Chris’ made to order layout

Chris has been in touch. He’s the chap that makes layouts to order. He’s in the UK:

“Hi all,

take a look at the layout i have just finish for a buyer in Leed’s.

He had a 5×5 N gauge to start with then had to do a second part of a 3×5, and now he is think about going 4×5 more.


It’s a cracking layout.

But I’m sure you’re all thinking what I was: How much did he charge? Here’s what Chris came back with:

“Hi its an 8×5 n gauge with working car lights,street lights,house lights, also comes with working points gaugemaster Q controller its a 4 track layout & it cost with my time £2100 that is with table legs. Many Thanks, Chris”.

That’s about $2,600 US dollars in case you’re wondering… eye watering stuff.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you to build your own layout and save a small fortune, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

47 Responses to Chris’ made to order layout

  1. Mark Allen says:

    Gorgeous work Chris !!

  2. Jan says:

    Great looking!

    I wonder however why we always try to cramm as much scenery into a lay-out as possible.

    A rural lay-out with less buildings and stretches of track going through “simple” terrain at least appeals to me.

  3. Very nice work Chris , think you could get a few orders from this, well done , and for the time and effort the price is not high

  4. Martin says:

    Firstly I agree with Jan, Rural scenery would look much better to me. Too any Metcalfe card buildings for sure, even though Chris has done a very good job of building them.
    Trackwork looks easy for a novice to watch the trains run around but after visiting many exibitions and seeing what can be achieved, it looks extreemly expensive to me.
    Well done though, the actual standard of work looks high.

  5. Rob says:

    Very fine craftsmanship. Beautiful work.

  6. Dwayne M says:

    Nice clean look! I like it!Everything in place..Good job!

  7. tuckman says:

    Very nice,how big is it.thanks for showing it.

  8. Tom says:

    The word Al used “Cracker” yes, a fine fit!
    Detail: superb; nice work. WTG Chris.

    I like a blend of both city and country; now, that is for me.

    Pictures are great, thanks for sharing.



  9. Glenn Roach says:

    Chris it is a very nice addition for the price. I was wondering if the customer ever considered weathering just about everything on his layouts to make them look more “lifelike” when he shows off his newly expanded layout. I also noticed in one shot his display cabinets in the background. Looks like he is also a toy collector.
    If it is OK with everyone else I would enjoy a group of shots or a video also of them.
    But keep up the great work u do on your customers’ ordered layouts by showing us before and after shots for us to see.

  10. Ian says:

    nice layout love the detail need photos of trains on the layout would finish it off for me, lighting great ,.keep up the good work you can never put a fair price on a layout due to labour of love

  11. THOMAS says:


  12. John Suther (USA) says:

    Beautiful handiwork. Wish I could do the same. I llike a more open layout myself. Does this cost include the running equipment?

  13. I suppose if you have the money, but not the time, then you have no other choice than to get a layout built for you by a proffesional modeler, then go for it, as between you, your both getting a result favorable to what you both want.
    The customer gets a layout and the modeler gets to build a layout he enjoy’s doing. So I wish you both all the best.

  14. Roberto says:

    I’m inclined to agree about the number of buildings, but then I’m a Trainer rather than a Modeller, and like just sufficient context to see the trains running without hiding them in scenery. Presumably it’s what the Customer ordered, so it’s right! And there’s always the problem of what else you can do in the central area of a circuit where the curves are too tight for track (unless you use a turntable!). Great thing about this hobby, there’s room for us all; and this is much better work than I could do. Fantastic!

  15. Well, well Another fine job youv,e got into!!!

    I really think you are to be congratulated on the wonderful layout that you have created.
    Never mind about any adverse comments I THINK ITS GREAT

  16. Chris says:

    Likey Likey, a really great job,

  17. Mervyn says:

    Great work and great value. I am very impressed with the work as always on the many superb layout that are regularly presented. I wish I had more time to progress my own work. Not wishing to be negative at all but as a point of info (coming from a construction background) cos in the end the details, I believe, do count. The girder bridge is very impressive and I am sure practicalities and availability prevailed but the girders should span between the supports. The bridge as modelled would fold up and collapse in real life as the ends of the lattice beams have to bear on a support as they have no top member at that point. You may well say, don’t be so picky but just trying to help. It could be solved by adding an extra top chord in between each lattice length to give appearance of a continuous lattice structure. Just a thought. Well done though – very impressive.

  18. D.B. Leiwis says:

    I like the lllooonnnggg bridge.

  19. chris says:

    Hi all thanks for all the message’s and help full tip’s.

    To Martin yes there is alot of building’s and i would not go for a look like that my self as i like Rural scenery.

    To tuckman the size is 8ft x 5ft.

    To Glenn Roach the weathering is down to the buyer as it would take me alot longer to get a layout done, and alot of buyer’s wont layout’s doing in the fastest time i can do it lol.
    But yes i think he will spend time weathering as he play’s.

    To John Suther yes that price is with the running equipment.

    And to any one that messaged THANKS,and to Alastair Lee a BIG THANK’S for the time to add my work on the site and letting people know what i do.


  20. Carl Halgren says:

    I agree on the long bridge – it looks great, and is a bit of a highlight, but the supports need to be located between spans. It actually jarred my brain when I saw it. Things like lack of weathering I can ignore, but those supports should be relocated. From what I could see, there are no things below which would be in the way of relocating the supports. Other than that, I am impressed with the layout. Good craftsmanship, fun layout, and as I recall, the U.K. is densely populated in many areas, so the crowding could be rather prototypical. As you add weathering, you can relocate the supports. Some moss and ivy on the supports might be interesting.

    Keep On Training,
    Carl in Kansas

  21. Perry says:

    I was going to comment on the location of the supports for the bridge. They need to be located at the break in the spans, other then that it look great, but for my taste it is a little crowed with residential buildings.

    Perry in Louisiana

  22. Seth Lampe says:

    He won’t like this, but his ballasting … Not only is it way too large, but it is placed very erratically. Railroads ballast to hold the ties in place, and the equipment, (or the laborers) place it very precisely. On level ground, the edge of the ballast takes a straight line. I have noticed overly large ballast on many of your featured layouts. Proper ballast is screened to a size which is 1″ by 3″ by 2″. Now you have to do the math to find out what is the scale size. In O-scale, the rock must fit through a #10 screen.

  23. Rick D says:

    Fantastic job, I really like. I have been working on my HO layout for about 6-7months but I have not kept track of the time I have spent. I know how much $$ I have spent mostly in US $ although I live in Canada I buy most of my stuff over the internet and that is 99.9% of the time in US. If I were to put a # on parts that would come close to $2500.00. When I was in business for self my minimum was $100.00 per hour so there is no way I could calculate out those fees, But I am doing this myself with no helpers save fore the ¨net. Now I was in radio control for 55 years and without that knowledge I would be more lost than I already am. I did not realize how many hats you had to wear in this hobby. Without an advanced grasp of hobbying and modelling in general you might as well take up kite flying.. The job Chris is offering is many years of knowledge, cut fingers, spilled paint etcc. Keep helping. If you would like to see spectacular, type BING into your browser. In the yellow box type the greatest miniature airport in the world then hit return. Truer words were never spoken. Don’t be in a hurry. Let it play out and prepare to be amazed. Rick from Southern Ontario Canada. And remember it is supposed to be fun.

  24. Freshly says:

    Nice build …bit overcrowded I think… much as it would be nice to afford it and just being able to run trains …..Having a layout is all about the build …

  25. JACK WINDT says:

    outstanding work, i live in florida, does he deliver ?……….we could learn a lot from him

  26. Robert Rolfe says:

    Great job, nice work, except for the bridges. It is too crowed for me, however for that amount of money I do think the buyer would have had some input and that’s fine. As far as ballast goes, well when it is new it is really neatly done, however when repairs are done, well stuff happens and I can live with the ballast. However I can not get the bridge supports out of my head, measuring device malfunction, or whatever happened I think it needs to be fixed as to me it takes away all the other great work. Just saying
    NV Bob

  27. Ken says:

    Building a model railroad empire is where the fun begins and ends. Having it done professionally just makes it another high priced toy.

  28. Michael says:

    Nice layout. As a retired civil engineer I would offer a critique for future reference. The piers supporting the truss bridges are quite wrong. They should only support the ends of each span and in no case the mid-spans as a few are done.

  29. Wayne Stirland says:

    great work lovely looking set up and very reasonably priced if you don’t want or have time to build yourself, I reckon I have paid that much for the parts and trains etc and I am nowhere near finished, in fact I should think about getting back to mine lol

  30. Henry Betz says:

    Great layout! You did what your client asked. If he’s happy, so be it. All of us quibble over details, that is why we rebuild or disassemble layouts to make new ones. I frankly would not have noticed the supports being wrong, probably due to not being a structural engineer.

    Best, Hank

  31. Jerry Kasten says:

    I have a 1948 American Flyer S gage basic set that I would like to have turned into a layout for grandkids. have you ever done a restoration/ layout using that old a train? If you might be interested write back and let me know what kind of details you would need about the set and condition

  32. Mike Walsh says:

    Surely half the fun of a model railroad is building it? I’ve been working on mine now for about 8 months and it’s nowhere near finished. I keeps me busy and interested every day of my retirement. Buying a layout would never occur to me.

  33. Pat G says:

    Beautiful work – the night shots are stunning.

  34. Richard R. Duld says:


  35. James Marek says:

    I think that the price was more than reasonable. I would have guessed $6,000 US.
    The customer got a REAL BARGAIN.

  36. Ben Zlotnick says:

    I wish you were in United States. Beautiful work

  37. Andrew Aves says:

    If possible I should love to see a track layout

  38. Ronald Seto says:

    I think Europeans tend to jam a lot of scenery,(houses, vehicles, figures, etc) into their layouts, while Americans seem to devote more time into intricate trackwork and wide sweeping curves. What do you think?

  39. Bob Muhme says:

    You do great work! How long does it take you to build?

  40. Bob Muhme says:

    So, does that quoted price include parts, supplies, and trackage, or just your labor?

  41. Joseph Corsello says:

    How can I reach Chris to discuss buying a layout.

  42. Frank says:

    That’s a lot of stuff in the center area. I imagine to prevent tight bends you had to run most of the track around the outside of your little city or town. For someone that wants a ready to go piece for visual appeal it’s lovely.

    Most of us here would want some operational design and more of this and that, but it’s model railroading…. the hobby that never ends. We always find just one more thing to buy, build, make or paint.

    Frank in Orlando

  43. Kevin says:

    I think it is a fine price. But shipping cost to the states would muck it all up, I’m afraid! Since my hands shake too much to work in N scale I’d be intrigued at some point. How long did it take? Maybe I just buy you a plane ticket and you stay in the spare room until you finish 🙂

    But I also think part of the fun of modelling is to create what I can – even if it looks much rougher than what has been achieved here.

  44. William Orton says:

    That is phenomenal work. I too like the green space, along with that bridge. If you visit the US, Let us know so we can get consultant pointers on what to do. I have my track pretty close, so green space and buildings are next.
    BTW, I think the price is reasonable but it takes fun away from those of us who can’t stop making changes and tweaks.

  45. Geoffrey Plumb says:

    I agree with Mr. Mahek, priced way too low. However, on the layout being crowded, not for me. Unless you are running trains 24/7, why not place as many buildings accessories etc. as space will permit. N Scale typically allows one to really come up with great designs and one that also allows you to run your trains in more realistic settings, I believe adding more scenery etc., really underlines the word Model in Model Railroading.
    Geoff P

  46. matiSon says:

    When I moved from the country to my suburban home, I was surprised at how crowded things really are. Where I live, there is an abundance of land, yet when houses are put up , they are all crowded together. It makes no sense to me. Don’t people want large yards and privacy? I would think so, but it is difficult to find a house around here with more than a quarter acre around it.

  47. william james palmer says:

    nicely done

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