Tom’s layout

“Hi Al

First of all I want to commend you for your emails that I receive on a Daily basis about some of the wonderful model railroad layouts not only in the United States and in the United Kingdom but All Over the World that you present.

My Dad J.G.Irwin Sr. was a Real Railroad Engineer on the Santa Fe. He was the engineer who bought President Harry Truman in to San Diego in 1948. Here he is in the Santa Fe yard in 1955 on the 2357 switch engine.

Here is my 2357 on my Layout.

My Plans

My Layout is custom built by Lloyds Layouts of Paramont California.

Being in Radio and Television for the last 50 years I wanted three things on my layout. A downtown area, Industrial area and a Neighborhood area.

My crossing signals, My IRWOOD sign, and my Television Tower on the Hill

My President Harry Truman car

In the downtown area I wanted to make sure that I had an AM FM Radio and a Television station all in the same building like it used to be in the 60s.

And on my Layout a mountain with Broadcast Tower for the Television station and FM station and an AM Radio station with it’s tower down by the river.

My KOS-AM Radio Tower by the river

My Friend John Fewel worked in Sales car lot. John came up with the slogan.

My Layout is sitting on my Pool Table so we must have a Pool Hall on the Layout.

My Billboard when I did The Morning Show at B-100-FM in San Diego

My Downtown area (4 lanes)

I recently did a LIVE webinar Tour of my Layout in my garage for the San Diego Model Railroad Museum which is located near the World Famous San Diego Zoo. My message was “Let’s keep Model Railroading Alive.”

The LIVE webinar was not only to show off my Layout but it was to raise money for the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

If some of your readers would like to make a donation to our museum it would be greatly appreciated because with COVID-19 that’s going on around the world are museum that used to be open seven days a week to the public is now only open three days a week Friday Saturday and Sunday. Our museum has four wonderful clubs N scale HO and an “O” gauge.

To make a donation just go to:

Here is the Hour Long LIVE Webinar I did:

Thank you

Shotgun Tom Kelly”

A big thanks to Tom.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here, if you want to stop dreaming, and start doing.



PS Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still updated daily.

Roger’s home made traffic lights for his model railway

“Hi Alastair

I’m writing about my homemade traffic lights.

Like many of your readers I’m a pensioner and have had model railways for most of my life with long periods when they were boxed up as work and family came first.

I’ll write more about my railway in time. On this occasion I’m writing about my dabble with electronics. I’m retired from working in finance and farming so I’m no engineer but it’s always been a fascination.

Recently I bought an Arduino after reading how you could create a dcc controller with one – great theory but you need to start simply so it’s taken a while to understand the basics. I find learning easier if it’s relevant so looked for a project that I could use on my model railway- traffic lights.

From reading other articles I’d already set up an old PC PSU to power lights and as it worked bought a distribution board as picture 2.

Picture 1 is an Arduino UNO for those who’ve not seen one.

Using a breadboard I copied some source code which is freely available on the internet just search arduino traffic lights.

Some of this didn’t work, some were really a congestion control and frequently had limited ‘how to’ details, but I got there through trial and error and got it going.

I then realised different countries have different change sequences. I guess no one else would have noticed but I would have known so back to the program to sort it out. Incidentally in the Arduino world a program is called a sketch and it’s all FOC shareware.

I used wires resistors LEDs and a bread board to get it working.

Now I needed traffic lights and whilst it would have been easy to just buy them it wouldn’t be cheap and I wanted to experiment some more.

So I bought 3mm brass tube decided on 6mm lengths – if it’s too tall I reasoned you can always push it down the hole. I experimented with different types of led Scale size seemed too small and in the end tower type looks best.

There’s a lot of fiddly soldering and shrink Tubing to do and I used the brass tube as the negative. Grey paint for the poles and everything on the head covered in black paint.

I was lucky enough to find an unused 4 wire telephone extension lead and even luckier to find the wires are red yellow green and black which works perfectly for the different coloured lights and black as the return. Incidentally having 12,5 and 3.3 volts available off the PSU, I chose 5 volts.

The arduino is now given over to that function but I plan to share the wires with another set I’ll create later. Arduino start at around £6 the brass tube £5 but enough for 15 poles and LEDs less than a £ each including a resistor so for 4 poles the cost is around £4 per ‘light’

Before I finish I’d just like to say how much I look forward to reading your daily message with my morning tea. Particularly during Covid it’s great to have the background support of a world wide club who incidentally have been sort of meeting virtually before covid was dreamt of.

So hello to all my virtual friends.

Best wishes


Arduino model railwa

Arduino model railway

Arduino model railway

A big thanks to Roger – I seem to be getting more and more on Arduino.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And today is the very last day for the ‘thank you’ sale.

Tomorrow is business as usual, so if you want to grab either of these bargains, please do it today – it’s gone on long enough!

The roundhouse and Beginner’s Guide is here.

And the silly discount on the print out scenery is here.



Dave’s N scale winter Scene

“Good day Al,

My name is Dave and I read and review your daily emails with much enthusiasm.

It’s refreshing to see how creative some modelers can be as well and the ideas they spark in my own mind. With that said I thought I’d share my recent creation in N scale.

I call the attached two pictures my “Winter Scene”of a winter scene. The brighter one is with a flash, the other is without.

The details of the scene are made up of one continuous N scale track on a 40″ wide by 30″ deep foam board layout.

The mountains and hills are all hand made and painted by yours truly.

The incline is as near to 2% as I could keep it. The houses are actually Christmas Tree ornaments with battery operated lights, the street lights, pine trees and cars are N scale off the shelf items all purchased on Amazon.

My intention was to create a portable layout that could be moved into the family room during the holiday and this takes up a small footprint yet provides an appreciable level of detail.

I still have to add more trees, some decorated for Christmas, more snow and figures such as ice skaters on the pond (a small mirror), kids having a snow ball fight in the park and some wild animals among the trees.

You might note the locomotive is not actually a locomotive but a German steam car. Unfortunately, the steam locomotive that matches the passenger cars is unable to pull all three up the inclines so I’ve had to find one that could.

I will eventually replace it with a vintage Arnold 0-8-8-0 steam locomotive.

Lastly, in the one picture (i.e. #2) you will notice there is a portion of an HO layout in the background. It’s also a representation of the area around CASS Scenic Railroad in Cass, WV.

I run various locomotives on it to exercise and test them, but primarily I run the old 80 Ton three truck Shays that are actually used at Cass. They are exact replicas and one has the Cass logo and number of old #4 that had a head-on collision many years ago.

If you are interested in seeing more of either one or should anyone have any questions regarding the layout just let me know.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do your postings.



winter N scale

winter n scale

Now on to Cassio.

He keeps sending me pics and videos with no narrative or anything.

Normally I discard these, but I think in this case, it’s a language barrier.

Also there is a real charm about his stuff:

“Hello Al, and thanks very much for a daily dose!

Not much to add, other than an interesting photo of 1942 CNW engine house in Chicago – one of my favorite photos

Best regards


“Dear Al,

I have seen several ways to add white lines to roads, the simplest and cheapest that I have found is to cut thin strips of paper and glue to the roadbed. Photos attached.

Best wishes

Queensland Australia”

That’s all for this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the curtain is soon coming down on the big ‘thank you sale’, which turned out to be a sale of two halves:

The roundhouse and Beginner’s Guide is here.

And the silly discount on the print out scenery is here.