Cedar Valley Railroad HO with DCC

Jim’s been back in touch with a brand new build.

I do love it when we get to see a layout from the very start:

“The room size is 10×12 feet with door and closet at one corner. Which happened to be the perfect size for my 2x 4 foot modules. You may have to adjust one module to fit your specific space.

The layout is designed to fit along two walls. The only problem I had was to keep the height below one window. The height turned out to be 38 inches with a 4 inch rise on the long wall.

This turned out to be comfortable to either sitting or standing. Height is something one has to determine to suit one’s own needs.

The system is powered by DCC. This setup plan can also be used with DC.

I found this plan to be very flexible with the placing of turnouts with regards to bench work and future buildings.

Track plan:

HO scale shelf track plan

This plan suits my space as we have moved into a rented apartment. I did not want to attach anything to the walls. Thus, it is constructed to be free standing.

I designed the plan to be either left as is or, added on at the end of track A and go back down and join the main line at some place. Or, extend track A to be a return loop back on its self.

The plan is designed to be an operating layout. All turnouts have to be switched by hand. This means you have to be able to reach them. You could power them if you so desire.

All electrical work is done at the front of the layout. The buss wires and feeders all come to the front allowing me to do the wiring without going under the layout.

Bench work:

The bench work was constructed of 1”x3 “pine wood. The modules are 4 feet long by 2 feet wide. That is the outside dimensions.

This is the size to accommodate the foam panels which are 2×8 feet cut in half to be laid on top. The corners were braced with small diagonals. The center strip is 1 x 2”. Make sure it is flat with the top to support the foam.

I have found that we have a tendency to make bench work too heavy in most cases, especially if you do not have to move the layout.

This way of construction allows you to work one or two modules at a time. The legs were constructed of 2 x 2 inch posts. I put four legs on the first module then just added two more legs as I joined the modules together. Here you can use any leg system you choose.

The modules were bolted together with 3/8” x 3”carriage bolts.

bench

HO scale shelf bench

HO scale shelf bench corner

The back drop is 1/8th Masonite attached to the frame work. You can use any height you wish. I used 16” strips.

The Masonite I used had white on one side so, I used this as the clouds with blue painted on it to represent the sky.

Foam work:

The foam bed is just your 1” blue foam board glued to the frame. I use two 1” boards glued together instead of one 2” board.

I found this allows me to go down 1” in elevation and still have a flat solid base. I also found it easier to carve this way than to carve out the 2” foam.

The foam sheets are then glued on to the frame. Remember the frame was made the same size as the foam. I used foam construction adhesive as per instructions.

I attached the back drop to the frame before placing the bench work in place. If this was a free standing unit with walk around, this step can be done later.

Two things that I discovered are:

1. Beware, all lumber is not the same size. This seems to be true if you buy from different sources. This can be a pain when you go to join pieces together.

2. Two pieces of 1” foam are not the same thickness as one 2” piece. This can be a problem when laying track.

foam for HO scale

That’s all for now. Stay safe and happy modeling. See you again with chapter #2- Laying track.

Jim”

And now for an update from Will.

If you want to get up to speed, his last post was here.

“Moving right along… Lots of flood lights… Rocks from my yard… Installed lights in my plastic ville buildings.

Used some of my Lionel accessories.

I already want to make it larger, but would have to move to living Room.

Will”

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale








lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale








lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

lionel O scale

A huge thanks to Jim and Will.

I know I keep saying it, but it just goes to show it’s all about making that start.

It’s absolutely wonderful to see your layouts starting from a bare bench, to works of art.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you decide to get going on yours, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Best

Al









David’s layout update

David’s been back in touch.

And he’s a great example of why it’s all about ‘making a start’.

Have a look at his first post here.

Now have a look at where he is:

“Hi Alastair,

So excited to see my railway pic published on your site. I thought I’d send an update on how it turned out.

I did modify the track layout eventually, to have one long outer loop rather than two loops.

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway


model railway

I also made a smaller layout using the “left overs” from the main track. My son wanted a mountain with skiers, so I send you some pics of that small layout too.

model railway

model railway

model railway


model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

model railway

Keep up the great work, always look forward to your mails,

David”

A huge thanks to David – I think his layout looks fab, and I love what he has done with his left over bits.

It just goes to show it’s all about making a start.

Of course I’m biased, but the Beginner’s Guide, will save you a lot of time and money if today is the day you make your start.

Best

Al

Rob’s Colorado and North Western N scale layout

Hall of Fame member, Rob, has been in touch with a brand new build:

“Hi Al,

I still have all of my Farland Howe Layout but I have started a new one called the Colorado & North Western.

It has origins much closer to home and is N scale. I am going to model an area in and around Longmont, Colorado, USA.

It is intentionally very lightweight so I hope to take it to shows when they begin again after the Pandemic.

The layout comes apart into three sections held together by door hinges so it is easy to pull the pin and separate them.

There was a bean cannery here, a Gibson tractor factory, the local powerhouse for the city, and a cement plant that exists nearby. All of these require service from the railroad.

In the beginning, the Colorado and Southern laid tracks through and up into the mountains nearby. This lasted until 1910 or so when the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad bought them.

The C&S continued to operate the mountain schedules for some time after the purchase.

Eventually, in the early 1970’s the Burlington was merged with the Northern forming the Burlington Northern. Then of the BN merged with the Santa Fe Railroad and became the BNSF as we know it today which still serves the area. They have a wye and a small yard here with several trains to and from the cement plant nearby daily.

I am working on the North End of the layout now and starting with the limestone mines that feed the cement plant with raw materials.

Most of the buildings and structures that make up the cement plant are already in place on the layout but the scenery has not been started there.

The cement plant builds and structures are mostly scratch built but some were kits like the silos.

I wanted to layout to be situated in the early 1950s or very late 1940’s so I could run steam when I wanted to.

This is the Burlington era of early Electromotive Division Diesels and the stainless steel-bodied passenger coaches of the California Zephyr Train that came through Denver and over the Rocky Mountains going to San Francisco. This was an exciting time to me. I road this train in 1964 and 1965, but it was well past the heyday then and did not have the glamour of the earlier times.

The video shows me using rock molds to face the limestone mine I am building. I think your readers might enjoy the video.

Thank you for all you do for the model train modeling world.

Rob – Farland Howe”

track plan





Jeanne’s also been in touch with this sage advice:

“Tips for old folks. Build your platform tall enough so it doesn’t kill your back.

If wiring under the platform make sure you have clearance to get under there. Consider putting platform on casters so it can move out to work on all sides.

We are 85 and 70 and wish we had paid more attention in the beginning….15 years ago.

Had no clue we would love railroading so much…

Jeanne”

I do love all your advice and tips. Perhaps the advice I like best is simply this: your layout can be whatever you want it to be.

And Larry is a good example of this:

“I am very much enjoying your daily emails, photos, videos, and resources.

I haven’t ordered any of your printed buildings yet, and when you see my attached photos, you will understand that I really don’t have room for more items.

I was given my first 027 Lionel set when I was 4 years old. I am now 65, and I still have it and many more trains and accessories since then.

By the time I was 10, I developed a deep love of Matchbox diecast vehicles, and from that point on, I have accumulated a collection of over 800 pieces in that collection as well.

So, my life project has been combining my Matchbox collection with my 027, HO, and N guage train collection and blending items not in the same scale, all within a 10′ x 12′ “train room.”

Obviously my layouts are not large or particularly intricate (The main N guage layout is 4′ x 6′), and there is virtually no “constructed scenery,” unlike so many of your amazing scenery layouts.

But, I am very proud of my many layers of hobby in quite a small space, and I want to encourage those who aren’t very “artsy” in scenery construction or don’t feel they have much space.

Why such a small space? My sweet wife doesn’t like a crowded house, so I have a crowded train room/train cave, and we are both very happy.

Perhaps my collection will expand into other areas over time, now that we are retired, but I always smile when I am in my room. Nothing in the real world can touch me there, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Keep spreading joy with you emails, and thank you!

Larry from Florida”

10x12

10x12

10x12

10x12


That’s all for today folks.

A big thanks to Hall of Fame member, Rob, and to Larry too.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own layout.

Best

Al