Attic layout sent in by David

“Hi, AL.

Just a short email with a few pics, started this project in march last year 2011 on the day I retired 67.

So 1 year on I thought you may like a quick scan of how it is now, hence the pic’s. Built from scratch by myself including the loft conversion with stairs all the table work and model work never done anything like it before, but just got stuck in, built the staging around room 21’x18′ started off 2′ wide but has grown to 4′ in places ,no track plans just bought track and laid it as i saw fit have had to change a few parts of track to get trains around the radius’s, but that was just fun.

A couple of gradients (4) some mountains ,hills, tunnels 4, desert , modelled on US trains but pure imagination on places , small town ,industrial, gravel extraction, goods yard, valley’s, farmland, did have a suspension bridge 3′ long but changed to a lift off entrance to get a better line connection. have put in the only part not made by me but my young grandson and that was a working volcano that he made for school and it fits in quite nicely.just starting to come together.

Cost so far including the conversion 18 engines,120 trucks and models, tunnels 4, approx320’line, £4365.87. now I think that is a fair price for a few years enjoyment in the future,what say you.

Bought mostly off eBay some good bargains on there, 50 ho cars £7.88 from Shanghai? 200 people £6.77 it’s still out there.


David Read”

A big thank you to David.

Don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet if you’re going to take David’s lead and buy most of your layout from Ebay.

Thanks also for the mails about the Amazon book.

If you’re like me and don’t have (or want) a Kindle, my son’s put them up here as a downloadable ‘ebook’ for the staggering amount of $11.97.

Click here to buy the PDF book of tips – $11.97.

(The ebook, by the way, is a PDF, which stands for portable document format. It will open in any web browser or reader.)

You can download the second after buying. If you have any problems:

Happy modelling.


23 Responses to Attic layout sent in by David

  1. david j howarth says:

    Nice one Dave , carn`t beat escaping in to the loft and enjoying your hobby

  2. Ralph says:

    A splendid lay-out Dave.
    I have been working on mine since 2010 and it hasn’t got near that stage yet.

  3. Dirck Hecking says:

    Nice job and put out more pictures and tell us the story…


  4. Al says:

    Just hope mine is as nice as yours. I am 65 disabled and retired also.
    Once it hits you seems you can not stop. I am working on 3 rd. layout.
    My grandsons decided to take my last one down. So time to start again.
    About to start on first real detailed layout. Still fighting with kids on how it will be..
    Keep on building looks very good, Al The Rookie!!!!

  5. Austin Wilson says:

    Love it Dave. Really nice. I have a huge HO scale layout in my basement and loving it. The houses I purchased on E-Bay just keep coming in. Almost daily a Canada Post stops at my house to drop off a package. My layout is getting busy and a am currently putting together my engine house which has tripper wires so the doors automatically open as the engine approaches. Now if I can pull that off, I will be happy. Best wishes always. Austin.

  6. Bonny aka Granny Toot says:

    Dave: You work fast! The grandson and I have started our layout which will be about 4’x12′ and hope to have to your stage in about August or so. So, far we just have the bench work and background done.
    Keep us informed as to any further progress…especially liked the reference to the volcano as we live very close to an active volcano in Northern California.
    Granny Toot

  7. Glenn Roach says:

    Yes a great looking layout from just doing it spontansously when you could. Also a layout that your grandson can have when u can’t climb the stairs anymore, and the memories are going to be PRICELESS.

  8. paul Otway says:

    Nice layout, amazing what you can do in a small space.

  9. Ian says:

    great layout, looking forward to retiring myself and starting a new layout in the shed, some great ideas thanks.

  10. KEN JONES says:

    nice job

  11. Lee Barry, CEO LZPMRR says:

    Very nice. Is it HO scale, or 2 rail O gauge. Anyway keep up the good work and keep the photos and videos comin’. If anyone wants to know what LZPMrr stands for e-mail me and I’ll tell you !

  12. Buzz says:

    Hi Al

    Does anyone have a suggestion on how to make nickel tracks look rusty? Saw a layout where the tracks had been treated somehow and my guess is that it was done chemically prior to the track being laid.

  13. Model shops used to sell Hobby Black, which, if I am not mistaken, contained nitric acid. This really made the track look small in a hurry; but, it was dangerous to use. Nowadays, I would recommend spraying track in place with Floquil rail brown AFTER soldering on drop wires but before ballasting. Unpainted rail is simply unacceptable.

  14. Colin Aylott says:

    Hi Al

    Just a note to say how much I enjoy the tips and photos i have only just laid the baseboard onto a Dexion framework. I am intending to put on Sundealer covering on top of the 12mm ply then some cork and then hopefully track.

    Anything else I should do?

  15. John Duryea says:

    Dave you are ahead of me I’m 65 and just starting S guage layout yours look very nice I set mine up in the basement. Enjoy you new hobby

  16. jim morris says:


  17. Bob Smith says:

    Saweet layout Dave! Loft layout’s are the best…like having a blank piece of paper with a zillion ideas in your head. Especially like the corner mountain! Great job!

  18. tony anselmo says:

    nice job. I just stared my layout and hurt my back so all work is put on hold.

  19. Ed Dunaway says:

    Hi Al,
    Looks Great so Far. You work Fast I’m 63 still working but always have time for my favorite hobby trains. In the next few years I will retire and work full time on
    my layout a dream since I was a kid.
    Keep the pictures coming Please keep us up to date.
    Tell your Grandson a working Volcano is GREAT!

  20. Jon Jacobson says:

    Looking great. I built an HO layout between the trusses in attic for my 3 boys in South Africa 1975-80. The old neighbor kids still talk about it. Now I’m in Denver at 72 and working on a layout for 3 of my grandsons in a basement crawl space. You have some good ideas and have done a lot in 1 year.

  21. Adam says:

    I’m 13 and I really wish that more young people would come and try it. Sadly it isn’t what it was 50 years ago. I have small 6 by 4 layout in my basement and it is a lot of fun to work on. Enjoy the hobby!

  22. Jim Bolton says:

    I really like this setup. I would love to see some specific areas of the buildup areas and how you created so many grades.
    I am reconstructing my 0 gauge 3 track american train set I just got 20 40 in.track sections for expansion because I had a bunch of old 027 track I didn’t want to throw out but it is causing too many problems. I also have some problems with some of my old turnouts. Hoping a good cleaning might do the trick.
    I’ve been busy with a few orders for both shot glass racks and shelving display racks for HO trains. That gives me my pin money for my trains. Currently finishing up a 6 shelf HO display rack out of western cedar. Quite a striking piece. I must say. Keep the ideas coming, I love this site.y
    Keep the ideas rolling guys

  23. Dave Whatley says:

    I have been watching all your comments for a good while and wanted to give back something about HO house lighting. One of my sons give me a set of camper rope lights that went bad so I cut the bulbs out and pulled them a part and tested them using a 100 ohm restior, 1/4 W and found they were still good. They are not LED lights just little bulbs. I took a terminal block and put the bulb on two places and hooked two old phone lines to the other side going to the bulb. I then add a restior to one of the phone lines 100 ohm, 1/4 watt and put 12 V dc power and they work real good so I have placed all my houses with these lights real cheep. I bought a terminal block with eight places and cut it up into two connection each per bulb.

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