Rob’s latest layout video

John’s sent in this question – can anyone help?

“Hi Alastair,

I am an avid reader of your emails and all the layouts you’ve shown have given me the itch to go back into model railways.

I have joined a club and at the moment building a layout in stages for the clubs show, but have run into a problem.

I am using boards of 4ft x 3ft wide boards and think I have gone and got over enthusiastic by having a ten lane track. This wasn’t a problem until I got to the end board and had to take all the tracks round a left hand radius onto the next board which left the inner tracks in a to tight curve.

I had to start again and took the inner 4 tracks up over the other six tracks, thus coming out of the curve directly over the other six tracks. This is my problem, because I made a tunnel at both the beginning and the end of the tunnel and find:-

1. It difficult to join up the fish plates at the tunnel entrance.

2. Had to bring the 4 tracks back to the inside again which I did by a bridge which has to come off to fit the fish plates at the tunnel under the bridge which is over the six lines of track. I have to do this every I want to move the layout which looks a bit of a messy.

Please have you or any of your readers any tips on how to get over this.

I have enclosed a couple photos



It has been a while since I submitted anything to you. I thought I would submit this as a window into progres on my Farland Howe layout.


Latest ‘ebay cheat sheet’ is here.

Big thanks to Rob and John for getting in touch.



28 Responses to Rob’s latest layout video

  1. wow that’s very nice that.I have a 3 track system and that drives me nuts.But your’s hahaha .Really like this layout.Just a tiny comment.Add more thing’s to all the space in the hill’s.Great job would love to see more pic’s thanks for showing it all.

  2. John
    Having the 4 inside lanes go up and over the 6 outside lanes could make scenery a problem, with it blanking the outside area. How about if you take the 4 outside lanes high then run the 6 inside lanes under by snaking outwards into wider radii into a tunnel. This could offer more interesting scenery at that end.
    The # ratio of inside/outside lanes can obviously be varied to suit the most aesthetic scenery layout possible and the radii that will fit the board. eg 4/6 5/5 6/4 7/3. etc

  3. How about reducing each 4 track to 2 each using points and then use the existing 4 tracks to take locos round the bend and then convert back to 4 tracks as you already have coming out of the curve?

  4. Rob has got those sounds well co-ordinated with the Loco`s

  5. Just loved that video,a question, what size is it,

  6. I really enjoyed the video Rob. Love the sounds, I see working signal lights too. I also like the backdrop work. Very nice.

    John…is the layout a modular system of equal sized sections etc?

  7. To overcome the problem of track alignment (especially on curves) you need to replace the sleepers at the edge of the board with either strips of PCB or Brass. solder the rail & power droppers directly to this & use bolts/dowels to line up the base boards.

    problem solved

  8. John, why not fix multiplug strips under the joins, solder wires from track ends into the plugs in the right order then simply pull the plugs apart when you need to dismantle the baseboards then push together when you reassemble. You dont need fishplates.

  9. Hi, It’s really easy to find yourself in this type of situation, especially if like yourself ,you have built layouts at an earlier stage of your life. As we would all like to have an enormouse layout in our home. But after looking at the pictures you supplied I have to agree with the previous person and suggest you take the outside tracks up and over then widen the radius of the inside tracks to form an “S Bend under the raised tracks.” I take it that your tunnel runs all the way along the back of your layout, so you would also have to run the high tracks that way also. Anyway whatever you decide to do I wish you all the best and hope to see pictures of your completed layout, please!!!

  10. use code 83 nickle silver track you will have more flexabilty

  11. Fantastic……I am so green with envy…if only I had even half the room, my efforts thus far have all been taken apart again, poor planning on my part, need to have yet another rethink. Making a modular layout is bad enough, but how and where to store the boards without damaging them is just one of the many problems.

  12. I say the same as Howerd. I use cheap scart sockets on the underside of the baseboards and a link cable with a scart plug on each end. These have 21 connections and as all my boards wired the same these cables are interchangeable. Can put socket on one board and plug on other to cut costs.

  13. Thanks to those for their advice, I have been given a way out of my problem and have taken on board his suggestion and will show his idea in some more pic’s when I have tried and tested it.
    Again many thanks to your readers

  14. Less is more with a model railway. Once you have watched trains going round and round in circles for a bit you soon realise a lot of the interest lies in operating like the real thing – waiting for a “path” through a busy junction, shunting out the dining car to join a train going the other way, putting the milk or paper train into a bay platform to unload out of the way of the main line, getting the loco serviced at the ashpit, coaling stage and water tower… if you want to just drive round in circles, I suggest Scalextric!!

  15. you could try using peco fishplates for the joints that have to be taken apart solder one fishplate to the other at 90 degrees on its underside and these are easy to slide apart using pliers on the one that sticks out the side of the track, you have to cut away the rail chair on the sleeper to allow the fish plate to slide all the way back into the one track, hope this helps

  16. I really enjoy this site and information. Usually look at it every night. My question is for Rob, what guauge is your layout?

  17. Both layouts are great. I could view that all day Farland.


  18. just a tip, to make realistic looking rolls of steel for your gondola`s or flat cars. Buy yourself a beer, first of coarse drink the contents. Next cut the can in strips about 1/2 inch wide roll the strips on a wood dowel or rod, size your choose. super glue the end to the roll. Use the can material with the inside out, shows nice shiny looking as a steel roll would. Only 1 beer please.

  19. love your website and its tips,etc.. but most of what you show is not your average poor modeller. layouts that you feature are not in the finance realm of your average joe. would like to see more of layouts and tips from the poor people.

  20. Great watching your video, the way you done your inclined and many other things. Doing the water affect has open my eyes as for not using the heated up type ie going through on to the floor. I have to look into a bit more before I do it when the time comes. Again you done a grand job only put people on those tractors then you can see that it will feel like they are working the fields. Roy

  21. Farland. Well what can I say what a wonderful video. That is what Railway Modelling is all about. Sinking into the world which you have built with your own two hands and drifting away into your own world. Well I drifted away into Farmland and while I was watching and listening to it my coffee went cold. I had to put it in the microwave. That was fantastic movie and will come back and put it on again. You have captured good old England well also.
    The layout seems to have love built into it and it oozes personality…………John

  22. Sorry spelling should have read Farland not farmland.

  23. I don’t understand all the remarks people are making about the size of your layout and average people, ones says, would not be able to afford to manage it.
    My comment to them is are we all not in the position when buying or renting our houses flats / apartments where we are going to live, not in the position of choosing something suitable for our future needs. It is all down to lack of future planning. Sounds like sower grapes to me. We have most of us started out with not much or nothing and built it up over the years. I remember back in the 70s when I bought my first house all the building societies and banks telling me I was not earning enough. Then a locol estate agent got us a mortgage and we got started. I always looked for a house which gave me a model railway room even if it was small one. Think those comments were very unkind ones. Farland has great reality of it’s own. And has a unique personality. Wonderful layout. ……..John

  24. Thanks Al for all the good work you’ve shown us in 2016. All the very best to you and your team, and also everybody else who uses this site. Hope the New Year brings peace and prosperity to all.

  25. The best I have seen!!

  26. I don’t understand the need for a ten track mainline or anything. I don’t know what the shape of the layout is, and I have seen many club layouts that don’t have that many. what are you trying to model? Please elaborate. God luck.

  27. Rob,
    I’m a rookie and can only dream about your layout. I realize all the hard work that went into it. Thanks for the video..I can learn a lot from it..

  28. Really looks nice. I just have to ask where on earth can you find 10 tracks going into a tunnel?

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