Ken’s step by step – part 2

Remember this: Ken’s step by step?

Well, it’s a fair few months ago now, and Pete has been kind enough to post the below update!

“Hi Al,

My layout part 2

Hi there, when I last wrote I left off at this point and was preparing to move. The move happened. First the house hold items, then locating and renting a place for the layout. Took 2 months and then another 2 weeks of dismantling, moving and reassembling.

So from here till now I have been hard at work. Here you see the beginning of the road at the mine, tunnel portals, and the beginning of the turntable. The red push buttons are for controlling the turnouts. Also learned another lesson, paint the interior of the tunnels before you finish the out side, or in my case put them together. Also here is the plastering technique I came up with, drywall compound and clothes dryer sheets, first step.

In the next picture you see the upper level that runs completely around the layout, and the ascending and descending tracks, to and from the main lower level and the upper main line level. The layout measures 13 feet by 14 feet , the upper tack is 8 inches above the bench, so a good climb both ways. Here still working out the rest of the layout track plan.

This is the view looking at the other corner, also showing the main 3 levels of track, the uppermost level, 8 inches above the deck, at this point double track, the next level down , 4 inches above the deck, is the track coming from the mine, through a tunnel at the mine then over a trestle and then through another tunnel, then the lower level can be seen, on the deck.

Here you see the mine track as it will cross the main line and enter the yard where the cars will be left for delivery by other crews from the interchange. Also the beginning of laying out the main yard track. The diamond crossing was tricky, especially since it is located directly over a separation line and the layout has yet to be moved to new location.

Another lesson learned, got the mine train here and then thought, how do I turn the loco around for the return trip, I thought I have all this area under the upper tracks why not do a reversing loop, sure why not. It took many try’s to get this far, including laying it out full size on the floor. Finally, end result, and works as planned, or thought or something. Would have been much easier to have done the loop first, but at least I thought of it before the scenery went in.

A big thanks to Ken! Made me think just how long good layouts really take…

Latest ‘ebay cheat sheet’ is here.

Please keep ’em coming.



20 Responses to Ken’s step by step – part 2

  1. nothing much to really except WOW! Puts me to shame

  2. Looks great Ken, I am with you on those afterthought reversing loops.

  3. I am waiting to move country when I will start my second attempt at building a
    layout. The last and first one was OK but I got into a mess with the turnouts and the wiring so I decided to call it a day as I would be moving anyhow. My efforts I gave to the local modelling club who were delighted. Since then I have been viewing the layouts on this site and others. Have learned a lot; forward planning, simplicity and patience. Start small and grow big.

  4. I’ve been following submitted layouts, tips, photos & videos for a couple of years now. This is my first reply. The talent and skill level I’ve seen gives me goose bumps! you guys are all so creative. Awesomw work. Keep it up. I’m loving it.


  6. This is. My 2nd request.
    We love your site, but how
    about all us O Gaugers?
    After all,us guys are the big
    Spenders and would love to
    share our layouts with everyone .

    Thanks, your fan

    Dick Frederick

  7. I really like seeing layouts before all the land forms and scenery goes in. There are lots of ideas contained in the raw track support structures. Thanks for sharing Ken.

  8. Great start Ken, I too have just started a new layout trying dcc, hope I get on as quick,it seems to take for ever to get things right sometimes.
    Thanks to all for the great tips and thank you AL for all your great work sending us all these posts.

  9. Could you show the track plan? I am trying to decide on a track plan and would love to see what yours looks like…

  10. Hi Ken,
    First of all thanks for taking the time to allow us to view your step by step progress in the construction of your layout. As I remember from past experiences that as the layout starts to take form and the track is coming together one becomes very keen to be running the odd train or 2, or 3, ect ect!!! So I wish you all the fun you deserve once your layout is completed, I hope you’ll continue to keep us up to date, please!!!

  11. Ken
    this is amasing what youve done i am learning a lot from you well done mate cheers

  12. Good luck with the loop. The wiring is quite tricky, Unless you have taken precautions, the left outside rail becomes the right outside rail which is a dead short, electrically speaking. You will blow a breaker.

  13. the layout is great love seeing layouts in the raw stage. building the scenery around the track will be a big challenge but you are certainly up to it. looking forward to the next stage.

  14. Thanks to all for the great comments, it’s nice to have other modelers also think you are doing a good job. I have broken most of the rules for building a layout, I started with the space I had, built the bench-work, figured out where to put the big bridge from my previous layout ( from many years ago) so I could still get into the center. I knew I wanted a mine as I have the cars from TYCO with the operating dump bottoms. So I started with that and as I would think of track I tried to imagine the mechanics of operation and the finished look. I agree this created many moments of talking to yourself, but the conversations are interesting, and the redoes help get the creative juices going. I tried to do a drawing of the track plan, did not look good, will keep working on it. I have had it all working prior to starting the scenery, and a couple times since, after all, the reason to built is to run trains.

  15. Great job, but I agree with Mr. Frederick; how about us O gaugers. We would love to see some layouts done and completed in this 3 rail gauge. Thanks, Mike

  16. I am doing a unplanned lay out changing all the time, adding taken away , ect ect building few things , I know not the correct way , but trains run while I work other track , ect where do i send a picture, ? if any one interested thanks dan o you can email me direct any one that would like too see my mess

  17. There is a tunnel on my layout – I lined the inside walls with brick paper before putting the top onto the tunnel. I have a fold down flap for access in case of derailments which is also lined with brick paper. If I forget to put the flap back at least we can see a lined tunnel rather than an untidy construction site.

  18. Really appreciate the COMMENTS under each photo. It makes everything make sense – Why I am looking at each photo, and what to look for.

  19. I like looking at all photos done as for ideas for your own, they do take a lot of time building and track laying but end of day it’s worth the trouble doing and working things out. So enjoy it while you can being doing this for 41 yrs now 69. I get pleasure and feel very relaxing doing it Roy

  20. I would like to reiterate some of the other comments, I have been following all of the tips on how to, but there isn’t enough O gauge 3 rail stuff on here, although there are plenty on youtube, but well done all of you guys, my hat goes off to you all, you truly have earned your Blue Peter Badges

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