Dave’s layout takes shape

“Hi Alastair

A couple of pics of the layout in development – will eventually be DCC but, some days I just want to run trains – dragged out the old transformer and ran some Kato.

Love the articles and Pics from everyone else – keeps up the inspiration

(from Kiama Aust.)”

Work in progress – but I think it looks like it will be a superb layout. Well done Dave, and thanks for sharing.

Breaking off at a tangent now – back to Cuba!

“Al, I was in Cuba last month and found these in front of the old station near the Malecon. Also saw some old passenger cars in Matanzas but was unable to get any pictures. I’m going to research the plate numbers.


I have to say, surprised – but very pleased – with the response to the pics of Cuba. Had I known they would go down so well I would have posted them earlier. The first lot from Simon had been in my inbox for months and months… oh well.

Hope you enjoyed today’s.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming, because I enjoy them as much as you lot.

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.

40 Responses to Dave’s layout takes shape

  1. Thomas Meleck says:

    It’s interesting to see how nakedly exposed to the public at large these preserved relics of the steam era are in Cuba. If they were anywhere near as exposed here in the States, they would probably be vandalized almost immediately, and decorated with senseless graffiti. In our more, “civilized” society, they would have to be surrounded by chain link and/or actual barbed wire to remain as seemingly untouched as they are shown here.

  2. John Wisnieski says:

    Looking good! Like the rock scenery.

  3. john roat says:

    Dave why don’t you use nickle silver code flex track.

  4. you talents have inspired me to do more…thank you very much,please dont stop..

  5. Ben Kochenower says:

    Dave – your layout is turning into t thing of beauty. Keep it up. And as for the Cuba engines – I really enjoy them. Thomas is correct it is sad to say.
    They would have to have an armed 24 hour guard here in the states. Amd that really is a shame. Keep the pictures and videos coming. Love them.

  6. Roland, in Nashville says:

    Very good pictures Perry and Dave. Dave, I like the way you are going with the layout. Please send photo updates.

  7. Shawn Williams says:

    Love the new layout photos. Especially when they show a work in progress.

    I would like to see more photos of locomotives and trains from around the world.

    Keep up the good work guys and thanks to Al for posting in one central location for all to see.

  8. Ben Zalewski says:

    Thanks for the pics.
    Surprised to see a tender with only 4 wheels.

  9. mark noble says:

    id love love to find to know how the mountains were made please
    i wish there was someone out there who could show for eg:make tunnels
    people like this man have more talent to teach people like me thank you

  10. paul Otway says:

    I thought those cuban locos were Baldwin

  11. THOMAS says:


  12. Skip says:

    Nice layout ideas and execution, and I’m envious of all the great trackage; the crossovers, long straights, sidings, etc…

    Nice photos of Cuba too; as a percussionist and conga player I would love to get there some day! (-If only we in the USA would stop being so ridiculously phobic regarding political systems not like ours?!)

    And I enjoyed seeing the 4 wheeled tender too, as at least easily 1/2 of my Marx tinplate rolling stock runs about on 4 wheels! ;>})

  13. Chris says:

    very nice layout, love the rock faces

  14. Tom says:

    great layout there Dave … keep us posted.
    The last couple of entrys with the old engines As Paul said I think some of the old engines are Baldwin at least the number 2 is. Most of the engines do look like baldwin; I am not sure but I remember reading somewhere about a company that was formed in Cuba to modifiy some of the engines coming infor specific needs. There were other manufactures of other engines used also … cannot remember their names.

    Going to jog memories:
    Do any of you remember when the right side of the roof of the B & O Roundhouse museum in Baltimore City colapsed due to heavy snow on the roof. Februay 17, 2003: Blizzard of 2003 (PD2) President’s Day Blizzard 2
    had about 40′ of snow. The damaged created by this was catastrofic. Some sleeping giants would never wake again. Some to be restored beyond even trying. Some could be restored but with scars. This place had some of the oldest and one of kind in exsistance. From the 19th century steam to 20th century diesel.
    I was there with my borther and nephew … my nephew was worrkig there at the time and was in charge of operations. He was helping on his free time on Saturdays working with the people, my hephew’s boss was one of them, to help to restore the damamge to the engines and rolling stock. Artifacts and exxhibits also destroyed.
    2013 today: 10 years later they are up and running again. Triumph over Tragedy.

    Just thought I would share that history with you … reference the sleeping old giants.



  15. Bob says:

    Great looking layout, and the pics from Cuba are just plain fascinating.

  16. Bernard Smith says:

    Well i,ll be ******** what a grand series of loco,s in Cuba , So elegantly poised as well Just wish etc etc etc
    And that layout in OZ the mind doth bogle dothit not , I always new that OZ was a big place !! but just look atb the size of a layout ..WOW and more WOW
    All power to the elbows in OZAs far as the pics are PLEASE keep them coming ,, and a big thankyou to all
    Best Bernard

  17. brian moretti says:

    very nice layout are you on youtube if so please let me know where i can find your videos ….

  18. John Seale says:

    thank you for the Cuban photos…i’ve never seen anything like these before. many if not most Americans don’t know that Cuba is a healthy place to live…

  19. Hi Guys: Try [TTM] Texas Transportation Museum in SATX San Antonio, Texas. See some masterpieces restored to running order and some standing not plagued by vandals. At the Alamo Dome train station see Engines not blemished by most folks living there without guards nor fences. Lots of places in my America where trains are revered and not molested.
    Your layout is moving right along, keep up the great work and keep the pics flowing. Thx for sharing and showing your works of pleasure. I’ll continue to be watchful.

  20. dan o wiseman says:

    wow glade to see some one using this kinda track , do to me changing my lay out all the time this is my kinda track use, thanks for the lay out pictures ….

  21. John says:

    Dave absolutely fantastic mate!!! Great seeing it from every part of the build process. Us lot in the UK are so jealous of the space you guys in Auz and our cousins in the USA have to build your dream layouts! Most of us in the UK get stuck with the bloody box room where you couldn`t swing a cat! So it`s nice to be able to see what could be done if we won the lottery! So keep the pics coming and PLEASE make a video like Northern Dave and a few others have done as you progress with it, because it`s looking the bees-knees mate!!!!

    JohnE UK

  22. Louis Seibel says:

    Whose track are you using? Layout looks great. Pictures of the Cuba engines are great.
    Louis from KS

  23. Perry says:

    There is something to be said for a country without spray paint or maybe since it is poor country the money to buy the spray paint. That maybe what is protecting the engines from getting sprayed with graffiti.

  24. Warren Ferguson says:

    Dave, your mountain rock work is truly outstanding. Can you share your secrets of creating such beautiful, realistic stone?

  25. Tom says:

    You are incorrect about there needing to be a fence around them if they were here. While traveling through our Western States there are many trains on display with no fencing around them.The closer you are to metropolitan areas that would be the case.

  26. Allan Blossom says:

    would somebody please tell me what % copying is needed to convert paper buildings ,as advertised , to O gauge scale ? when I print them out they are way too small . want to get more , but , won’t do me any good if I can’t get them to right scale .

  27. Ross Johnston says:

    Dave from Kiama, your layout looks impressive. I would love to see my photos and/or a video of your layout and if possible your track plan. Thanks for sharing. Cheers Rossco from Adelaide

  28. Bill McCourt says:


    Love that diminuitive Mogul #1503 shown in the display along the front of what I suppose is an old depot at street level. Labeled for Central Orozco, it hits all my buttons for a great little branch line locomotive.

    Bill McCourt
    Dover, DEL, USA

  29. Great lay out pics. Would be interested to see track plan and size.

  30. Old Ben says:

    Is that PICO track you are using?

  31. Walter McGrath says:

    Cuba remains a Communist country with all the benefits of that deluded form of government. I’ll take the US anytime, and I’ve seen damned little vandalism to outdoor displays.

    Walt McGrath
    Pocono Summit, PA

  32. Robert Brady says:

    Old ben; that’s Kato track,I don’t much care for,rather he use Micro-engineering track.

  33. Dave Fife says:

    I don’t remember there ever being a snow storm that left 40 feet of snow on the ground. The ( ‘ ) symbol represents a measurement in feet. The ( ” ) symbol is used to represent inches. I see so many people get this wrong so you are not alone in this misunderstanding.

  34. Ruben Simon says:

    About graffiti, for decades, in Rock Hill, SC, there used to be a red caboose alongside Dave Lyle Blvd., west of the Rt. 5 intersection. I recently thought to take a photo and send it to Al, but it was gone. In York, SC, the county seat, one of the gov’t offices is in an old caboose! I’ll try to remember to bring my camera and take a photo next time I go shopping. I’ve never seen any graffiti on either of these. Maybe they’re painted over quickly when that happens, but I’ve not seen graffiti anywhere in York county. There’s low cement-walled bridge in Cherokee county that was allowed to be covered with it. Next time I go that way, I’ll take a look.

  35. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool.!!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  36. Special to Allan Blossom.
    I model primarily in O scale — I also model in HO.
    Al’s amazing print-out kits are sized for A1 paper common in England– This can be a bit of a challenge because it is larger paper than American 8.5 x 11 paper. When printers “adjust” the sizes go undersized.
    I have fount that depending on the model I go anywhere from 145% to 160% to get it to “look right”.
    The Cuban engines are very nice. Cuba got their engines primarily from Alco and Baldwin but I am positive other sources were involved as well — English and German pre revolution, the Soviet Union post revolution.
    There is a lot of good that can be said about life in authoritarian Cuba — and a lot of bad as well. People do tend to be better behaved in authoritarian countries — The major problems here in the “states” exist primarily in certain urban areas — to say more would be unwise on my part. I am leaving one of our more troubled urban areas and relocating to a rural area where people tend to behave with the care for others that was more common in the 1960’s.

  37. Terry Miller says:

    Those engines (for the most part) are parked in front of a flea market to end all flea markets in Havana. Not sure what the building was used for before but you can find almost anything inside. The engines were used for hauling sugar cane prior to the revolution and are nice to look at. One of the advantages of living in a dictatorship is things are nice and orderly–or else you’re shot.

  38. Russell Leamey says:

    Love the pics of those Cubin steamers, to explain why it is that they could sit there in pride of place I am reminded of one of my fav quotes: “The problem with the world is too many bastards, too many bastards and NOT ENOUGH BULLETS!!!” Fidel Castro 1973. The true meaning of RESPECT

  39. Wolf Carnahsn says:

    Excellent work, especially in photo #3. That kind of rock work is my biggest challenge. I can never get the strata right. Perhaps Dave could do a ”how to” video, on how to do it. It would help me, immensely.
    Thanks, Wolf

  40. Bob Giorgi says:

    Kato Unitrack

    Started my”N” scale layout nearly 30 years ago with Unitrack exclusively. Stuff is rock solid and you can landscape it any way you desire. Using only #6 turnouts (power routed) and there are about 30 of them within 100′ of mainline – no radius smaller than 15″. Have had problems with voltage “drops” but corrected with more feeders (there is more than one way to accomplish this). New Kato rail joiners are a must (silver only) as the older ones (bronze) should be replaced. Newer track has the new joiners. Have not converted to DCC, but will do so if a new location and new layout are feasible.

    Bob Giorgi
    Stockton, CA.

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