Richard’s Lionel train

“Hi Al,

I so appreciate what you continue to do for this hobby and your passion. Thank you.

I inherited my Dad’s N scale 8×4 layout he started building in his late 70s. Since 2002 I have had it tipped up on its side and stored…. only last month did my son and I right it, cut out the birds nest of mixed wiring, mars connectors and clips (bless my pragmatic dad!) that had been really compromised stored in a daily-used playroom by my kids!

Anyhow, we have re wired the 10 blocks, and 12 switches up to the point of building the control panel. I need experienced chaps to chime in and help design the schematic that makes sense for this layout. If this is something you can put out there, I will send you a nice drawing of the layout.

Let me know and thanks again all the way from the west coast of Canada!



“I enjoy all the creativity you share with us.

I have set up my original (old) Lionel trains and as I added to the board I decided to scale down some photos of my grandchildren in sports, cut them out with a jigsaw, and work them into the landscape.

I have attached several pictures of my grandaughters who are on the Pittsford NY crew and put them in a canal and on a bulletin board.

Mt grandson plays baseball for Stamford CT and he is on a billboard, but also I made a ballfield and screen and used his image in several positions.

The kids all like this and look forward to see where they will be!

Rochester NY”

A huge thanks to Cary – I do enjoy his updates.

Thanks also to Richard. There are many, many posts on this blog reminiscing about the happy hours spent playing with trains with parents or grandparents.

Fingers crossed in 50 years time it will be no different.

And who can help Bruce? Please leave a comment below if you can.

That’s all for today folks.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

18 Responses to Richard’s Lionel train

  1. Thomas C. McKelvey says:

    Looks like you had a lot of fun and included things such as “sculling” that I have never seen on a layout before.

    It does look like you have one problem which I personally understand all too well–your cat is not to scale.. Neither are my cats (but ya just got to have ’em), in fact mine are even more dramatically not to scale since I work in Z-Scale!

    Keep having fun with the hobby!!!!

  2. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Cary You garden railway looks a lot of fun. Your track plan looks interesting with loads of scope for adding in your ground cover/planting. That also should be a lot of fun. A couple of items that you may want to address. I) the turnout at the start of the video looks as if it is making the trains shake and rattle as they go over it. ii) the tight curve near the end of the video shows the track camber to be away from the centre of the curve. Fixing both of these areas may assist in running your steam locos on the track. Certainly you are looking at problems as those locos go over the turnout. The bogie wheels will find a way off the rails if they can. And for the camber if you run very long trains it could cause them to derail. Please send in photos/video as your planting progresses.

  3. That is some railroad carey , very nice , and Bruce that looks like a layout that you can really add a lot to …Dangerous Dave

  4. Thomas says:

    Great Job ! I just love to see trains running !

  5. What a clever idea, adding your grandchildren to your layout. I’m sure they enjoy being part of grandpa’s hobby

  6. Elmer Banks says:

    Really interesting, both R.R.’S. I have four billboards with photos reduced for H.O. scale along my pike. Spot lights help show off the kids and people find this interesting. G scale outside would be difficult in our PA. weather system. So I find it better to run my G trains powered by batteries in the tender. Track cleaning is much easier. But again, my outside pike is quite small, compared to your vid.
    No electric thru tracks.

  7. Lawrence Mercier says:

    Absolutely beautiful, you put a lot of time in this andI love it, thanks for showing it.

  8. Mike Trenary says:

    CARY Your layout looks great & to make it look even greater you might want to take the boards that are on the bottom of your grand children’s figures. It would make them look more realistic. Great idea to incorporate them into your layout

  9. James Marek says:

    Great looking garden railway!!!

  10. Clifford Brannan says:

    I loved the G scale operation, it looks like it is so much fun to operate, my grandchildren would have a blast watching it. Great Job !!! Thanks for sharing

  11. Norman Rosen says:

    Bruce: look into Berritt Hill products for your control panel. You can design your own control panel.

  12. Ken G says:

    Just a comment to Cary on his great G-scale layout – Have you ever considered RC locomotives? I’ve heard they are becoming more popular because you never have to worry about a powered track. Basically they have a lithium battery in the loco and operate as an RC car would but with all the same features as a DCC loco. That would totally eliminate having to solder track and keeping the rails perfectly clean (obviously an outdoor layout will still have to be cleared of leaves, etc.). Just a thought.

  13. To Cary from Kentuck:
    Very nice video and your progress is well documented. I love the look of those Alco’s, both the FA you have, and the PA’s, which is my favorite of the passenger diesels. Colin raised some good suggestions for you, but wow, what an enjoyable ride.

    I wondered when we would see this wonderful kind of grandkid “abuse.” It looks like the images are on foam-core, I might suggest you look at heavy styrene, then you could have them 3 dimensional, so to speak, as you could reverse the image for the backside. Depending on the location, that might not be necessary, but just a thought. Nicely done!

    So great to hear of the resurrection of you dad’s hobby. It gives him life all over again in a way. I took your very nice drawing and dropped it into “my Notebook” which is a great windows application for saving things. That will help in the laying out of my dc block system. Right now that is hand-drawn on legal paper. Some use computer printouts hung from a shelf above, and some use a panel wiith live switches in the area of the block. I will probably use numbers on the panel that correspond to the block. While some may paint the block trackage, some have used automobile paint striping (comes in a roll) to create the track design. You have a great beginning there!

    MN Dan

  14. Bob Amling says:

    I love those scenes that depict your Grandchildren!

    Your efforts bring forth many fond memories of my G scale. I especially like your bridges and tunnels; as well as the scratch built water towers. Do you scan the whole railway before running? I used to take a look for twigs, etc., and then run a number 2 around to check out the track. I had an add on track cleaner that attached to the caboose but it didn’t do much good. I resorted to taking a long shovel handle and attached a block of 1/2 plywood with a door hinge. Then I stapled course sandpaper to the block. That worked well. Your track cleaner looks like a good way to go.
    Mine was a temporary RR that only ran through the Christmas season. WE lived in a row house in Brooklyn, NY. Our front garden was about 8′ x 18′. I was allowed to lay track at first frost or Thanksgiving W/E which ever came first. It had to be up by the end of January.
    Winter running is a challenge; I would continue running in snow. If it got too strong I would run three locos coupled up as long as I could. If it got real heavy, I’d clear the track with an ice scraper that was as wide as the right of way. Freezing rain was worse than the snow because it left a layer of ice on the rails. I would use a spray bottle with alcohol to get running again.
    My son got me started in G scale when he worked at Train World in Brooklyn. He gave me a starter set that was a number 2 loco and two 4 wheel passenger cars. When my Dad saw that Number 2 he told me that his Grandfather ran an engine like that in a factory in Germany. I tried to add a car every year while at the TCA Train Show in York, PA. I got the consist up to 10 cars including an express car. I would run that the first two weeks in December and then switch over to the Christmas train. That train was so heavy that I had 3 motors on it. The tender was powered and there was a pusher on the rear end. From the third week till 1 week after Christmas I ran the Christmas train. Then I switched to a Bachmann Shay; took the gifts off the flat cars and added logs. That train ran another two weeks. Then it was time to pack everything up before the track froze to the ground. I ran that setup for 35 years; till a year before we moved to NJ.
    Thanks for the memories!
    Bob at Colts Neck Crossing, NJ

  15. Will in NM says:

    Cary, I loved your latest video of the track cleaning caboose and your diesel trains running. How fortunate you are to have such an attractive area in which to develop your G scale railway. Where I live in New Mexico, about the only vegetation to interrupt the vast expanse of brown dirt would be the weeds and mesquite bushes.
    Looks like you’re making good progress and having fun at the same time. What more can one ask from a hobby?

    Bruce, I like that you are reviving your Dad’s N scale layout. It looks like a pretty neat track plan. Sorry, I don’t have any great advice on how to create your control panel as I’m still struggling to figure out how to build my own.

    Richard, What a cool idea to put your grand kids photos into your layout. One suggestion: a recent issue of Model Railroader had an article about decaling three dimensional figures to achieve more realistic clothing appearances. It seems to me you could use that method to apply your grand kids photos to an actual 3D figure playing baseball, rowing or playing soccer. etc. It would be a bit more work than applying photos to 2D cutouts, but would look more real.

  16. Jim Jerele says:

    Hi Cary, this is Jim (a fellow G-Scaler). I have the daughter that lives in Crestwood near you. I’ve come over and visited with you a few times when we would come up from Ft. Myers Beach, FL to visit with our daughter and her family. You have certainly made great progress with your railroad. Nice to see the video with trains running. Keep up the good work and enjoy. Have not been traveling due to the coronavirus.
    Be well and stay healthy, Cary.

  17. Mark G. says:

    Richard find yourself someone with a 3d printer and you may be able to turn the grandkids into actual 3d figures for your layout. Great idea btw.

  18. John crisafulli says:

    Bruce, agree with Norman Rosen about using Berritt Hill turnout lighted panel directional push button system. So easy to install & use. I have 4X8 n scale 16 turnout plan along with 10 grandchildren & neighbors who thoroughly enjoy using the Berritt hill touch panel. Most importantly, I can attest first hand that the Berritt Hills designer & owne,unselfishly, provides expert wiring assistance.
    Bruce, our hobby is so much fun, but never ceases to need, so willing, fellow railroader’s expertise. All we have to do is ask!

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