Barry’s new Lionel model railroad layout


This is a Lionel “O” scale layout that I started a couple of days ago that I’m building to hopefully sell on Ebay.

It’s a simple figure “8” with no sidings.

I’m doing the landscaping with 2″ pink high density foam house insulation. There will be no buildings but (2) lakes and I will add schrubs and grass.

I’m trying to keep it very low profile for easy protective storage.

I put fold away metal legs on it for easy set-up.

I’ll be done in a few days and I will send you final pics of it then.



A huge big thank you to Barry.

Such a simple layout but it looks fantastic already.

It just goes to show, a layout doesn’t have to be complicated – just pick a theme and enjoy yourself.

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.

39 Responses to Barry’s new Lionel model railroad layout

  1. david says:


  2. James Stewart Taylor says:

    Makes me feel so envious as mine is an all flat circuit!

  3. John says:

    Looking forward to finished product. I’ll bet it’s gonna be a winner!

  4. david says:

    lionel,i would have thought,you needed a gap between the two sets of rails otherwise two trains would not have enough room to pass.

  5. Mark says:

    Very nice layout, How did you do the detail on the edge of the foam and maybe a bridge with a waterfall from small lake to large lake?

  6. KenfromOC says:

    David – It’s the traditional Lionel track (ac not dc) so it has a “third” middle rail.

  7. KenfromOC says:

    Great little layout though! Nice detail – send more when you progress!

  8. Ralph Berry says:

    Very impressive landscaping Barry. I don’t recall seeing those pink foam blocks for sale in Australia, has anyone else?

  9. johnstuf says:

    You have a great imagination…I’m anxious to see the final results.

    Great job!

  10. Ton H says:

    You’re scenic planning looks incredible
    Wish I had your talent. Your layout seems to be somewhat simplictic. Would like to see more action during a running session.

    From the wrong side of the tracks,

  11. Jacque D. says:

    I have been saving many of the comments that I have recieved, I have been wanting to start setting up a railroad layout, but I have to decide where I am going to put it. All of this input and pictures are a godsend for great ideas. Thank You guys.

  12. Mark Hawk says:

    That is so cool. Question, is that set able to store when you are done running it ? And good luck , and keep up the good work. Mark

  13. jess lester says:

    remarkably realistic.

  14. Lee Barry CEO LZPMRR says:

    nice looking, but oh so simple. Unlike N & especially Z scale with Lionel/O gauge the radius of the curves makes not too much difference as in O to get the cars to “look real” w/o that “curve cutting whiplash looking” effect unless you use a super large radius for curves and unless you are building a basement or room sized layout you cannot get that effect gone. Hope to see it when you are done.

  15. Steve Mittman says:

    This is the best Small layout i have ever seen thank you

  16. Railcar52 (Dave) says:

    I went to Home Depot to get one of those electric foam cutters, They looked at me like I had 3 heads and horns. the told me no such thing. Please advise
    Thanks Dave

  17. Big Bob says:

    To Railcar52 (dave)

    Try your local hobby store or craft center
    for the electric foam cutter (hot knife) best of luck

  18. Jim Owen says:

    From the looks of the layout it looks like its in your garage, this is what I want to do with my O scale layout. What size is your table, since I do not have all that much room I’m looking for something that will fit in the space I have. Very good looking scenery…

  19. Rick Macca says:

    I also have not seen those pink foam blocks in Australia. The only ones I have seen similar are the ones with metal sheathing for cool rooms etc. Anyone know more?

    Also, with that foam construction, how do you fit turnout motors, signals control etc underneath the track, when the track sits on thick foam, and also have it accessible for adjustment and maintenance?


  20. John Ripberger says:


    Barry’s layout’s look great, gives me some ideas.

  21. Great use of what looks like a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood. Will it have a cover also to go along with the legs? For shipping purposes what do you plan? As a e-bay buyer mostly I have an interest in your “How To” do certain items different than what I normally do. The layout is interesting and I see my areas of expertise being utilized uniquely. The walls and water are ideal for my San Antonio area with Cannon Lake and other areas there. Keep up the good works.

    Harold Jr.

  22. Babs says:

    Hi Barry, What did you use to build up the track bed, or did you carve that out too? Looks great!!

  23. Paul e Bolton 2 says:

    Where can a new railroadER find the 2″ form board for my n scale railroad thanks paul

  24. Paul e Bolton 2 says:

    How did you secure your track to foam?

  25. chea robinson says:

    I was wondering do you carve your rock faces or are those plaster molds its hard to tell from the pics on my phone. If they are carved what tools do you ise.

  26. joseph e touvell says:

    I would love to see a few HO Scale plan’s for my 8X11′ 6 sections of board i just put together. There’s a 24″ space by 7′ in the middle open for all of my control wiring, all dcc controlled.

  27. Ron says:

    You certainly have a creative mind. I have taken 2 4’x8′ plywood sheets then flush mounted them so I have 64 sq. ft. to work with. I have 3 trains running on 3 levels. Real trick. But, I lack decor. Your styrofoam use gives me a whole bunch of great ideas. It looks like you used two 2 inch styrofoam sheets to give you 4 inches of depth. Great idea. How did you attach the two sheets of styrofoam together? Gorilla glue, wood glue/whatever.

  28. Joe Bourque says:

    Sta-Put makes a glue especially for styrofoam! When I was in the Navy in 1975 I made an HO layout the size of a double bed with fold out wooden less. It was made of cardboard boxes from lockers glued together with tile cement, and then cut in the contouring. It fit it a double mattress box for storage and shipping.

  29. Derwin Emerson says:

    Wow, a great job! You are inspiring me to get off my lazy duff and work on mine more. I so enjoy the many talents and ideas I glean for this site. Thank you Barry for your creativity, sharing of techniques and to Al for this one place to find so much information!

  30. Will Hammersmith says:

    If looking for foam talk to a roofing company or roofing supply company. You can glue foam with some types of chalking check the tube, works well when doing large areas. Small areas use, a low temp glue gun. Check out Woodland Scenic you tube videos, great information.
    Will hammersmith

  31. ChuckYoung says:

    Very nice, how did you get the ripples in the “water”

  32. emp1953 says:

    I would like to see how you got that realistic relief on the foam. Excellent work.

  33. In USA 2″ foam board 4×8′ sheets can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot. There is a specific tube caulking glue for styrofoam. Two types of cutting devices are available. One is a cutting knife like your kitchen electric knife and a hot wire knife which can make finer cuts like displayed in Berry’s layout. I use the hot wire knife which can be purchased online. Be sure to get some extra wire.
    Ray USA

  34. Roy Brownson Jr says:

    Like your layout.
    For the 2” foam board look at your local Building supply store. One that sales materials to build a house or other building structure. The 2”!foam board is used for insulation in walls of some homes and buildings it is usually pink or blue in color and you can use a caulking material called liquid nails to glue the foam onto a plywood base or you can make a frame that the foam sits into. Hope this info works for those living outside the United States. Great Railroading, Roy Utah, USA ( home of the 2002 Winter Olympics)

  35. Brian Olson says:

    Nice work!

  36. Hugo Budzien says:

    All of those foam insulating products are meant to be used outside the living area and they produce a lot of toxic smoke when burned. When I scrapped out a layout, I discovered I needed to burns the foam at night to avoid big smoke plumes from the burning barrel.

  37. Tom Kelleher TJK says:

    Hahahahaha……WAY TO GO BARRY!!!!!
    Another Lionel Fastrack layout……3 RAIL…..the “Critics” must be boiling.
    Al has proven to be an “equal opportunity Blog Master”
    Thanks Al.

  38. Red says:

    I got my electric foam cutter through Amazon!

  39. Frank says:

    Nice foam work. Makes the layout much more aesthetic than if it was all flat.

    It’ll be nice for people who just want to watch trains and cars rolling. That’s a tough design…. large scale trains on a 4×8 don’t leave much room for long stretches and everything has to be closer together, so all that contouring helps create depth.

    Frank in Orlando

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