Craig’s layout


I have been reading for quite awhile and …just thanks. I really appreciate the tips. I sent one post in about making some street lights and keep telling myself that I should do another on some of the things I have been doing for my lay out.

Mine is about 5 x 9 feet, takes up half the garage (which my wife constantly reminders me about, but that’s another story). I bought the cookie cutter layout benchwork from a guy who just likes to construct roadbed. I have added all the pink foam insulation for the mountains and to fill in between the tracks. It’s a work in progress, but I thought to share, hope it’s worth looking at. My first layout, and I made mistakes and have learned much from the experience.

My layout has little towns named after my grandkids. Caelville shows a couple of boxcars being unloaded at the local mercantile. Downtown shows the teaming metropolis of Hunter and a couple of policemen shaking down two suspicious guys hanging around outside the shops. A little welding operation is going on at Teds workshop across from the new house under construction.

Downtown #1 gives us a view of the biker bar tucked back in the alley. Farther down the road we see the plumbing and hardware store and the local market. A hot dog stand supplies snacks to the people getting off at the train station across the street. I also wanted to put lights in a truck, so I drilled out the headlamps and glued two grain of rice bulbs inside them and ran the wire down through the roadway to the transformer. Turned out OK.

At the outskirts of town, below Caelville some folks are enjoying the lake and the fishing, camping and canoeing. On the other end of the layout, Sonny’s gas station has the monopoly on all the cars coming into Hunter.

I’ll take some better pictures next time, sorry for the blurry ones. I made some silos and a corrugated steel workshop that I will send pics in of. They turned out OK and were interesting to do.
Thanks, and keep up the good work.



camping, lake

Downtown #1



Plumbing store (2)

Sonny's gas

“Hi Al, photos of the engine house finally complete.

The Two stall enginehouse is now complete after 70 hours of work. All the interior detail, lights and cabling, weathering all done. Ready for instalation on my friends layout.


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Brian’s engine shed is just stunning. A work of art.

And I just loved Craig’s narrative on his layout! Superb. Hope you enjoyed it as much as me.

I keep getting mails on how to submit a layout – it’s all very simple – just hit reply to any of my mails. One thing though: don’t attach too many pics to one mail otherwise they won’t get through. Send multiple mails if you have lots of pics. Hope this makes sense.

And if Craig and Brian have got your imagination flowing, here’s how to put it to good use.

Keep ’em coming.



52 Responses to Craig’s layout

  1. Fantastic.

  2. Fantastic detail on both posts. Well done guys.

  3. full of admiration for such atmospheric work.

  4. REALLY NICE LAYOUT! Like the towns and scenery detail.

  5. First up – Craig and I have to ask this where did you find the wooden Indian at the storefront ? Mate I hope my first attempt looks as good as yours.
    Keep up the great work.
    Mike in Australia
    Brian, if I became a mate of yours, do you reckon you could do an engine shed in HO for me? It’s fantastic. Puts the Walthers one I’m building to shame.
    Mike in Australia

  6. Craig,

    Your layout looks brilliant – any chance of showing us a track plane please?


  7. Cracking layout Craig, well done

  8. Superb engine shed Brian, brilliant detail in and out thanks for showing us.

  9. Brian, did you find the overhead light fittings commercially or have you found something make your own. Not sure if I can call them by their traditional name these days.

  10. Light fittings are grain of rice bulbs with Campbell Scale lampshades fitted, sunk the cables of the bulb into a grove on the underside of the overhead beams. Then ran the leads to the side of the engine house and down the walls and through the floor to a power supply lead under the layout.

  11. Craig, if this is your first attempt at a layout, then keep going as what you have done so far is absolutely fantastic. Keep up the excellent work. Brian.

  12. Awesome engine house. The detailing is GREAT!

  13. excellent layout Craig
    terrific detail
    and engine house is just perfect
    keep it runnin guys

  14. Craig, Your arrangement of buildings in your towns makes them look like they belong. Very nice.

  15. Awesome. Excellent. Superb. Lots of hard work put in to this. Thanks for sharing.

  16. This is brilliant.

  17. Al; I have been collecting your posts for years and have filled 4 e-mail folders with them. I am 66 and started a 17′ x 22′ 3 island Ho scale layout of the Screaming Eagle Lines. I have the bench work done and am working on the wiring and on the hush, collecting DCC engines. I went with MRC because that is what I have used on all my previous temp layouts and have never had a problem with the company and I can expand to wireless should I choose. I have been in the hospital for major surgery, but recovery is coming along nicely. Love your e-mails and going through them during down time. Please explain to me what the e-bay cheat sheets are. Got me stumped. I will get your Golden Key as soon as the hosp bills are taken care of. Where do you live? Seems much of what it shown is European. All good though. Keep up the wonderful work. Eric and Kaelin Foy

  18. Nice layout!

  19. great work , great detail.

  20. Nice work guys

    Paul Otway

  21. Craig and Brian,
    Model railroading at its finest!
    Detail is stunning!

  22. Brian, that water scene is fabulous. I am so impressed with the ripples from the boats. Very inspiring also is the use of family names to personalize the layout.

  23. Love the engine house and the detail. Wish I were as talented.

  24. question—-where can i get hold off a 6 volt transformer for my lighting on my model railway

  25. Great detail all around.Outstanding work on both projects. Love the clothes line on the building roof and other additions. The more I study the photos I see things I missed.

  26. Craig and Brian,

    I am “compelled” by enthusiasm to write this.

    I’m OCD. Many of us are. Maybe discovered
    Late in life.

    The little scenery niche -so many – that a person can “place themselves
    Into. What you have created is the epitome of what we all want to present
    In our layouts.

    The canoe scene, the current looks sooo real. It takes time and sometimes
    Seems like a waste of good rail space to provide for a river. But, the eco-
    System needs to be there for the realism. I would like to know how you
    did that – kinds of resins – and the time devoted.

    The engine house is phenomenal. 10 employees working efficiently, ready
    for the next work order.

    Have you considered obtaining sponsors? Find a building location near
    A mall or a theater? And, display this as the “base” for a much larger
    All-season layout – complete with video games and RC cars?.

    I really this would bless your heart’s desire. Base admission plus hourly
    rate to be entertained – with a hands-on build-it, run-it. And coupons
    from sponsors?

    God bless you with the church and nation of the Cross.

    Happy Easter. He is Risen.

    Keith Carey

  27. NICE layout sir I don’t know where your from but your towns look like they could be one of hundred of old mining towns in the state of Colorado USA

  28. Well, that’s it. Craig, you have finally made my decision. I am now officially done with model railroading. There are no words to describe what your artistic hand created on this layout. I don’t want to even look at my layout any more.

    Just kidding.
    And a triple wow on Bryan’s engine shed!

  29. WOW Outstanding!

  30. Awesome

  31. Great job, The detail is outstanding. Keep up the good work.

  32. That’s and awesome layout Thanks for sharing that with me

  33. Your layout and all houses, buildings and background were so realistic. I’m just starting to be one but very far but being realistic in all aspects. Congratulations for your success. I wish I have the ability to create like what you have. I want to see the full view of your project. Thanks.

  34. Al, I’m having a hard time finding any plans for a book shelf style layout to go around my upstairs room in the garage. Can you help…Ray

  35. Ray
    If you are resident in the.UK then have a look at the range of.books on layout design written by Barry Norman and published by Wild Swan. If you google Barry Norman’s name and model railway layout design you should find a link. His layouts are primarily based on Britsh.practice and transferable to 7mm, 4mm, 3.5mm, 3mm and 2mm scales. If you are modelling US practice then I’m sure there is loads of stuff on the net. Certainly shelf layouts are a regular item in the UK model railway magazines

    Hope that this is of some use.

    All the best

  36. im switching over from o27 to ho and have been looking for a simple ho track layout without any findings,,i have straight and curve track along with with two cross tracks,,,,would appreciate some idea’s…..thanks

  37. Looks very, very cool. Makes me want to get started right away. I had a whole basement setup when I was a kid and still have all the trains, cars and track. My trains are all Lionel .027 1948 to 1953. I have about all the automatic cars from that time, milk car, horse car, cattle car, sawmill and log loading car, two different kinds of coal unloading facility’s. and more Just need to get it all set up again with the correct scenery…………. Cheers, Gord.

  38. It just goes to show you the variety and creativity of model railroaders. The engine house and the entire layout is great. I have a small 4 x.15 layout that always gets a homemade touch with tile grout poured over cut styrofoam and then painted with an appropriate color, and tree moss, twigs for trees with greenery applied, It’s amazing how much stuff you can find laying around the house and garage to appl?y to a layout. I’m fixing to use screen wire for chain link fencing around the railroad yard.

  39. Craig you have a very nice layout . I have about a 5 by 10 ft fast track but yours puts mine not even in the same class as yours🚂 Later pete . Eau claire wisconsin

  40. I just signed up for emails and I’ve gotten a ton of tips already. Love the idea of automatic transmission fluid on tracks to help with conductivity and less cleaning.


  41. I have a oo set up and I just would like some ideas of a layouts fof my loft thanks

  42. Very, very nice. Love the scenery and the engine house is amazing. Spectacular work. Once again, a contributor has inspired me. I’m at work right now but I need to sneak out and get back to my layout. Thanks, Craig!

  43. that’s a
    very nice layout

  44. Very nice, but I have noticed as a new subscriber, you do not indicate the layout gauge. I suspect they have been HO, but it would be better if this were confirmed in the title or somewhere in the text.

  45. As they say in NORFOLK, dialect, (England) —————— “Boy, Tha’ss BOOTIFULL ”
    Well done ! absolutely incredible !
    Another Norfolk saying —————- Do yu keep a’troshin’ Bor’.
    Regards, Merv’

  46. Amazing,,,,just wonderful,,,super job well done !!!

  47. Beautiful!!! ..Someday I’ll have one too!!

  48. Al, what a great service you are providing for us train fans. I love the layouts and how to’s. Al, do you have a how to’s for your buildings? How about weathering them?

    Kind Regards from Michigan,
    Les Rowe

  49. Wow! This has a lot of similarities to downtown Ellicott City, Maryland, and I am from that area!

  50. Great layout, love looking at it

  51. Awesome scenery, but where are the trains and tacks.

  52. I would like to recommend to any model railroader who comes any where near Crossville, Tennessee to stop at the Crosville Outlets Mall and check or the display at the CROSSVILLE MODEL RAILROAD CLUB located within the mall.
    No charge for entering.
    Donations are accepted.

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