Ben finishes his shelf railroad layout

Ben’s been in touch again with his shelf railroad layout. (His last post in is the middle of this one).

He’s done a fantastic job too. I so love seeing the start and finish pics of your layouts:

“Hi Al!

I emailed you months ago about the ho scale shelf switching layout I was making. I wanted to share some photos with more to come.

I’m pretty much done with it, but I still have details to add.

Thanks for all you do to help the hobby!

Ben from southern California”

model railroad shelf layout

model railroad oil tanker

model railroad sidings

“Hi Alistair

I am not sure but is all of this railway stuff becoming a bit secondary to the actual building and subsequent modelling around the railway itself????

I have found that after turning a small corner of my small layout in O scale from a store to a caravan park,I have become more obsessed with what is happening in the area rather than the locos and rolling stock running past, I noticed with Daves layout along with others there is a great detail in what is happening around the area rather than the trains themselves.

or is it just me looking at the small world within a world, perhaps i should lay off the whiskey and just play with my trains.

At the moment I am running a Mohawk with 4 reefer with sound cars, on one track, and a GP 35 with a couple of open wagon loads on the other.

Not sure what your viewers think, perhaps I am ready for the funny farm or glue factory???

Keep up the great work it has inspired me.

Essex UK
(Old and senile 72)”


And now, more from Hall of Fame member, Dangerous Dave:

“HI Al ,just posted this video on Youtube, its showing my model of the HST, with a bit of history shown.

It has been on channel 5 this last 2 weeks showing how this Loco brought British Rail back on the tracks as we might say, it was the first of the new type of Diesel Loco, which could run at 125 mph and still holds the record of the fastest diesel Loco in the world.

She started work in 1978 and was designed and built here in the UK, still is one of the most popular, and used Loco’s , unfortunately now after 40 years , they are starting to replace with Electric and more often ,not made here in the UK.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

That’s all for today, folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to get started on your dream layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



23 Responses to Ben finishes his shelf railroad layout

  1. Robert Brady says:

    As always thank you Dave! I see it’s all passenger day.

  2. steve Joyce says:

    Cool looking engines Dave. I guess you are going to have to lay caternary and replace them with electric locos eventually

  3. I really like Ben’s layout. It is so realistic and not cluttered like so many layouts. He did a super job. Charles

  4. Cary Price says:

    Great detail Ben, love the grass coming up in the ballast between the rails, nice touch! Thanks for sharing. Cary in KY

  5. Jim says:

    Really nice modeling, Ben. Some neat scenes and great detail with the ground cover and track work. Would like to see more pics.

    Jim AZ

  6. Richard says:

    what a great layout. the trains are exciting. scenery is superb, I can tell you took your to make this right. looks awesome.

  7. Andrew Aves says:

    A trip down memory lane – Thanks Dave. In 1976 with some friends who all worked with British Transport Hotels (a wholly owned subsidiary of British Rail) we used one of our free tickets for a return trip from London Paddington to Bristol on the new 125. It was so smooth that the only way we knew that it had reached 125 mph was to time the quarter mile markers with our watches. A great day out

  8. ian mcleod says:

    If beginners such as myself who are still in the planning stage take the time to not just watch your video but really observe what you have done in detail then we will learn a great deal,the scenery, housing, stations and the weeds along the track…everything,Well done.

  9. Ian McDonald says:

    Really nice job Ben. great video and history lesson Dave. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Col. Fannin says:

    I see trains on the upper level which were running on the bottom. I thought you did away with the ramps.

  11. Rod Mackay says:

    The day of the HST is not quite over yet, some of the sets being displaced by the Hitachi electrics on Great Western are going to Scotland, and others being reduced from eight trailers to I think five for the Cardiff-Bristol-Taunton services, and will no doubt turn up elsewhere at some stage. We were on holiday in Britanny recently and chatting to a “local” in a bar who turned out to be a retired HST diesel fitter who, although no “chuffed nutter”, was still passionate about HST as BR’s best train. I have to say my better half actually prefers the Hitachis for their legroom and seats, both of which were rather mean in the most recent interior refurb of the HSTs.

  12. dangerous daveErmnie has done a nice jhob says:

    Thanks all again , this was a video to show that we still love the 125,..even if they do replace in time to come , its still been a great workhorse ….the query about doing away with my ramps , I only did away with one of them , so can still run lower and upper level with changes of the locos from time to time ..Dangerous Dave

  13. Fred Gevalt says:

    Ben –

    If scenery is what inspires you, then go for it! I’ve wandered down the same path, and have spent 4 years on an N scale layout with a city, harbor, oil refinery, hydro plant, countryside, and many other things that have been fabulously satisfying to plan, layout, and detail.

    This hobby is whatever we make it. You have no obligations to anyone to build a single section of rail, play with trains, or conform to any preconceived notion of what a model train layout should be.

    As for the whiskey….I can’t drink anymore – doctor’s made me lay off the stuff.So I’m envious. Don’t waste your liver on any but the good stuff would be my advice. Glenmorangie perhaps?


  14. Gerry Keffer says:

    Very nice Dave! Excellent shots of the trains and exceptional video work and control….

  15. TOO COOL…………..

  16. Scott Mccurdy says:


    Trains were just a way for us to get away from the day to day. Some like the history, or the remembrance, others tinker- changing the perspectives. Most of us weren’t empire builders but through our creativity molded into the layouts we designed and built we express our imaginations and display who we are.

    And if you can express yourself by publicly questioning your motives you aren’t old and senile. Maybe clairvoyant but not senile

  17. Randy says:

    That is, without a doubt, the most REALISTIC track i have ever seen here!

  18. Marklin ed says:

    Thanks Ben and Dave, It’s hard to decide run trains or build scenery. I guess you could do BOTH. Dave thanks for the great video. Dave now comes the overhead wires. To keep the history going…..


  19. John Birch says:

    A good question, Earnie.
    I was thinking just last week about my involvement in my railway and the thought came to me that I spend much more time ‘creating’ than I do ‘running’. I love adding things such as lighting (to houses, carriages and locos) and creating little scenes that depict real life. At the moment I am scratch building a model of the house that I live in.
    There have been many opinions expressed about the reason for building model railways but the conclusion is that it is always about having fun. If running trains is for you, then that is your reason (my brother-in-law would get up from the table and go to his layout because the timetable dictated that a certain train was due to depart!); if building scenes, then that is right for you; if developing the electronic side, then that is right for you, etc. Model railway modelling is a fantastic hobby because it offers so much scope for all interests and all ages.
    Ringwood, Hampshire, UK

  20. Write4U says:

    Pictures 1-3 are extraordinary in realism.
    The shadow work in pic #1 is flawless. Shadows add so much to the realism.

    If I may make one minor suggestion. The background sky (wall) shows some irregularities in the plaster work. Could they be hidden as small clouds?

    You are a true artist!

  21. Keith Miller says:

    Dave’s camera work and presentation are excellent. Then there are the trains! Really enjoyed this latest offering – thanks.
    John Birch is absolutely right – so many different aspects to this hobby.

  22. Rob Schweitzer says:

    Dave, thanks so much for the 125 video. I, being American, was fortunate enough to ride a 125 many years ago while in Britain doing research. The ride was so smooth and the speed so impressive, I’ve never forgotten that ride. Mainly because the part of the States I live in has basically no usable rail system at all. You Brits are sure lucky you have such a fine rail system.
    Rob Schweitzer
    St. Goar & Murren Scenic Railway
    Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

  23. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Ben what a great job on that layout! like it a lot well done! Ernie that looks good run your trains and do scenery well done!

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