Dave’s animated railway layout

“Thank you so much for all the tips.

i really enjoy seeing all the different layouts and what others are doing.

I have had trains all my life, mostly OO gauge and where I grew up in Cleveland, a friends dad had the basement of the house set up in OO for his son and “us” kids. In the upper attic an HO layout for the adults.

My experience in scale model RR layouts is minimal and so contribution will match, but maybe someone can use them….

I am currently in the process of setting up an HO layout in the ManCave.

I m trying to use as much “stuff” that i have collected over the years. For my base I have 4 standard 6′ x 30″ tables that i picked up at the “club” stores for less than $50.

Our kids are grown now, but both had to do CA Mission projects for school. For some of the landscape we used 24″ x 24″rolls of grass covered paper and 15″ x 24″ brick pattern paper (which goes on sale after the projects are due) I found some in a box up in the attic along with Styrofoam i kept in different shapes from large purchases (a tip i saw early on).

I hit the local lumber and building material stores for EP insulation to cover the tables ( extruded polystyrene insulation my biggest layout building expense so far).

They had scraps but i just went with the 2″ x 4′ x 8′ sheet $25. They cut the sheets to 30″ x 6′ for free and they fit right on top. I tacked them down with hot glue along the edge and is secure so far. Being in a corner helps stabilize the layout.

Looking at the different card board boxes everything comes in, i have been using them to make tunnels and for backing for some of the paper print outs offered on previous links.

As i was going through the attic boxes actually looking for something else i came across Christmas decorations and the moss/grass sheets i used for nativity scenes. I remember that they were getting worn and decided to recycle them for the layout. I cut them to cover the Styrofoam blocks.

I keep pics of the ManCave RR layout as i go along and will post if i come across an inexpensive interesting tip!



“Hi Al
Yes I have one tip, use green tee leaf’s as ground cover as alternative to the norm. you can also mix other types of tea leaf to vary the area that is to be covered.

Also very small coloured stone used in craft work, found in cheep shops etc is good if small enough for N gauge.

Cheers Mike”

“Hi Al

I have been receiving your great tips for a couple of years now and thanks to you and all the other railway guys I started my own layout. I have attached some pictures of my layout “Scoobton Basset” and I would be grateful for any comments and tips our friends can offer. I think I am about half way through. Can I also thank Arnie and Dave for the inspiration and know how especially Dave on lights and point motors.

Many thanks


And lastly, I think the talented Dave has been on the sherry again – either that or it’s April Fool’s day:

Click here for the very latest ‘ebay cheat sheet‘…

That’s all for today folks.

A big thanks to Peter – have a look at all the comments below.

Please do keep ’em coming.

The Beginner’s Guide is here, because, you know, that layout won’t build itself.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

64 Responses to Dave’s animated railway layout

  1. TIM says:

    Excellent video but why the use of a swear word in the subtitles? Shame.

  2. kenn says:

    I loved it. Was fun to watch.

  3. Kerry says:

    Tim, I hope you’re joking. Dave doesn’t deserve that man!

  4. Cyril says:

    Absolutely fantastic.

    It is good to have a bit of fun and Dave seems to be a master of it.

  5. Alan Batcheldor says:

    Brilliant but surely the fire engines should have gone “ding-a-ling”?

  6. Glenn Roach says:

    Dave that episode was a great show to watch. The GREAT Animators of yesteryear are smiling down on your work. They are sitting around and commenting on a new member to their world of animators. Keep up the good work.

  7. 'Nother Grandpa says:

    HOLY CRAP (ah, Tim, so sorry– LOL) , Dave, you’ve done it again! Amusing and inspirational. You seem to have an abundance of time on your hands– and use it wisely. Keep it up– we love it!

    PETER- I really like your buildings– models? Scratch built? or???

  8. Neal says:

    Nice video Dave. Tim, when did crap become a “swear” word? Nice layout Peter. Lots of nice detail!

  9. Paul Wilson says:


  10. Brian says:

    Great stuff Dave, good to see a sense of humour

  11. Paul Johnston (Ireland ) says:



  12. Tom says:

    Hey Dave being a retired 911 Emergency Dispatcher … and a Firefighter/Medic I can relate to the Train wreck video..
    We use to say train hits car … car loser!

    One story remembered: In a rural town in the county I worked in. One morning at about 0200 hours got a report of a train accident involving an 18 wheeler … I asked which end of town was the accident ( Train crossed the main road both ends of town about 2 mile apart. About the same time I heard the town police officer say … a box car just rolled past me going in the north bound lane … I am coming south at the north crossing … and it just passed me and there it goes. It was a foggy night. The engine on the train peeled the trailer open like a can opener. You can imagine the mess. The tractor was 200′ down the track attached to the front of the engine. Amazing but no one was hurt … the best part.
    I enjoyed the video Dave. I Enjoy all you do. Thanks again for sharing.
    I’ll bet that person in the car the train hit … CRAPPED their pants.
    I love the numor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Good luck with your layouts Peter and Frank
    Thanks Al for all!!!



  13. Peter Jones says:

    For Nother Grandpa, Thanks for the kind comment on the buildings. They are all built from Metcalfe card kits, they are very easy to put together and pretty good value for money.

  14. Peter Jones says:

    Neal – thanks for your comment, appreciate it.


  15. JoJo says:

    Peter; That is phenomenal! you stated this layout is your first??!!! BS i say to you man. looks like you’ve been modeling for a LONG time. well done keep it up and when you think its completed– send us more photos.

  16. keith says:

    For a first layout Peter you have done a really good job. It looks like you have made the buildings from the Metcalf range and again a good job. Shame about the pink backdrop though lol. Keith

  17. paul Otway says:

    model railroading is fun, I wish I could make the cars on my layout go,

    i mainly use matchbox models. i like the layouts.

  18. Arnie Steiner says:

    To Peter,

    Nice job on your developing layout. While it’s hard to determine the size and track plan, the township looks very nicely laid out. And the selection of structures is quite appealing.

    Good luck with it.

  19. Cameron says:

    Love ring of folding tables. Having a plan in place for breaking down the layout into more manageable parts is a good move.
    Congratulations on your layout Peter. Very nicely made and a convincing piece of town design.
    Thanks for the video Dave. I had a good old laugh when I was watching it. I had forgotten how fun it is to set up a toy broken down car on a toy level crossing. I hope no toy people were hurt during the incident.

  20. aLex says:

    Good video Dave!!! 🙂 LOL Cool fire!

  21. THOMAS says:


  22. Pete you layout looks very good , a video would be nice with a tour round ,Franks doing a good job also/.

  23. Pete you layout looks very good , a video would be nice with a tour round ,Franks doing a good job also/. sorry if I upset with the small swear word , but wonder what one would have said faced with that situation ? Did manage to get the bell sound , but only in the 2nd instalment ..Dave

  24. Bernard and Jayne says:

    Dave , WHAT a show eh? But its the driver of the diesel we really feel for ,will all be revealed in the next exiting installment of “The Train crash”?
    So keep up the very good work Dave and more power to your elbows
    LOL Jayne and Bernard

  25. Stuart says:

    Dave that’s awsome, great fun

  26. Steve M says:

    Great work Dave. I love your stuff and can only wish I had your energy!
    Ignore the boring comments about swearing. Jeez – if that upsets you!
    Can’t wait for the second episode!…Steve from Australia

  27. robert coe says:

    I am getting sicker by the moment with envy over the enormous talents of the man. Why cannot I do what he does. I do try . . . and fail. Will my anxiety never end?

  28. Bob Miller says:


    For your first layout you have done a remarkable job. Well laid out and has a nice mix of complementary structures. Very well done …

  29. Peter Jones says:

    A big thank you to all for the very kind comments and encouragement I really appreciate it. I did forget to say that the scale is OO on a board 8’x4′ the track plan is widely based on the track mat that came with the starter set. I will keep you all posted and put a video together (wont be in the same class as Dave’s though) Once again many thanks guys.


  30. Dick says:

    Dave is having ENTIRELY too much fun… must be retired!

  31. 'Nother Grandpa says:

    Thanks for the info, Peter– I will look into those card kits. Good luck with your project

  32. Colin Smith says:

    I don’t think Dave was on the sherry. He looks and sounds like a Yorkshire Bitter man to me, as I was before I went to Australia.

  33. Steven StClair says:

    Very entertaining Dave.I’msurprised you don’thave a Faller car system on your railway.

  34. Emil Harris says:

    Great job. It reminds me of the part in” The Addams Family” movie where Gomez was playing with his trains and engineered the head on crash. I haven’t seen it for years and will have to find to see it again.

  35. Frank says:

    Lol love this just like Gomez Adams lol

  36. Michael Glenn says:

    Looks really good man.

  37. Michael says:

    Looks very nice.

  38. Craig Burton says:

    Excellent job!!! You are quite talented! Thanks for sharing

  39. Ron Schultz says:

    as a retired fire chief I always like to watch the crews in action . I friend gave me an HO ladder truck and i didnt have a place for it . I built a new 5 bay station and its to big for the lay out . looks good on the table in the living room and the grand kids think its for them . Not[ Of course I have to take the pumpers and ladders to the basement and set them up for a fire practice and training .The Snorkel looks great doing one side of a building and the aerial ladder on the other

  40. Robert Shuman says:

    Peter and Frank – Great work. I want to go drinking with Dave! He’s having too much fun!!

  41. Bill says:

    Great video, Dave! The only thing funnier than this is John with his assembly videos, although I do prefer Gomez Addams and his train collisions.

    By the by, Dave – do you have a license for that creeper? Perhaps some floor rails would help in manoeuvering that thing! Keep up the excellent work.

  42. Robert Brady says:

    Dave, u never seize to amaze,great production piece !

  43. Ross Johnston says:

    Great work Dave! Your videos are always of high quality and either informative or amusing and sometimes both. Well done! Cheers Rossco Adelaide, South Australia

  44. Tony says:

    Love your video ! Great job!

  45. LARRY says:

    thank you mike for the pictures of your work! they gave me some great ideas on making items for my tracks. things like this make our hobby more fun. also i thank alastair lee for this site.

  46. What will happen next. Stay tuned in tomorrow and find out. I love it.

  47. john thorogood says:

    What a wonderful suspenseful drama. But would someone answer the damn phone. It just kept ringing and ringing. I guess Dr. Who was in another galaxy. Dave: you never cease to entertain us.


  48. As usual Dave you brought a smile to my face!!! Keep up the good work brother. Farmer AL

  49. Earl Jones says:

    Tim, thousands of kids are starving in Yemen and you are bothered about seeing the word “crap” in Dave’s video? Perspective man.

  50. Ian Robertson says:

    Brilliant video Dave – just ignore any negative comments you can see these are well outnumbered by the people who like.think there problem is jealousy. Keep the videos coming – I am waiting for episode 2

  51. Bill says:

    The video from Dave as usual was very interesting. It did raise a question, I am fairly new to the hobby this go round only having built very small layouts in my younger days.
    But in my senior years I have become fascinated with DCC. I am surprised I never see any reference to the Faller car system which would have enhanced Dave’s video with actual moving vehicles.
    Does anybody include the Faller system in their layout????

  52. Gary Mitchell says:

    Great video Dave, always enjoyable

  53. David Schaffner says:

    Wow! Envy, Envy and more…. Dangerous Dave as usual you have entertained us to the fullest extent…..Congrats on being the master of model railroading and engineer of DMR…You are most definitely a great video photographer, landscaper, electrician, all around craftsman and one with an amazing sense of imagination.
    Love your layout and all the lighting, special effects, the wonderful automobiles and wonderous ways to entertain us….Thank you for sharing..Where do you get the creative buildings and cars? Do you have help? Is this from the UK?….Awesome!

  54. Will in NM says:

    Frank: That’s a nce start on your first layout. How are you keeping the four tables together so that your trackwork doesn’t shift? I save all my foam packing materials too to use under layout scenery.

    Peter: Wow! You’ve done a great job on your layout. Some of that trackwork looks pretty intricate and your structures are perfect. I’d like to see the track plan to better understand the photos. Hard to believe this is your first model railroad.

    Dave: Thanks again for sharing another exciting video. You never cease to amaze us. Keep them coming!

  55. bob says:

    Thanks Dave, another marvellous episode!

  56. Philip Rovenolt says:

    I like the folding table idea.

  57. Charles Maxim says:

    Dave, Great video, Loved it.

  58. MARKLIN ED says:

    Dave you need to get some Faller car and vehicles to move them like the trains. Look into IT my friend Dave. Bye the this video shows me your will never grow up

  59. Frank says:

    Was it a real accident or was some poor guy trying to collect insurance to support his wife? Did anyone survive? Was the driver a model railroading hobbyist?

    So many questions that need answering.

    That was fun to watch. 🙂

    Frank in Orlando

  60. Great video Dave. As of today I’m ordering all of my trucks to stay off of your tracks.

  61. Ed K says:

    Wonderful video. Super creative!

  62. matiSon says:

    Today’s episode of Model Railroad Layout Plans made my day!

  63. Doug Caron says:

    Ok Dave, now you have us all thinking about making our own video.. it took forever to get my son to finish one of mine he taped and it was just a collection of scene’s. Wait until I tell him I want to do a stop action video. It will never get finished. Lol. Fun video Dave. Thanks for the time and effort it took to produce it for us.

  64. Jack Kitrenos says:

    Dave! You are a very creative guy!!! Great videos!!

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