Brian starts his layout

“Hi Al,

you have not heard from me before but I have been receiving your messages for years now and looking at the tips and layouts that people have sent to you from near and far, and found them inspiring and helpful in many ways.

I had always wanted to build a model railway since I was a kid but didn’t have the money way back then and the room and time as work and family life took me through my middle years, but a recent move from house to bungalow due to my wife’s ill health has given me a place at the bottom of the garden to be able to try my hand at doing it.

I do love building it but often wonder if I will ever get it finished, I have been working on it for about 3 years now on and off and there is only the close family who have seen it.

I have taken photos at different stages except for the building of the baseboard track and electrics, so after a good 60 years of waiting, I am about a third of the way through and would like to share some photos of my efforts so far. its a long way from being finished, but I keep chipping away as and when I can.

These photos are at the starting of it all, more will follow until its up to date, if that’s ok.

Thanks to all who send you their tips and photo/videos.

And thanks to you Al for your world wide information.


model railway plan

model railway shelf plan

model railway shelf plan

model railway corner tunnel

model railway corner tunnel

And another Brian – hall of fame Brian – has also been in touch again:

“Here is my first video using the new camera. Excuse the fallen down figures, the unpainted dozer driver, the fence that was nocked over, this is only seen after the video was taken. I have edited out the end part. There are parts of the video where the track seems a bit rough but that is logging for you.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Brian and Brian!

That’s all for today, folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to do more than think about starting your layout, why not grab the Beginner’s Guide and make it happen?



18 Responses to Brian starts his layout

  1. Cary Buter says:

    Thanks Al, that’s a couple of great looking layouts. Thanks for your blog to share these. Cary B from Maryland USA

  2. Ed says:

    Brian’s video with the logging train was very interesting. It appeared to me that he had high ceilings and that the track bed in the video was actually above the door into the room. Is this correct? Obviously such a configuration opens up all kinds of possibilities.

  3. William Wiles says:

    Never rode a logging train before. Your layout is great ! You have done a lot and one can see there is work to be done yet but then what model railroad is ever complete. Keep it up, one day at a time. Bill

  4. Don says:

    Good stuff!

  5. Brian Messenger says:

    The answer to high ceilings, the ceiling is of normal height. The top shelves hold a lot of non train models. The upper level of my layout (in the video) is at eye level approximately 5ft 9in from the floor. Brian RSA 🇿🇦

  6. Mike Ilkenhons says:

    Really nice detail. Excellent period modeling. The ride was through a logging area of our northwest.

  7. The camera works great , very good for finding what needs doing from track level , but nice clear picture …Dangerous Dave

  8. Warren Ferguson says:

    Wonderful video! There seems to be a problem with a worker who is either injured or, heaven forbid, drunk on the job, at 38 seconds in. Have you had him examined by the company doctor?

  9. Terry Miller says:

    Nice video–it appears there is also a lower level and I wonder if the two connect and how (steep grade/helix?)

  10. Brian Messenger says:

    In the logging video, there is a second lower level (very incomplete) and it does not connect to the upper level. The train room is only 14ft X 10ft. The lower level is loosley based on D&RGW with a harbor.

  11. Mary Aigner says:

    What kind of camera was used? Video reallyneat.

  12. Rob McCrain says:

    I alaways like a cam ride.

  13. Peter Waring says:

    Really great layout with plenty of room for an uncluttered scenic logging camp and railway line with associated engine sheds etc . Nice smooth train ride and the photography works well. Good going Brian very impressed. Regards Pete.

  14. Jim says:

    Nice train ride. Always envious but appreciate large and long running layouts.
    It looks like Brian number 1 is off to a great start with an interesting track plan. Looking forward to seeing more.

    Jim AZ

  15. Your camera takes great videos. I have a mini camera I bought from a train store and I was not impressed with the quality in general. Where did you get yours?
    I did end up buying a small Sony HDR-CX405. I have to start the camera and place it on a flat car. It does fairly well, when out in the open, but in certain sections I am limited because the width of the camera is wider that the car. What camera etc. do you have?

  16. Ray Suckling says:

    Brian, don’t worry about how long it takes at least you are doing it. I have been building a small layout for the past 5 years and it still has a long way to go but the fun is in building it.
    Ray – Nerang Qld………….

  17. John Tipper says:

    Great layout of a fine railroad.

  18. Brian Messenger says:

    The video/still camera that I used for my videos is a GoPro Session cube camera that is about a 2 inches square cube. Alastair may still have a photo of it with an HO figure next to for size comparison. Once mounted on a flat car, it will not foul anything either side of it as seen above passing between to parked trains. Remember that I model HOn3, therefore my flat cars are narrower than standard gauge. If used on HO standard gauge – piece of cake. It works on WiFi, I have the GoPro app (free download) on my cell phone as well as on my iPad. I switch on the camera, place it on a flat car then the app connects to the camera and you can start the video before or as the train starts running without touching the camera. If using a cellphone or iPad, you can watch its progress as if you are sitting on the train and stop the video whenever you feel like it. Very simple to use as can be seen in the video and great fun. A very good investment for me. It has a very wide angle lens and also takes fantastic still photos. Google GoPro for more information on it.
    Cheers. Brian – RSA 🇿🇦

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