David’s HO layout 7×10

David’s been in touch with his 7×10 HO scale layout:


thanks for all of your effort and time involved with all of your posts. I look forward to opening my email daily to keep up with the wonderful hobby of model trains!

I have loved trains ever since my parents gave me a MARX 027 gauge train set in 1959 for my 12 th birthday.

Later, when our son was nearing the teen years, we began purchasing HO equipment and built a layout. He spent many hours enjoying the hobby.

When he reached college age, we packed the trains in their original boxes and kept them in storage. We moved from Iowa to Indianapolis in 2010 and within a year I decided to take a 7 x 10 foot area out of my shop in our detached garage and once again develop a layout.

The layout extends from wall to wall so is 7 x 10 feet. It is 24 inches from the back and side walls so I can reach everything from the center.

The layout on the door wall is only about 12 inches wide – where the bridge is, so the center area is 6 ft by 4 ft.

I am not using DCC. I have two DC transformers. One transformer does the ‘mountain pass’ and the other one handles all of the lower level – which includes several sidings which I can power on and off with switches. This info is not critical, but thought someone might ask about it.

As I have read in many of your posts, a layout is actually never finished.

I have had fun using our real-life camping experiences with the family to create miniature scenes on my layout.

Such as the campground has white picnic tables that I created using the wood purchased at hobby stores along with the fire pits created using the round metal ends of pencils that hold the erasers and filling them with tiny pieces of wood that appear at each campsite!

I also chose to operate the trains from the center of the layout, so used ideas from a few old posts that showed using a portable ‘bridge’ in the doorway, thus eliminating the need to crawl under, which has proven to be a great benefit to the aging process!

For this I chose to use small phono jacks to furnish the power in correct polarity for the trains, which continues to work perfectly for me. It is important to make sure that when the bridge is placed in position, the track rails are in perfect alignment.

I also installed a red arm at each side that can be lowered to assure the safety of any rolling stock falling to the floor by mistake when not operating the trains!

I work hard at trying to make the layout appear very realistic with the scenes as close to scale as possible. I like to imagine what it would look like from the view in a plane flying overhead!

Readers may also notice the retaining walls I created for the gradual elevation of what I refer to as the ‘mountain pass.’

I cut small rectangular pieces of quarter inch plywood about one half by one inch and glued them together to build the walls.

Sorry but I’m not into the video area, but hope the model train group will enjoy the pictures.

David, Indianapolis USA”

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

7x10 HO scale layout

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

Now on to Jack:

“Hi Al

I have been enjoying your site for more then a year now and its wonderful.

I thought you may like my kit bashed locomotive. Actually its a junk bashed locomotive. The boiler is 55 gallon drum, the drivers are bicycle rims with the centers welded in, the front wheels are off a go kart, the domes are mixing bowls, the headlight is a house light with a car bulb – yes it has high and low beam, the boiler head is a skillet, the bell came of a sunken yacht, the whistle works off a scuba tank in the tender, it has smoke and choo choo.

The sound is from four speakers and a radio detuned so you get static, then the speakers are turned off and on by a cam and switch on a drive wheel, works well. The cab will hold four kids and the tender holds the engineer and six more kids. Because it has rubber tires I can drive it down the street, took it to McDonalds drive thru once. It has a 8 hp motor and a lawn mower transmission. The entire locomotive took 9 months to build, its my baby. It celebrated its 20th birthday this month. Little neighbor kids who rode in it are now bringing their kids over for a ride.

Oh yea I gets of adults asking for rides also. Keep up the great work with the web site.

Jack, Jupiter, Florida”



A big thanks to Jack and David.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming because it’s ghostly quiet this end.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, just like David did, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

21 Responses to David’s HO layout 7×10

  1. Mike Street says:

    Jack that is truly great, a great build and a great thing you have done and are doing for all the kids, and big kids 😉 that you have given pleasure too.
    A big thumbs up from me.
    Cheers Mike S

  2. Mike Buturla says:

    Great job. Do you have plans in detail? I would like to duplicate your build.
    Mike B. In Voluntown Ct.

  3. Ruben Simon says:

    I want to apologize for my occasional comments about trees that aren’t pointing upward. Recently, we’ve seen people saying that our layouts are the way we want and like them. That’s 100% true and I have no business pointing out the trees – they’re my problem. So I’ve decided to call them “happy trees”, which make their creators happy, and that makes me happy. Thanks for forgiveness from anyone I offended.

  4. Chris Munson says:

    Jack, what a creative build! Could you send more photos including the mechanism? I think many of us have dreamed of su h a project, and you have done it beautifully

  5. Ellis James English says:

    Jack, you have reinforced my love of our beloved Florida, Thank you for sharing, many years of happiness for you and your train. Thanks

  6. David Howarth says:

    Well done David getting so much detail it to a 7x 10 layout , you have proved you dont need a large lay[out to implement so much detail on one …and well done Jack with you handy work for that loco ..

  7. Brian Olson says:

    What a great job and use of space, looks like great fun to operate and of course, enjoy.

  8. Rob McCrain says:

    David, You have built a great layout. I like the idea of running your layout surrounded by it. Your vignettes are very imaginative. It looks very relaxing to visit the layout and run a few trains. Well done, Rob McCrain

  9. Stephen Hill says:

    David you have a wonderful layout , very relaxing in some odd way . I really like all the older style autos and campers … very cool . Great job indeed , it all flows nicely and looks natural .

    Jack , great idea , I bet you’re everyone’s hero in your community. You remind me of my father … he too cherished creating experiences for kids that they will never forget . You’re a good man sir .

  10. George Zaky says:

    I am agonizing over the the final plan for a layout and your plan was just the thing I needed to get me off the Schnied.
    You said the DC was a minor point- No- its a major point and techy stuff like the points, track height etc etc is what we in the bull pen need. What is wrong or a problem is more important sometimes than what is right.
    BTW- your themes and layout are wonderful.
    The neighborhood is lucky to have you. The only train to have a steering wheel. LOL

  11. DAVID C BUCK says:

    I like your layout, great work on the scenery. Also impressed that you have the Unique Art loco and caboose with Benny the Brakeman.

  12. ALVA CLYDE GOOD says:

    always nice views and tips

  13. Ed says:

    I just love your finished project.
    I am from wisconsin.
    I will be in Jupiter the month of April. Is there a way I can find you?


  14. Malcolm says:

    Jack, From your description of its construction I didn’t know what to expect, but the result is beautiful. Fantastic!

  15. Ted Strand says:

    Looks very nice and interesting. Would like to have your track layout plan,

  16. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    David, this a real nice railroad room, a good operating layout to enjoy, everything is pleasing to me well done.

    Jack: this is over the top terrific, I echo what Malcolm just said.
    I have wanted to do this build for 25 years now, to do the very same thing, what fun and utter enjoyment. I do hope you will be able to expand on this with us all.
    It is a beautiful creation.

  17. David Schaffner says:

    Nice layout, well done…Love anything vintage..
    Do I see some plastic Ville?..

  18. Andrew Aves says:

    What a wonderful locomotive Jack. Should you take it on a world tour, same as the Flying Scotsman, make sure you come Down Under, we should love to see it – and have a ride.
    Andrew in Oz

  19. Gary M from Long Island says:

    David….great train room and beautiful looking layout. Great job

  20. Scott says:

    Great job David. First time I’ve seen a layout with same Esso station I have from the 1950s early 60s. As to trees since I started my layout I pay much more attention to trees I see and am always amazed that no matter how unusual your model tree may be you can often find it’s shape and even color in nature. Just keep using your imagination and let nature has probably already done it.

  21. Bruce Young Sr says:

    Hello it would be nice if when people send pictures in of thier layouts it would be nice if they included a overall picture that shows the hole layout in one picture

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