Model railroad canyon layout

Mike has been in touch with his model railroad canyon layout:

“My Copper Canyon model train is coming along nicely…Couple pics….Have a great week…..

And a “Hint”…For building the finish rock around buildings I wrap the building in SARAN-WRAP then install in it’s place and finish the rock work….Rock hardens…Lift out building…..


model railroad canyon

model railroad canyon

model railroad canyon

model railroad canyon

model railroad canyon




A big thanks to Mike.

If you are eager to see how it turned out, here it is:

N scale canyon layout.

“Hi Al! It’s been a long time coming but I finally figured out how to send you my O-Gauge video.

The platform is 7 feet wide and 18 feet long, takes up most of our living area (The wife she is a blessing to
allow this, that’s why I named the railroad after her – JDH). Just a Toy Train layout with lots of buildings. Two main lines, inside & outside, recently converted from Lionel

tubular track to Lionel FasTrack. The two Trolley lines, Upper back & front, and the Underground lines are all “027”.
Still some work to be done on the Amusement park area and extension.

I hope you enjoy the video and feel that it’s good enough to post.

Thanks for all you do for the hobby. I love the site but don’t often contribute. Never know what to say that hasn’t already been said.

Jim (Jimbo) Moran – Florida USA”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

Big thanks to Mike for sharing his model railroad canyon layout and to Jim too.

After all these years, I still love seeing what is going to show up in my inbox each morning.

If you anything you’d like to share, just hit reply to any of my mails and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

And thanks for all the comments on Beginner’s Guide. It’s good to know it’s hit the mark.

Please keep ’em coming folks.



44 Responses to Model railroad canyon layout

  1. Jon B says:

    Jimbo, neat layout. Love all the lights.

  2. dan says:

    wow thats what is all about run the trains , great job

  3. LARRY MORRIS says:

    very good i was impressed

  4. Laing says:

    I LV it that tray for more locos is great thinking

  5. Lester Larrew says:

    This just goes to show that model railroading is fun in any gauge or scale or tinplate or whatever.
    Lester USA

  6. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    Yes a very tolerant wife, but then again it keeps you off the streets and out of the bars Ha Ha. Nice setup.

  7. Marie says:

    Awesome layout with unique features. A fun watch. 🙂

  8. Mark Loos says:

    Hey, Mike. Good tip on the Saran Wrap. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent carefully removing unwanted material from buildings. Installing the bldgs. afterwards never seems to give the exact fit I want. Nice work! Mark

  9. Dave Whatley says:

    I loved it really great !!

  10. christine says:

    Kids would love it.

  11. Jim Maitland says:

    Great job guys! I work with 1:1 scale at the B&O RR Museum and so much of the detail is spot on.

  12. Martin Gliddon says:


    Brilliant though. I just wish that Lemax who make those wonderful Christmas Buildings made them to a recognised scale. Or even built them without the snow bits as they are truly superb…as is this model railway.

  13. nice ho detail info
    and great O gauge layout
    running your trains…
    that IS what it is all about
    keep em runnin fellas!!
    stJohn from long beach calif

  14. Carl Kinz\inger says:

    Very nice layout Jim – good scenicing and lots of lights – glad to see you’re not running trains at breakneck speed like some Lionel people do – keep up the good work
    Carl, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

  15. Carol says:

    Great set up I love it. Great job.

  16. wayne munyon says:

    great video Jimbo. I like your idea for a transfer table

  17. Ken says:

    Always loved the O gauge trains like the still pics can not get the vid to work but what it looks like will be great layout .

  18. Jim Saccento says:

    Nice Lionel display. Love that innovative manual push/pull transfer table for engine storage. I couldn’t do that in HO.

    Jim S, New Jersey, USA

  19. Fred Will says:

    Beautiful layout, I love trains myself, and I am planning on building a layout myself. It is so fun watching the trains on their missions.

  20. Jim Sherman says:

    Beautiful ,wonderful & outstanding, really like the lit up house’s. Time and money well spent.

  21. Jerry Suits says:

    Great to see a fantastic O-scale layout! It inspires me to get mine polished and rolling!
    Jerry –Colorado, USA

  22. Mike O'Connell says:

    I love what you have created. I will use a few ideas in my HO layout that I am going to create. Thanks for shating.

  23. Don Henry says:

    great tip on the saran wrap I use to uses spray wax. Keep up the tips and great work. Gator

  24. Rod Mackay says:

    Jimbo, you’re right, JDH must be an absolute saint!!
    I am SO glad I’m not the motorman on that front trolley-line, couldn’t you put some shuttle timers in and give the poor bugger a smoko at each end?
    I do understand the lovely massiveness of that old Lionel stuff, but I’m sure you’ll realise everyone who does N-gauge will be sitting in front of their computers just drooling at what they could do with 7′ x 18’…

  25. Jim Moran says:

    Hi folks: Thanks guys, I really appreciate all the great responses. Jimbo

  26. Jim Moran says:

    Nice idea with the saran wrap Mike. I’ve done the same thing with wax paper but I’m going to try the saran wrap the next time. Should be easier, more pliable than the wax paper. Jimbo

  27. Allen B. says:

    What an inspiration Jimbo! My fairly decent collection of late ’40s – early ’50s Lionel stuff is sitting – mostly in the original boxes where I put them away over 60 years ago. ‘ Have been buying a few supplements when they come up on Ebay – with the thought of building another model RR one of these days. Thanks to you and your wonderful video, it just might happen sooner rather than later.

  28. Ian Schoeman says:

    Very nice thank you. Must be great to be able to achieve more detail with the larger scale. Well done. Nice watcing

  29. tonyg says:

    I like the manual transfer table it is very innovative, great job.

  30. Jim says:

    Nice layout there, Jimbo. And great job with all those lighted structures. Was wondering if that train station is a relic from the 50’s and has battery operated sound by pushing a button on the steeple?

    Jim AZ

  31. BRAVO!

    Nicely done.

    I sense with the snow on the buildings that they must have at one time been “up north”.

    We have ended up with a 20 x 20 addition that was on the back of our house and the plan is to dig out all of our old Lionel O gauge stuff (some late 30’s, mostly 40’s and early 50’s) and make it “the train shed”. In addition, we have from my father’s collection, one American Flyer O GAUGE passenger set (circa 1940) that will roll with the Lionels.

    You have given me some great O gauge ideas AND contributed some good additional motivation to get going on the project.

    Glad your wife is that understanding. What an angel.

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

    David in SC

  32. Bill Sparling says:

    Dear “Jimbo.”
    I love the layout. Never mind that it is “Just a toy train layout with lots of buildings.” I am an 82 year old “kid” and I love it. I have a friend in Oregon who works with old Lionel stuff and you can be I am going to forward this on to him. He will love it too.
    I especially like that wonderful transfer table. It is a brilliant idea and it looks like it works well for you. I will be able to get all of my locos on the one I will be building after seeing yours. I am working with HO scale and my layout is a 4’X8′ island. It is modelled very loosely after the area in which I grew up and where I took my first train ride from our little town to San Francisco with my mom. It is still a work in progress but I built it not to be a “model” of anything but a place where I could sit and watch my trains traverse two loops and do some switching and just watch my memories run by. I am not a craftsman but I love looking at what the folks turn out who are true modelers. I get a lot of ideas from them but your transfer table is one of the best ideas I have seen. I can’t wait to add one. Thanks for a great idea and the inspiration to get one up and running. When I get through with my construction and “plant” some trees and buildings, I will try and post some.
    Bill Sparling
    Sequim, WA (diagonally as far from Fla. as possible without getting wet feet.)

  33. Roy Brownson Jr says:

    I like the video of your Layout. I have built a 5′ x 9′ table with folding legs. I am trying to build my first Ho scale layout with tracks high and low. I like how you have put tracks high and low seen in the video.
    Could you post some pictures of your layout plan. Also do you have more pictures of your layout during it’s construction that you could also post.
    Roy Brownson Jr (Northern Utah Home of the 2002 winter Olympics)

  34. ANDREW SCHYHOL says:

    JIM, WOW! COOL! Just what I have in mind, just to see those Lionel and other O gauge trains run. I love Florida, but no basement, no attic as in CT

  35. Bedros Anserian says:

    Fabulous work and beautiful layouts. Fantastic work, congratulations.

  36. Joe says:

    Saran Wrap….whodathunk! What a great idea. That is some great stuff. I thank you, KRH Lines thanks you, and a remake if the Virginia and Truckee tanks you. Now I can drive Susie girl nuts wondering where all the dang Saran Wrap has gone. Not sure what is more fun, playin with the trains or driving Susie nuts. I have built the courage to build the wharf. Growin up in Newport Beach, CA, I gotta play homage to my home town.
    Son of a gun you folks are all very clever.

  37. THOMAS says:

    Very nice ! It is awesome to see you running trains !

  38. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Mike and Jimbo…….love what you guys have done……great createtivity…….wonderful looking layouts……….ingenious ideas with the saran wrap and the pull out section to switch engines……Love it……

  39. markus muetschard says:

    Jim, I really like your engine storage… I was thinking about something similar for my HO with removable boxes that can be plugged in and a moving part for distribution.

  40. Wayne Johnson says:

    What a fun layout. I really enjoyed your video.

  41. Robert D. Bouskill says:

    Giant powered transfer table. Great idea.

  42. Wayne 'Dutch' Leydsman says:

    I too enjoy the layout. I have a ton of Lionel/MTH/Williams,etc…I got my first Lionel train at 4.5 years old in the 1950’s. I still have it, and it runs very well. Growing up the trains, grew and grew, and continued to this day, I started purchasing lots of ceramic buildings for our annual Christmas display. When I moved to Utah from my native NJ, I had a shed built to house the trains. The city allowed me only about 400 SF, I wanted double. So, It is about 400SF, and although smaller than I wanted it will be a manageable size. Construction of the layout was delayed due to an out of country assignment. While away, I would draw up numerous layouts in my spare time. It help me stay sane! Hopefully, I can start on this layout by fall of 2021, after the shed became a storage facility and will need to be emptied. The shed is named, ” The Pennsylvania Rail Road, Far, Far West Division, Happy Valley Depot, because I live in ‘Happy Valley’ not he real name of the valley, but that is what the locals call it. Dreams are good to have, and now retired, I hope to enjoy my multilevel Hi Rail Empire. The theme will be late Fall, Christmas time 1956, the end of the steam era. Growing up in Central Jersey as a kid, I would bicycle for miles to watch the GG-1’s racing through the country side between NYC and Philly. I also loved northeastern PA as a kid and will also depict that in my display. I enjoyed the video of this toy train display. Thank you for sharing!

  43. Erick says:

    I like it, Keep up the good work.

  44. Bob Muhme from MI and AZ says:

    Mike, thanks for the saran wrap idea!
    Jimbo, great looking Lionel layout! Good use of Dept 56 or whatever buildings. Landscaping and lots of track and lighting-cane out really nice. I like the manual transfer table- works perfect without a lot of hassle!

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