HO scale yard layout with mainline loop – Colin’s

Grant’s been in touch – He shares Colin’s HO scale yard layout with mainline loop:

“Hello Alastair

A few years ago I was lucky enough to meet the lady that would eventually become my wife. With this romance came the dreaded meeting of her father. Luckily we both share a passion for model trains.

Building on that connection we have shared many hours with his HO layout.

I model in N-Gauge, as you have shown before, and Colin in HO. But with these differences put aside, we have simply enjoyed our hobby.

Colin does not follow a particular prototype, but puts down trains that he enjoys from all corners of the globe, including Australia, where we reside.

Colin’s layout has evolved over the years, graduating from small shed to large and like all great efforts has never really been finished. Recently Colin retired and set about a major overhaul of the electrics and scenery of the layout, including the expansion of one loop of track. I was honoured to be invited to share my knowledge and skills to help this veteran of the hobby. (It should be noted that he let me marry his daughter before he let me touch his trains. hehe. )

As Colin is a life long electrician, the layout wiring is is a high quality industrial standard, all highly organised and professional.

Over the years, the original flocking grass has faded in the Australian heat to a plain brown, so much of that needed relaying, as did the roads and some new buildings. Starting with a clean slate, the entire town was pulled up and re=laid. The old stick town pond was replaced by a routed out one filled with resin, the station was spruced up and the church was added, along with cemetery and funeral.

The old plastic trees were pulled up and new trees and terrain were added, including a few new hills and cuttings.
Slowly and surely an whole new layout evolved.

while the layout is still not finished, it is currently in one piece. I thought I would share with you what it looks like now.

ho scale yard layout with mainline loop

ho scale yard layout with mainline loop

model railroad freight

ho scale yard layout with mainline loop

HO scale yard layout with mainline loop

HO scale cars

HO scale yard layout with mainline loop

HO scale platform

HO scale yard layout with mainline loop

HO scale park

HO scale yard layout with mainline loop

HO scale freight

Along with the photos, there is a video here.

Grant & Colin,
South Australia.”

A wonderful narrative from Grant on Colin’s HO scale yard layout with mainline loop. Thanks for sharing you two!

And thanks for all the kind comments on the guide, I really do appreciate them.

That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget to have a look at the new forum – can you help anyone there?



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

38 Responses to HO scale yard layout with mainline loop – Colin’s

  1. John G says:

    That’s a great layout…what I really like is that the roads are correctly proportioned for the vehicles, that is they are WIDE. Too many layouts cram a tiny road loaded with trucks and buses which would have absolutely no chance of negotiating the bends or passing one another. I know we are building railway layouts but if there are roads take care on proportions.

  2. graham says:

    great to see a a ho /oo layout ,and in particular an australian one , good job my oo hornby 3 rail has been in progress for about 50 years , started on a 2 rail small version 2400 mm x 1200 mm this year for grandson , he had his first run today , could not keep him away from it

  3. alan says:

    its is very nice

  4. Rob says:

    The trains are running way over scale speed which detracts from the otherwise well made layout.

  5. tom taylor says:

    very good layout, i’m an N guage novelist i do agree that the speed was to high, but thanks for the look see and as always i get ideads for myself.

  6. Rev Steven P. Eggum says:

    I appreciated your layout on all levels , scenery, detail, captivating human elements ( burial ceremony ) , and video .

    As a retired Pastor & electrical engineer, I appreciate the attention to 1st class circuitry.
    Yes, the trains may be negotiating layout way beyond scale speed, but the craftsmanship in lay-down allows the trains to run at these ‘super speeds’.
    Kudos to You !!!


  7. wow nice pike
    Grant and Colin have done a great job
    detail is excellent and according to the video… it RUNS!!!!
    keep ’em runnin’ fellas….

  8. joe says:

    really nice layout guys
    i just bought my own house and built a platform in the basement over winter ,, but when summer hit i have been to busy out side and doing home improvements to get any further on the layout :(, but when i do ill be looking at yours and many others that ( Al ) has provided for us all to see, thanks for sharing guys you’ve giving me new inspiration for this winter 🙂

  9. paul Otway says:

    nice layouts you 2.

    A family that has model railways to play with, stays together.

  10. Richard Sappelli says:

    Thaat is really a wonderful layout with plenty of scenery and action.
    One comment from a former football video camera man is when you pan – go from right to left and back again – please go slowly as you then will be able to view the scene focused and in more detail. Only comment so please excuse me
    But i enjoyed the layout and hope you give us more.
    Thanks, RJ
    PS –
    I taught science at a high school in Nj and filmed our football games for 17 years using 16 mm film as well as video and did a lot of panning .

  11. Barry says:

    Hi Grant & Colin, great layout. I to am a retired electrician, and live in Goolwa, South Australia, would like to catch up and see the layout in person. You can send me an email if you like.


  12. Ross Johnston says:

    Really enjoyed your video of your layout. Can you make a longer one so I can get a clear idea of your layout. What are its dimensions and what is the radius of the loop by the garage door. I’m about to start on my layout in a 5.8 x 5.3 shed so I’m very binterested in layout designs. Well done! Rossco Adelaide SA

  13. Chris Goodman says:

    Very nice layout and control panel. what are the red and black knobs for on the control panel? Cheers, Chris

  14. Ralph says:

    Great layout
    The beaut thing about railways in Australia is that there are locomotives built by everyone from Bayer Peacock to Baldwin and English Electric to GM so it doesn’t matter what you run on your layout it would have been used somewhere.

  15. Grant says:

    I have come back to answer some of the questions posted above.

    I will try and go back and make another better video. With more snapshots added in. Thanks for the ask.
    In regards to the control panel Chris, the points are all on quick motors, the black buttons all change the points to “Main Line” while red changes to “sidings”. The silver switches are independent power control to isolate the sections. The whole layout is DC.


  16. Rich Fath says:

    nice job. A while back I went to a local open house, they too had a grave yard scene, only theirs had the coffin in a hole in the ground, with several mourners and a Grim Reaper looking on lurking behind some bushes. Needles to say that club had a sense of humor.

  17. Tom says:

    Trains are running too FAST.

  18. Cary B says:

    Great looking layouts. In 1968 my father in law got me interested in model railroading as I helped he with benchwork an made a mountain scene with scraps of foam board from job sites he worked on.


  19. Ross Johnston says:

    Great work. I’m from Hillcrest SA and I’m trying to get my layout up and running in a purposeful shed (18 x 20). Good to see such a great SA Layout. Cheers and thanks for sharing

  20. Allan says:

    Unbelieveable realism

  21. THOMAS says:


  22. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Great layout. People figures always make the scene come alive. Great job on the roads.

  23. Robert Brady says:

    An active Diarama life like semi country. Great Job!
    The Critic

  24. Ed says:

    I would love to see how Colin did his electrical work, as my interest in the hobby mainly lies in track laying & wiring (I am not very artistic with scenery, realism, etc).


  25. Will in NM says:

    Grant and Colin, I loved the back story of your relationship and how you bonded over your shared model railroading interests. Colin deserves a lot of credit for having the courage to tear apart a finished layout to make it better. Your work was well worth the effort and inconvenience as evidenced by your photos and video. Your streets and roads are excellent — wide enough to be realistic.

    Grant, I think your video was a good start at filming Colin’s layout. Next time I would suggest using a tripod and slowly panning across the entire layout. Also, the trains could run a bit slower so we can appreciate them more as they pass. I really appreciated seeing the video after the photos as it gave us a better idea of the whole layout.

    Kudo to both of you for sharing your fine efforts with us armchair model railroaders.

  26. Erick says:

    Kool.; I am going to make mine look something like that.

  27. Ted Martin says:

    At first glance I thought I was looking at the real thing. Superior detail on the landscape. Yes, the train speed is not scale and the pond has clear pool water in it, but who wants to nit-pick such a superb model. Enjoyed immensely.

  28. Frank Green says:

    Slow down your train speeds. The fast speeds ruined the magic of a well detailed layout

  29. Tom says:

    I agree with Rob. The trains need to be slowed down. Very nice layout.

  30. James says:

    I agree with Frank Green. Why run the trains at such a high speed. To scale those trains would be traveling out of control at a speed way in excess of what it should be. But enjoyed your layout very much.

  31. Steve says:

    Nice job, I agree that the wide roads look much better than the narrower ones we often see (guilty of that myself) and also endorse the tips re panning and train speed suggested by others. Good use of backscenes. One question – the stock looks like 00 rather than HO to me. Do folk in Australia call it HO regardless of whether it’s 3.5 or 4mm to the foot? Both run on 16.5mm gauge track of course!

  32. Stardust says:

    My comment is about 2 things. The comments and the layout. The commenters should try to remember that as much as they mostly want to see things as real as possible, the important thing here is that the beauty and enjoyment are in the user’s eye. I usually want to see what the track layout is but when looking at the presentations here I see the things that the presenter finds most enjoyable about their layout and the parts of their layouts they are most proud of. I love seeing the trains running and do not need anything about them to be what’s in the real world. What I do like about seeing the trains run is the length of the train, the longer, the more fascinating it is to me. Please keep doing what your doing and don’t let any commenters comments change your ways of enjoying modeling railroads.

  33. Ray says:

    I especially liked your track layout and control panel. Functional, clean yet lots of operational configurations.

  34. Mike Balog says:

    Great layout with plenty of attention to details. Really liked the blended backdrop and the paved roads. Some constructive comments, (1.) Please tell us what you used for the paved roads and how you managed how to achieve the road surface appear it looks like it just rained? (2.) Please Slow Down Your Trains! (3.) Hint, too many of us forget to use “dulcote” or a clear matte finish coat over the little people and vehicles that inhabit our Model Railroads… they look too plastic. Also liked and appreciated the electrical wiring and control panel. ~ Mike in N.H., U.S.A.

  35. Ernest says:

    we call it Lionel Speed.

    Also, it looks like there’s no exit from those loops unless you back out a lot of cars. Scenery is great.

    My roads are a cae and a half wide. People pull over to pass

  36. Terry Miller says:

    The problem I have with the track design is that once you get to the 4th circle there is no way to get back to any of the other loops without backing up the whole train. There needs to be some switches that go the other way (unless you just want to see 4 trains running in loops.

    Terry/Idaho usa

  37. Ross Johnston says:

    Loved your video even if the panning was a little fast. I need help with my electrics as I have nearly layed all the tracjk. Well done! and thanks for sharing. Cheers Rossco South Austyralia

  38. Ed says:

    Great layout! It has precisely what I was looking for for for my next layout!
    As pointed out earlier, there isn’t a way to move back to an inner loop and the staging yard once on an outer loop.
    But there seems to be some inconsistencies between the track plan, the control panel and photos/video. Photo #2 shows what I count as nine parallel tracks with specific connecting tracks. I could not find such a vantage point that match on the plan. The control panel shows the outer loop able to connect to the shunting yard; the track plan does not have that. It also shows a spur off the outer loop (bottom left) and a spur inside the small loop that are not on the layout. The layout shows three major outer loops that can’t be done with the control panel. Not to be too critical but I’ll go by the track plan.

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