Dave’s new layout

“Hi Al ….I have been working on the layout again, here’s how I got in to Model Railways and when I started…here goes:

I retired back at 63 years of age, and after moving to the East Coast to a bungalow.

I decided to floor the loft out. After doing this and having a couple of accidents whilst doing it, I fell through the ceiling – legs just hanging down in to the hallway below, broke 3 ribs ..

So again a 5 month rest for the ribs to heal, then on putting the last floorboard down I drilled through a water pipe, thinking I had fixed it the water was turned back on, and as all looked fine, I left it and went out for maybe 1 hour, came back the pipe had disconnected and we had a flood, of course the whole ceiling had to be renewed.

So from there I got a reputation, known as Dangerous Dave…

Anyhow when all was done , I thought what can I do with this space now, and after visiting a model railway show at Wakefield ..I thought I would like to have a go at that. This would be about the beginning of 2007

So my first railway was built in the loft… (I have made a video which shows this )

Of course I sort of got carried away and soon had a layout that stretched for near 30 ft long and 8ft wide, and as you will have seen it has been changed a few times.

And of course, as you can see in the video ..its all change again ..complete new layout ..



Latest ebay cheat sheet? It’s here!

Can’t wait to see Dave’s progress. I have no idea why, but it’s all the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff I like best.

Please do keep ’em coming.



66 Responses to Dave’s new layout

  1. Lewis says:

    Good luck Dave. Happy building. Will look forward to the updates.

  2. Albert weir says:

    hello Dave
    Wow, you do have a big job ahead of you. You inspired me so much as i used tons of your ideas to build my layout which is finished by the way.
    i got a shock when i read of your new layout cause the otherone was awsome
    look forward to seeing what you do with this one

  3. Raymond Bove says:

    Admirable. But Dave has proved time and time again that you don’t have to be a lad to undertake such projects.
    Congratulations Dave, I am always eager to discover what you are up to (in railway modelling, of course…). I have just turned 66 and recently retired. And I have just started building a shelf layout around the fairly large former maid’s room (we never had a maid, but it came with the 1938 flat). It’s insulated and on top of that there’s a nice view of the city, loads of daylight (I have installed blins though to avoid discoloration of items).

  4. SwissChris says:

    I( thought that Dave had been a bit too quiet. Now I know why. I can’t wait to see the next masterpiece. PS Would it be possible to see the track plans as well please.

  5. Jimmy says:

    Looking forward to seeing your next video Dave, one though have you enough access between the old and new base to get to any wiring you need to do.


  6. Rod Mackay says:

    Very brave just sweeping all that away and starting again, very good luck with it Dave, at least you have lots of video of how the old one looked in its prime. Look forward to seeing the progress.

  7. Gary O'Connor says:

    Wow! Dave, I assumed you had been a model railroader for most of your life. To learn that you only took it up in 2006 gives me and many more the slight hope that we may be able to achieve something from our efforts.

    Fantastic mate, I can’t wait to see what you come up with this time.

  8. Goodness!

    I like the idea of just building the new over the old layout, but I worry a little about it being ‘near eye level’ to avoid bending, and I’ll tell you why…

    If you build a layout at eye level, and it’s as deep as this may well end up being, you have a different problem – needing to get up a step ladder to lean over the layout and do work at the very back (corner).

    Nevertheless, I expect Dangerous Dave has thought this through!

    Like everyone above, I can’t wait to see what he does this time!

  9. robert coe says:

    Does Dave do all this on his own? I am stunned. All I could manage was a three x five ft layout with one train actually running in two years. I did manage to construct a few model building but I wasted quite a lot of material in the process and I collected a lot of loco’s.

  10. Brian Parkinson says:

    I have to take my hat off to you Dave, you are a great inspiration to all of us. I am looking forward to seeing how things develop with your new layout. Looking at the way you are placing the new top boards so close to you old ones will this enable you to easily install the new wiring needed for the proposed layout?

  11. DenTx says:

    It just goes to show that us Model Railroaders are a looney lot. Like Dave nothing is ever good enough or for that matter ‘finished’. This is why I told my wife the name of my railroad is “NDMRR, The Never Done Model Rail Road. Even when it is ‘done’ we tear it down and start over to ‘make it better’. Good going Dave and thanks for all the great tips you have given so far and looking for more in the future.

  12. Steve from Exeter NSW Australia says:

    Wow Dave. What an enormous amount of progress. When you told us you were pulling your old (yet magnificent) layout down, I thought it would be months before we heard from you again! Yet there you are with framework for your new layout well under way. You are an inspiration to us all. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to see your next video update.

  13. John M says:

    Wow Dave! That is ambitious! Have you enough space between the two levels for the wiring and other electronics?

    And here I am stuck on my little n-scale because my switches arent theowing peoperly….

    You are an inspiration to keep at it!


  14. Bob says:

    “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

    There is no doubt that Dave’s creativity and imagination will serve as an inspiration to all. His example extends further than model railroading. Great job! You have my respect and admiration.

  15. Jan says:

    You should consider making your lay-out’s modular.
    In that way when you’re fed up with them you can try and sell them instead of just tearing them down.
    Look forward to more great movies.
    You must be able to spend an awful lot of time on your hobby and you must be gifted as well to get such great results.

    At our club we build the lay-out approx 1.2m (4 ft) high. This is a good height for working standing up and is high enough to not crawl under like a miner.
    Most us are not the youngest and joints tend to become stiffer with age 🙁

  16. Doitwil says:

    Dave. Wow. So sad to see your wonderful previous layout all gone. Wish you could have parcelled it up and sent it to me! Just one small thought (although you will no doubt have thought it out) how are you going to do the under wiring with so little space between the old and the new?

  17. Willie Kerr (Glasgow) says:

    Hi Dave, what a difference (clearance) a 4 pound hammer can do. You are an inspiration to the rest of us. I can’t seem to get started.

  18. John says:

    Good luck Dave, I’d also love to see the track plans.

  19. Tom says:

    Dave … what an amazing man you are. I admire you and am likened to your hobby efforts. You have made me proud to be a part of the model railroaders and a dedication to this site. Dave, you must be a kid of about 70 years old now and with the heart of a 12 year old. You are like a fine wine … better with age. Cannot wait! Looking forward, with great anticipation, for your next update!!!!!

    best regards

  20. Jerry Birkbeck says:

    The discussion about the height of a layout is of interest. I have built a couple of layouts (though neither were finished!) at a height of 1.35m above ground level. The reasoning behind this is that I observe railways at eye level and not from some distance above! However, a comment has been made already in these replies too high a board and difficulties will occur when leaning over to deal with an issue at the back of the layout. This depends very much on the width of the board of course.
    Although eye level would be around 1.6m in my case – and more for some of you taller guys!

    I now have a conundrum as we have downsized and I would be shot if I used one of the spare rooms. However, one of the reasons for moving was to acquire a larger garden and a decent sized double garage (6.5m x 4.0m). I am therefore considering using the three walls for a layout, with a height of 1.35 and built in 1.2m x 0.6m modules. Suddenly having such a space is daunting and for that reason I am intending to construct a single module to see if my construction techniques can meet my aspirations!

    The layout design will be based on BR 1959/60 era, comprising a simple branch line station – using a modified track plan of Tetbury – linked to off stage hidden casettes for stock storage. So much of the line will pass through countryside, with a minor station or halt. My objective is to create a railway in the landscape (a la Pendon – I wish!).

    I am though very impressed with the speed at which Dave works I really cant see me progressing anywhere near as quickly – and I too am retired!

  21. Roland Burch says:

    Dave, your work is a joy to watch. I am sad about the death of your great layout. You couldn’t have saved it and start the new layout by knocking out the walls downstairs. Who needs a bedroom?

  22. 'Nother Grandpa says:

    I look forward to watching this new plan evolve. One commentor suggested you should consider making modular layouts– seems like a good idea; it’s a shame to see your beautiful work just torn apart. Good luck- and BE SAFE (and, oh yeah, enjoy, also.)

  23. Rog says:

    good point made by your “Time Lapse”.. Takes Years many times
    to complete a Layout depending on the many variables.. those newer to
    layouts need to remember, taking the time to “plan” especially those larger
    ones, save a lot of effort latter.. Great Job & “Thanks” for inspiring!!

    Rog- Port Charlotte, Florida

  24. Richard says:

    Great work Dave, Can’t wait to see more of the new layout as it is built.

  25. Arnie Steiner says:

    Hi Dave — I left you a more detailed message on Youtube. But I just want to reiterate my awe of your courage to demolish a prior ‘work of art and love.’ But there’s no turning back now and you’ve certainly gotten a solid start on the new layout project.

    I know you’re planning on having 2 levels. Will either level have a change of elevation along the run? While grade changes make for more work in construction and later more power/speed monitoring of locomotives during operation, they do offer greater visual appeal through scenic runs.


  26. Michael Ankerson says:

    Good Luck…

  27. K Cunningham says:

    you are a lot like me ,you just got the lay out down to a great look thing , then tear it down and start all over again

  28. Alan says:

    Dave, I well know the feeling.
    I have never been sure which gives me more fun. Running the trains or the building of a new layout. I am on my 7th. in about 20 years. After a while I get the feeling that the layout is a bit “tired” so I start again, from scratch and thoroughly enjoy myself for about 6 months redesigning and rebuilding everything. I always feel that that is half the fun. Best of luck with the new layout. It will probably be better than the last one.

  29. Russell House says:

    Dave, ARE YOU CRAZY?!? Ha, just kidding. I understand about making it so you can more easily reach things. We need to do that as we age, don’t we?
    The old layout was beautiful. I can’t wait to see the new one. Good luck, and watch your step! 🙂

  30. Toni Olivar says:

    As Jan mentioned; “Dave,
    You should consider making your lay-out’s modular.
    … ”

    A modular layout is really a good idea. But instead of selling the modules outright, as Jan suggested. When you are bored with the current layout, you could rearrange the modules into another layout configuration. Then, if you decide that a module no longer suites your taste, you could just rebuild that module into some other scene or sell it to a model railway friend or acquaintance who may wish to buy it. You could then use the money from that sale to build a new module.

    This way you would not have to tear apart a large section that you like, just to redo something that just doesn’t work out well, and you could try something new without much loss.

  31. Ian says:

    Dear Dave,

    What a mammoth task and done and planned so well. Thank you very much for your work. You are so much an inspiration as I have absolutely no skills in Railway Modelling and to view your layout is very special to me.
    To think that you are a Pom makes me reconsider that they aren’t so bad after all.

    With best wishes from Australia


  32. Paul says:

    Wow dave i cant believe you did that your layout was beautiful and i know it will be again sadly mine has made no progress at all i have every thing i need but some one t keep me company and share my layout with me and its no fun doing it on your own
    still i ges ill get there one day so i can show you all

    any ways good luck dave your a star i love your vids they are great

    cheers paul

  33. Sid says:

    You don’t do things by half do you Dave LoL, Im sure the next layout will be amazing !!

  34. Mark Hawk says:

    Hey Dave, Wow another setup, now I don’t feel so bad after a few months of ripping up track and wiring and going with my next dream track set-up. My landscaping is all done on 2″ Styrofoam so once my track was up I could lay down new 2″ Styrofoam, and start all over again with the hope of hope connecting my pieces together to make a large track set once I (we) move to our own home instead of renting. Have a great day, everyday.

  35. Colin Pryce says:

    A new name for Dave – “4lb hammer Dave”! I had to smile when that hammer came into view – it sums you up well, you don’t do anything by half! As someone else said your are very brave to break up a great layout to start again, but I presume most of the buildings and infrastructure on the board have been saved for futher use. A lot of comments about how you are going to wire it up, we look forward to seeing your solution. Bravo!

  36. Derek Wray says:


    Building the new baseboards on top of the old seems to involve lots of timber and plywood and lots of extra weight – have you checked out the load bearing of your rafters ?
    I can’t wait to see the new layout and judging by the speed you work that won’t be very long !

  37. Cameron Davies says:

    Love the back story and can’t wait to see the new layout.
    Have fun.


  38. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions , have been away all week so nothing has been done since I did this last video , but hopefully can get going this next week again …not entirely sure what the design will finish like , but i will have an incline up to the upper layer on one side and a run down on the other , but just single ones …but as I have said the plans will come as I go along
    Thanks again

  39. clint piatt says:

    Dave i hope you feel better after falling throu your celling get well stay well i like your olb layout & i am sure your new one will be just as wonderfull as the last one

    Good luck and god bless

  40. Ian says:

    Dear Dave,

    Thanks a million again. Your energy and talents are very much appreciated. The way that you carry out the Modelling and explain it to an old bloke like me is excellent.

    Dave I think an excellent improvement to the layout would be a Cricket Scoreboard. We have five over here in Australia that would not be to “Testing” for a Pom !!!


  41. Allen says:

    What an inspiration Dave is to a 73 year old newbie to model railway building.

  42. Paul B 60 says:

    Dear Dave, Glad to see your progress. I was having some withdrawal symptoms because I think your video diary’s are terrific, not least because of your fantastic natural northern accent. As a northerner 35 years in exile in east Kent, it is lovely to hear your commentary. Your energy is impressive too. Keep up the amazing work!

  43. jim morris says:

    Great, what a passion. I am happy with my 4×8 o guage platform.

  44. Keith Carey says:

    Dave, what if you,still run the old layout as well? And, build,showcase glass along the sides, have it well lighted, and still have the upper panels foe the new layout be constructed lift out? (my sugar must be off; it’s time to eat.) I just think if you,have elementary aged children to stop by, they could still see the “classic” layout work.

  45. D.R. says:

    Boy that’s a little nuts only time I tore mine down was to move you have a lot of work ahead of you good luck hope to see the finished product

  46. Dave: Keep up the good work. Let us see what your goals and designs will be as you connect the lines together. The space between the new trackage is planned to do what in your final plans. Plenty of space for storage as you have shown where you are storing items until being used again. Also you have other items that will eventually be covered-are they to be used again? I just know you will be doing remote DCC and with the units you already displayed and all will work as they did prior to your “Big Hammer” day. Keep us informed as I plan to follow you until completion of whatever you have in mind. Use your space wisely knowing passenger cars take turning space not seen until the car is placed on the track with another on the opposing track. I know you know all the small things in formulating the final track plan which I’ve always found NOT to be the FINAL track work. Good luck and GOD speed my friend-keep our rail-heads wondering-what’s next. Harold Jr.

  47. Ray Ehlert says:

    Dave This is the:first time writing to you or Al but an admiring observer of all you and others have done to date. I am retiring soon at 72 and can’t wait to attempt starting my layout.
    My first thought and generous approval from wife is to commander our catch all room which is 9′ x 12′ and will be an O gauge. It is now empty except for some tables set up to “play’ trains with the grandkids over the holidays.. But after seeing your “loft” I really think I need a good access to the “attic” and can then work with an 8′ x 22″ area. If you can do it I can try it.
    Back to your new layout Dave – I have complete confidence that you have the wiring method and logic worked out and I will be watching and waiting to see just how you will do it! Train man Charlie….

  48. Ray Ehlert says:

    correction – – – 8′ x 22′ area !

  49. Larry O'Connor says:

    Like a previous contributor, I think the lure of Model Railroading is the girth of areas that you need to explore. Woodworking, electronics, planning, scenery ( if you have any creative ideas, which I don’t) model building tinkering with train stuff etc. I’m 70+ and started in N scale back in the 60’s, when there was almost nothing available. To my wifs’s chagrin, I have now move to Z and Tgauge. I know I’m crazy, but enjoy the challenge of working with a magnifiying lamp. Dave is an inspiration for us all. When you stop thinking you STOP.

  50. dan o wiseman says:

    wow , its all great , like changing , every thing my self thanks keep up the videos yours so great work , take care dan o

  51. Peter says:

    Hopefully you managed to salvage some track and points from the previous layout? Look forward to some updates.

  52. Michael says:

    Dave, build drawers to fill the lower old level, you will increase your storage by 10 times and you will find that your work efficiency will increase as well as you will be able to find things QUICKER, whether it be Tools or Trains! Also, having the work level higher, you won’t be bending over so much, your back will appreciate it too!

  53. Robert Bouskill says:

    I’m seventy and I wish I had half the energy you do. As we go through life we all try to figure out what it is all about but at our age we know it is not the destination but the ride that counts the most. work slow and steady and I’m sure you will impress me with new videos in the future. I always wondered how you got those long canal boats around the curves in your river, although I loved the sailboats under you high level bridge. canals where I live have only lake freighters passing through at Welland, Ontario, Canada. The canal boats you show are very fascinating.

  54. Roy Tibbles says:

    Well Dave you must have a lot of free time, myself still doing this layout now for six years and still working on it to compleat, but I do enjoy it mesting around working it out as for electric’s, you have given a few ideas as for getting by in the past and greatful for it, so you keep the good work going nice watching your video’s. Roy

  55. Skip Kerr says:

    Dave; have been following you for many years and your ideas and inspiration have been the driving factor in my model train building! Keep up the good work and let the ideas flow… My 12’x20’x12′ layout is still in its infancy but coming along and will post some pic’s soon! Between you and Al I have enough info to keep me going for sometime!
    Thanks again
    Medina Ohio USA

  56. Joe Cavilla says:

    Dave you are truely dangerous. I have to admire your determination and imagination. Looking forward to your progress. I too feel trough my attic cieling onto concret garage floor and shattered my left calcanous. But we move on.

  57. Cary B says:

    Can’t wait to see what the new layout will be Dave. Keep up the great work and stay well.

    Cary B

  58. David McClelland says:

    Good Lord Dave!!!! You had a “smashing” layout Before! Can’t wait to see the new one. Part of the fun of model railroading is building.

    Conductor Dave, Dayton, Ohio

  59. George M. Steffens says:

    Hi, Dave,
    I really admire your vision, creativity and your desire of always seeing improvement. I love how the scale of your creation keeps expanding. I am recently retired at 73 and live in a rental, two bedroom townhouse. When my youngest daughter moved out last year, I realized that I now had a room to build a layout. I had not been in model railroading for over 15 years when i sold off all my equipment. i began from scratch. Being in a rental, I realized that I could not make it permanent, so I made four tables in a modular configuration. So, when I eventually move, I will be able to separate them without destroying the layout and carry each section our through the doorways. You are an inspiration.

  60. Robert Brady says:

    Dave ur making it sound like an end of an era,sad in away.If you keep us up to date it would be like a continuing saga.THE RETURN OF DANGEROUS DAVE
    and his mighty rail road empire!

  61. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Wow, no it is a bigger WOW.

  62. george zaky says:

    Big thanks to you AL and big thanks to D Dave.
    Cant remember when I jumped aboard but this site has been soooo important to me. You know I get about every 4th word of Daves dialogue -being a Yankee- but I understand everything he said and I feel I’ve known him forever. LOL. Dave’s wife must be a saint because of the expenses he accrues. No moss grows on this Rolling Stone.
    Hah! no more “Dangerous Dave” now ” Rolling Stone Dave”!!!
    Good health to all –
    George from NY

  63. Ian McDonald says:

    I was very surprised to see what you have done Dave. but it is a great feeling pulling something down and starting again. I have done the same thing. oh what a feeling. The next step is good, plenty of coffee or tea a good chair and a sketch pad. nothing like a day at the hardware buying new material another good feeling. your start looks great cant wait for updates. take the pad to bed for that 3am brillant idea. thinking of what few people have said in the past keep it simple have fun enjoy the build your way your layout. happy railroading.

  64. Robert Brady says:

    OH McGoo your doing it AGAIN.That’s why most of us are in trouble with our wives
    Good luck and carry on Dave!
    The Critic

  65. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    A daunting project but you have given me the inspiration to ditch my long delayed home layout and start it, or rather another one, in place. Since it has been ‘stagnant’ I have built 6 other smaller E2E and Rr layouts in N and OO. Perhaps its time to scrap the major one and start again as I said inspired by this.

  66. Will in NM says:

    It was still great to see Dave’s indomitable spirit at work. I think that’s how he accomplishes so much: he’s not afraid to tear it all apart and start over when it’s not to his liking. So sorry Dave to hear about your broken ribs and flooded ceiling. I’ve had similar experiences working on houses and apartment over the years but never quite so drastic as yours. My most exciting mishap was setting my foot on fire while pouring gasoline into the lawn mower too close to the water heater. Luckily, I didn’t burn down the house in the process. 🙂

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