Bernard’s layout – 18 years in the making


Here are photos of an HO layout worked on for 18 years.

It’s been disassembled and moved to another location.

We’re using several suggestions put on your website by other readers.

All the connectors are being soldered.

Three buses are being used for track, turnouts, and lights.


A jam packed layout from Bernard!

In other news, just got this little chap:

Haven’t named him yet. Any ideas gratefully received.

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.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

131 Responses to Bernard’s layout – 18 years in the making

  1. Stephen A. Nunn says:

    Since its a german shepperd I suggest you name him “Banhoff”.

  2. Dawie Snyman says:


    When I saw the photo of the dog, it immediatly let me think of an Australian Dingo…..

    So maybe its name should be Dingo…..



  3. Paul Cohen says:

    What about ‘Woofington’. That’s our generic for all woofers. Is he Z scale?

  4. Martin Burgess says:

    With a glorious rich colour like that I would think ‘Bovril’ would be an appropriate name. Not a railway name but then again, he doesn’t have wheels!



  5. Andy says:

    great layout, should call your puppy Lionel 🙂

  6. Lucy Wain says:

    Well, my hubbie and I think Kasey would be a good one. Mr. Engineer, Roundhouse… He sure is adorable! Good Luck on a name and let everybody know what you come up with!

  7. John Duryea says:

    Its a great layout, not sure your scale, your dog is great. I’ve been working S scale for the past year, so i would name the dog Flyer

  8. Bob says:

    Why not “Ted”

  9. Rick Ranck says:

    I agree with Andy, Lionel!

  10. John says:

    Nice layout! Nice dog! He looks like his name should be “Blucher” or “Rommel”!

  11. Jerry says:

    Hi, my wife and I really love your dog! How about calling him Thomas? I’ve been looking at this site for a long time, and this is my first comment. Nice layout!

    Jerry and Kim

  12. Jesse Hunt says:

    Well done with excellent detail and weathering. I think these two things are what makes me enjoy model railroading so much. Thank you for sharing your masterpiece with us. Its a beautiful puppy, German Shepherd?

  13. Tom says:

    Great layout!!! 18 years well spent!

    A Name for your dog Al could be … “Tom Thumb” or a few others … boxcar; engine; caboose; or Brutus for as big as he is going to be. Look at

  14. Tom says:

    the size of paw!

    Be safe … Be well!

    best wishes,


  15. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    Bernards layout has a little bit of everything without looking overloaded and cluttered. Very well proportioned. Good job.

    When the dog grows into those feet and ears he’ll be huge! Maybe “Max” for his name?


  16. Tom Scholten says:

    Wonderful I had a German Sheppard for 16 years very loyal loving dog. She
    looked just like yours. I named her CINDER.

  17. Joe Touchette says:

    Dog’s name … Floppy … for its floppy left ear.
    Don’t use Lionel.

  18. Ken Finley says:

    Good looking dog – how about Trackside, or Chessie (there’s a certain irony to that considering the logo …)

  19. Daryl Akins says:

    Wonderful layout!!! Happy Holidays!!!

    He looks like a “Bull” to me. A Hobos worst nightmare. Lol!

  20. ian collinson says:

    I think you should call him GWR

  21. Paul in Golden says:

    Al–Just tried the link to Ted’s woodworking site; It really does some kind of virus attached to it as Ted’s home screen opens, but it is redirected to something else, and my own firewall blocks the rest of the content.

    Otherwise, many thanks for the pics of Bernard’s layout. Still gathering ideas for may own!

  22. Tom McKelvey says:

    Assuming you TRAIN him well, he can represent ALL the major scales!

    Then you could name him “GOSHOTTNZ”!

  23. Bill Semanko says:

    I have not replied in the past but have greatly enjoyed your site. I have been in the Hobby for 40+ years and have had several layouts which I have taken apart and tried to improve . I am currently working on another one, in N-Scale, which is what I model in. I plan on sending in some pictures nexy year.
    Thank you for promoting this great Hobby called Model Railroading.

  24. Kansas Carl says:

    A big dog like that could be a “Challenge” – I like names like Challenger, Big Boy or Steamer. If he gets into the layout, maybe Buster would be a good name.

  25. Kevin mccloy says:

    Beautiful shepherd got 2 of my own Bobbylee and Hanna love your web site how about Burlington .

  26. Bob Lowes says:

    By looking at the pictures you can tell someone really loved what he was doing. Great job. Thanks for the website, Really enjoy each one.

    Bob in Georgia USA

  27. Rob Turner says:

    Hi there. Great work on your layout. How about naming the little guy Bo… As in Bo Bo for diesel wheel configuration. 2 legs X 2 legs. Bo Bo?

  28. Colin Pryce says:

    Your pooch reminds me of a semaphore signal – Stop and Clear ahead! I think Bahnhoff is a good one, but could be a mouthful when used in discipline mode! Just had a thought how about “Tracks”.

  29. stratocaster says:

    Terrific layout might not live that long so mine will have to be a quicker fix. Nice dog, why don`t you call him HOOCH! That brings in the HO layout and time of year when you will be enjoying a glass or two of Hooch.

  30. Paul Campagna says:

    What a beautiful German Shepard. I’d name him Diesel.

  31. Darwin Bruce says:

    Al, how about Oshon?

  32. chris says:

    Very nice layout, please keep up the good work.

    With regards to your 4 legged companion, how about “Trax”

  33. paul Otway says:

    A great layout.

    The dog could be called Boomer

  34. THOMAS says:


  35. terry lexa says:

    Nice layout and a good looking dog

  36. They look great

  37. Max Dosser (Australia) says:

    An impressive layout. You must have had a lot of patience and ‘dogged’ perseverence over all those years.
    Your German Shepherd pup looks fabulous. Don’t worry about the floppy ear, as it will soon come upright.
    I have had 4 Shepherds (3 males & 1 female) over the years. My current one is the bitch. Now 10yrs 9months. She got her first 2 basic sheep herding titles just weeks before her 9th birthday. She has not worked sheep since then but last weekend we went to the herding demo and she still remembered what to do.
    All the best for your modelling and of course the pup – bring him a nice juicy steak

  38. Peter Wang says:

    I had a black n tan shepperd ,, his name was Rex ….
    and then my father in law named all his shepperds Duke …..

    two great names for a great looking puppy !!!!!

    good luck and happy holidays



  39. William Antonette says:

    You’ve a great layout there, I hope you don’t mind if I use some of your ideas to solve a couple of brain twisters I’ve gotten myself into.

    If your dog gets as big as his ears and paws predict, maybe you ought to wait to find out what name HE likes. ;<)


  40. Dave from Ontario says:

    Great layout.
    The pup is going to be big as you can tell from his paws.
    a good name would be GRUE-SOME, and he would live up to it.

  41. Dingo Sharp says:

    Dingo nah not a good name as it’s my real name, wot is a good name is “Defor ” in other words D for Dog.

  42. jezza says:

    How about;
    Chew Chew.

  43. Ray Appenzeller says:

    Beautiful Sheppard, I would name him Diesel. Big, strong & tough like a diesel train. Thank you all for your great train system and layout ideas and this web site. Marvelous job every year as always! Thank you! Ray Appenzeller from Philadelphia, PA USA

  44. builder Kim says:

    how about Diesel

  45. builder Kim says:

    Paul Campagna got the name right.I agree.

  46. Kevin says:

    I like the ‘Banhoff’ suggestion. My granddaughter got to go there recently and brought back posters of it. Nice place! Fitting for a German Shepherd!

  47. Kenny says:

    I agree with Joe on this one. I was thinking”Floppy” would be a good name for your dog with that one floppy ear. The layout looks great too .
    Kenny from Chicago.

  48. Tom says:

    Great layout….nice work. The shepherd is beautiful. Name him ;Dirk”

  49. Wayne Wallace says:

    I am so happy with this post. I just started and now know that I can die in peace because of my age. But I can have so much fun working on my model train. I felt I was taking too long, but not anymore. Off to spend more money on my train model. Thanks….

  50. Mark Hawk says:

    What a great layout!! Try the name DeOhge a name my Uncle David has used on at least 2 dog pound pups that turn into some big brutes.(DeOhge is just a play on the letters D O G)

  51. Richard Mowatt says:

    It is good to see someone else is taking a few years to complete their layout. I work away and when I come home I only get a few days to work on my layout each month. Your puppy looks great, maybe when he gets into your layout you could call him Godzilla.

  52. Wayne says:

    Great layout and detail. Just the motivation we needed to get going again.

  53. deano says:

    How about Caboose, or Shunter, or Hopper?

    The standard kennel shape with a sharp pitched roof, look good, but very hard to get into for cleaning/item retrieval/blanket change etc.
    I made a great kennel once, that had a flat roof, sloping backwards to the rear panel, where hinges enabled the whole roof to flip over onto the ground. Elevating the kennel directly off the ground provides ventilation & longer life as well ! Enjoy great times with your new best friend!

  54. Bud Holzman says:

    Oh Man hat a lot of names to choose from.
    Ihave 3 children. They all wanted a dog. My late wife was away taking care of my aunt in exas during my son’s birthday. I wrote him a note: “We owe you one dog. We bought a schnauzer. Now came naming time. The kids each wrote a name on a pie of paper and I placed them in a hat. Since it was to be my son’s dog, he plucked name from the hat. It turned out to be he paper he put in the hat.The dog became known as “Senator”. If he ever got lost the finder would think he would get a handsome reward from the Senator!

  55. Bud Holzman says:

    Lots of good names. You have a job ahead of you. Good luck.

  56. Barry Pearlman says:

    I have never owned a German Shepard, but currently own a Yellow Lab. I didn’t name her, but my next dog is going to be called PD, short for Puppy Dog; I call them all puppies, even my lab who is 14 1/2.


  57. Bob says:

    Call the dog “Choo-Choo” after all, we are into trains.

  58. John Reynolds says:

    Love most of the name suggestions…
    I was thinking “Chuff”…

  59. Curtis says:

    Good lookin Pooch there Al!

  60. dave says:

    Shepherd-Keeper for 60yrs & this is one Nice pup – beautiful with a gentle face. The Home & Away ear will come up by 6mths – occasionally a little later. As he’s to be Al’s dog, could you name him anything better than “S{t}ation ? Got it covered both ways !

    Keep up the good work – despite the ‘dark-hours crying’ . . . a hot water bottle is a cure-all for lonely pups – if you Must put him out before he’s One.

    South Wales

  61. Rick S says:

    Love the awesome layout!!!! I’d name your new pal Zugmeister. Pronounce the “Z” with a hard “Ts”. I have to admit I do like the name banhoff, though the correct German spelling if intended is Bahnhof.

  62. theunis says:

    hi everyone give me please please a clue what is the best Dc turnouts in hoscale or ooscale in code 100 please i dont wana trow money away kindly theunis

  63. THEODORE WAHL says:

    Very nice photos of your layout some of the scenery looks like Washington state name your dog SPIKE…. EVERYONE IN TRAINS KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE…CHEERS THEODORE

  64. Thys says:

    Call the puppy Boris. So German

  65. Terry says:

    Hi Al, love your posts.

    I thunk the dog should be called “Carpenter” – I’m sure he’ll be doing lots of jobs about the house!

  66. Dan says:

    Corrected copy (darn auto-correct)
    Both the layout and your pup are beautiful. Since you’re the Engineer your pup should be the Conductor.

  67. Wayne W. says:

    I would second the name “Carpenter”. My dog’s name is Sachi but I often call her ‘Bad Dog” when she does odd jobs about the house.

  68. Hello there,
    Just want to say that layout is superb! It gave me an idea of what on part of my layout where I have some crusty run-down buildings. Thank you for sharing the fruits of your hard labor, it’s greatly appreciated!
    Regards, Tom.

  69. Ranny mccown says:

    Looks Like the 80’s TV series ALF !

  70. Bruce Webb says:

    call him’ “steamer”: beutiful puppy you have there.

  71. Warren Ferguson says:

    Thor? Zeus? Odin? Dammit? You’ll be saying that a LOT. One last one: FRED.

  72. Art says:

    Name the Dog, “Tracker'”

  73. David says:

    Superb layout ,and a super build sawmill.
    The puppy dog i like the name Brandy.

  74. Bob Godi says:

    In the EBay cheat sheet where is the ON 30 scale

  75. Ed K. says:

    He sure is a nice looking pup. How about Loco?

  76. Bill Wiles says:

    Beautiful Dog! Shep or Brownie come to mind. Nice layout. As has been said a layout is never completed but this is close. Bill in Nova Scotia.

  77. J Dentner says:

    Great looking layout. Cute dog too. I think “Casey Jones” would be great. I’ve got the feeling he already runs things in your home. 🙂

  78. Donald says:

    cute dog you should name him EL LOCO ( The Locomotive )

  79. chuck henry says:

    Pup looks like Bauxy, from that old tv show Lost in Space

  80. Perrry says:

    Is the dog a male or female, because the sex matters in the name you pick. I noticed most of the names assumed he is a male.

  81. Robert Shuman says:

    Wonderful layout! And wonderful dog, too!!!

  82. Jim Orner says:

    call the puppy conductor !!

  83. Warren Ferguson says:

    Great layout! Great puppy, too! So little time, so many names. Stationmaster is too long, I think, but Fireman might work. Then, there’s Oiler, but that’s a little slick. Crosstie is sort of ambiguous, but Switchback is maybe doable. One last feeble effort: Taillight.

  84. David Hannan says:

    He looks like a “Harry” to me!

  85. Susan Cannon says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I like the name Tyco. 🙂

  86. Tom Lawton says:

    Loving GOSHOTTNZ, which works well for a German Shepherd.
    And Casey has a nice ring and simplicity
    Perhaps a full name like “La Vida loco”, which provides a number of variations based on your mood and his/her actions.

  87. Tom Sawyer says:

    In honor of the restoration of the 4014, name him “Big Boy”

  88. Brad says:

    Since he is of German descent I suggest the name “BARON”

  89. Franco428 says:

    Great Layout, and I especially wanted to see the round house and turn table.

    Your Pup’s name should be one syllable and have enough voice variation for the pup to recognized his name from casual conversation.

    I’d call him ‘Frank” or “Dutch” or even ‘King.” But the actual naming is really up to y’all. Any name that is different from other dogs will be a plus for his training.

    It really is a beautiful pup and should be a great dog.

  90. Ken says:

    “Flops” for the ear.

  91. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Nice layout Bern but have one question, is that Diesel stalled on the track? The little red sports car is beeping it’s little horn. Lol Your lay, how much room did you have to build it? Track plan? Are you still adding to it, like to see the before and after. Well I understand why you have the following, all of my live,as a kid we owned German Shepards and as a teen and all the way to one year ago. Love them. Well here some names for you, Boy names, king, Prince, Toby, Ringo, Tank, Wolf. Just watch him, his name will come to you. P.S have fun with him for the next 20 years and keep own railing.
    SDG St.Petersburg, Florida USA

  92. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Hello Bern, one more, Boss

  93. Ed Hansen says:

    There’s only one good name for a German Shepard – “Max”.

  94. Gary Redman says:

    Another great layout!

    Sarge, short for Sargent. He’ll definitely be in charge when he grows up!

  95. RonE says:

    How about Zug (train)?
    Sounds masculine and he is a German Shepherd.
    RonE So. California

  96. Jack Higley says:

    I like the name “Trax”. It is short and the dog will not be confused by more than one syllable and it is just enough different spelling to make your dog unique.

  97. Timothy -Collins says:

    If you’re going with the loco theme, how about ALCO?

    Love your blog, my friend. Keep up the GREAT work!

  98. Nice layout. How bout Spike, or Parker? Farmer AL

  99. George says:

    Looking at his eyes, how about “Ghost”.

  100. Wm althaus says:

    The layout is awesome! I hope you send updates as you build it up again. Can tell you put serious time and effort and love into your modeled world. A great post!

    Speaking of Post. That would be an interesting name for a dog. Think about it…

    You can post a post to keep all of us posted on Posts antics. The posts you post about Post will post with other posts from others who post here. Perfect way to post about Post. Bill in Virginia:D

  101. John from Norfolk, Ontario says:

    Bernie: Well done detail, could you show us the track plan please.

    Al: We assume the new pup is male, because you said “little chap”, not “little lady” or gal. When you are sitting down, and a cold wet nose nuzzles your hand or forearm, and asks ‘pat me’, all will know why you named him “Bumper”. (Bum for training)

  102. Great layout and great German Shepard! — Diesel would be my pick! — My Shepard was named Dusty — I never thought of Diesel at the time@

  103. David Schaffner says:

    Being a John Wayne aficionado & past model railroad nut who devoted many hours to the craft, and a dog lover who in the past have owned a border collie, a German Shepard, a Pug and most recently a terrier chihuahua mix with floppy ears and the cutest temperment of a dog I haver ever owned, I think a perfect name would be ‘HONDO’….I am slowly getting the bug to get back into the craft of model railroading & between the comments & videos, its infectious……

  104. J S Friedman says:

    The dog is a beauty, how about Seemore, because of his great sight and eyes

  105. Earl Cory says:

    Atlas, Cross Buck, Eisen, there are a lot more, maybe a contest.

  106. Martin Miller says:

    love the pics, but mainly the dog pic. My shepard’s name is Leisel, since she’s German like me.


  107. Bob Wilkinson says:

    I’d name him “Ty”…. alternate spelling for railroad ‘tie’ No mistaking his name!
    Short and sweet…. lot of ‘ties’ on your platform, but you have only one (1) “Ty”!

  108. Al Kondas says:

    I would say name the dog Al ( I am a bit partial to the name myself) but that could cause confusion in the house as to which one of you are being yelled at. Dogs eyes in the picture makes him look like an “Alien” to me.
    layout is very nice but hard to tell the size of it from the pictures. Looks small on on and large on another.

  109. Bruce says:

    I now own 7th Great Dane, My previous Dane was named Beauregard Dacious. I would suggest naming the pup “Traynor”. Best of luck with your new friend regardless of what you name him!

  110. Steven Aimi says:

    How about Juice! You layout looks so real ! Great job!

  111. Norman "Pete" McGill says:

    What a great looking dog,Al. Good luck with picking a name for him or her as the case may be. They all have floppy ears at that age and his front legs say it’ll be well over 100 pounds. Whatever you do please don’t train him to be a guard dog. Once these dogs are bad they will stay bad and that could be trouble for you.Do socialize it a lot so he likes people in general, kids, babies and other pets. It will always be loyal to you and your family and will protect you to the death if need be but make sure he’s socially orientated. I like Cinder the best as I had a Shepherd with that name and she was the best. The Shepherd I have now was adopted and she’s kinda mean from being trained that way and she’s a lot of work. Her name is Echo.
    Meantime this layout looks really great. I see lots of structures and lots of track so there appears to be plenty of work to be done with the rolling stock. Wish the pics were clickable so I could see more detail but these will do. I like the Ferris wheel. Pete

  112. Norman "Pete" McGill says:

    I know this site is all about railroading but I sure would like to see more pics of the dog.

  113. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi great layout lots to look at. Well done
    As for the dogs name how about “free to a good home “. I guess it’s obvious I’m a cat person

  114. James Pagliaro says:

    Name him STAR.

  115. William Mitchell says:

    I think the perfect answer would be CASEY ( without the “Jones”). Getting the dog used to it’s name, start with “K” “C”. When it’s responding to that, then gradually move over slowly to it’s real name, Casey!!

  116. Terry Plunkett in Oz says:

    Your pup is about to take over your life. Might as well call him The Fat Controller.

  117. John Jeffrey says:

    My German friend had Rottweilers and I laughed when he called them Cyril, Andy and Cindy. He had the last laugh, my shepherds were called Fritz, Toby and Gretel.

  118. rich B. says:

    Name the pup… LMAO. Used to put bubble-gum on some dogs ears to purposely flop down, haven’t heard on that one in awhile. Nobody will rob you with one of them around, loyal and protective. For some unknown reason “Track-side” as a name comes to mind, generic names not too indifferent either way. And yes, have thought of the perfect title always after already named 6 months later, oh well.

    Layout has some good scenes, just that the old decaying cities seem to do better where urban spread is focal there. Don’t have to be skyscrapers at all, even a RR abandoned will work. Imagine a hobo site exactly on tracks at tunnel entrance. Jersey Central- sure.

  119. Dana Butcher says:

    How about the name “Switcher”

  120. Doug Wells says:

    Al, thank you for all you do for our hobby.
    I have always wanted a Shepard so I could
    name him “Panzer”.
    Detroit Doug

  121. Jim AZ says:

    How about Shep?

    Good stuff going on for this layout. You have some interesting and unique buildings here. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  122. Steve Ruple says:

    Maybe name your new member Dexter, that will make him think he is very important !!!!!! By the way, great layout !!!!!!

  123. robert dale tiemann says:

    how about dragon eye. the way his eyes glow is something, i know its the lighting, but what the heck. very nice extreme use of space.

  124. Robert Gevert says:

    Nice Shepherd you have there ,Al. One of my favorite shepherd was named”Shep”, a very lovable pooch. Layout is great too!!
    Good luck with your new pooch!!

  125. Kevin McArdle says:

    Sweet pup. How about LOCO?

  126. Don says:

    from the hela pad to the ferris wheel & the church & fishing boats in the harbor the whole layout is awesome. well done.

  127. Dan Piccolo says:

    Lionel is top on my list.

  128. Kelvin the Celt says:

    Al from where you live near the GWR perhaps Gooch (the pooch) would be suitable. Thanks for all you do for us
    cheers Kelvin.

  129. Mikey says:

    Nice layout. How about “Chooch” for the new doggie’s name.

  130. Thomas Busler says:

    I vote for Thomas. My name is Thomas, and I was named after my father’s dog, Tomaso.
    Tom in Mississippi

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