Arnie answers your questions

If you missed Arnie’s incredible video last time, it’s here.

And here are the answers to your questions on it.

A big thanks to Arnie!

“Hi Al,

Many thanks to you Al and all the many readers for their continued, highly supportive comments and feedback. If I may, I would like to briefly address some questions often asked of me:

• The layout is rectangular and measures 8 feet by 5 feet (I am attaching several photos of the entire layout from several angles to more clearly give you the actual size perspective.)

• It took about 2 years to build, but additions and modifications continued over the past decade till the present.

• No. I don’t live in the Susquehanna River Valley (SRV) region (I live on Staten Island in New York City). But I chose to roughly model the SRV after coming across a layout plan years ago. I then juxtaposed crude or fanciful representations of actual locales (e.g., Susquehanna, Susquehanna River, Starrucca and its Viaduct). However, these locations do not exist in the real world in physical proximity to each other as may be implied on the layout.

• Scenery was predominantly created using a multitude of Woodland Scenics products (from rock molds to turf/ground cover to water simulation…)

• And an appreciable amount of extruded home insulation foam was carved and used to form the various elevations on the layout and for underlying support for track and rock faces. Rock faces attain a realistic appearance by applying various shades of stains and acrylic paint washes.

By the way, none of my techniques is a deeply guarded secret. I would be happy to share and provide anyone with How-To-Do instructions on any area of interest stimulated by my layout videos.

And as many continually ask for more videos, I recommend going to my Youtube channel (privprac48) where many of my videos are available for viewing.

Thanks to all again,


“Hi Al , have been on holiday up in Scotland , now returned and showing off my class 3 Loco won in a draw , I show how to fit the dcc decoder , and then some beautiful coaches I have bought to match up with the class 31 that I purchased earlier.



Buying a loco? Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

Thanks to Arnie and Dave. And please keep ’em coming.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

24 Responses to Arnie answers your questions

  1. mark noble says:

    helo arnie could you give a how to on your mountain was made and your tunnels please

  2. Glenn Roach says:

    Hello Arnie,
    I just want to say that your layout looks great. Keep up the good work.

  3. Roland Burch says:

    Arnie, this is great, thanks.

    How many trains can you run at the same time? DC or DCC?

    Thank you again for some good ideas and great layout.

  4. Chris says:

    amazing layout, gives me inspiration on finishing mine off, any tips on your mountains and tunnels please?

  5. 'Nother Grandpa says:

    Thank you again, Arnie! Wonderful layout.

  6. Dennis says:

    I like your vidos very much, one problem Iam having is they stop

    after a while watching they stop.

    Thanks Dennis

  7. SKIP says:

    I say the pictures look great but I cant see the VEDIO what is the .xxx tks for all the suggestion’s.

  8. Frank Stroot says:

    This is a great layout.
    As a new commer to model railroading this
    A great example for me. You have a lot going on in
    Just a 4×8 area. Beautiful work.

  9. JoJo says:

    Absolutly ASTONISHING Arnie.
    If only mine will come CLOSE to yours.
    I LITERALLY got chills of enjoyment–THANK YOU SIR!
    Excellent work

  10. John says:

    Arnie brilliant! Dave, I never get tired of watching your videos mate and your little `How ta do things` inserts! Totally blown away and I think like many, many others of us on here your layout is the one to have mate! (if we had the space, time, money, and a lovely understanding wife like yours that is!)

    JohnE UK

  11. Kurt says:

    Again, I wish you were able to see all of “Arnie” photos at full resolution.

  12. Richard Sappelli says:

    The photos are really nice but too far away to really see any of the wonderful features of the layout. hope about some close-up showing the various areas of the layout. Some points of interest would be nice to view. Thanks.

  13. I would like to see a track plan to better understand how this fits together.

  14. Jim says:

    Hi Arnie. Just want to say again how great your last posted video was. There was so much detail and perfect scene prep photos for each of the following video scenes. It was just a masterful presentation. If I had to do my layout again, I would have considered using N scale. But I had brought so much of my HO layout to AZ (from NJ btw) that it was cost effective to use as much as I could. Hope to post more photos down the line. Again, great job, super layout and wonderful video.

  15. Cal says:

    Very very impressive layout. Love the hideaway control panel system. A complete beautifully landscaped creation. Love how you made the rocks and retaining walls blended in with the terrain and landscaping. Very realistic.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Cal from Oregon

  16. Bob Wolsky says:

    Artie, Your layout brought such a nostalgic feeling from when we were kids in the fifties exploring the old railroad tracks. You are a true artist.

  17. Franco says:

    Outstanding layout. I wish you had higher resolution images so we could zoom in and see more of your excellent details.

  18. Ian McDonald says:

    great pictures of your layout Arnie. I must admit the videos gave me the impression your layout was bigger. but what a wonderful layout lots to do and see. thanks for sharing. good video Dave its a nice feeling when you win something. thanks for sharing.

  19. Norman Rosen says:

    Arnie, what a remarkable layout in such a small space; I agree with Franco about the pictures.

    Not only does Dave have one of the finest layouts in the world, I have learned to appreciate his ‘how to’ videos. He explains what he has done with extreme patience. Thank you.

  20. Robert Brady says:

    Arnie, we can’t fully appreciate your layout if we can’t click on to make bigger photo

  21. Robert Brady says:

    Dave Great Passenger train purchase. and a great freebee yard loco and great layout Arnie wish we could click on the images to make bigger.

  22. Allen says:

    Arnie, thank you for the info and sharing the pictures. Your layout ius wonderful.

  23. Garry Mcghie says:

    Would love to see the track plan as I have only a small space to work with. Love the layout

  24. Will in NM says:

    Great layout Arnie. For those who run windows PCs, you can just right click on the photo and select “save image” to save the photo to your computer. Then open the downloaded image with Microsoft photos or any photo viewer software. You can then use the scroll wheel on your mouse to enlarge the image.

    I’m not a mac user, but there’s probably an equivalent method for Apple PCs.

    Dave, Nice video. Those are some handsome looking coaches. Nice demo of installing a DCC decoder.

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