Cal’s 4×8 HO railroad layout

“Alastair

Here’s my layout so far.

It’s a 4×8 HO scale and everything is scratch built down to the flocking except for the trees. Made my own flock, rocks, bridges, everything.

Here you see what will be a cascading waterfall cantilevering over the tracks in which the train will go behind. The waterfall cascades into the pond in which there will be a shipwrecked Gilligans Island SS Minnow on it with 7 figurines representing the castaways, a lurking monster in the waterfall and fishermen of course. The pond sits behind the dam which forms the stream and gorge.

Here is the bridge I made from balsa wood.

I have some thoughts tho. I didn’t allow for a big enough yard because I thought it would be too cluttered by the time I added buildings and such. I don’t know just yet. I’m making all of this up as I go along.

I’m still considering adding a branch line where you can see I have cars sitting there with no tracks.

Anyway, I will send a video when I can and I will continue to give updates.

Any helpful suggestions from your readers would be a ginormous help.

Thank you

Cal
Oregon, USA”

And Cal did manage to get a youtube vid to me – it’s a bit small, but a great narrative:

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. A lot of HO stuff at the mo.

There’s something about someone talking through their layout that brings it all to life.

That’s all this time folks, a huge thanks to Cal.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here, if you want to follow Cal’s lead, and get going on your layout.

Best

Al

29 responses to “Cal’s 4×8 HO railroad layout”

  1. NJ Mark says:

    Nice job, Cal. I am working on my layout as you are: making it up as I go along. I find it less like work and more fun if I don’t follow a preconceived plan. Cheers! NJ Mark

  2. Rod Mackay says:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0LPOC43nJMI

    Sometimes less is more when it comes to laying extra tracks, on the full size railways there are often constraints of siding lengths, what types of rolling stock can use which lines, etc., which makes you plan ahead or need extra shunting to form up the right loco on the right train for the customers. At Bridgnorth for instance the main siding only holds six coaches in clear, but we often run eight coach trains, so two have to be split off and stored in another siding also used to store some main-line diesels, it makes for a right pain in the neck full size but all the more fun in miniature.
    Rod

  3. Keith Ridley says:

    Very nice. The fun is in the building. What did you use for your base board?

  4. Tim says:

    A very good layout, with interesting track design. I am curious. Did you use 18″ radius and 15″ radius?

  5. Steve Roberts says:

    Nice piece of work for the size Cal. And on a budget too. Good job.
    Steve R UK

  6. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    Very nice. My grandson and I just got started with our layout the other day. I know he will enjoy watching this video to get ideas.

  7. Linda says:

    Great design started. Like that you’ve made most of the materials yourself. It is a lot of work but makes it more meaningful and gives you great satisfaction to look at the end results. Keep up the great work.

  8. Kevin McArdle says:

    I would have liked to see trains run, because the devil is in the details, and erratic operation is the bane of model railroading.

  9. Bill Crumrine says:

    I enjoy seeing these American train layouts. Other than for that Berkshire steam locomotives (my favorite steam locomotive) N-Scale model back about a year or two ago, I am wondering whether anyone has a model HO Berkshire locomotive layout? I need to take my HO layout out of storage and re-assemble it, as mine layout goes back to the early and mid-1980s.

  10. This is a beautiful layout! I am looking for a good small space layout. Can you send me a drawing?
    Thank you. Arthur L. Moon, Waynesville, NC

  11. George says:

    Be care full of the too much track in a small area , it is easy to over do on a small base and using a large scale bigger than N or Z scale !
    Even N scale can get cluttered if you are not watching how close you set mains
    and sidings .
    George

  12. David says:

    What materials did you use to form your mountain

  13. Brad Squires says:

    nice work!! keep sharing.. show us a long shot AND TRAINS RUNNING!! thanks..

  14. John "The Director" Hansen says:

    All in all very nice for the size.
    One comment from “the director”: If you are using your phone for your videoes please hold it horizontally. You may notice that movie screens and tv screens are not vertical. Go for the BIG picture!
    Thanks for your consideration!

  15. Mike Childs says:

    Beautiful layout Cal. Keep up the good work. Hopefully we’ll see a full color, everything rolling video when you’ve completed the project.

  16. dave says:

    This is the first time I have seen a tropical area on a layout ! Gives me ideas !

  17. KERRY HELTON says:

    Good detail. loved the bridge. excellent job.

  18. Ian McDonald says:

    great video very pleasant to listen to. great size and I like the layout nice and simple thanks for sharing.

  19. Roy says:

    Great stuff and I really like the control desk layout.

  20. Joe Cavilla says:

    Nice layout. I like the details. Am using the same method no plan plan and it’s fun.

  21. Ken Olger says:

    can anyone tell me how small a track can be used for an HO scale train? How sharp a curve can it use? I wish to build a small train track with a Christmas village inside it. I would then enclose it an use it as a coffee table. So, how sharp an oval can I use for HO?

  22. Ken Olger says:

    how sharp a curve can an HO layout use? I want to build a track that would fit on a coffee table or such.

  23. Cal says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. I am planning a complete video in the next few days. Explaining everything from the bench work to road pacing and buildings.
    I used plaster cloth over cardboard webbing for the mountain on the right. I used spray foam with plaster cloth over the mountain on the left. I needed to make a cantilever of rock so I used a water noodle for the form.
    I used a 15″ radius. Can’t run longer locomotives is really the only bad part. I do have a video posted with two trains running.

  24. Burton Franklin says:

    Good morning Al from Denver Colo. i have not gotten your post for 3 days now did i miss a renew date ? If so please let me know i will fix it. ASAP.Thanks and good tracking Burt

  25. Jim says:

    Great start. Nice detail too. Hope to see more.

    Jim AZ

  26. Tom Finner says:

    Thanks for all the detail. I appreciate your pointing out mistakes. I am starting a layout and am a real beginner so your insight is helpful. Continued success.

    NJTom now in SC

  27. Kurt, Maryland says:

    Cal answered the anonymous inquiry re minimum radius, but for clarity, a 15″ radius will handle short locomotives and short cars (as most freight cars), 18″ probably fits most locos and rolling stock (incl. some longer passenger cars, and a larger radius would not meet the needs of the questioner who wants to put a village inside. My question for Cal: how did you do the waterfall? Did you paint inside some kind of clear plastic packing? (Did I miss a description somewhere?)

  28. Larry says:

    Cal: Still photos don’t matter — portrait or landscape orientation is okay; but videos DO matter — PLEASE, orient the camera horizontally, so the image fills the TV screen (I don’t like turning my 80″ display on its side!!). As a person who has spent a career in motion picture and television production, this is one of my pet peeves. To me, vertical video is like peeking at the world through a picket fence, and I cannot watch them comfortably. Bad video. But very good layout — do the world a favor and redo the video in 16:9 mode. The world will thank you for it!

  29. Dick Lemke - Hastings, MN USA says:

    a video of different spots around the layout is of little use if one can’t see the track layout itself – before getting cluttered with buildings, scenery, etc.Still photos of close-up are the same would be nice to see the area around the feature to see how it was integrated.

    Suggestion – stop publishing layouts by size if they aren’t accompanied with a drawing of track, switches, etc. THAT information would be more useful for the builders. The most recent email from Cal is nice once you get the tracks designed and laid!

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