Another train layout tutorial from Rob

“Hi Al,

I have been reading your blog for some time now, and finally started a 4 x 8 HO layout for my 7 and 9 year old grand daughters.

I followed the video “Building Your First Model Railroad”, figuring I’d build the Madison Central as it is described. Once I got into it, I found ways to modify it.

I added another track loop at one end and a mountain and tunnel. My wife had given me a ferris wheel some years back and I wanted to use it, so the downtown area on the Madison Central was deleted, to be replaced by an amusement park. I wasn’t going to do a lot of detailing, but the more research I did, the more possibilities I found for adding detail, and the more excited I was to get going.

The point is, you can follow the video and have a decent first layout. But if you use your imagination, you can make it your own. For me it was a way to stop the procrastination and start modeling.

Now for my tip. I was at Home Depot and saw they had free 6″ x 9″ linoleum samples, some of which resembled concrete, stone and wood. I took 8 of these and when I got home I noticed that the back side was textured. I sprayed the back with black paint, then a thin coat of Rust-Oleum Aged Iron textured paint (thanx to Kathy Millat and her blog). Looks like macadam. I’m using it for streets and parking lots. The material is flexible and cuts easily with a knife or scissors. Here are a couple photos.

Jack In Pennsylvania”

“Hi Al,

I love reading your emails and get a lot of ideas from them. I am struggling to start my layout ,returning to the hobby after 40 + years.

I have a loft space 20ft x 5ft to build a layout and have a couple of “train sets” including the hornby elink / railmaster control. I have installed DCC into 4 of my old stock and bought a new Castle loco with TTS sound. My problem is I can’t decide on a track layout !!. My Dad was an engine fireman/driver in Wolverhampton (Stafford Road and Oxley) all his career and my plan is to run all the engines he may have worked on so quite a challenge. any suggestions would be greatly received

In the meantime I have been making buildings( putting of the inevitable I guess).

I then thought I could do something similar. I photographed the shops in Tettenhall village and turned them into my own creations (see the pics) I am quite pleased with the results. My creations are the ones at the front of the picture. and a large photo of the Limes court building.

Keep up the great work



And lastly, Hall of Fame member, Rob, has sent in his latest ‘how to’ video for his new layout:

“Hi Al,

My new video – In it I install a Tortoise motor for point/turnout control and explain the tools required and an effective technique for getting one installed.

I also show the new control panel I am building and a great little economical and portable paint booth I have discovered. Plus of course a little running. I demonstrate the smoothness of the foam inclines by running a steam locomotive up the ramp with 5 coaches behind it at very slow speed. I have not tested it to see how many coaches it can pull on the 2% incline, but it is more than 5.

Well, if i am going to ever get this layout done, I better start cracking on it.

Thank you so much for all that you do.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

That’s all this time folks – please do keep ’em coming. And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you think it’s your time to shine.



13 Responses to Another train layout tutorial from Rob

  1. Dominic P. DeMonte says:

    is that one of the spray booths from micromark ?

  2. John says:

    Rob FANTASTIC info on the points and control panel mate! PLEASE keep it up and can`t wait to see the video of the layout when it`s all finished and up n running!

    JohnE UK

  3. Dennis Rao says:

    Farland thank you for posting this series. You and Dangerous Dave have given me many tips on Model Rail Roading plus a lot of inspiration. Keep up the good work. As for the harbor scene my suggestion would be to move the three tracks toward the middle more and put a spur into the harbor. Then you have a choice of a dock to pick up freight, fish from the boats, a light house. Gives you many options.

  4. Kevin McArdle says:

    Great segment and wonderful information. Regarding the spraying, I use automobile primers exclusively for both cost and results. I also use cheap hairspray as an adhesive when making trees, and beach sand and white glue for stucco. Great video. Thank you.

  5. Brad Squires says:

    I like it!! does not follow the table edge.. fits well!! I want to see how you handle the scenery.. Keep sharing!! thanks..

  6. Rod Mackay says:

    Smashing work on those local shops etc., well done. Reminds me that there’s an estate agent in Newport called Crooke and Blight!

  7. Lee Barry, CEO LZPMRR says:

    good eye Rob

  8. Thomas Murphy says:

    Way to go; Jack. Richard and Rob! Nice representions all.
    Regards. Tom (USA)

  9. Colin Frost says:

    This gentleman is easy to listen to, very relaxed and informative. he goes at a pace that I can keep up with and understand. (well, most of it!) Keep up the excellent work Rob!
    By the way. I envy your non shaky hands, Tried to work on a linkage today, had to admit defeat!

  10. Hello Mr. Al
    I just started laying out my “town” and was using some gray flexible material from the arts and craft store. Was not real happy with the look results but when I saw the tip on using the.linoleum. I’m working on this aspect of laying down the main street and parking lot for the depot. I like the results and is much easier to work with and can spray you traffic control lines, etc.
    Thanks for the tip.

  11. tom in az says:

    What is the brand of the paint booth? Great video.

  12. David Ryder says:

    Great start! Can you tell us how you attached the track to the foam base.
    Thanks and keep us updated.
    Dave in Maryland

  13. Brian Olson says:

    Great to see the benchwork, a good example for folks new to the hobby.

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