Model railway layouts – Caroline’s

Caroline’s added to the model railway layouts on the blog:

“Hi Al,

I’ve enjoyed receiving all the e-mails of other members railway layouts, the hints and tips I’ve picked up have been really useful.

The layout I’m creating is for my 13 year old son, though I started it when he was 10!

My husband helped make the baseboard for it, but that’s as far as his creative skills went, the rest has been designed and constructed by myself aided by a list of what my son wanted to be included in the layout. Namely, a viaduct, a modern suspension bridge, as many tunnels as we could fit in, a girder bridge, a level crossing, farm houses and most importantly all the coal mine buildings which his Grandparents had bought him one Christmas.

During construction, I found Lego had is uses, it came in very handy in supporting the track in places!

The viaduct was made from scratch from Wills plastic sheets, it has a plywood core and the plastic sheets were stuck to the plywood.

There are two tunnels and an incline, on which I have tested all engines and they all manage the slope easily pulling both wagons and coaches.

The tunnels were covered with ‘Modroc’ and the rocky sides were made with plaster of paris rock and strata moulds which I’m really pleased with.

The station and platform are both Metcalfe card models, as are the farm houses. The little signal box was a free Metcalfe model that came with a magazine.

It is still work in progress – all model railway layouts are! But at least the end is now in sight.


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I think Caroline has done an excellent job for her son. Three years in the making too! If there’s one thing this site demonstrates, is that layouts take forever, and they are never finished…

Thanks to Caroline for adding to the model railway layouts on the blog.

Don’t forget to check out the latest ebay cheat sheet.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, 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.

model train answers

103 Responses to Model railway layouts – Caroline’s

  1. Willie Kerr says:

    Well done Caroline,
    I’m sure your son will enjoy his layout.

  2. Nice work you have done there Caroline

  3. John Corry says:

    This hobby needs more ladies like Caroline.

  4. Don R says:

    Great work Caroline. The use of Lego is very clever. Hope to see it again when it’s running…

  5. bob russ says:

    Caroline, your a great mom.

  6. Roland Burch says:

    Hello Caroline,
    Your Son is very luckly to have a talented Mother.
    You did a great layout.

  7. Bri says:

    Well done Caroline, the world needs more mums like you. May I ask where you got the modern suspension bridge from or did you make it.

  8. andy says:

    Nice job, I love the creative use of legos 🙂

  9. Clementina says:

    Good job. Can you tell me the dimensions, please?

    Have a nice day.

  10. David C. Scott says:

    Just lovely and well done. I wonder how many manufacturers realise when one parent or a single parent is having to turn his or her hand to creating something for the children!

    I am more into 5″ gauge now but I still keep a keen interest in the model side and what is going on.
    You would not believe the impact that the current super detailed 00 4mm scale models are having on the bigger sisters.
    We now have a to scale 57xx pannier with everything working comming into the laser cut and lost wax produced parts model list.

    David. who worked in Exeter for many years.

  11. Alan says:

    Caroline you have done a great job, I’m sure your son will have hours of pleasure operating his railway. Lego was an inspiration for the elevated track..You are very talented

  12. Ol' Puffer says:

    Great stuff Caroline,
    I am really envious of the great job you have done with your curved viaduct.

  13. Caroline says:

    Thanks everyone, I’ve really enjoyed creating it for him. He’s already been running his engines around the track, He thinks it’s great being able to have three engines running at the same time, each on their own loop!

  14. Dean says:

    Caroline: Very nice Glen Finnan Viaduct (Hogwarts Express for you Harry Potter fans) is that scratch built or one of the Kibri kits?

  15. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Sweet, Caroline (apologies to Neil Diamond).
    Legos; what a great idea. Once again, we all
    learn from each other.

  16. Frank Stroot says:

    Well done. My 6 yr old step son liked the Legos

  17. Jay Reese says:

    I am nominating Caroline for Mom or the year – your son is a very lucky young man.

  18. Hank Vonk says:

    I like how that elevated track looked. Did you use tunnel entrances to make the arches? Came out really looking great.

  19. Mitch says:

    Great job!!!

  20. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    Happy to see another female train designer on here. I’m almost finished with a 4×4 foot layout for my grandson. It served as a practice layout before I get started on the “real” one in the shop. It will be 4×12 feet and will be a rural setting. It took me almost two years to finish the small one so no telling how long the next one will be! Good job, Caroline!

  21. Norman says:

    Well Caroline, I can see you’re quite the artistic Mom. I’m very impressed with your layout. I can see the use of Lego supports for the elevated track is quite innovational. Lucky son and I as well as all that have seen your layout are looking forward to see it running.
    Sincerely, Norm

  22. Bruce says:

    I initially thought it looked like cake icing, but I was soon put right and it has turned out really lovely. I really like your bridge. Very different for a nice change. You keep going as I am sure you will make another for yourself. Good for you Girl. Great work.

  23. Chris Poppe says:

    Great work, Caroline! What scale are you working in? My layout ( also a work in progress) is s scale since I’ m using the American Flyer set my father gave me when I was about 5 years old.
    I go to the NASG conventions every year and get a lot of attention since it’s pretty unusual to find a woman there because she, herself, is the railroader!
    Remarkable women, that’s us! Keep up the good work!

  24. John P. Walker says:

    Hello Caroline,
    You do nice work. What size is the baseboard of your layout? In the near future I plan on starting a layout from scratch and I am limited in space. Is your son helping with the construction?


    John Walker

  25. Al Good says:

    I sure enjoyed looking at your creation.

  26. Craig says:

    You know Caroline, this young man will, at some time in his life, look back and think he has the greatest Mom the world has ever known. This is an outstanding layout. Very good work. Keep it up, as you have learned, a layout is never finished. I don’t mean to sound snobbish, but I do so admire you for what you are doing. He is a very lucky lad.

  27. Jeff Keene Sr says:


  28. StJohn says:

    sweet layout for the boy. good job and keep building…it’s never done!

  29. Charlie McGowan says:

    That is some effort, congratulations

  30. Graeme Bregani says:

    Looks like a lot of fun!
    Fun is what it’s all about.
    Happy Railroading!

  31. mike says:

    nice layout hope your son enjoys every minute of play

  32. kenn says:

    Caroline, nice job. I like how you constructed the cliffs on the left side of your layout. I am having a difficult time figuring out how to make similar cliffs in a tight area like what you seem to have had. Suggestions would be helpful.

  33. Tom says:


    I look at the model railroad you are building for your son … and I see; trial and error; success; devotion; and of course that one thing that sets Mom above all the rest is that unconditional love that is shown in this project.

    My Mom has passed away and I miss her but I have her fond memory of her unconditional love in my heart. I just hope those two men in your life know and appreciate what they truly have. Especially your son.

    May all that you wish for be the least that you receive.

    Caroline take a bow!! you deserve it.

    warm regards,


    PS: cannot wait to see the next update!

  34. Les coultas says:

    Fantastic job Caroline, well done for the detail and the effort you have put in. Keep up the good work and please keep us updated on progress.
    Regards, Les.

  35. dreameagle says:

    and the extraordinary quality of this layout comes as a surprise to some?

    well, of course she’s a great mom!

    you mean to tell me there’s another kind?

  36. Austin Wilson says:

    Well done Caroline, love it and I am sure your son will as well. I agree, layouts are never done. I am on my third layout in as many years and will be making my fourth one next fall, this time I think a large hollow square. It is one I ave never had yet. Love your layout Caroline.

  37. Gene "Hat" Hatfield says:

    Caroline, I think everyone on here would like to borrow you for a while. I know I would. Love the Cable Stay Bridge. It is my favorite type of bridge to build. I must have 8 or 9 by now. Currently working on the St Johns (a suspension) bridge in Portland, Oregon. HO scale and the Coos Bay Bridge (it is on highway 101 Oregon coast). It will be over six (6′) feet long if I ever get it finished. I can not wait to see more photos of your “sons” layout. You can never have to many tunnels & bridges. Again great work. Keep them coming. Hat

  38. Bedros Anserian says:

    Nice job Caroline.

  39. Great job your son will get alot of pleasure from it. The bridges and tunnnels look great .

  40. Ben Zalewski says:

    Thanks for the photo of your suspension bridge.
    I’m going to try and make a similar one.

  41. Joe (Yukonjoe) says:

    Hats off to Caroline, great layout, a job well done!

  42. paul Otway says:

    it looks real neat, your son is very lucky.

  43. Well Done Caroline,

    It’s really good when we see that this hobby isn’t just interestting to males, but also Females, as there is a large number of women also interested in building and running a layout, be it for their children as in your case, or their own interest doesn’t matter. Because you enjoy it just as much as the males do in the end.

    I bet your son and you have had some great times while building your layout and running trains. Also I bet your husband has also tried to join in when you and your son are running tains, if not it wont be very long before he does, I assure you. Anyway congratulation and welcome to a very rewarding hobby.

    Steve, Downunder.

  44. bill mckenna says:

    Caroline what is the size of your layout I don’t have much room yours looks like a 2×4 foot

  45. sundaram says:

    This a labour of love which I am sure your son will appreciate and develop on in future. Surely, a stupendous effort.

  46. Gareth Aspden says:

    What a lovely layout – the sequence of photos as you have gone through the construction is great. The suspension bridge is very reminiscent of the Marine Lake bridge in Southport where I live so I wondered if you had based yours on it.

    I bet your son loves it – even if some of his Lego has gone missing!!


  47. Ralph says:

    What a wonderful layout. There are some clever ideas used there Caroline and the track looks like it would make some interesting running.

  48. Stuart says:

    Well done, it’s really taking shape and looks great, can’t wait to see the next instalments

  49. Douglas of Cornwall says:

    The above have said all that I would like to say, except: what a truly great Mum you are and I second the vote for Mum of The Year. Where do I put my mark?

  50. David says:

    Creative, excellent, and a Super Mom is doing it. My hat is off for you Caroline!

  51. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    Fine job Caroline. I really like the viaduct and the suspension bridge.

  52. Gary Cosby sr says:

    Great job,well done. This hobby sure could gain a lot with more talented ladies like you.

  53. Caroline says:

    Hello everyone, thanks for all your kind comments.

    I’ll try to answer as many of your questions as I can.

    The size of the layout is 8 foot x 4 foot.

    The scale is HO/OO.

    The curved viaduct has been completely built from scratch with plastic card and plywood. I first made a plywood core; like a box, but with only three sides. I made each individual arch and glued it to the plywood core. The arches have been cut from plastic card sheets, the edges of the arches have been finished off by placing individual bricks around the edge to give it a neat look, complete with a keystone at the top of each one!

    The curved cliff face was made first by covering the roof of the tunnel with scrunched up newspaper balls, then covering with strips of modroc and letting the strips fall vertically over the edge of the tunnel roof to create the sides and give a base for the plaster cast ‘rocks’. I put plenty of modroc on the sides to give a firm base and used ‘strata stone’ mold for the cliff faces.

    The next time we have the engines running I’ll take some pictures.

  54. michael says:

    Great work,and skill Caroline,well done,I hope you son is pleased. Mike

  55. Rod Mackay says:

    He’s 13? Better hurry Caroline, any day now he’ll discover girls. LOL

  56. Wayne McClelland - Down under (N. Zealand) says:

    Well done Caroline. Just goes to show how innovative we modellers are, Landscaper. electrician, builder, architect, painter, etc . Al’s right, they are never finished – I’ve been working on my (show piece) since 1996 and I’m still working on, even it on show days – sort of a ‘how to…’ if you know what I mean. Must post more pics whwen you are closer to finish????

    Will post pics of my 8 x 4 ft (2400 x 1300mm) most of which is made up of household/backyard rubbish – saves the coin

    Again – well done Wayne

  57. D.B. Lewis says:

    Great ideas here, especially the use of Legos for hidden track supports.

  58. jim says:

    Well done Caroline a very nice circuit but are you sure this is for you son and not you all that love put in to it i think it might be for you too and what a good hobby it is

  59. DENNIS says:


  60. Bernie Glynn says:

    I love the dual split levels. It is giving me ideas! 🙂 Thank you.

  61. Dave O. says:

    Hi Caroline,
    You did a great job on the model railroad and I hope your son always remembers that as I do of my father making a layout for me each year. Hopefully, he will continue that hobby throughout his life as I have. The wood laser cut buildings are fun to put together and I light them up. He would love it very much I am sure. Dave O.
    P.S. Best of luck to a good boy who has a super Mom.

  62. Charlie Wray says:

    Great job I hope my turns out as good as yours !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. Timothy James (Strongbear)McClure Sr says:

    Damn nice layout Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  64. John Reynolds says:

    Very creative and very well done…

  65. Malcolm Tyreman says:

    Well done Caroline, first class, its nice to see the ladies coming into our hobby,
    I wish l could get my wife interested,

  66. steven stclair says:

    All model rail road children deserve a mum like you. Brilliant!


  67. Deborah says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only girl on here …

  68. Larry Hoganson says:

    Love the layout. It’s a passion, and I’m sure your son will enjoy for many many years to come.

  69. Barbara Schermerhorn says:

    So nice to see that this hobby is not the sole purvue of the males among us! Good job Caroline. You are a good role model for the fairer sex.

  70. John says:

    Caroline FANTASTIC getting involved with that build! Not many mums would get the chance to do that let alone have complete control over the whole operation! Hopefully u would of passed on some multi-tasking skills to your son coz we know us men are tarnished with being monosyllabic! Lol!
    Such a good bonding times 4u both to.

    JohnE UK

  71. Jim Roe says:

    I’m touched by the obvious love & commitment to your son Caroline. Long after college he will never forget this expression. You’re a great Mom… and the layout? it’s pretty great too.


  72. Kenneth Cline says:

    Loved the lego supports. My grandson loves to sit with me and run the trains and enjoys when we add new items to the layout

  73. David says:


    Your suspension bridge and the viaduct are REALLY well done as is the entire lay out. I am sure there are many great times experienced between you and your son in the process. Way to go. DR

  74. Danny Marso says:

    Great job, your Son will have many happy hours with his rail road. A real labor of
    Love. And very creative.

  75. Cary Price says:

    Great to see families enjoying this hobby together, nice job and thanks for sharing Caroline! I’m sure your son will have great memories of the time you spent together on this project. Cary in KY

  76. Don Kadunc says:

    Very nice. The viaduct is spectacular. Also, I really love the mountain.

  77. Cal says:

    Very Impressive Caroline!! You’ve managed to get all of your sons wishes in the layout without making it too unrealistic! You are very creative with the use of materials. Your son must be ecstatic! Can’t wait to see it operational!!
    Cal from Oregon USA

  78. Fred says:

    Excellent stuff…..I’m sure he’ll enjoy 😊


  79. Allan Blossom says:

    Caroline , wow , Super Women , wish I could get my wife involved in my train endeavors , would you be able to post a track plan layout ? some of my ideas I see in your pics , would like to see layout to see how and where to make transitions , as in from one level to another , and where switches should be . Want multiple independent lines and I see you have figured it out . Sneakers .

  80. Ramsey Arnold says:

    You are an innovator, creative modeler, who is motivating me to get going on a new layout (last closed down 60 yrs. ago). Great work !!!

  81. Phil, Tamworth England says:

    Well done, very good layout. I especially like the terraced tracks, (you and others have done really well) everyone can see 2/3/4 trains at same time and variety of scenery on each level. The use of Lego is very good idea for planning and experimenting, AND, lets face it, looks a lot better than real-life grey concrete! so leave in industrial area or goods/shunting yard. Let your son have his own planning, thinking and ideas yard with various blocks glued together for tunnel / bridge sizes before sawing wood etc… Use as temporary fitting or permanent for modern city artistic wall cover of bare concrete.

  82. Ross Johnston says:

    Great job Caroline! I really like your suspension bridge. I saw plenty like it in China last June. I also like your tunnel set up. I need to do something similar for my layout in the future. Enjoy! Thanks for sharing. Cheers Rossco Adelaide, Australia

  83. Robert Dickson says:

    Wonderful layout. You did a fantastic job with it. Shows what imagination can do.

  84. steve joyce says:

    Love the viaduct. Contemplating putting one on mine. Was looking at kits and one can drop 3 figures on getting enough to make a decent length. So your solution is most helpful

  85. DJfromNJ says:

    WOW! Caroline, the presentation of your layout is superb. What patience and perseverance you have shown. Having young-uns develop along with the project must be an indescribable benefit.

  86. Denis says:

    Hi, Is no one going to mention the ‘elephant in the room’ Caroline obviously likes railway modelling (And what’s wrong with that) A model for her son Yeah-right.

  87. Joe Gennari says:


  88. Mike Matejka says:

    Excellent! The suspension bridge and the viaduct are very impressive — and all that action in a relatively small space, but proportionally it all fits together. Well done!

  89. Alan says:

    Well done Caroline it’s lovely ignore the rivet counters where everything has to be exhibition standard I like the Lego supports very unique just enjoy it
    Well done Alan in tgevuk

  90. Robert D. Bouskill says:

    You have made an impressive layout but I keep wondering why your son isn’t more hands on. A teenager needs to learn by doing and unless I missed something I think the layout was for you. Model railroads teaches you so much more than just watching trains, from basic electricity to art and design.

  91. Will in NM says:


    What a great job you’ve done on the layout! If this is your first layout, you’ve learned quickly. I especially like your scratch-built viaduct and the suspension bridge. I’m impressed that you didn’t just make a simple oval track plan, but included multiple routes with switches and crossovers. You are truly a great Mom and your son is very lucky to have a Mom who’s so talented. You can come over and work on my layout anytime. 🙂


  92. Leo says:

    Great job. You have been very creative in the ways you scratch built the layout so far. Not many Moms would attempt what you have done. Again, great job!

  93. Very talented lady!

  94. Old Ben says:

    I have never seen so many comments on any given topic. You have stirred the railroad blood of many of us. You have given old railroad buffs some things to think about, and I can see you enjoy the hobby.


  95. Steve Ruple says:

    You did an excellent job Caroline on the layout. You have done very well in planning the track layout and the scenery looks very good. Keep up the good work

  96. Wonderful layout. You did a fantastic job with it. the scenery looks great!!. Keep up the good work! Not many Moms would attempt what you have done. Again, great job!

  97. Sid Pratt says:

    Very nice!

  98. Sid Pratt says:


  99. Dave Karper says:

    it’s great to see someone working into the box instead of out of it’ By yhe way check out Alistair’s printout buildings. They’re low cost and extremely adaptable. I.m sure with your skill and ability, you could create some gre3at variations.

  100. John Bullock says:

    Way to go Mom!

  101. wayne says:

    great layout

  102. Dan Williams says:

    Fantastic job!! You are an inspiration to your son and all of us here.

    Dan in Richmond Va.

  103. Don Waldron says:

    Your son is very lucky to have you as his mother!!

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