Another railroad tip from the talented Mark

“Hi Al.

Although there are serious railroad modelers, the average modeler should try not to take everything they do too seriously.

Model Railroading is FUN……so have some! No model railroad clubs in your area? Build your own! Attached is a photo of the HO scale model railroad club on my HO layout. This group shown is currently planning to build an N scale layout INSIDE the HO structure. Calculations show that a standard size 55-foot RS-1 Diesel Locomotive would be approx. 3/16” or about 1.1mm in length!

Now we just need to calculate tie length, rail height, etc.

If all this seems to be a little daunting, you can always just do a little painting of your layout!





“Here is a tip to your followers: Whenever you throw away an old power tool or appliance, always cut the power cord off and set it aside. First, nobody else will hurt themselves by trying to re-use the item. Second, now you have a replacement plug for something else when the plug fails or is damaged. Or by putting a female connector on the bare end you get a short extension cord to fill in the gap ( Dutchman ).

I recently threw out an old Carbon Monoxide Detector, but saved the cord. It included a small transformer/rectifier that produces 12 Volt DC. Not powerful enough for a lot of things but will energize a few LED lights for sure.


“Good Morning Al,

I live in Southern California, USA and have made a really nice N scale layout.

I love building them and have overgrown the layout and the wife constantly nags about how much space its taking. Can you help me sell this beautiful layout?

I took the layout from the Model Railroad magazine, it is made with Kato tracks, has a DCC Controllers.

It took me over 9 month to complete, working on it in the evenings after work about 3 hours.

I have over $4,500.00 invested in track, sceneries, trains, cars, table and wiring.










I couldn’t agree with Mark more – what’s the point of this hobby if it’s not fun?

Mark has contributed with lots of excellent posts over the years – you can see a some of them here.

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

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.



PS Latest ebay cheat is here. Still going strong.

18 Responses to Another railroad tip from the talented Mark

  1. Paul Reeder says:

    Beautiful layout. I am enjoying your posts and forwarding them to friends. Thanks

  2. Michael Wilcox says:

    As a retired Electrician I whole heartedly endorse Mark’s comments regards cutting off the Lead. In my State in Australia it is actually illegal for anyone other than an Licensed Electrician to put a Plug Top (male) or an Extension Socket (female) onto a Lead. I have seen instances of 2 Plug Tops (male) fitted to a Lead – I kid you not. With all due respect to Mark – new Leads are so inexpensive I just do not understand why people try to save a couple of Dollars.

  3. NJ Mark says:

    I agree wholeheartedly that model railroading is FUN. If it becomes work, step back for a while. Never let ” your world ” become a burden. Always enjoy it! Cheers! NJ Mark

  4. Barbara Schermerhorn says:

    Is there an anwer to Saeid’x request to help him sell his layout?

    What does one to when the time comes to part with ones layout?


  5. Mike says:

    I suggest that Saeid tries putting his layout up for auction on Ebay. He can set a price, buyer collects etc.

    On the other hand he could consider keeping the layout and changing wife!

  6. Rod Mackay says:

    Sadly, the chances of any layout you build finding a buyer who likes the same scale, style and period as you do, has the same space and lives near enough to collect it without excessive transport costs, are pretty small. My best tip would be keep the boxes and packing for all the rolling stock and universal items like control gear as they’ll be easier to sell and post individually.

  7. Dave says:

    Saeid has a wonderful layout he should keep and think more of selling his wife.

  8. tom says:

    I too have a N scale layout I may sell, I am very interested to see if this is possible. I am now 73 and have a hard time with the small N scale. I am working on a HO layout much easyer for me to deal with. I hope you post his results. Thanks Tom in AZ

  9. don says:

    There are 8 blue switch machines. What are they? What do they cost? tortuous machines are too expensive for me. They look nice and are they manual?

  10. Lee Barry says:

    In regards to selling his layout. It is made with quality #1 Kato. I to had to sell my N scale layout. This was a choice between not eating/paying the rent( oh yes some of us in the hobby do rent, we do not make enough on our cheep wages to buy a house or afford the taxes and any repairs) at least I am doing the next best thing and that is renting a small house. By the way I sold over $35,000 worth of Z scale engines/rolling stock ( no cheapies in it ) all Kato engines, MT rolling stock, Kato passenger cars,ConCor engines ect., you get the picture. You need to price your layout, none of that damned OBO crap, the quickest way to lose out on a sure sale. I don’t buy much for my Z scale, no it is not DCC, the price has gone out of site. Knew it would once the economy “got straight ?” and then they forgot the ones who kept the hobby going thru bad and good years, we the retired persons in the hobby on so shall I be secure, $1125 a month, small VA pension, $281 per month. The prices of engines, $175- to over $200 is out of my reach.

  11. Lee Barry says:

    I forgot to say I sold my N scale for $2000. I kept the track, buildings.

  12. List the N scale layout for sale on Craigslist in addition to eBay. Make sure you can get it out the door if a buyer surfaces. Go to local train shows and put flyers on their front table. Contact the local NMRA groups and let them know what you want to sell. You ballasted your Unitrack so that makes it unsaleable.

  13. Roger Casper says:

    To Tom in AZ

    I am 79 and just starting my first complete layout and if we are close enough together would like to talk to you. I live in Tolleson.

  14. Perry says:

    Tell the wife that at least she knows were you are. At least you are not hanging out in some bar or with another women.

  15. paul Otway says:

    nice layout s

  16. Peter P says:

    Hi Saied
    Here is a better idea for your layour? Sell your wife! Two immediate benefits will be, you keep the layout and remove the nagging? I know fat chance but you never know! (Grin).

  17. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    When you first started your layout did you ask your wife to help? Most women are very adept at painting(especially backdrops)and scenery….Or has she helped you run the trains?….Good luck with it….Mike

  18. terry powers says:

    love the artist by the tunnel in the first photo

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