Large ho scale layouts

There are quite a few large HO scale layouts on the blog now – Bill’s really does stick out though, it’s stunning.

(his last post is here).

“Hi Al,

Sorry its been so long since my last email. I have included a few more images of my never ending layout.

My first shot is of the entire length of my area at this time.

My initial layout started with a 19 X 13 foot area (photos from my last email), then i extended 4 feet to connect to a new section which is 9 X 30feet.

The additional photos in this email are close-up day and night of my harbor area. I will send another email with a few more of my 9 X30 industrial area section.

As you can see, i enjoy spending my time with trains!

Happy Modeling.


model railroad

Large ho scale layouts

Large ho scale layouts

Large ho scale layouts

model railroad industrial scene

Large ho model railroad

Jim’s also been back in touch with another stunner (his last post is here)

“Greetings from southern AZ. Some updates and additions to the layout. Having converted some plus 30 year old Santa Fe Athearn GP7 and Atlas SD24 engines I had from years gone by to DCC by a friend, I decided to go back in time to the late seventies.

So along with some newer InterMountain Santa Fe SD40’s, new, older autos (some with led lights) and some recently weathered Athearn blue box freight cars, we’re in an older era featuring Santa Fe.

I also installed traffic lights, crossing signals and gates. The crossing signals are Woodland Scenics and the crossing signals and gates are NJ International. They both function with switches for now and the gates are not motorized. And the traffic lights are Walthers.

A great thanks to you Alastair for your site and a great thanks to the many talented and creative modelers who provide so many innovative ideas and how to’s. Your videos and photos are greatly appreciated.

Jim AZ”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here – have a look.

A huge thank you to Jim, and to Bill for adding to the large HO scale layouts on the blog. Stunning, stunning stuff.

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.

36 Responses to Large ho scale layouts

  1. Christine says:

    Wonderful layout. Took so much time and money. I love it.

  2. Rube Simon says:

    Bill: :-O

  3. That is some layout Bill has , wonder if I could extend another 4 ft ..? lol ..very nice ..Jim , love the Sate Fe on your layout …Dangerous Dave

  4. Ian Robert Black says:

    I’m just starting out with mine nothing like yours it is grate to see what can be done brilliant will keep going with mine hopefully it will be as good as yours best wishes to you.

  5. Don says:

    No McDonald’s???(haha)….very well done,Bill!

  6. That;s totally awesome!!

  7. steve joyce says:

    The bridges can anyone tell me who makes the bridges. Am wanting to do something like that and am looking at several different manufacturers

  8. paul vogel says:

    Beautiful work to both Jim and Bill. Thank you for sharing. Paul…..Ohio USA

  9. George Miner says:

    Being in the process of my second layout, (first was 40 years ago) I really appriciate the time and effort for all this work.
    Great job!!

  10. Mike says:

    Wonderful layout, awesome, I love it. I’m slowly working on mine. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Terry Miller says:

    Jim: I’m wondering about your crossiing gates and signals. You say they’re operated by switches–are the switches activated by the train, or thrown by hand by you?
    Great layout..

  12. Geoffrey Plumb says:

    Very nice layout indeed …

  13. needs way more foliage. common criticism i have on many layouts. most don’t have nearly enough trees, bushes.

  14. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Wow, what a magnificent layout , ,thanks for sharing.

  15. Billy Mills says:

    Too amazing for words

  16. Don Jennings says:

    I hope you have a crew to help you run the trains on the layout.

    How do you fix or repair anything on the layout? Do you have lift panels placed through out the layout? I hope so.
    What a great looking layout. I wish I had that much room.
    I do not.

    donj1044 USA NC

  17. Nice layouts. Jim, I was born and raised in KS, lived in Newton KS for 3 years. Newton had every passenger train from Chicago to LA and Chicago to Corpus Cristi coming thru there. I have a PRN but I follow ATSF practices and locomotives that I buy are SF before I repaint them.
    Lester in GA

  18. Brian Rockey says:

    Some particularly fine modelling of the roads Jim and the industrial area. Great!

  19. Really enjoyed. Thanks for the inspiration. Just started in hobby and seeing whats possible is awesome.


  20. Andy evans says:

    Hey Jim, great representation of the American Southwest. Not everybody realizes that the desert doesn’t support much in the likes of shrubs or trees. Great how you tied your foreground to those wonderful backdrops! Looks just like when I was traveling last month in your area. Nice Job!

  21. Malcolm Hodgson says:

    Wow. For both!!

    North Wales

  22. Great posts…
    Jim’s video reminded me of Route 66 in the 1970’s… Evoked memories of Kingman, Seligman, Winslow, (all Arizona towns on Route 66… One might even add Gallup New Mexico! Cue Bobby Troupe (Get your kicks on Route 66!
    As to the comment about trees: The American southwest is more known for its desert. Trees are a rarity in the area marked by both the Sonora Desert and the Mojave… On old Route 66, one could drive miles without seeing a bush, much less a tree! This was especially true of the route traveled by the Santa Fe. The significant exception to this treeless landscape was the area between Williams, Arizona, and Flagstaff, Arizona (Which was forest).

  23. Wm althaus says:

    Labors of love for both of you. Great to see your work !
    Bill In Virginia

  24. Vandana Sharma says:


  25. Bill says:

    donj1044 USA NC
    I have multiple portals within the sections of the layout in order to fix, clean tracks, etc.

    Thank you everyone for your kind words! I enjoy looking at other fine modeling work. It’s wonderful that Al has this site for us to share and learn from the best!

    Happy Holidays ! Bill in Rhode Island USA

  26. Allan J Jelinek says:

    WOW ! AWSOME !

  27. Jim Hodgson says:

    Wow! Stunning indeed!

  28. zatara says:

    oh, if only the wife would it…

    guess i’ll have to settle for playing baseball, eating hot dogs and apple pie and driving my Chevrolet;

  29. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Bill’s layout sure would be fun to visit, so much to see, lots of action.
    And as has been mentioned already, Jim’s layout is wonderful, I especially like his integration of the layout into those great backdrops. also would like to know how the RR crossing lights are activated. Lots to draw from here and inspiring to keep improving my layout.
    Dick from Hardin Mt USA

  30. Bill Holt says:

    Bill, what a AWESOME layout……SENSATIONAL !!

  31. THOMAS says:

    Why can’t there be a train that runs without a bunch of NOISE ?
    Just run the TRAIN and leave out that screeching sound !
    Other than that … I loved the video .

  32. Robert Brady says:

    BILL One word , FANTABULOuS !
    The Critic

  33. Mark Labash says:

    I had a layout that took up an entire room in my early teens. I was constantly fighting dust on my layout and when I see a layout this large, I wonder how he keeps it so clean without bothering the scenery or the buildings and figures. Can you give me a clue?

  34. JIMMY ROBINSON says:

    Wow! A virtual lifetime of work well done!

  35. Will in NM says:

    I like your back-dating to the 60s and 70s era. All those Oxford Diecast 50s and 60s cars are a great addition. How do you get your street markings so perfect? For that matter, how did create the streets in the first place? Your weathering of the freight cars looks very natural and realistic.

    You might consider weathering a few of those HO vehicles since not all cars look brand new, especially in a railroad town in the west. And once again, compliments on your accurate representation of the southwest desert area.

  36. Sparky says:

    Absolutely outstanding on the whole layout and especially the detail on roads, crossings and vehicles. It’s going to be very hard to live up to your standard. Thank you for sharing.

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