Union Pacific locomotives HO scale

Cassio has been in touch with his Union Pacific locomotives HO scale.

He is a man of new words, but I think it’s a language barrier more than anything else:

“Dear Alister

I take the liberty of sending photo of the construction of my lauout.

I hope you enjoy.

Scale HO 1:87


Union Pacific locomotives HO scale

Union Pacific locomotives HO scale

HO track crossing

Union Pacific locomotives HO scale turntable

Union Pacific locomotives HO scale turntable

HO track plan

“Hello Alistair,

Today I am officially 74. I made a short video of what I have been up to. I have a lot of fun for very little money as I have bought two Mantua 0-4-0 switcher engines, which are cheap to buy. One is plastic and has a headlight in the center of the boiler and the other is older, made of metal, specifically zamac which casts to a mold beautifully for full detail.

I have too many engines as I tried to get one of each class and my objective was to be able to pull them out and display them on a turntable but that never happened. DCC units cost about eighty dollars each so thirty engines makes it too expensive so I use the old straight direct current and design my tracks to cope with the limitations. With two throttles and a seven foot table running two engines can be demanding.

The metal 0-4-0 has an added valve gear so that made the cost to acquire thirty dollars, three times the cost of the engines on eBay. Now the shipping costs at eBay are too much as I bought a brass baggage car recently for fifty dollars but the shipping and fake import duty cost more than double that.


Hamilton, Ontario, Canad”


Nearly 20 years ago, I had a company build this layout which was shaped to fit into a architectural niche in my then house.

After getting it in place & plugged in, it never functioned well from day 1.

You could clean the wheels of the locos, clean tracks etc. but there never seemed to be adequate power & would completely bog down in switch areas

It became more of a night light & conversation piece than anything else.

Ten years ago I retired & moved from my then house in Petaluma, Ca. to my now house here in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

I tried to sell the layout before leaving California for half of what I had invested, but no cigar. So, I had it crated & on the moving van it went.

It stayed in that crate in the garage here for about two years, until i was sick of it being there. Given its shape, I didn’t have a great place for it in this new house, but I had a cabinet maker build a base for it.

It’s now tucked into a corner of my game room at a height that is below my pool table.

It largely survived the transit & storage with just minor damage to a building or two, but as far as function, now it really doesn’t work. The transfer station is balky & nearly dysfunctional. At least that part worked previous to the move.

So what to do?

If I knew how to fix it to a functional state, I would, but I’m old & not talented as a craftsperson.

I would invest more $ into it if doing so would be the answer. I see that there are way more sophisticated controllers available now than the transformers in use here, plus 5 pole locos & such.

If any of that would provide a fix, wonderful. Barring a fix, I’d be willing to sell it if it has any value as is…

Any advice, suggestions, would be appreciated. What I need is a traveling “Z” gauge tech, but those probably don’t exist…



small model railroad

small model railroad

small model railroad

small model railroad

A big thank to Allan, Bob and to Cassio for sharing his Union Pacific locomotives HO scale.

What I liked about Cassio’s and Bob’s posts is how they are far from finishing, but both having fun along the way.

And as Bob’s layout shows, it’s certainly not a race. Course, I’m biased, but tinkering away on your layout is pleasant way to pass the time.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, 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.

25 Responses to Union Pacific locomotives HO scale

  1. Eric says:

    Get well soon Al.

  2. Very Nice display and set up. He has did a great job in building it. However, I agree with this person though. I also only use the old school DC wiring set ups, as, like he says. the new DCC systems are great, but they are also too expensive, to afford, especially upon a fixed monthly retirement low income paycheck.

  3. Johnny Free says:

    Looking Good. Might at a later date Paint a Back drop to add Depth.

  4. Susan Cannon says:

    Al – rest up! Feel better soon.

    Cassio – Thank you for posting! I have that same shed in your first picture and I’m happy to see it in a real layout. Lovely!

    Bob – Happy Birthday!!! I hope your day is filled with all of your favorite things, like running some trains. 🙂

  5. Brad Squires says:

    nice work!! Thank You for sharing!! Keep it up!!!

  6. peter a pearson says:

    I have just started my railway and I find your video very helpful I am now retired and I find that this hobby keeps me out of the pub and I find that its more fun and like you I do not do the dcc to dear thanks for the video peter

  7. Wayne McClelland says:

    On Mesh Perimeter Fencing.

    Dave, in his latest was having trouble as to which way the top barbed wire
    section was to be facing when he placed it.
    With so many prisons down here, general analogy is:
    “If you want to keep the ‘out’ – top facing ‘out’, and
    “If you want to keep them ‘in’ – top facing ‘in’ ”


  8. I love the train depot with the additions at each end!

  9. Wm althaus says:

    Really nice work both of you! I always enjoy seeing others work and everyone’s layout gives me ideas for my own. Thanks for sharing!
    Bill in Virginia

  10. Casio… Your work is very good…
    The scene with the grounded caboose is excellent…
    Robert, very nice to see the use of DC analogue…
    For those that complain about the price of our hobby,
    Analogue modeling helps keep things affordable.

  11. Greg Schaefer says:

    Allan, that is an interesting layout. I hope you get some help with it. Look for a local club. You might find some help there. Also, check with the Boy Scout troop. There are merit badges for modeling and railroading. If all else fails, what are the dimensions? I am currently without a railroad.

  12. Brian Messenger says:

    Cassio, as the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words.
    Your photos speak thousands of words,
    Well done..
    Brian the HOn3 guy – Knysna RSA

  13. Ian says:

    About your electrical problems,
    Take volt-ohm-meter. And measure the voltage (with the throttle set on full)on the track all around the layout. I’m not sure about Z gauge but N gauge always needed good electrical connections.
    Next thing on a good piece of track run, do a run in. That is run the locomotive on 75% power in place. If it is a little jerky at first it may need a tap or two(light taps) to get started. If it starts to run smoother after a couple of minutes let it run in place for 20 minutes or so.
    If you can find a standards gauge for Z gauge it might be forth the trouble to check the gaps on the switches. Poorly built switches can cause electrical problems. Have you had any derailment problems at the switches?

    It is a good looking layout. And would be better watching it run.

  14. Robert Brady says:

    Cassio ; Ref to train station, park a passenger train parallel to platform and slide station closer to track. looks out of place at that distance, As for the campers what are the people doing on top ? Are they viewing something or sunning themselves?
    If there was a water scene nearby i could understand .Make your layout with a purpose in mind. Give a pictured reason why each scene is shown.
    Great start though, you have a nice stage to continue on.
    The Critic

  15. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Robert Brady your my type of critic.But it is important to remember how much effort goes into a railway. Not everyone can be a “Hall of Fame” builder.

  16. Richard says:

    Cassio, quite the stable of UP hardware

  17. Erick says:

    Mine is going to something like that; But in HO

  18. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done, Cassio. You’ve created some good looking scenes on this layout. Good use for an old caboose. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  19. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Allen, your layout looks really nice. As mentioned, you may find a willing member from a club for help. It is possible that more electrical feeders to the track may be needed. And possibly attention needed at the rail joiners. Somebody younger and more flexible with good eyes may get you going quicker than you might expect without breaking the bank. Without really good close up pictures it is hard to tell how well the track was laid. A Z gauge tech is not necessary, but just someone that can check the electrical details and track work and I betcha’ you can have a good running layout.
    If I was your neighbor I would be very happy to help you get that layout up and running.

  20. Robert Brady says:

    Colin Edinburgh, You are correct that’s why i was giving constructive criticism.wasp pointing out factors he wasn’t aware of. All’s good.

  21. Allan, what a brilliant layout. Don’t wait to get help, just do it. As the others have said someone with better fingers and eyes will probably sort the problem in no time for you. Then you will have a super layout that will give you hours and hours of pleasure.

  22. Michael G. Balog says:

    Hi Al:
    Hope you are feeling better Soon… For Cassio: Nice UP Layout… Regarding the RR Station… you could Add another Siding to the Station… in front, connect the track with a switch to the Other one in front of the station now. Move the Station to the other track where you yard is, part a Commuter Train on the Track on the other side of the station. Could use an RDC for local service. Regarding the Campers… Remember the Movie: “Independence Day” the People sitting on top of the Camper were waiting for the UFO’s to Fly By. Regarding the Z Scale Layout,,, Nice Layout.. check the Power to the Switches and the track around them. Check the Rail Connections for contact and clean the track. ~ Mike in N.H. USA.

  23. Rod Mackay says:

    Allan, I’m probably guilty of teaching granny to suck eggs, but those look like Marklin control units, so it just occurs to me to wonder whether they’re versions made for use in the US, or European ones, which would presumably be designed to run off 230/240v AC mains. Isn’t the US mains supply just 110v? That might account for it acting more like a night light than a model railway.

  24. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice job.

  25. Tom says:

    Cassio ,
    Needs to weather his layout somewhat… Good work overall.


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