patience and skill to be able to string that beautiful catenary. You have built a very nice layout !
    ……Frohe Weinhnachten!

  19. Al & Claus,
    Do not despair of those who complain about a layout. They are obviously unhappy people. I notice that the complainers never submit what they think is a better solution. They probably would not like the spouse you married, the house you call home or the car you drive either. Sad.

    It is true that some modelers are more talented than others but that does not diminish the hard work, expense and heart of the least of these. Keep up the great work, guys and dolls. Remember that layout is YOUR creation. If YOU like it, that is all that matters. If you don’t like it, you will change it. That’s what this hobby is all about.

  20. congratulations Claus, is one of the best layouts I have seen.

  21. David
    I had a similar problem when I was building my HO layout where unfortunately a couple of locos derailed & fell on our tiled floor – ouch. I ended up as a short term solution fixing some sides of beer cartons to the layout – I had plenty of them – until I finished securing the layout.
    Worked a treat.

  22. Very nice and interesting layout! Thank you for sharing it with us! Have a great holiday season everyone!

  23. Al,

    I cannot understand why anyone would want to be abusive of this site. It’s free, has brilliant content and seems to be a very sociable, friendly site.
    Ignore these idiots and keep up the good work.


  24. lovely layout

  25. Even though I personally do not have a layout, I still have all my HO trains from when I was a kid back in 1970. I really enjoy seeing these set ups from all over the world! Thank you

    Ken Goldenberg, Orange County (“The OC”), California

  26. I always look forward to seeing the various layouts from all over the world. It’s great to have a place where we can share with each other. Thank You!

    Claus’s layout was especially interesting to me as I also have “N” scale and will soon be building a new layout.

    David Weaver, near Portland, Oregon, USA

  27. Thank you for sharing with us , a real pleasure to view other layouts from across the world. Always inspiring


  29. (like your total) effect Im into Z scale and T scale mainly but due have G scale Ogauge lionel marklin Ho dcc N scale and Nn3 lol dabble into Hon 2-1/2 and lego some 25yr. old TT American style but my hearts in Zjust made T gauge etched stainless steel bridge of London bridge working now power sw1500 diesel thomas

  30. Re the overhead in N, wonderful work Claus, can’t imagine how you managed that with one working eye, I found it hard enough in HO with two.

    Re lifting flaps, my pal had one which hinged down onto a microswitch which cut power off to the approach lines when you lifted the flap – very cute.

    Re people sending abuse, feel sorry for them, they obviously really do have nothing better to do with their lives. We had a couple of people prosecuted here in the UK recently for abusive tweets and they turned out to be the saddest individuals you could imagine.


  31. Did you ever consider a mercury switch ! Or a contactor unit ? Just ideas Bill

  32. Another brilliant presentation…

  33. Hi Al

    Just wanted to say that I find the website and content very interesting. Those who criticise it are small-minded. It reminds me of the old saying: “if you can’t find something good to say about someone/something, keep your mouth shut”

    Peter – East Yorkshire

  34. Looks great!!!!!!!!!!! That’s alloy of wire!!!!!!!!!! All my layouts are in N. When I first got into N in the late 60s I think, I had to make up a lot of things cause there wasn’t a lot around for N. I will send in some pics.

  35. Well, I have to tell you I only have good things to say . I enjoy all the stuff you send me ! I look forward to it all the tips and pictures…I just can’t enough. Everything I read and look at it really motivates me. I do have a layout here in my garage in San Diego. I am in the process of getting my track finished with bus and feeder wires so I can start running trains and get onto scenery.

    Thanks Al ..

  36. Thank you for letting us all see this and thank you Al for sending these every morning. The first thing I do when I arrive at school (school teacher) is view them what a great start to the day.


  37. Thanks Al for taking the time to upload all these great posts – very encouraging and they contain so many great details helpful to us all. I’m currently rebuilding my Marklin HO digital layout 16×11′ and will send some pics as work proceeds. As for any negative posts, I concur with all of the previous comments – just sad individuals with nothing better to do. Keep up the great work and thanks again to you and all who contribute to this wonderfully absorbing hobby. Glyn

  38. Good Morning Al.
    Just wanted to let you know I went to my local office supply place and had the engine shed printouts copied and just like you said, twice the size and in color. They look great and I am looking forward to getting started on pasting them to cardboard and assembling them. Thanks again for your efforts and the printouts. And screw the sad little trolls who’s only lot in life is to rain on other people’s parade. I have no use for them and you should not let them get to you.

    O Gauge Frank from across the pond in Saint Charles, Missouri.

  39. Good stuff guys. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  40. Halleluiah! Working catenary, and in N gauge! I’ve done HO, and trolley wire in O. But even when I had nimble fingers, I couldn’t do it N. Amazing and incredible.

  41. I have spent most of my life in the field of journalism, from writing for multiple magazines to working in newspapers. Semi-retired, I still do a lot of that and the critics you face all the time can make you crazy if you let them. But while it has sometimes eaten at me when someone pans a good piece I have written or have spent a lot of time on, I don’t let it bother me long term. Whether the people that are negative are just picky jerks who think things should be a certain way, or are just trolls overall, it doesn’t matter. I now am putting together my first layout in 20 years and a lot of it is due to all the people who post here and you. My layout will be my layout and I don’t give a damn what others think of it. It is fun to do and who cares if it doesn’t meet their criteria. I like the way you compliment anyone on anything they send whether it be simple or complex. Hobbies should be positive; we have enough negative in the world already. Keep up the great work.

  42. David,

    Here is a thought for your track power and lift-up section. Add a micro switch to your lift-up section and wire it in series with the output side of your train throttle. When the lift-up is open, there will be no power applied to any of your track. Lower it and power magically reappears. Now there is no need to remember to install/remove your foam bumper. It is an easy project, and a foolproof solution. By the way, do you have two bumpers – one for the other end of your lift-up?

    Keep on training,
    Carl in Kansas

    P.S. If you do not like this forum, or if it offends you, register your complaint by clicking on “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email.

  43. Dear Claus
    Simply Awesome. Very nice job.

    Dear Al
    Thank you very much for the time and effort that you put into this web site. I very much enjoy seeing what other modelers are doing and what they are doing. I am looking forward to “re-building” my H.O. layout once I move into our new house in about 6 months.
    Please ignore any putz that criticizes you, they probably lack talent and are jealous of the other modelers.
    Thank you for all you do.

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