35×15 HO scale

Dan’s been in touch with his 35×15 HO scale:

“Here are some views of my 1958 to 1960 Santa Fe layout.

It is 35 by 15 HO scale in and around the New Mexico area.

The layout is basically a single deck with run through and storage (staging) under neath. It is DC and not DCC.

I primarily like to run the trains with very little switching. (I get all the switching and operations on the other layouts I have built or done the scenery work.)

I use a lot of ceiling tile for the rocks because it is easy and takes coloration and scenery materials well.

As I do the southwest, it has a more colorful look and a dryer feel.

I will send other photos of much greener and wetter look later.

The rocks are easy to make and arrange for the natural look. It would take a lifetime to carve plaster to look like this.

Santa Fe Dan”

35x15 HO scale

35x15 HO scale

35x15 HO scale

HO scale santa fe track plan

35x15 HO scale

35x15 HO scale

model railroad trestle bridge

HO scale santa fe locomotive

dark train tunnel

model railroad tunnel

A huge big thank you to ‘Santa Fe Dan’. I absolutely love what he’s done to the tiles for his scenery.

Don’t forget, if you want to search through years and years of the blog. the Golden Key is here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you decide to stop dreaming and start doing just like Dan, 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.

26 Responses to 35×15 HO scale

  1. Dan Piccolo says:

    The rocks look great.

  2. Stephen Hill says:

    That is a superb layout , the rock formations are incredible, the trestles and tunnel ports are very impressive. Great detail throughout , love the old trains and campers . Very nicely done indeed . I can see it must be a blast running the trains round . Great display , thank you for sharing .

  3. Joseph Neumann says:


  4. Brian Olson says:


  5. Rob McCrain says:

    What a nice layout. Great vignettes, to entertain the eye and mind. Interesting rock work. The colors are spot-on for the southwest. Well done, Rob McCrain

  6. Kevin McArdle says:

    Wonderful layout, but not enough photos. How about a perspective from a train on video to see the whole layout?

  7. Don says:

    love the mountains & entire setup, very well done.

  8. Ron Davis says:

    Hey Dan, what a superb looking layout you have.

    You mentioned creating the rocks from ceiling tiles. Can you explain how you did that; more specifically did you cut ceiling tile into pieces and then paint them? If you’ve previously described how to do that, forgive me.

    Again Dan, what a great, looking layout you have!

  9. george zaky says:

    Wow and awesome. Heard about and saw tile used for mountains but yours are super. 35 x 15 -in my dreams.
    Show us some vids- You and Dangerous Dave can Duke it out for long range top honors with Big Al screaming the action in the background. Just think! Contests with Farland Howe, Bill from VA, Old Taz and others for model train action series. Winner gets a balloon. LOL.
    Big Al
    I love this

  10. DJfromNJ says:

    Like everything about yours layout, Dan. Well thought out and executed!

  11. Tony Weisbecker says:

    This is the layout of my dreams if only I had room for such a beauty . Your a very lucky fellow my friend thanks for the memories . I’ve been dreaming of such a layout (have everything to do this with but the room and young age to live to the end of making it come true . I’ve been collecting h.o. since I’ve been twelve years old and amassed a nations worth of locomotives generally steam . Made quite a few Bowser models to perfection but still no track . I live in Florida and anyone with a notion can help me get started .

  12. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Dan…..really impressive and beautiful ……. and figures in scenes adds life.

  13. Ken G says:

    The photo of the two Santa Fe engines passing each other is great! It looks very realistic! Nice.

  14. Michael says:

    you’re layout is Awesome 👍👍🚅

  15. Glyn Jones says:

    Beautiful layout and a great track plan with nice long parade routes. Scenery is very well done and matches the southwest landscape beautifully. Glyn from Santa Fe.

  16. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. I too used ceiling tiles for my layout and it’s really a great way to get that strata effect. Your coloration is amazing too. Was wondering if you use hydrocal to help absorb the colors? Great job and thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  17. robert dale tiemann says:

    stones and mountains gotta love em.

  18. Johnny Yuma says:

    I agree with Kevin, let us see more photos. When you’ve got a great layout, display it.You should be proud of your work.

  19. Rick Manning says:

    I agree with you, I too enjoy just watching the trains move around the layout combined with my imagination. Thanx for sharing your craftsmanship and creativity. Very inspiring, thanx again.

  20. Andrew Aves says:

    Awesome Santa Fe Dan – I should love to see more of your layout
    Andrew in Oz

  21. Malcolm says:

    I second the approving comments. Very nicely done. If you could give some detail on the use of ceiling tiles for scenery it would be appreciated.

  22. Chris Sylvester says:

    Wow!!!! That’s an amazing job on the layout and the scenery!!!! Gives me a lot motivation to start mine. Thank you for sharing!!

  23. Will in NM says:

    Santa Fe Dan,

    Great looking layout and masterful track plan. You have captured the colors of the southwest very well. I love your wooden trestle.

    The ceiling tile mountains are great except for all being completely horizontal. Mountains out here are created through stress that tilts and folds the strata into curves and fault blocks that aren’t all horizontal. Other than that, I love your layout. I’m also a big fan of Santa Fe, so your layout is much appreciated.

  24. JIMMY ROBINSON says:

    Excellent work, my friend! I’m partial to the era with the Santa Fe War Bonnet locomotives, and I appreciate the drawing of the overall layout. I’d love to see a few longer range photos, particularly around the loop near Burnt Lake. I’m guessing its purpose is to gain altitude?

  25. Jim Robinson says:

    Some great work! I also use ceiling tiles with great success. While I don’t “carve plaster” (I think most carved plaster looks like carved plaster), I do use molds–some I buy and some I make. You’ve got something good going on, and when you get it weathered it will be classic!

  26. Jim Matherly says:

    Being There!
    Wish I could retire to that mountain top. Breathtaking!

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