Bob’s been in touch with his 16×16 HO scale layout.
I loved his pics, but his back story is even better:
“Al…I hope you are doing well and are taking care of yourself because you are very important to all of us.
It has been a while since I sent you anything, but I know how much you enjoy a good backstory.
In my original submission to your blog, I described my current N scale layout.
In the narrative I mentioned that because of a move, I had to leave behind an HO scale layout that filled the better part of a 400 square foot room over our garage.
I had to leave the layout behind, but as it turned out, it actually sold the house. The family who bought our old house had a ten-year-old son who was crazy about trains.
During the negotiations, his parents sent us a note with a picture of their son in a train engineer’s costume asking if we would please sell them our house.
How could we possibly refuse a request like that? So…a deal was made.
There was actually a clause in the sales contract stipulating that I would show the father and son how to operate all the trains before the deal was finalized. Our real estate agent said she had never seen anything like this before.
So…we moved into our new house, and because of limited space, I built the N scale layout you have so kindly showcased on your blog.
A few months ago, my son and I were talking about model railroading (one of our favorite topics) and I casually mentioned that I regretted not taking in photographs of my old layout before we moved.
Father’s Day was right around the corner and my son’s gift to me was Dad’s Train Book.
Without my knowledge, my son had taken all these photographs before we moved and he had forgotten about them until our conversation.
Best Father’s Day gift ever!
So…I thought I would share them with you.
I constructed the old layout on a custom-built 16 x 16 L-shaped table.
I have included a schematic of the layout that I believe to be fairly accurate (I had to replicate it from memory since the original drawings were lost).
The track plan consisted of four closed loops with several turnouts, sidings, and a roundhouse (the turntable actually worked…some of the time).
The outside loop encircled the entire layout and was elevated two inches.
I used Atlas Code 83 flex track and Atlas 83 remote switches.
The layout included a tunnel, trestle bridges, a replica of the Bietschtal Valley Bridge, a haunted house, and a castle.
If you recall, these were all elements in my N scale layout. There was also a river with a waterfall. The structures were a mix of pre-built, kit, and scratch-built.
My favorite locomotives were a Sante Fe Blue Goose, a Union Pacific Challenger, and a Burligton Zephyr. I also ran a Rio Grande Southern Railcar on the smallest closed loop.
The last photographs are of a locomotive I constructed for a simple garden railroad that I ran in the backyard of our old house.
The idea for the locomotive was not mine. I was inspired by a photograph I saw in an old model railroad magazine. Unfortunately, I no longer have the magazine so I can’t give proper credit to the person who built the original model.
As I recall, the frogs were my wife’s idea (we had lots of frogs in our backyard). The model now sits in a place of honor in my home office/library.
The ten-year-old boy who so desperately wanted my HO layout is now nineteen and I often wonder if he still enjoys model railroading. Alas, I suspect he is more interested in young ladies. Oh well…just wait until he is eighty.
I am so grateful to my son for preserving these memories for me and I hope you enjoy them.
Until next time…
A huge big thankyou to Bob, not just for sharing these pics of his fine 16×16 HO scale layout, but for sharing the story behind it all. Wonderful! I really did find it heartwarming.
This hobby really does involve all the family at some stage and make memories.
Please do leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.
That’s all for today folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.
PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.