Denny discovers a box car in a very strange place

“Dear Al,

Kitbashing isn’t just for modelers!

I found a picturesque old red barn less than a mile west of I-25 between Denver & Fort Collins, Colorado.

I wandered around trying to find the right angle & light for photos and I was astounded to find an old wooden boxcar with metal waffle ends incorporated into the barn & animal pens.

Perhaps this will inspire us to use our old boxcars for more than hobo camps & yard offices.

If you come up with great ideas, share them with Al so that he can share them with all of us.

Thanks Al!

Denny
Scottsdale Arizona USA”

Denny’s pics really reminded me of the barn in the print out scenery store – have a look, it’s here.

Now on to Hank, who has sent in his oldish youtube, but a wonderful write up.

It was the very last line that made me think I really should post:

“I received my first set of trains for Christmas when I was 5 years old. Every Christmas my parents would add more to my collection. My brothers and I would save our allowances to purchase accessories.

When I went to high school I lost interest in the trains until my daughter was born.

I set up a small display around the Christmas tree for my daughter to watch. I was shocked when the landlord complained of the noise from the trains and told me to stop immediately.

After that initial shock, I told my wife that we are moving out and buying our own house so I can freely run all the trains that I wanted.

Each year I would set up a display until my daughters lost interest.

Five years after my first wife passed away at a young age, I set up a display at my new girlfriend’s house. She encouraged me to work on the layout together. We had so much fun working as a team.

She had a big dance floor in her basement where we used to do Latin dances every night. Eventually, I asked her if Icould have a 12 by 14 L shape area to run my trains which she agreed. After 3 months, I dismantled the layout and built a new one that I was able to run simultaneously four sets of trains. My girlfriend loved doing the wiring and that gave me time to devote on designing the
layout.

We decided to get married, sell her house, and move into mine. I built two new rooms, a music room to accommodate her baby grand piano, and 15 X 22 room for my trains. Little did I realize that the train room would become a ping pong room after allowing her to design the rooms.

I ended up using part of our recreation room for the trains. I built a 12 ft by 18 ft layout where I was able to run 8 sets of trains. My wife helped install an “accident scene” with crashed cars, ambulance, and police cars.

With her small delicate hands and her surgical kit, she was able to open the vehicles and put the LED lights and wires inside. A challenging feat that I could not
have tackled!

My greatest joy is designing and building the layout. The satisfaction I derive of its success is worth the effort. Since then, I have constructed four levels. The bottom level has a subway system and three trains operate on the level. The main level has three trains running and one set of tracks where the train can reverse itself. The third level has two sets of trains running.

The upper level contains an amusement park and a large farm and one train goes around the amusement park and the second train drops people off at the park. I also have a trolley running from the business district to the amusement park. There is an addition of a Winter village with a Ski resort.

From the beginning to where we are now, I have switched from Lionel engines to MTH engines. I use four (4) Z4000 and two (2) Z1000 transformers. The lights are controlled by 1 Lionel
transformer.

The journey we take in designing and redesigning a personal train layout is endless, as we train enthusiasts know!

Hank”



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Denny and Hank (the last line in his narrative says it all).

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Remember, it’s the start that stops most people…

Best

Al

18 Responses to Denny discovers a box car in a very strange place

  1. Frank says:

    Wow, I didn’t even know they made subway trains. That layout is massive and so heavily loaded with trains. Amazing.

  2. Jared says:

    I have never seen so many trains running on a single layout at the same time, hahaha! Very cool to have so much going on like that!

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Denny What in tarnation is holding that barn up? Must not have any tornados in that area of Colorado, Lol. Great photos and inspiring.
    The Critic

  4. Terry Miller says:

    Boy I sure would like to see a track plan of that layout. Intriguing and fun to watch.

  5. george zaky says:

    Hank
    My theory is all the other things in life are a must for train layouts and they move also. Carnivals, skaters on the pond, derricks, see-saws, cars, buses all move and make a layout alive. Great job.

    Lionel made other adders that interreacted such as log loaders, cattle movers, etc and I guess as a kid some 70 years ago these things stuck with me.

    You are a lucky man to have the boss work with you.

    The clarity of your video could be better so I could see all the stuff on top.
    The best to you and your wife
    George from LI, NY

  6. Myron Sonkin says:

    One of the best layouts I have seen. Well done and bravo

  7. Denny
    Great picture thanks for sharing it
    Hank
    Fantasic layout lots of things going on and I love all the passenger trains

  8. John Schmehl says:

    There is a lot going on, looks great!

  9. Howard says:

    I just started (at age 67)… my grandkids love to watch the trains, but I have a LOOONG way to go before I get anything that looks like yours! Wow, there’s a lot going on here. Great work.

  10. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Hank…… WOW is all I can say……..Fantastic…….Please if you read this answere my questions……How Long did this take you? and Did you build this from the Top Down or the Bottom Up.

    I have watched the video a few times and I am trying to figure out what would be the best way to build this type of layout. Also…..this is one of the few layouts that has the right speed for the trains. Also, glad to see that GG1; I have a special place in my heart for that engine since working on the PRR.

  11. Rich Wentzel says:

    Hank I am curious about one thing after you state your wife does all the wiring. Bourbon, gin, vodka or tequila; what is her choice because she obviously must drink to calm herself after doing all that wiring! LOL

    Seriously, that is a great concept and result with the 4 level layout. I had the idea years ago to do a 2 level set up with the upper one showing the aspect one normally sees viewing from the front and an exact duplicate layout about 2 feet lower to get the prospective if flying overhead. Never happened as I became caretaker for my dad to help mom, then for mom, my m-i-l and finally my wife. They have all passed on. Now I am caring for my new wife who has a few physical ailments and a mental one (that would be me!). I now have my own room for trains but I must finish painting it before any trains or the platform is begun.

    I enjoy seeing the ideas come to life that all of you have. Thanks for sharing! A special thanks to Al for all his time and effort!!! Prayers that all of you are able to continue the great work in 2021 and beyond.

  12. Steve Clark says:

    Beautiful job Denny…tremendous attention to detail and an inspiration to us all.
    Steve C
    Pennsylvania.

  13. Ron Edwards says:

    Denny, This is a wonderful layout. So much going on that I bet that one could stand watching it operate for an hour and still not take it all in. Like Howard above, I have a long way to go before my layout runs as yours does. Now make us all feel really bad and say this is just a set up for Christmas! Trust that you get to show it to folks often. Ron, Springfield, VA

  14. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome layout Hank, I would love to see the track layout that you have. I’m in the process of building an “O” scale layout, but I don’t have near as much as you have. You also have an awesome wife that has talent in wiring. I would like to see some photos of your layout. Thank you for sharing!!!!!

  15. David Schaffner says:

    Wow! So much going on, if you blink, you’ll miss it…Love the passenger trains and the focal perspective of so many trains running at the same time and at seemingly realistic speed…I had a huge Lionel layout forty years ago on two 4×8’s, but marriage and kids forced me to give it up. I wish I had them now, since I had a lot of pre-war, tin type and all the little items that Lionel had, from crossing gates, to water towers and so many cool things that they had…To see a lot of them now, they may seem ancient, but to collectors, there priceless. Awesome job. Love it.

  16. Earl Farmer says:

    Hank, Great job on the layout and your very neat narrative of it’s progression and design. Congrats to you and your wife, for not only finding but enjoying, the common ground of model railroading. I have built a 6′ x 12′ ( with 2′ x 8′ interior operation access ) HO scale model railroad. It is over ( once ) and under ( twice ), with a short, double ended, 3 track yard, and on the other side of the access area, the equivalent of the old Elmwood lead, out of NYC’s 18 track Ivorydale Yard, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Very little scenery yet, and with the ” trackitis ” result, it will be a challenge. It is well worth it, the mainline run, not having to touch the throttle, has been almost 4 minutes. Have fun and thanks.

  17. John Peters says:

    Very cool, I going to try it.

  18. can you please etll me how big the area is for this layout? I have a 12′ x 13′ room and am considering building a 3 level layout.

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