Alan’s answers your questions on his layout

(If you missed Alan’s last post, it’s here.)

“Hi Al, well, I’m very pleased a lot of my fellow modellers think so highly of my layout, thank you to all.

To answer several questions, firstly only the high level track is a circuit, the main (lower) one is terminus to fiddle yard (FY) I have included a picture of the garage entrance, and it shows a narrow gap between the Canal & FY. – No trap door! It also shows how I lowered the backscene at that end to allow more light in through the windows.

I intended to extend the H level track up to the windows and door, but then I thought it would cut the light and be awkward to get through the door, so it only goes 2/3rds of the way round. I did keep bumping my head tho, so I’ve stuck a load of bubble wrap to the underside of the bit that straddles the width of the room.

Yes I do make as much as I can from scratch, I find picture mountboard very useful for lots of things such as the coaling stage, platforms, scenery etc.

It also saves money & I have enjoyment making them. Paper clips, parts of old Biro’s, infact anything might come in handy.

I will send a trackplan at some time, but it’s nothing special, the main station/goods yard started 4 yrs ago as a Peco set track plan (Wallingford) but after moving house, it sort of evolved into what it is now.

The tracks from the FY’s enter the goods yard or station. There is a carriage siding which can be used for freight if no coaches are using it, a short spur leading to a crane also used for the station pilot when not shunting. Another track leads to the brewery, creamery, goods shed and canal wharf.

Then of course the are the tracks to the station and engine shed.

There is a second G shed opposite the Loco shed The point switches are SPDT (spring loaded to the centre)

I have included a picture of a sea foam tree which I think you’ll agree looks fantastic. they come in a box all jammed in tightly. It’s a job to seperate them as they are so delicate. You can either use them as they are or add a little scatter to replicate more leaves.

20.50 pounds a box so quite expensive but you get a lot of trees.

By the way, the layout is DC operated, not DCC.

Thanks again for all your comments and thank you Al for a great web site























I do love opening my inbox and seeing what the day brings – so a HUGE thank you to Alan for sharing. Hope you enjoyed his pics as much as I did.

That’s all for today folks.

Keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

32 Responses to Alan’s answers your questions on his layout

  1. Craig A says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what these fellows can accomplish. The level of detail on this setup is phenomenal. I will never quit enjoying these posts showing this level of ingenuity..

  2. Jorge Quintela says:

    Great idea for holding locos. I´ll never strugle again to keep my locos´ wheels up.


  3. Steve Roberts says:

    Great layout and some clever ideas. Lots of useful tips
    Excellent work Steve R. UK

  4. Ron Schultz says:

    that top ” around the room track “is looking so good to me. I need a loop for continues runng and to break in a locomotive . now my point to point doesnt let me do that .

  5. Excellent layout…alan
    wish I had one like
    keep runnin’

  6. Chris Goodman says:

    Nice layout Alan, really like the turn tables, so simple. Cheers, Chris in Hobart

  7. Ed says:

    You mentioned using picture mounting board for scratchbuilding.
    Look in the artist supply section for paper and you will find a laminated paper product called Bristol Board.
    It comes in several thicknesses and is a wonderful material for the scratchbuilder.
    Makes a great structural basis for attatching printed paper finishes to with a spray on rubber cement or it can be scored with a sharp hobby knife to simulate a number of finishes.

  8. Cameron says:

    What a great layout and post. Well written, great photos and labels to boot. Alan you should write a book on this stuff. Thanks for posting.


  9. Andrew says:

    Lovely layout and very good things to show us, Thanks

  10. builder Kim says:

    I really like the photo’s your craft skills are great. how you did your plants super job.keep the pictures comeing.Your under the table storage is a super idea will try it.

  11. John Bennett says:

    Love the idea of the magnets, Sheer Brilliance. Well Done.

  12. Joseph Wright says:

    Great layout and descriptive narrative Alan like to see the Euro cars and locos. I model strictly Macklin.I have both Macklin Euro models and U.S. locos and models. I have quite a large collection of both.haven’t got into a serious layout yet, but plan to soon now that I’m retired. This web site and layouts like yours gives me a lot of food for thought. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Steve Hudacko says:

    Alan’s layout is incredible the details make it look so lifelike. Is it real or is it Alan’s. I try to get the little details on my layout and I always thought I did a pretty good job but now I see I have a long way to go. Thanks Alan you give me a higher goal for my layout. I was worried I would run out of things to do but now I can work on the small stuff. I will go back over the layout a little at a time. Thanks Alan far giving me more work (fun work)
    Steve from Toms River.

  14. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Alan, your truly very innovative as shown by your layout,please keep us updated,you’ve got some good ideas to share.

  15. Austin Wilson says:

    Outstanding layout. I hope someday my layout will be somewhat accomplished compared to this stunning layout. I run HO scale DCC operated. Work on mine more in the winter season as we get so much cold and lots of snow here in Eastern Canada. Love the layout Alan.

  16. Rodger Williamson says:

    Brilliant, skratch build from junk. helps with the recycling. Fantastic layout.

    Rodger W. UK.

  17. great stuff alan
    the fiddle yard layout is priceless
    excellent detail work
    keep em runnin fellas!!
    stjohn in long beach calif

  18. Victor Heffren says:

    Hi Great details, Some of these I will put on my new layout. Thanks Vic

  19. ed (Marklin) says:

    THANKS ALEN. great pic and wonderful ideas.

  20. Tim Morlok says:

    Alan, nice layout! The wires to the upper level could be made less noticeable by painting them with a light color so that they blend with the backdrop. Keep up the good work. Tim

  21. paul Otway says:

    It looksgood.

  22. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great layout Alan love all the tips and the photos finish it off.

  23. JACK D. BERG says:

    you remind me of what i use to’s a good to see your layouts and others
    thank you

  24. John Reynolds says:

    The picture on how to set up the fiddle yard is especially helpful….

  25. Lindsay McIsaac says:

    Hi Alan, I agree with Tim, paint them white – or even better hop along to most hardware store and get some telephone cable – it’s white or almost, and move it about 2ft to the right to what looks like the corner. you might not even notice it yourself then.
    Otherwise, lots of great ideas, thanks.
    Lindsay in NZ

  26. Herbert Sussman says:

    Hi Al,
    I’ve written a few times explaining how I’m new to this hobby and working on my first layout. Well, I got my first track plan built and discovered that the small radius curves (20″) would not allow my larger locos to run. So I am disassembling everything, including most of the bench work and starting over with a new plan. Now I am going to run two loops around the entire room (97″ x 86″) with 30″ radius curves. This will require a swing away bridge at the room entrance. I plan on making that with a large hinge, slanted roadbed and locking cogs. But I saw the magnet idea and may try that instead. Thanks for keeping this site going and giving people like me ideas and inspiration.
    Herb in NC, USA

  27. Robert J. Wintzinger says:

    Was impressed with the tree of sea foam. I am not familiar with what sea foam is…looks like California tumble weed. Advise as to the particulars of sea foam.


  28. Robin Hallam says:

    enjoyed the pic,s showing the how to detail; like your easy turntable and view of layout. Nice to see someone still using DC.

  29. Ken Stramel says:

    Lots of good ideas.thanks

  30. Roy Forbes says:

    Well I’m really impressed with this as it is similar to what I am trying to achieve. My main issue is with mine that I am doing too much to the scenic top side whilst the lower fiddle yard deck doesn’t progress. So my trains run from one station to another and then reverse and I have to keep telling the grandchildren not to take the trains into the tunnels yet.
    I love the idea of the detachable scenic sections as I have had a couple of trains derail in my end tunnel for no apparent reason and currently have to get at them from underneath. Fortunately I left access areas so that I could do that but they are all underneath the actual layout.
    My layout is just under 30ft long by almost 6ft at the widest. I’ve taken a few photo’s and may well try my hand at putting the on Al’s site soon.
    In the meantime Happy New Year to all the readers and keep your posts coming, they are all so enjoyable.

  31. Will in NM says:

    Alan, That’s a great looking layout. Thanks for the pictures and explanation of the Fiddle Yard which appears to be a turntable for whole trains. Such a great idea! How do you keep the safety bar from shorting out the rails? Thanks for sharing.

  32. Ed Horst says:

    On hiding those wires / cables try cotton for dark rain clouds or type of small funnel cloud twister/ tornado

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