3 loop HO train layout – Ray’s

Ray’s been in touch with his 3 loop HO train layout:

“Hi Al,

This is my first time writing to you although I have enjoyed your emails of all the various layouts for months now!

They inspired me to get started on this new hobby of mine that I have been thinking about for years! For what it’s worth I thought I would share my new evolving layout with you.

I am retired 66 YO living in Florida and need to fill my days. I started researching about a year ago various layouts and sizes.

I spent time on-line looking at the Union Pacific Bailey Railyard, supposedly the world’s largest, in North Platt, NE. I ran across the web site for the Golden Spike Tower which has live web cams!

Here’s a link: Live Cam – Golden Spike Tower It’s really interesting to watch. I used this as inspiration to get started and plan on visiting it this summer.

My layout consists of 3 – 4 ft x 4 ft sections bolted together.

The thought is to make it portable in case I move. The track will be able to be removed at the joints, and the wiring will have terminal blocks underneath to easily disconnect the wiring at the joints.

The first 3 pics you can see the framing and the joints as well as my preliminary layout. Each section has it’s own set of wheels. The entire table rolls very easily allowing me access to the back and side of the layout.

 3 loop ho train layout

 3 loop ho train layout

The next 5 pics show the progress I have made in the last two months.

I have started on a lake with a small river under the bridges. I wanted to give it some 3D effect. I’ve also laid the roadbed down however, the track has not been glued down yet. I wanted to build my control panel and complete some of the wiring first in case I have some issues. I added some buildings and things but they are not permanently placed.

My goal is to be able to run 3 trains at the time, that sounds ambitious for a first time layout but I am a retired Electrical Engineer and I have studied the Atlas Complete Wiring Book.

The layout consists of 3 loops with interconnecting capabilities. The inside loop is the most complex. It could be just a loop or a figure eight, but also has two reversing loops along with some sidings.

It will be interesting to see if I can wire it the way that I have envisioned it to work! Eventually I would like to convert to DCC but for a couple years will stick with just DC. Everything is so expensive!

model railroad loco and freight

 3 loop ho train layout

3 loop ho train layout

I’ll close for now but perhaps I will send some updates as I go along. I did want to include a couple of pics showing this real cool mug my step-son made for me. It keeps my coffee hot for hours, It says:

A Perfect Day
Wake up

train mug

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

God Bless.


North Port, FL.”

A big thanks to Ray for sharing his 3 loop HO train layout.

Curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask him about the tractor in the pic that is literally hanging about:

“The tractor is just a pull chain for the light fixture I have had for 20 plus years. I didn’t realize I captured it in the picture. It is pretty close to HO scale! I actually had a John Deer years ago!


When ever a HO loop layout comes in, I’m always reminded of Ken’s: HO scale loop.

I do enjoy seeing the layouts in their early stages, it makes the updates very satisfying, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Ray’s post.

He’s made a great start, and that’s what this hobby is all about, making a that start…

And talking of making a start, don’t forget to have a look at the new forum. If there is a model train question that’s stopping your layout, just ask.

Now on to Andrew:

“Using cheap acrylic paint from the local Pound Store weather the sides to suit Photos Timber Sheds I and J.

Add corrugated iron roofing also from print outs and place on the layout Photo K

Best wishes to you and all who follow your wonderful and informative posts, I hope it may be of use to someone.

Andrew in Oz”

model train shed scratch build

model train shed scratch build

That’s all for today folks. A big thanks to Andrew and to Ray for sharing his 3 loop HO train layout.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

12 Responses to 3 loop HO train layout – Ray’s

  1. Karl Hunt says:

    Fantastic job. I should of researched more before starting my layout. I’m 61 still working on my 8X4 layout can’t wait for retirement to do it full time.
    Keep up the good work and post more when you get more done. I use to live in Cape Coral. Small world!
    Happy modeling!
    Karl, Tennessee

  2. Ellis James English says:

    To my co Florida Railroaders, I too live in SW Florida. Been going off and on for a long time permanent resident for 10 years now. I have found keeping a de-humidifier going on low really is a plus for tracks and powered engines also powered track cleaners. As a former engineer, here in SW Fl I have lost so many tools electric and just pliers, to the humidity it really hurts to see it. just a word to the wise, Sushine here comes at a price. Keep Rolling…………

  3. Stephen Hill says:

    Ray , God bless you sir , that’s an amazing start , please keep posting your progress . Obviously you’re planning a water feature and you’ve plenty of space to create your layout . Looks like you’re on the right track , no pun intended. I hear you brother , trains, breakfast , trains , lunch , trains , dinner , trains all day . Good luck and enjoy .

  4. Rich B. says:

    Retired over decade now, don’t know how I ever had time to work at all. Trains always on back burners, Today it’s new stove, nothing is right meaning electrical, downdraft vent and propane range- electric oven. Lucky I can still do myself lol.

    This presentation is great. They all don’t need to be finished and choice of rolling stock colors pop out, even in beginning stages. Somehow looks like dining room table was used, finished flats and vertical of benches look good as is.

    John Deere tractor was noted and it looks like it belongs so. Also small shed is the best wood look paint job.

    And Regards, Rich

  5. Tom says:


    The Digitrax Zephyr is not that expensive , could be located near a yard since it has its own throttle . Just a suggestion.

  6. Rob McCrain says:

    The benchwork looks good as does the track plan. You have the beginnings of an excellent model railroad. I have been to the Bailey Yard in Nebraska. It is really a sight to see. The Golden Spike building is a fantastic place to watch the action. Rob

  7. Steve Ruple says:

    Ray, it looks like your off to a great start on your layout, excellent start. I like the coffee cup your step-son made you, it’s awesome. Keep up the good work.

  8. robert dale tiemann says:

    nice start. love the “can”hahaha

  9. SantaFeJim says:

    What is the grade on the back right hand side of your layout? It looks pretty steep on the pictures.

  10. Ted Bousman says:

    Hello Ray. I also live in North Port Fl. Maybe sometime we can get together and talk about our share interest

  11. Mike Schneider says:

    Hi Ray, great layout, have to tell you I’m just starting my layout and when I saw yours I thought I was looking at mine!! same L shape with elevated outer track with trestle bridge in same area. I’m Mike in New York, looking forward to see your updated photos.

  12. Niel Stoppa says:

    Great layout Ray!, I am about to build my first one and it will be an exact replica of yours, size wise that is. An L shape 3- 4 foot sections. I am curious to know about the height of yours. I was trying to figure out a good height for mine for access and comfortability while working on it. Yours appears to be fairly tall. What is your measurement from floor to the flat land surface?

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