Dick’s O gauge

“Hello Al and O-Gauge fans!

After 7 months of part-time work on my O-gauge layout, I have some additional details and photos on this emerging 240 sq ft model railroad. Progress has proceeded in areas of electrical, space, and track. For this article, I have included some photos that show results of the completed electrical, space, and track construction work.

Electrical improvements included wiring separate color-coded wire buses for 18VAC for running trains, 15VAC for operating manual turnouts, 12VDC to power accessories, block signals, switch signals, lighting, etc., an additional bus for running conventional trains (to be installed later), and a spare 3-wire bus.

I now have space to add some scenes that will make things come alive. It took a while, but I installed shelves under the bench work to store items used often and purchased six light-weight drawers (with casters) to store things. Some of the original wiring was cleaned up to improve appearance and access. I now control 9 turnouts using the MTH DCS remote and control 5 turnouts manually. The turnouts that are controlled manually using momentary switches will support freight yard action. They seem to be a lot more convenient to operate (i.e. “UP” for turn and “DOWN” for straight). Trying to control 9 switches from the remote while piloting and monitoring up to four engines in motion is very challenging and more often than not, result in model-scale disasters.

The majority of the new track installed support freight yards. Additional space was added to the layout to allow extra room for businesses, roads, and scenery. Although a stable theme has not yet been established, there are three areas that will support freight activities that include a staging branch for accepting cars from and assembling cars for freight trains. There are tentative plans to add some elevated track to support non-digital trains later that would rise above the landscape. The bridge by the door is a drop-down unit that replaced a lift-up version that was not very appealing and that required frequent adjustments and tweaking.

More track work was necessary to include freight yard action separate from the main lines. Scenes will include a mountainous area with a waterfall, a serene pasture for cows and horses, a city scape, train station, locomotive maintenance, business scenes, and an elevated town that will cover the mainline tracks in one of the corners.
Scenery is a key factor to model railroading and should evolve incrementally. I plan to develop each scene to ensure the theme comes together gracefully. A follow-up article will be produced after some scenery is completed.

Thank you in advance for your due diligence in maintaining this forum. I appreciate and enjoy the articles, photos, and videos your followers are sharing with us, too!


“Hi Al. Best tip I can give anyone – If your track work does not work flawlessly, no amount of electronics. scenery, realism, operations, etc will ever make you want to head for the train room. Take your time on the track work, make if bullet proof, and everything else will be a delight!


“Use Play-Doh to make molds for scrap yard parts, cast with any two part resin.


“My name is David Kennedy and I just did my first Model railroad. It is an HO scale sceen from circa 1861 in northern Georgia (USA) It took me about 5 months to build it. It is on a 4′ X 8′ piece of plywood. I routed out the wood for the river. The mountains were made of a cardboard frame and plaster of paris. I hand painted some of the figures and I build some of the models. Please share the pictures with others. I hope you and other can enjoy.


Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Just absolutely loved Edwards Play-doh tip. Brilliant!

Keep ’em coming.

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.



7 Responses to Dick’s O gauge

  1. Thanks, Dick. It’s so great to hear from other high railers,
    and showing the “nitty-gritty” (i.e. your great feats of
    wiring and labeling of same). Keep it coming !!
    Thanks to all.

  2. Heck of idea David.keep that in mind thanks

  3. Having seen Dick’s excellent efforts I will NEVER let anyone see my wiring system! That’s an engineering feat all by itself.
    I like the 1861 Georgia layout. A very original and well executed idea. Thanks!

  4. Dick,
    Once again, thank you very much for your post. Have we really had two o scale posts in two days? Pinch me, I must be dreaming. As usual I am amazed at the time and resources available to my railroading brothers. Can’t wait to see how Dick’s layout progresses. David, thanks for the pictures of your layout. Looks amazing, keep up the good work. Al, always a huge thank you to you and what you do. I’m always excited when I see another email from you.

    O gauge Frank

  5. Dick- Nice work so far.
    David- very nice layout.

  6. Great layouts and tips! Nice work guys and thanks for sharing. Dick, looks like your off to a great start, I like the way your keeping things organized, I know i like working much better when the area is free of clutter and I can find what I need quickly. David, love the detail in your western scenery- nice job. And the play dough tip, I toyed with the idea of making molds to reproduce parts, maybe will give a try. Thanks to all for contributing to this site, I love checking it out every evening. Cary in KY

  7. Like western town,not many layouts with civil war theme my favorites

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