Model railroad bench work

Julian has been in touch with his model railroad bench work – he’s made one module lower than the others for river and viaduct:

“Hi Alistair,

As promised, a progress report.

A friend of mine has made the various sections and modules to complete the base boards for the finished layout – well, if any train layout is ever ‘finished’ !!

The end boards (01 & 03) are at different levels for the river and viaduct (02), with a river wharf and ware houses climbing a hill towards the castle (on 01).

On the end boards on the right, will be the farm & dairy on the right far end (03), and front right, the brewery/factory (05) These structures will be on hills, with tunnels and cuttings for scenic changes.

An incline will take the branch line from the end of 06 up and along the back of the complete layout to board 01, where it circles and descends to join the main line again. There will be a small station here. The existing station on 06 will be complemented with a high-level station at the back of the village / shop area (05), and branches to the dairy and brewery.

The hills will be layered fibre board off cuts glued and shaped, then covered in a filler impregnated cloth for the base before painting and flocking. Some buildings will be set into the structure to reduce their height and create interest.

The tops of the hills can be removed to access the lines just in case a train decides to shed carriages or derail! Its a technique I read about many years ago and was very effective on a narrow gauge layout I built. If there is enough interest, I can send you pictures of this layout. The dairy and brewery are built on removable bases, ready just to be dropped into place.

Just in case readers are wondering why, the legs are angled and fitted to the garage floor/wall join, so it is near impossible to kick them and collapse the structure!

On the right side of the garage, the complete side folds down (05), just in case my wife decides to get a smaller car that fits into the garage!! Her Ford Eco-Sport does not, so I am safe for the time being!!



Model railroad bench work

Model railroad bench work

Model railroad bench work

Model railroad bench work

Model railroad bench work

Model railroad bench work

“Dear Al,

In common with many of your readers, I too started a model railway in retirement and with the added incentive of grandchildren.

I had a Hornby Dublo 3 rail set when I was a child in the 1950’s to which additions had been made over many years including the introduction of Hornby 2 rail. The track and locomotives were packed in a trunk in the mid 1960’s and remained there until 2014.

I had the largest shed I could built in our garden (7ft X 12ft – 2.1 Mts X 3.6mts Approx) and used timber scrounged for building sites to make the table. Impatient to ‘play’ with the trains ASAP the track layout evolved by trial and error and what I could fit into the space.

Almost three years later I have enjoyed countless hours of fun working a layout with its many faults but still giving me hours of pleasure.

It’s not finished (Are they ever?) and now I am tempted to stop and start again to iron out some of the wrinkles I have found.

True scale does not look realistic, it needs a visual perspective
Grandchildren need a continuous loop to see non-stop action. Point to point is too slow for them
Young grandchildren are distracted by vehicles and scenery.

I attach a track layout and some photos that I hope you might find of interest.

Best wishes

Cooroy, Queensland, Australia”

model railway

model train layout

model trains

model railway town

model train layout

model railway layout

Now on to Rob:

“Hi Al, this is a progress report on the new Farland that I thought might interest you.

I have two areas to the point of semi completed states now. The layout is starting to show its true colors a bit.

The video is best through good speakers otherwise one will miss the low tones.

Thank you,


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

A huge thanks to Julian for sharing his model railroad bench work, Andrew and Rob.

That’s all this time. Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you feel you’re missing out on all the fun.



15 Responses to Model railroad bench work

  1. Randy Dent says:

    Great job Rob. I like the farm and the lights. Keep up the great work.
    Randy from Aloha,Or.

  2. david howarth says:

    Taking good shape Rob …like your farm sounds …DAve

  3. Hello Rob , i liked your setup there its quite real looking for an English railway . As for the complaint about the light on top the farm shed i think you are ok with that as these days there is a lot more security on farm buildings , perhaps that farmer was the first to install security lights ,though on an English farm they have pigs not hogs lol . i gather your railway is in the West country of the UK to see class 50s and Westerns running together , you can still see them today running the mainline and running better than they did with British rail , the 50s had the backside thrashed out of them with all the high speed runs they had to do to keep to time , keep up the good work

  4. michael raphael says:

    One word describes this STUNNING

  5. Jim says:

    Great work by all of you. Nice start with your deck, Julian. Wondered if you had considered 1” foam board. It’s lightweight and adds to sound deadening.
    Andrew’s layout has many great details. Thanks for sharing.
    Rob’s video shows how simple and minimal can be more realistic and effective. Very nice modeling.

    Jim AZ

  6. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks to all 3 contributors especially Andrew from QLD; Australia. You have all given me ideas. thanks Rossco Adelaide South Australia

  7. gregzed says:

    Good video Rob. What peaked my interest was at the very end of the video when the through train passed by. It was the click/clack of the train wheels. So realistic. It is the one thing that is missing on most layouts. Did you do something to get that to happen? Is it some timed sound generator? Or did it just happen do to track gaps?

  8. Rob McCrain says:

    Modern well laid flex track or for that matter full scale welded rail has no gaps to make the wheel sounds, click clack click clack that we associate with trains. Only at turnouts or points is there a gap large enough to create the sound. You can intentionally leave gaps when you put your track down or file notches to make the sound. Rob McCrain – Farland How

  9. Rod Mackay says:

    Andrew, I think you’re on the right track as you are, with end-to-end working. This encourages them to pay attention and understand controls. Reducing it to a roundy-roundy would take away some of the educational value. I found with my son that one of the things he enjoyed most was not his layout, all neatly fixed down and wired, but messing about with some old Triang Transcontinental stuff we were given, which was tough as old boots and would run on the carpet, under the bed, up ramps of books or have spectacular crashes and come up smiling, the attraction being that he could lay it out himself and keep changing it to suit. Maybe if you got something big and bombproof like old Big Big Train or Piko/Bachmann garden size, they could get the bug and spend some energy before they’re calm enough for vintage Hornby.

  10. Rod Mackay says:

    Rob, lovely work on the farm but you’d get shot over here nowadays for letting piggery effluent run away to a stream somewhere! The hill ground looks very good as sheep country, rock or chalk showing through and thinner, light grass, wouldn’t overdo the dark greens. I was kinda sorry you went for an almost completely separate freight loop, as fitting the slower freights in between the passenger trains without delay was one of the real challenges, often based on knowing who was driving the freight, a “runner” or an overtime hound!

  11. Dr. Bob says:

    Remarkable! All of the joys of a running layout for the grandchildren and yet still has the complexity for a grown up to run. Good job!

  12. Roy Forbes says:

    Really impressed with these layouts and certainly shows loads of initiative. I haven’t touched my layout for weeks so I must get round to doing some more on it.

  13. Mike Childs says:

    Your layout looks tremendous Rob. You are also correct about most farms having at least one fairly large light somewhere on the premises (at least here in northern Minnesota farm country).

  14. Will in NM says:

    Rob, Nice video. I wore my headphones and the sound was impressive. So nice to hear some British diesels that don’t sound like out-of-balance washing machines. 🙂

    Andrew, A very interesting layout in 7 x 12 feet. It looks pretty complex for the grandchildren though. You didn’t mention their ages, but younger children would probably enjoy a Thomas the Tank Engine more than a highly realistic layout. Still, it sounds like you are enjoying your layout, and that’s all that matters.

    Julian, That is some very nice looking benchwork. I like the fold-down section along the right wall. Is that MDF on the tops of the framing? It could be quite noisy when you start running trains. Some 1″ foam board on top of the MDF would dampen the sound problem.

  15. Erick says:

    Looks great and good Workmanship. I hope mine turns that out goods.

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