Yet another stunning model railroad layout

My word, there really is some talent out there. Have a look at Julian’s layout. Just superb.

“Dear Alastair,

having seen lots of layouts on your mailings, I thought it was time to send in mine. This is my layout. Its taken about 7 months to get to this stage. It is a 00-9/narrow gauge layout, loosely based on several railways I have visited or seen in the UK and Europe. My first train set was a wind-up Maccano set my Great Aunt bought in the 1950’s. Since then I have owned Hornby OO, Garden LGB G and N-gauge railways. The N gauge set took up an entire loft and I built it with my son and daughter. When we moved house I discovered the downside of not creating scenic dioramas with removable links!

This set is a much smaller but highly detailed Narrow gauge setup. I chose narrow gauge as I wanted larger rolling stock and building than N gauge, and with ageing eye-sight, OO is easier to see than N! The base is a strengthened pasting table 730mm x 1500mm that used to be my desk. One day I was playing with some parts ordered through e-bay, the the next, the computer and papers were gone and track and hills had started to appear! The design was researched, but in the end grew more organically than planned! It provided a few headaches to fit it into the limited space.

The whole setup was designed to be portable so that it could be taken to shows and exhibitions. I have used layers of pressed paper board glued together, then carved, and plaster/cloth contoured over. I mixed paint pigment and PVA glue into the plaster so chips do not show. Tree locations were bonded into this mix so the trees can be removed for transport and relocated with ease, or just moved around. Scatter flock was added in about 4-5 layers to build up a realistic effect around the houses and fields. The creepers and ivy on the buildings were added not only to disguise joins, but that is also what you would expect to see in real-life.

Each building fits and locates into the scenery base and has an electrical connection for LED lights. Most of the building are Metcalf bases, then customised. For instance the Yorkshire barn as supplied would never have a roof that over laps the walls! Each building has 1 or more lights so the lower floors can be separately controlled from the upper floor to add realism. The street lamps, outside wall mounted lights on the buildings and station platform lights are on separate feeds to add to the realism at night. The bridges are adapted from Peco mouldings. All the track work is Peco, and I run a variety of locos and rolling stock.

The buildings are named after either places in the north of England with a slight twist to them, or after my wife and our dogs. There are several small scenes within the layout – the cows walking off to the barn to be milked, the boy throwing the stick for his dog across the bridge, and his mum shouting at him! A lady about to topple over trying to hang up the washing, and a couple leaning on the fence by the barn looking out over the country side.

Sadly the layout is up for sale now as I am relocating to the southern hemisphere and I cannot fit it into my carry-on luggage! So if there is a reader who would like to show it, it is available.


Wow! Amazing stuff. A big thank you to Julian.

Don’t forget, a layout like that isn’t cheap, so save everything you can with the latest ‘ebay cheat sheet.

Please keep ’em coming.



47 Responses to Yet another stunning model railroad layout

  1. Great Layout. It takes a lot of careful planning to get a layout working like that in such a compact space. Also great job on the greenery. Thanks for posting.


  3. Great layout Julian, especially like the scenics, well done and thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Stunning.

  5. excellent lay out with amazing detail

  6. An interesting layout for the railways. Looks as if it is a hamlet in a British countryside. Nicely done, I kind-a-like it.

    Thank you Julian for sending it in, to be posted here.

  7. Really nice job. I’d love to visit that village.

  8. Nice one Julian , shows what can be done even on a small layout

  9. I love the detail of the soot above the tunnels and the autumn leaves lying around

  10. WoW it’s a great layout, it just goes to show anyone can build a layout nomatter the size of the space there is, just just need to proceed with what they have available. Thank You!!!

  11. Julian, you are a terrific artist. Your ability deserves a larger set up. Love to see your display some day. Do you come over to the Tampa Bay area?

  12. Looks very impressive

  13. super layout…great detail & contrasts w/texture

  14. Julian Have u looked into putting the layout parts in one or two steamer Trunks or just just building a shipping crate for it and just sending to your new address. If your children are old enough and not moving with you does either one or just your son want it since they have helped u on your earlier layouts. If not that is their lost not to have to show to any grandchildren old enough to get a starting interest in model railroading of their country’s history and getting the enjoyment that u have gotten out of running it also.

  15. A beautiful layout. Really like to bridge with both traffic and rail on it.
    Thanks for sending in so many photos.
    –Ben Z

  16. Fantastic layout with great detail.

  17. Really great layout, lovely scenery and great little features

  18. Wonderful layout … much detail. A job well done.
    way to go Julian.

    I hope it would spark some interest in your family to carry on.
    what a legacy that would be for you.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Thanks Al for presenting this fine layout

    Note: I see another Tom is already listed. So from now on I will use Tom N also: So from now on my responses will be: Tom N


  20. What a brilliant layout. congratulations. My next layout must be a narrow guage.

  21. A really beautiful layout

  22. Truly wonderful! Though I model American trains, I can never get over the poetic beauty of British and European layouts. :) I love the semaphors and the night shots.

  23. It’s a great lay out. you did a lot with the space you have.

  24. Fantastic layout looks superb

  25. WOW That has alot of time and love put into it!

  26. Bob, I am looking for offers of over £1000.00. To date it has cost about £2,300.00, excluding my time!
    There is some minor detailing that needs to be carried out – like the ballasting and final touch-up to paint and trees. The cables under the board need to be tidied up too.
    It has been a great deal of fun to create, but I cannot take it with me sadly, so it has to stay in the UK. All the buildings and trees can be removed for transport. I do have some rolling stock and locos that I would be willing to include, as well as a transformer to get you going.

    regards, Julian

  27. Do you come over to the Tampa Bay area?

    Paco – I do! I am actually a dentist, so I am in effect modelling every day, as well as creating artistic scenes and miniature engineering feats! I lecture in the US about every 6 months. I will be in Las Vegas in February 2013, and I guess I will work some pictures of this layout into my presentation too!

    Regards, and thank to you, and everyone else, for the great posts. My profession tends to work in isolation, and I guess modellers do so to. Thanks to Alistair, we can share our creations, so a big thank you to him also for taking the time to run and maintain this www site.

  28. Stop sending these Al. It’s back to the drawing board for me after seeing Julian’s amazing effort.

  29. YES I agree ,,Yet another stunning model railroad layout

  30. This is the most highly detailed model R.R. I have seen posted or in person so far , bar none. Just the right amount of items for the space you had w/o creating what would look like someone just wanted to see how many things he could cram into limited space!

  31. Cool layout… I’m just about to embark on my own N Scale layout. Ill post pix when I finally start it. The hints & tips have been awesome too, by the way. Thanks

  32. Julian:

    Your layout has an amazing amount of activity and detail packed into such a small space, yet it doesn’t look crowded. Too bad you aren’t able to take it with you.


  33. Great layout. Lots of stuff going on. Too bad you have to leave it behind. So, you build another in the southern hemisphere.


  35. Fantastic. A true master modeler.

  36. Eggerbahn, Lilliput, Roco — some very old friends that now appear lost. Very amazing little layout. Very, very, nice.

  37. beautiful

  38. Julian,
    I don’t know you but if you sent one or two of the close up pics to me and said that they were a foreign country in Europe and true regular picture of track and buildings I would have to just be in awe because I would not be able to tell it was not a real place you took pics of where you lived. They are extremely realistic!


  39. I have a question for the trainiacs, as I am, among you.
    Suppose I have a track spur that I want to have spare engines to go to.
    I want the engines to go there and stop, to to be activated until later to
    then come into the main line. I understand that I have to have one transformer
    on one side of the break and one on the other. How do I best separate
    the tracks on one side of the break and those on the other side of the break?
    If I don’t have the engines on the far side of the break activated and do them by hand, how do I keep from haning these tracks activated?


  41. Great scenery…nice work!!!

  42. trainiac,you do not need a second transformer ,just measure your longest engine length and cut the rail to about an1 inch (25mm aust) longer and the number of cuts should depend on the length of the spur then solder a wire to each end of each rail and join with a switch set the switches where the rails are cut so that you can see that you don’t have an engine on two sections only one rail needs to be cut this is for DC, for DCC it is not needed John A

  43. really GREAT layout

  44. Great pics, I would like to see a vid with the trains running.

  45. That is one of my ancient sets now!! I did build a shipping crate that was designed as a dust cover too. But way to heavy for hand luggage. It went to a great home in the north of England, and I learnt a great deal of the errors I made. So the new build is more structured and corrects many of the glaring faults that you can see in the pictures above.
    I’ve started a modular layout in HO/OO Gauge so it’s back to my childhood! There will be 3 or 4 2×6 boards that can be assembled in a series of different links so interest can be maintained. And I’m building the scenery in modules too so it’s easier to lift off and repair or renovate as required.
    The creamery and brewery are in progress – left over bits from this narrow-gauge set. Like most modellers I have a box of ‘useful bits’ that drives my wife insane!! I’ll post some pictures of the 1st board which is all most complete.

  46. A lot of love shows in this layout. Beautiful job.

  47. I’m in the process of reconstructing a layout that I purchased that is made from 2 interior doors with folding table legs attached. Tracks are lined up so that they connect at the junction of the tables. the person I bought it from said it was built by an army officer so that he could easily move it whenever he was reassigned. Together the layout measures 64″ x 86″

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