Bill’s Erie layout

“It has taken the last year to complete the Erie Railroad Layout.

I first sent you pictures back in July of the bench work on casters. There are two main lines, two levels, sixteen commercial buildings, a coal mine, three cities, over two hundred people, 95 vehicles, 40 rail cars, 3 Erie engines and all the trains can service all the cities on both levels.

Some who remember the Erie will recognize Salamanca, Meadville, and Jamestown which this layout services. Enjoy the pictures.


(images are clickable)

model train track plan

A fantastic layout! Thanks to Bill for sharing.

That’s all for today my friends.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you say goodbye to boredom, 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.

model train answers

46 Responses to Bill’s Erie layout

  1. THOMAS says:


  2. Well done , looks very good

  3. Al says:

    Very good lay out. What size and scale. Is it? Really looks nice. Way to go hope mine will be half as good

  4. Eustace says:

    Great layout! Do you have any video you can share?

  5. Bob says:

    The realism of the buildings, roads, and track plan is great, The Erie used to run

  6. Bob Miller says:

    Obviously a labor of love. You did a great job Bill, definitely something to be proud of….

  7. Bob says:

    Finishing up my first comment. The Erie used to run in my area when I was considerably younger. This brings back fond memories. The two levels are blended very well. The layout brought me a lot of excitement Bill. You’ve accomplished a great feat. Keep the pictures coming.

  8. builder Kim says:

    Hi Bill.Nice layout.I like your coal factory.If your interested in making a bunch of stuff for your layout.Do you have nonworking railway signal’s can help with that.How about power poles.not plastic.Either contact me or I will send in a bunch of how too’s to Al so he can put on here.Been on this build the traffic signal kick.Before I realised it I had made up 20 signal’s.thanks for the photo’s of your it very much

  9. Don says:

    Hi Bill, Great job. I’m from the Wilkes Barre area of PA. My Dad, Grandfather and other relatives were miners in the 40’s and 50’s. I now live in Colorado and am rebuilding my O gauge. Its all PA and NY railroads including the Phoebe Snow, Erie-Lackawanna , NYC etc. Really got a good feel for the PA towns and mining areas from your layout. Keep up the good work.

  10. seth says:

    Would love to see the track plans

  11. seth says:

    Last pic guy at the bottom of the stairs laying on his face… hope hes got insurance.

  12. Dennis D says:

    I love your layout! (I too am curious about the scale.) The scenery is not too complicated in this phase, but looks very good. The people are outstanding, very life-like. I’m sure you will be doing more detailing as time goes by…I can just imagine how cool the layout would look with backdrops. My scale is American Flyer and I have a simple 4 x 8 ft. layout that I will be tippling in size this winter. You have given me some ideas and have challenged me to create something close to the level you’ve displayed here. Bravo!
    From: Vashon Island, Washington State (Near Seattle)

  13. vince says:

    I am always amazed at how great the layouts are. Since I’m from PA I can see many familiar scenes that remind me of the area. Great job.

  14. Hi Bill,

    WoW! I like the way that you’ve placed the mine on the Upper Layer, macking it the Center of attraction for your layout, without taking anything away from the rest of the Layout overall. Great job, now untill you decide to fiddle with it here and there, enjoy running trains on it for a while first.

  15. paul Otway says:

    nice railway

  16. builder Kim says:

    I have a question please.Anyone who own’s the plastic telegragh poles with the 5 insulators on each side.Do me a favor.And give me the measurement’s length,diameter,and length of cross beam.Im working on making them of wood not cheap plastic.Will give them to Al after to post.thanks lots.

  17. Tom says:


    A job well done!!!!


  18. Ralph Berry says:

    What a marvelous layout, I must agree the inclusion of mines or timber industries seem to add atmosphere , I suppose any “sleeves up” sort of activity going on would add interest to any layout, the basic purpose of a railway is to carry loads that are useful to somebody.

  19. Ian says:

    a great layout love the greenery and trees unbelievable work gone into the building.

  20. chris says:

    lovely layout, particularly the coal depot

  21. Dave says:


    Just one question
    Have the para medics been called for the man who has fallen down the mine office steps?

  22. Rod Mackay says:

    If you don’t have room for the whole coal mine, I’ve seen the odd place where the coal comes over a hill from the mine to a loading bunker in telfer buckets, like a cable-car. Gives you the atmosphere but saves a lot of space.

  23. Jim Peters says:

    On The Second Picture,The Elevation Of The Sidewalk To The Street Looks WAY Out Of Scale. Why Is This?

  24. idris dixon says:

    Great layout lots of shutting could go on there, keep up to good work!

  25. Roy Tibbles says:

    Find this to read over picture why ? The picture doesn’t help

  26. Sundaram says:

    Superb layout. Great detailing.

  27. Gus DeGuilio says:

    The buildings are fantastic. The coal mine especially. Since I run O scale, I would need another room to add those buildings is O. Great job.

  28. Jim McGee says:

    Enjoyed the pics of the Erie. I worked in Hornell NY for 30 years, an old Erie hub. They now have a small Erie museum which is well done. Currently working on my O scale layout which features many Erie locomotives and rolling stock. Keep up the good work!
    Pittsford, NY

  29. Jim says:

    Very nice. Now have fun running trains.

    Jim AZ

  30. Ed OH says:

    Like the layout. I have many of the same items in my layout. Coal mine, powerhouse, freight terminal. Mine also has an oil field with motorized horse head pumps. storage tanks and double oil car loading platform. Really like the weathering on the coal mine. Gives me ideas as to how weather mine.

  31. Ed OH says:

    In answer to question about telephone/electric poles. HO scale, 2 sizes polled Long is 35 scale foot/3 scale stem for mounting. Shorter pole 27 scale foot/same length stem. One scale foot diameter. Cross bars are bottom 10 scale foot and top are 5 scale foot.

  32. Neil says:

    Post the track layout design . I am always amazed how creative people are w small areas!

  33. Don says:

    Nice, I’m putting in a similar mine. I like your weathering. Did you follow Model Man Mike on youtube?

  34. Craig Burton says:

    Great layout Bill!It would be nice to see a video of the trains running!! 🚂

  35. Dale Popula says:

    Bill, Did you show your track plan earlier? If so I missed it. I like what I see in the pic’s. I would like to see the whole track plan. The O to D, mine to power plant is great.

  36. Robert Brady says:

    we have 3 things in common. Trains,golf and beer chillers/cooler. Great layout Bill.

  37. Minnesota Dan says:

    Wonderful job, Bill, even to the leaves in the street. It is fall after all. I was “edumacated” in upper central PA, and often traveled with my dad ( I was his “uber”) on his speaking engagements, and these scenes are very reminiscent of those journeys.

  38. JOHN DOWN says:

    Bill, the Erie, DL&W, and E-L are some of my favorite roads to medel. Nice job. You’ve done the Erie proud.

  39. Fantasys says:

    It may be the size of a sheet of plywood but this layout is anything but flat. The big scenery and tiny trains combine to make a dramatic yet compact model railroad. Narrow gauge railroading is a path less traveled in the hobby, but it is a challenge with great rewards.

  40. bill
    Great layout my wife and I grew up in dunkirk and fredonia new york you brought
    back great memories and thank you for that

  41. gordon valentine says:

    Bill, You have a very good layout. It interested me as we llive just out side Meadville. I wonder if pic #2 is on Chestnut St? Looking to see more.

  42. Ernesto Reyes Vizzuett says:

    Bien aprovechado el espacio!!!

  43. John Floyd says:

    Hi Bill , I love your layout ,it looks awesome , great job , well done ,I am trying to finish my ho layout ,I still have to lay the cork and nail everything down and wire it up and scenery with tunnels and models , I will be busy this weekend working on it , thanks for the pictures ,they are very nice and give me plenty of ideas 😎👍

  44. Norman "Pete" McGill says:

    Very nice layout Bill. Nice track work too. By the way your mine buildings need to be pressure cleaned. I’ll do the job for five grand. Ha!


    none better Gino

  46. Stephen Hill says:

    Bill , that appears to be a well thought and executed display . I really like the old buildings and mine theme . I grew up in Pittsburgh so I’m familiar with that line and the soot . Great job , brings back fine memories , thank you for sharing your work , you never know what chord you’ll strike with such a thing . I can hear those whistles blowing .

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