Bruce’s train story

“It was in 1971 while living in Toronto Canada that I bought my first N Gauge train set.

It was a small boxed set by Aurora, Postage Stamp Trains, which cost me $25.

It consisted of a small 0-6-0 steam engine, 4 freight cars, and some rails. I was hooked on the detail and size, and this started me on collecting N Gauge.

Over the next couple of years I bought through the mail from the USA several Rapido, Atlas, and other makes.

I then moved to England for a couple of years, and bought a Hornby Minitrix Britannia for £10. I then moved to Cape Town for several years, and found a small
hobby shop close by, and continued my collection, mainly Atlas items.

After that I moved back to England for a while, and then in 1981 moved permanently to the USA, where I have lived at the same address for almost 40 years.

I bought a country house that did not have a decent garage, so I built a large 2-car garage with an upstairs, and two rooms at the back. One room, my future Train Room is 16 ft by 12 ft, and next to it is the Tack Room (for saddles and bridles) for use by my wife for her horses.

However, it was not until 2013 that I started building my layout, as my main interest was collecting different trains. I did not specialize, as I bought anything that I liked the look of – steam, diesel, electric trains from USA, England, Germany, France, Japan. Most of my purchasing was done on ebay between 2000 and 2010.

I “finished” my layout in 2018, since I did a little bit each year, as there is no heating or A/C in my train room, so I worked just a couple hours at a time over a couple of months each year.

Attached are some progress photos – I apologize for the bad quality.

The layout is “L” shaped, with 4 train tracks, and 4 DC controllers.

There are 2 outside long distance tracks for my longer trains, and 2 figure-8 shorter tracks on the inside. Nothing too fancy, as I want to see my trains run.

The houses I used are a real mix – some might not be truly N Scale. I got Spanish Villas bought in Cadaques Spain, Bermuda Cottages, English Cottages, American Farm houses, and a Lighthouse I bought at a Dollar General.

Bruce”




A huge thanks to Bruce.

Whenever I see a farm on a layout, for some reason, I’m always reminded of Pete’s HO farm.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you start your layout and joining in on the fun, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Remember, it’s the start that stops most people… don’t let that be you.

Best

Al

PS Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still updated daily.

16 Responses to Bruce’s train story

  1. Bruce. That is a really nice pike. I’m sure a lot of us would like to see the trains running. Get some a.c. and heat in the train room, so you can work year round. The photos are fine. Like a lot of us, we rarely complete our layouts, so keep working on details. Make some trees. Plant some grass and get the backdrops more realistic. Your work is very good. Hope to see more.

  2. John Hauser says:

    Bruce, thanks for your story, I too started my N gauge journey in the early seventies with an Aurora set. After the children were grown I started to add and having a grandson who is really into trains gave me the motivation to create a layout. Your layout is beautiful and I’m sure gives you hours of enjoyment. I envy your forethought to make provision for a train room. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Very nice layout But cant tell if it’s still N scale or you went to HO.
    The Critic

  4. Dwight in Toronto says:

    Coincidentally, I too started my lifelong N scale collecting when I asked my dad to buy me an Aurora “Postage Stamp” starter set for my 16th birthday, in 1972, also in Toronto! Mine was a Canadian Pacific F7 in maroon livery, with 3 or 4 freight cars and a CP caboose. That little locomotive was very well made, and provided 40-some years of reliable service. The rolling stock is still in use. In fact, I even have the original box … it’s got various scenery left-overs in it.

    The Postage Stamp brand also produced an N scale operating bus system for a little while, which I added to my layout in my teenage years. Just before Christmas 2019, I pulled out the bus (also in it’s original box) which hadn’t been used in perhaps 30 years or more. Cleaned up the track, burnished the pick-up brushes, and set it up for the amusement of our little grandkids … it runs like a charm, and they can operate it themselves. Aurora’s Postage Stamp was indeed a quality product line.

  5. NJ Mark says:

    Great story and layout. You brought back a little bit of your world wanderings and made something very special. Thanks for sharing. Cheers! NJ Mark

  6. Thomas says:

    Static displays are OK … but a Train running now and then would be better .

  7. Erick says:

    I use have a N scale layout. It bring back memorize.

  8. That has been a great journey for you Bruce! — you have a great layout and I enjoyed seeing it develop along the way!

  9. Ron McCauley says:

    Very nice. I’m having a ductless heat/air system installed in my 19’ by 25’ bonus/train room. I highly recommend one for your train room.

  10. Eldrege Driver says:

    I really like this letter from Bruce, Reminds me of my self—I have stuff from long ago that I keep.

  11. Ben Olson says:

    Bruce, wow, what a neat layout! I really like all the different houses, cottages and such. The different levels of the 4 track runs makes it interesting to look at. I’ll bet it looks pretty cool when all 4 lines are running. Very nice work!

  12. Tom Strangeway says:

    An absolutely amazing layout and story.
    So good to see the Blue Train in there. I grew up in Cape Town and saw it several times. I used to use an excellent model shop in Plumstead. Thank you for the trip back in time.

  13. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Gotta say well done!!!! Keep up the great work!!

  14. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Beautiful layout……………….love the bright colors….

  15. Billy Mills says:

    Don’t care what anybody else says:
    These are beautiful pictuere

  16. Very nice I love those passenger trains

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