Ben’s HO scale model railroad

Ben’s been in touch with his fab HO scale model railroad:

“Hey Al,

Hello from Chicago, Illinois, USA!

I have been reading your daily posts for years, and figured it was finally time to say both “Hello” and “Thank You.

I’m currently semi-retired and have been actively working on my HO scale model railroad for about 15 years. During this time I have created (and then boxed up for storage) 2 layouts.

Last year, I started my 3rd layout and this one is proving to be the most challenging – and by far the most fun – of the three!

As you have often pointed out, the great thing about model railroading is that each modeler can make it be whatever they want it to be. In this hobby, one can really get creative and use that thing called our “imagination”.

For me, in addition to the planning and building of the layout, I enjoy creating different scenes that the trains run through. And although I’ve been into the hobby for 15 years, I still feel like a beginner. There is so much to learn and so much to share. Which brings me to the “Thank You” part of this note.

I want to thank you, Al, for publishing everyone’s comments, ideas, suggestions and questions. I have learned SO MUCH from these postings! I also really enjoy the videos that people share, so I thought I would share one of my own.

Wishing you and everyone reading this a Merry Christmas and peaceful new year!

Ben from Chicago.”

HO scale model railroad

Farm Entrance

Fishing Prairie Road

HO scale

Golden Pond

House construction

Prairie path lights

Whispering Creek



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.




“Hi Alastair,

I have been reading your posts for several years and have had several problems solved by your followers.

Now I have one I can’t figure out. I have recently reconfigured my layout and want to install a double crossover switch track but can’t figure out if it’s possible to install it on tracks with opposing polarity.

Do I need reversing modules to make this happen? Hoping somebody has already figured this one out.

Thanks,

Craig”

A huge thanks to Ben. And I know what he means, I don’t care how long you’ve been doing this hobby, we’re all still learning.

And who can help Craig?

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to take that first step towards your own model railroad.

Best

Al

22 Responses to Ben’s HO scale model railroad

  1. Mr John W Stocks says:

    Fantastic layout brilliant
    Thanks for sharing this I also like Al’s emails
    Doing my own lay out but I am on a very tight budget but so happy the way things are progressing

  2. Peter Gladman says:

    Hi Craig, I had the same problem when installing a double crossover. You didn’t say if you are using dcc or analogue? I was installing dcc at the time, and using DCC Concepts slow motion Cobalt IP Digital turnout motors. These are really easy to install. The problem I had was not understanding wiring. I was getting in a tizz and getting nowhere, so I contacted DCC concepts and they were brilliant. They Emailed me a really simple wiring diagram that I would never have come up with, and solved the problem at a stroke. They have analogue motors as well, these look and operate equally as well as the digital version. My PECO turnouts are electrofrog. If you can make sense of this I hope it can help. Pete.

  3. James Donovan says:

    I luv the scenes and your track has nice long runs. The flashing lights on the bridge take away from your fantastic/realistic scenes. I enjoyed the video, also. Have Fun..

  4. Brian Messenger says:

    Ben, your layout looks really fantastic. I love the detailed scenes. I have a saying similar to yours that I often relate to my my model railroad friends, your ONLY limitation IS your imagination.
    Brian the HOn3 guy – Knysna RSA

  5. Sid Pratt says:

    Thanks.

  6. Cary B says:

    Hello Ben,
    Thought I’d take time to comment on your layout video. The layout plan with the many scenes is beautiful. Your narrative is what really prompted me to comment. Your short but sweet video is one if not the best I’ve seen in Al’s site.
    Thank you for sharing
    Cary B from Maryland

  7. george zaky says:

    Ben
    Awesome work – thanks for the video.
    Craig
    I have no idea why you made the two loops different polarity. My rule is outer track +, inner track – on every loop and all works well when you have crossings with different loops. DCC will work well my may. If you are DC and want to run two trains, one on each loop, just put isolators on each turn out, and if you have two outputs on your transformer, one for each loop, it still makes sense to keep the polarity the same. Train one can cross over to track two and it gets the control from the other controller with no issue ( as long as train two is off). I may be missing something here and maybe I can learn something.
    Each and All- Merry Christmas, Happy holidays. and all best cheer
    George from NY

  8. Ted Rothstein says:

    Nice layout. Well created

  9. Chet Karlewicz says:

    Beautiful detail, I love the old style country and dairy farm scenes.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Ben, great stuff. Looking forward to seeing the one room school house as my dad was educated in one in West Virginia 100 years ago! Your layout is absolutely wonderful. Only one very small bit of advice and that is to slow your freight train down a bit. It’ll be more realistic. Best to you. Jonathan

  11. Robert Cheizoo says:

    Thanks for sharing. You gave me few nice ideas for my own layout.
    Merry Christmas from Robert, Murfreesboro TN

  12. Gary Manganiello says:

    Ben….. fantastic scenes……detail is great,,,,,,,

    Craig….. why don’t you just switch the polarity on one of the loops.

    Gary M

  13. Jim AZ says:

    Nice video and a great start to a layout which highlights some interesting and well detailed scenes. Great job and looking forward to seeing more.

    Jim AZ

  14. John Birch says:

    Excellent work with super detail. I love the varied scenes. One small personal comment (definitely not a criticism) is that I’d love the trains to run slower!

  15. Beautiful layout, love your ideas of many small scenes within the layout. Thanks for sharing.

  16. DJfromNJ says:

    Hi Ben~
    Your layout looks very good. It’s easy to see it isn’t your first attempt. Can only offer encouragement. Keep us posted!

  17. Ken says:

    Craig,
    From your description, it appears to be a track plan similar to a dog bone, or a loop with the two sides close together and the crossovers connecting them. Without a complete plan it is difficult to give a better explanation.
    It doesn’t matter if you have DC or DCC.
    Given that the polarity of each track is opposite, yes, you have created 2 reverse loops.
    You will need to electrically isolate the crossovers, and divide the tracks on either side of them in at least one spot each.
    Research reverse loops and you will be able to apply the principal to your exact design.

  18. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks Ben for sharing your layout. I’m still building mine in a 20 x 18 shed but have stalled lately due to other commitments. I also enjoy Al’s emails and well said on your video. Cheers Rossco Adelaide, Australia

  19. Don from Coeur d'Alene says:

    Ben…very well documented and displayed. Excellent work overall!

  20. Larry S says:

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic layout with us. Definitely one of the best I’ve seen with all the wonderful scenery and your narration was very well done. Even though I’m “O” scale you’ve given me plenty of ideas. Possibly sometime in the near future you could explain how you did your hills and mountains. Thanks again, Larry from New Castle, PA

  21. Ian McDonald says:

    nice layout ,good to see trains running. love the idea creating areas and naming them . some great ideas for me I am extending my track this video will help. thanks for sharing.

  22. Clay S says:

    Love the dairy farm.

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