7×10 HO scale layout

David’s been in touch with his 7×10 HO scale layout:


thanks for all of your effort and time involved with all of your posts. I look forward to opening my email daily to keep up with the wonderful hobby of model trains!

I have loved trains ever since my parents gave me a MARX 027 gauge train set in 1959 for my 12 th birthday.

Later, when our son was nearing the teen years, we began purchasing HO equipment and built a layout. He spent many hours enjoying the hobby.

When he reached college age, we packed the trains in their original boxes and kept them in storage. We moved from Iowa to Indianapolis in 2010 and within a year I decided to take a 7 x 10 foot area out of my shop in our detached garage and once again develop a layout.

The layout extends from wall to wall so is 7 x 10 feet. It is 24 inches from the back and side walls so I can reach everything from the center.

The layout on the door wall is only about 12 inches wide – where the bridge is, so the center area is 6 ft by 4 ft.

I am not using DCC. I have two DC transformers. One transformer does the ‘mountain pass’ and the other one handles all of the lower level – which includes several sidings which I can power on and off with switches. This info is not critical, but thought someone might ask about it.

As I have read in many of your posts, a layout is actually never finished.

I have had fun using our real-life camping experiences with the family to create miniature scenes on my layout.

Such as the campground has white picnic tables that I created using the wood purchased at hobby stores along with the fire pits created using the round metal ends of pencils that hold the erasers and filling them with tiny pieces of wood that appear at each campsite!

I also chose to operate the trains from the center of the layout, so used ideas from a few old posts that showed using a portable ‘bridge’ in the doorway, thus eliminating the need to crawl under, which has proven to be a great benefit to the aging process!

For this I chose to use small phono jacks to furnish the power in correct polarity for the trains, which continues to work perfectly for me. It is important to make sure that when the bridge is placed in position, the track rails are in perfect alignment.

I also installed a red arm at each side that can be lowered to assure the safety of any rolling stock falling to the floor by mistake when not operating the trains!

I work hard at trying to make the layout appear very realistic with the scenes as close to scale as possible. I like to imagine what it would look like from the view in a plane flying overhead!

Readers may also notice the retaining walls I created for the gradual elevation of what I refer to as the ‘mountain pass.’

I cut small rectangular pieces of quarter inch plywood about one half by one inch and glued them together to build the walls.

Sorry but I’m not into the video area, but hope the model train group will enjoy the pictures.

David, Indianapolis USA”

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

Now on to Rob, who has sent in a follow up vid from his earlier post on adding model train lights:

“Hi Al,

One of your readers, Mike Balog, seemed interested in the power pickups on one of the wagons I displayed in my recent video about adding flashing lights to the end of a train.

I thought if one person was interested in DCC-powered lighting, maybe some others would be interested too.

This is the companion video to the battery-operated EoT flashing lights video of mine you recently published.

This one shows how I added a track powered light to a train.

Thank you, I really appreciate you and what you do for the modeling community around the world.


A big thanks to David for sharing his 7×10 HO scale layout. And to Rob too.

That’s all for today folks – but please do keep ’em coming. It’s getting rather quiet again this end.

And if today is the day you join in on the fun, no matter how long it’s been, 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.

11 Responses to 7×10 HO scale layout

  1. Tom Provo says:

    No video but still great photos. I am really amazed yo could get that much action on a smaller layout.

  2. Donald D Strohl says:

    Great layout and information. Thanks for sharing

  3. Pete from Michigan says:

    Rob, very interesting video on light installation. One question; when the lighted car is parked, do you let the light continue to flash or do you shut it off? It would seem the battery could be pulled off the contacts for that configuration, but for the track powered light, you would need to de-poeer the siding. Seems a bit ‘fussy. How have you done it or do you do that?

  4. Brian Olson says:

    Very creative and similar in some ways to my 6×12 N Scale Layout, which is a duck under and I operate my two main lines from the middle. Also like this one, DC powered, although my new switching layout under construction will be my first venture in DCC.

    Like so many have posted here, very creative use of space and most important of all, you’ve having fun.

  5. Stephen Hill Woodstock GA says:

    David you’ve done well sir , your layout and display are really keen . I especially like all the retro cars and bus , where do you find those ? Awesome that you’ve kept all your trains , hope they all are running well for you .
    Again … cool display , I like it .

  6. Matt Schulze says:

    Nice layout. Nice Realism.
    How does the bridge ‘lift’ out of the way. Age is a factor for me too but I still want to operate an oval layout from the center area.

  7. Robert Bouskill says:

    I Like your space with all the backdrops.

  8. Randy Geisick says:

    To Pete from Michigan: I would suppose that somebody makes a DCC controlled on/off switch that, once it has an address assigned, could be mounted between the pickups and the circuit board to turn the EoT light on and off.

  9. chris says:

    Being an “O-guager” I’m very jealous of the limitless offerings in cars and trucks that are available to HO and N guagers. If anybody has a good source for vehicles in O-guage (1/48 scale) I’d love to hear from you. I’m especially after pre-1965 vehicles.

  10. Bill in Virginia says:

    Beautiful layout! You have a wonderful looking layout David! It looks like you are really still enjoying the hobby after all these years. Rob great How To as well

  11. Stephen White says:

    Rob, another very good presentation. I have discovered that when installing pickups on wagons etc, it’s better to run the wiper onto an axle. This gives great contact and has less drag on the wheel. But you need to be aware that axles are insulated, and two wipers at an end will pickup from the SAME wheel.

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