Model railway – Alan’s

Alan’s been back in touch with his stunning model railway:

“Hello Al,

a lot has happened since my last message. New track layout and the canal basin has been transformed.

The first picture is how it used to look, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the high street shops right at the end of the ‘town’, there is usually housing or industrial sites at the edge of towns, so I replaced the shops, removed the security fence and built a larger coal yard with shutes for loading the barges.

All scratchbuilt so far including a run-down old warehouse – a couple of warehouse kits, nissen huts and some corrugated iron rusty fencing. I used the latter for the roof of the coal yard building. At right anges to the coal yard is a timber warehouse, again I wasn’t really satisfied with that so again I scratch-built another one using the corrugated iron for the roof.

The track now has a crossover between the two lines so that goods trains coming out of the tunnel from the lower fiddle yard can now enter the goods yard without having to enter the station first and then backing into the yard.

Where the old coal yard was now has a point (switch) to an extra siding which runs behind the station thus giving me more storage space.

Well thats all for now, I hope your followers approve of the changes, I certainly enjoyed building the new structures and the track changes make for a more interesting running experience.

bye for now

Alan, Dorset UK”

model railway warehouse

model railway loading dock

model railway warehouse

model railway buildings

model railway buffers

model railway canal

model train coal bunker

model train coal bunker

model train canal

model railway freight

model railway points turnouts

model railway embankment wall

model railway waiting passengers

model railway sidings

model train steam engine

model train turnouts points

A big thanks to Alan for sharing his model railway – I really do enjoy his work, especially the canal part. Keep ’em coming folks.

And if today is the big day when you spring into action on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS HO scale train layouts more your thing?

65 Responses to Model railway – Alan’s

  1. Colin Gilburt says:

    Looks really great especially the water. Good job

  2. John Meehan says:

    Tremendous! Excellent work!

  3. Neil Walton says:

    Looking good, plenty going on!

  4. Paul Cohen says:

    Beautiful. Brill! Size & scale s.v.p.

  5. Rod Mackay says:

    Probably the best canal scene I’ve ever seen, very well done!
    Rod (one-time BWB staffer)

  6. John Fuller says:

    The canals look great. Has anyone actually made a working canal system in conjunction with a model railroad. That would be a real achievement. I know that water and electrical do not mix well but it may be possible to make a working system.

  7. Chris says:

    Having not yet brought my first layout to a semi-finished state, I’m in awe of someone who reworks a finished section into an even better finished section! Keep up the good work. I especially love the water and docking areas. If you have any tips for achieving such a beautiful look to your water, I’d appreciate them.

  8. miles sweeney says:

    fantastic,s usual, such mmetistic attention to detail it’s like a fine painting or color photograph. I wish I had your talent and patience! continued success, best regards, m . m. sweeney,palmdale ca usa

  9. Greg says:

    Very nice work, good details throughout.. Is causing me to rethink some of my work… Thanks

  10. John Birch says:

    Excellent! Well done (from someone not far away – in Ringwood).

  11. Andrew says:

    A Lovely Layout, very good.

  12. Richard Klaus says:

    Great work as always. Had a thought. Take a model of a canal lock, and somehow power the lock area so the base board for the water surface in the lock would rise and fall.

  13. david howarth says:

    `Nice bit of work on your scenics alan , and like has been pointed out the canal are is great ..well done …Dave

  14. Dennis Highsmith says:

    I just watched a program this week on BBC America about canals in England, and I thought I was seeing it all over again! The realism and detail is fantastic. Thanks for sharing1

  15. what an interesting layout…not to mention a superlative photographer..
    and what excellent detail work
    you are a master scratch builder
    keep it runnin….

  16. Steve says:

    Wow, an amazing scene!

  17. Robert Coe says:


  18. Chris says:

    A really great job well executed. Love the canal basin

  19. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    @ Alan
    Absolutely fantastic!!!!!

    Near Philadelphia PA.

  20. peter bridges says:

    hi great work

  21. paul Otway says:

    Very well done.

  22. Ed Macomber says:

    Truly amazing color and depth in this masterpiece.

  23. Ian Campbell says:

    Nice big canal basin – not just a bit of canal with a narra’boat in it. 🙂 Realistic sullen dirty water, just as it was when these were working waterways.
    I love the worn Nissen huts as well.

    Re a working canal network – it could be done even without water, the way road networks are done these days on layouts with DCC-controlled vehicles on slot-type tracks, except here they could be wheeled [under skirts] on a smooth top with the magnetic tracks underneath it, tho’ entering & leaving the lock might be a difficulty.

    With DCC it ought to be possible to run a canalboat into an open lock isolate it, lower the lock & then drive it out the lowered end, just like a loco or a truck. There’s a marketing & display challenge for someone. 🙂

  24. Larry Dieter says:

    Such very good work —-love to see anything that has to do with model trains—-keep things coming our way

  25. Max Dosser says:

    I’m lost for words. All I can think of is (a) Fantastic (b) Incredible.
    Congratulations for a super layout and photo’s.

    Max D
    Ferntree Gully,

  26. Ed Clark says:

    This is what model railroading is all about – excellent work

  27. Don Wick says:

    This layout is excellent in detail and planning. Lots of industries to serve and the tracks are BALLASTED! Great workmanship.
    DON WICK – The old yard master
    West Bend Wisconsin USA

  28. Ian Mc Donald says:

    nice work love the detail. the locks are of great interest how things were done years ago. great to see more. you seem to have alot of talent not in just in railway modelling, taking photos as well.

  29. Mark Turner says:

    Very nice! If you have any more of the pictures of the canal gates,(Closer up) I would love to see the,! That is some great work!Love the unloading station also!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Mark T.

  30. A brilliant talent and an eye for detail. You look at the photo and expect something to move it is so real. Fantastic, painstaking work which is well worth all the accolades here. More photos please along with an overall view perhaps. How do you do that mucky water?

  31. wow nice detail work
    and your basin looks like real water
    keep em runnin fellas

  32. Mark Piznik says:

    Beautiful artistry and craftsmanship. I hope to aspire! Healthy New Year
    NJ Mark

  33. craig says:

    I especially like the labeling on the photos. It helps one understand just what they are seeing. Great layout, by the way. I am very impressed.

  34. john says:

    Just love the water colours very realistic fantastic well done

  35. paul Otway says:

    nice work keep up the good work.

  36. Al Heyn says:

    Great job of capturing the atmosphere. Definitely gives the feeling that something is going on. Well done.

  37. Billy Mills says:

    So many great layout pics over the yrs on this site. My only wish is that we had some bird’s eye view of them to see how it all works together.

  38. Jack Olley says:

    Well done. I am just getting into HO and love the emails and videos.

    I am a long way off in having a railroad with unbelievable houses, water etc. but I am having fun.

    Jack O. Lancaster PA

  39. Bill says:

    Love the canal and lock idea with the harbor scene. I had not thought of that.

  40. Gary Manganiello says:

    Impressive…….great work……..fantastic detail……

    Gary M

  41. Bill McCourt says:

    Nice modelling. Really like the detail on the canal lock. Any chance for an aerial shot of the canal area to capture the overall layout? Thanks!

  42. Peter Harvey says:

    Wonderful detail !

  43. george zaky says:

    Bravo! You must keep on doing whatever your mind comes up with. Wow. Please keep us posted and a video of trains would be a treat.
    Be safe
    George from LI, NY

  44. Alan Cutler says:

    Hi Alan, great work especially the canal basin, it reminded me of the times a used to wind my narrowboats Maia and Little Dawn in Ellesmere basin. Love the water soooo realistic. Well done
    Alan, Malvern

  45. Mike Street says:

    Great scene and atmosphere, not so sure about entirely scratch built though, as old factory and nissan huts look remarkable like ones produced by Scale Model Scenery/Model Railway Club.
    Nice work though,
    Mike Street

  46. Phil says:

    Great work

  47. Myron Sonkin says:

    Very well done . Great photos

  48. Will in NM says:

    Alan, Beautiful work! I am always awed by you guys who can tear up part of a good looking layout and redo it to make it even better. Once I get something done and working, I’m reluctant to mess with it. Just wish your photos were a bit larger so we could appreciate all the details.

  49. Chris Warr says:

    love the detail that you’ve put into this layout.

  50. Erick says:

    Pretty neat.!!!

  51. Daniel says:

    Amazing layout!

  52. Mr. Ron from S. Mississippi says:

    Many of the reply’s say “great photos”, but they show up blurry on my monitor. Is there something wrong with my monitor? Otherwise, I must say the detail work is fantastic. Alan may not be the best photographer, but he is truly a great craftsman.

  53. Andy Cockton says:

    Super layout. I own a canal boat and I think that you have captured that aspect perfectly.

  54. Jim AZ says:

    Nice bit of modeling. Rustic, realistic and highly detailed scenes. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  55. Grant Kininmont says:

    A beautiful layout. I love the worn and detailed modelling. Great points of Interest.

  56. Macbear says:

    A realism test may be: does it evoke a memory of somewhere long-remembered? Alan succeeds. As an artist he suggests things using detail and juxtaposition of elements. Thankyou.

  57. Brian Olson says:

    Especially like the harbor scenes.

  58. Don says:

    the docks & barges make this looks surreal

  59. Frank says:

    Wow is about all I can say, what detail! Excellent work!

  60. robert dale tiemann says:

    really nice detail, good job.

  61. matiSon says:

    When I saw your 1st picture, I thought that you had made a mistake in removing the housing, but now I take that back. You have improved your layout many times over, even though there was nothing really wrong with it to start. That takes a lot of confidence in your own modeling abilities, which in this case has been well-earned. What are the barriers blocking the walkway near the water for? They add interest to the scene, but I cannot figure out why they are there.

  62. Paul J D'Antonio says:


  63. Runna Muck says:

    The water color in your scene is spot on.

  64. Glyn Jones says:

    Beautiful modeling Alan and the re- design is excellent. Any chance we could see the track plan?

  65. Joseph Evans says:

    The water looks real!

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