Bill’s HO scale model railroad layout update

Bill’s been back in touch with his HO scale model railroad:

“Hello Al and fellow modelers

Been a while since I sent anything in but now that life has settled down a bit I’m focusing back on modeling again.

I do want to start off by saying a big thank you to Al and his blog. A few years ago I was an arm chair modeler but I happened across Al’s posts and it got me out of my chair and back into the hobby. I haven’t missed a post since and always enjoy the modeling shared by everyone.

My wife thinks I went a little overboard as now I have the 4X16 HO switching layout and the 3X15 N scale layout and I’m in the planning stage of a 4.5X12 O and ON3O layout.

For the HO layout I have scenery basically finished and now I’m going into detail mode and will be weathering cars and engines and finishing up a variety of small projects. While it’s mostly done it’s never done and Ive been enjoying operating the layout.

I’m addition to the pictures I have a link for a recent video where I do a walk through of the layout and talk about things I learned and things I’d do different if I did it over which I’m not going to do. I think I’ll get a lot more enjoyment switching before I make any changes.


Bill in Virginia”

HO scale model railroad roundhouse

HO scale model railroad sheds

HO scale model railroad shunting yard

freight carriage HO scale model railraod

oil tank freight HO scale

HO scale points

HO scale locomotives

HO shunting yard

Love seeing Bill’s HO scale model railroad updates. Hope you enjoyed it as much as me.

Now on to Frank. Thanks to everyone who helped him the other day.

If you missed it, he was having problems with a reverse loop.

Trevor also kindly sent in this:

“Hi Frank,

You actually have a simple problem seeing you are using DCC. Your module is a safe loop so no problem there. Unless I am badly mistaken you need the reverser on the module you are not showing with the insulated joiners on the turnout just by the edge of the board where the red lines are shown.

It will not matter then if the train comes off the other module wherever and which ever direction, the reverser will pick up a “short” and correct it for the next module
Make sure you insulate both rails in both directions at that one point.

Hope this helps,

Cheers from Australia


reverse loop

A huge thanks to Trevor and Bill.

It’s fab to see and Bill’s layout(s) becoming more and more detailed. Impressive stuff!

And to think, he was an armchair modeler, until he decided to bite the bullet.

So if that’s you, why let everybody else have all the fun? You can grab the Beginner’s Guide here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

19 Responses to Bill’s HO scale model railroad layout update

  1. Wayne Johnson says:

    Bill has done an outstanding job. He even managed to add a 1958 Edsel Citation to the layout, which makes me happy.

  2. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Bill Outstanding, One of the best layouts that have been submitted. Keep us up to date please.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Bill you do have an eye for detail. Your choice for ballast size was spot on. One pic shows a few ties pushed down and splintered by a turnout. Brilliant, Who da thunk to do that ?
    The Critic

  4. Neal Jeffrey Perry says:

    Nicest model railroad I’ve seen in a loooong time! Outstanding work!


  5. Greg Marples says:

    Great stuff! I learned a lot Bill, thanks. Like you, I have gotten inspired by Alistair’s friends to get back into the hobby. I read every post. Greg in Kansas

  6. Peter Farrington says:

    Hi Al, I have an idea for Bill’s power pole dilemma, he could convert the overhead cables to an underground cable at the last pole by the board connection. This would be contemporary with the time period of his layout.
    It would allow a number of options for future development in the particular section of his layout. I have personal experience of this method as I used to work for a UK Electricity Supply Authority.

  7. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Bill Great looking layout! Nice scenery very sharp what else can one say.

  8. Erick says:

    Looks pretty great. Keep up the good work.

  9. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done, Bill. The scenery is highly detailed and quite realistic. Great bit of modeling and thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  10. MNarklin ed says:

    Bill thank, seeing your layout i have changed my mind on my the track layout now. THANKS

  11. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Bill I have watched your progress from the very first time you put something on Al’s site. and it has been a total pleasure. I look forward to seeing what you are doing next. And now, to see what you do with an On30 next, yahoo.
    Your work keeps me inspired to push on with my huge N scale California Zephyr Route. So much to do yet, lots of learning curves, it is fun to look for ways to improve the scenes etc.
    Thanks Bill for your quality video work as well, so relaxing and enjoyable to follow.
    Dick from Hardin Mt USA

  12. Jeff says:

    Great job. Love it all. I want your talent.
    I’m looking for someone to help me
    I live in Ventura California. If someone is interested in doing a layout. I have a 10 by 12 shed. If interested please text me.

  13. Al from South of Wichita, Kansas says:

    Bill, beautiful work on the layouts!
    I am curious to learn why you are building three different scale layouts, and keeping all three. I also appreciate the fact that you give the size of the layouts and the scales. Often, just from the pictures that others have posted, I don’t know how big or small their entire layouts are. Since I am just in the initial planning stages of building my first layout (at 80 years old), I am looking to get some idea of what I will be able to fit into the space that I have available. Great explanations in the video!
    Thanks from a displaced Virginian.

  14. Jeff says:

    Thanks Bill for taking time to share your layout with us. Truly inspirational! Love your detail work. The way you utilized the minimal space you have and bringing everything together beautifully. I can see a lot of careful planning has gone into this.

  15. Frank says:

    Wow, great video showing a layout. I’ve never seen such an extensive and large switching layout.

    Frank in Orlando

  16. Trevor Maytum says:

    Great layout, Bill, and wonderful modelling. Love the perspective you have created by mixing scales, very effective indeed. Enjoyed the tour, can’t wit to see your other two layouts. Well done.

  17. Bill in Virginia says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments.

    I noted a few things in them that I’ll add commentary to.

    The ballast for the most part is sieved roof shingle granules . A hobby shop was selling them a long time back and I purchased a number of bags then sieved them to get to an HO scale size .

    I love the comment about dropping the power lines to go underground from the pole at the tables edge. I did that at the transformers but doing it at the pole makes sense too

    As to why I model in different scales? I find each scale offers something different. N Scale offers longer trains and long runs plus opportunity to add scenery in a small place. HO Scale has much more equipment and you can enjoy working with it better and get more creative when adding in details. As for O scale it’s big and just looks great LOL. Seriously though the one I build will be simple with a heavy emphasis on scenery and trees lots of trees. I don’t have space for a permanent layout and I do like the challenge of making a believable railroad in small areas.

  18. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Bill…… great layout…….I love the double crossovers in the 6th picture. Your detial on the buildings is spot on….. really excellent.

  19. Dave Karper says:

    Re all the comments about planning a layout and what fits where, I’m glad my high school education had mechanical and engineering drawing as a requirement for my chosen course. I still have my T-square, triangles.and French curves. I have only spent money on on half millimeter leads for my pencils for years.. Very economical, and useful any type of drawings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *