HO scale multi level layout

David has been in touch with his HO scale multi level layout.


I really appreciate your daily emails. The pictures, videos and viewer comments are very helpful. Thank You!

I have collected 027 Gauge trains and Accessories for over 40 years; it started when my Dad bought me a Lionel steam engine when I was 10 years old.

My uncle worked for the Santa Fe Railroad; he would take me to the rail yards, knowing my interest in trains. What a thrill for a young boy.

I returned to the hobby when I was in my thirties and it has been adventure, since then.

Last year, I sold my 027 gauge collection to an EBayer and soon had “sellers remorse”. My 027 gauge layout was 4 levels and entirely took up our 20’ x 30’ unfinished basement.

After selling my collection, I decided to become an HO gauge convert. Not having access to the train shows and swaps that I would routinely attend really restricted my ability to get good deals for my new hobby.

I quickly became a shopper on eBay and began buying engines and rolling stock. I reused much of the scenery I developed on previous train layout, converting it to HO scale.

I have always enjoyed modeling scenery, but had to relocate 8 times for my job. As a result I crafted scenery from foam board and sculpted it using a “Hot Wire” cutter and a wire brush, depending on the effect I wanted.

My benchwork was constructed with ½” plywood and large bolts for easy reassembly.

My HO layout is a work in progress and I plan to swap out many of my repurposed 0 gauge scenery. Here are some photos to share with your readers, if you think they are worthy. I am sending you a 2nd email with my HO layout pictures.

I look forward to receiving your emails.

Best Wishes,


HO scale multi level

HO scale multi level

HO scale multi level

HO scale multi level

HO scale multi level

HO scale multi level

HO scale multi level

“Hello Al from across the pond,

I had a bit of a problem with running some old locos I had from the 1990’s. They would stall when crossing insulated frogs on the newer switches (points).

I realized that the frog was longer than the span of the two wheel pick up at each truck.

The trucks are three axles each for a six axle locomotive. Only four axles drive with a dummy axle on each truck.

I disassembled the trucks and studied them and tried several ways to make each truck three wheel pick up in stead of two wheel pick up.

The following pictures are what I came up with to solve the problem.

The first picture shows the truck.

The second picture shows the original contacts.

the third picture shows that I used 28 gauge copper to make a new contact.

The next pictures shows how I fabricated new contacts to include the third axle as a pick up wheel.

The final three pictures show how the contact was installed.

Now the locos have six wheel pick up and run smoother and don’t stall on insulated frogs. I will send some pictures of my lay out at a later time.

Good Day,

Ken from Pa, USA”

A big thanks to Dave for sharin his HO scale multi level layout, and to Ken too.

I thought Dave’s solution was very clever – I do like seeing how you all solve the issues that this hobby throws up.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you take the leap of faith and start your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS – There’s also another new post on ‘myotherhobby.com‘ – Jim’s vintage cars!

16 Responses to HO scale multi level layout

  1. your pictures are beautiful and I Looooove your model of the CTA “L ” train, I’m 66 years young and I have been HO Scale Model Railroader for a long time 😊👍🚇🚉

  2. Ron says:

    Fantastic stuff ! Thank you for sharing your craft with all of us !
    Keep up the good work…


  3. Jim Kennedy says:

    I am a wannabe modeler and plan to start my first layout in the near future. I am actually building a workshop for such an endeavor. It amazes me with the realistic look of the models. These people (I say people only because I am not sure how many women if any participate n model trains) are artists in the truest definition. My lay out will be N scale and on a much smaller surface area that what they have but I never the less still enjoy looking and envying. Thanks for the pictures and the info. Keep up the good work ALL!

  4. Bill Schutte says:

    Nice conversion, with changing over from “O” guage you have a possibility of making double track main lines. If you are using Bachman EZ track switches there should be a black wire taped tov the bottom of the switch and a small pin. If you connect the black wire to the pin it will energize the frog.

  5. Richard Weiss says:

    Now that is a building-rich environment! Truly fantastic! I went from O to HO to N, then back to O. I had moved to a much larger house, so now I have two O gauge layouts. Now that I am in my late 70s, O gauge is a lot less challenging with respect to my ability to work with very small things. My new layout uses Atlas O gauge track and switches. Very smooth, and I don’t seem to have locomotive contact issues. I now have 5 MTH remote controlled engines, and 25 non-remote engines. The MTHs run like a dream, the others, not so much. Congratulations on your efforts to move from O to HO. I gave away all my N buildings…just too small for my O.

  6. Dan Hulitt says:

    Looks like you are having lots of fun, Dave. Your layout looks great.

    A friend of mine said 6 axle engines will always let you know when you have a track problem. Ken, it looks like you have come up with a viable solution. Is that an AHM engine?

    Thanks for posting, guys.

    Mn Dan

  7. Terry Miller says:

    DAVID: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great pictures of both scales!! Keep up the good work.

  8. Dave
    A very nice layout I like the circus
    Great fix on your locomotive
    But most of all have fun,enjoy
    From florida

  9. Erick says:

    Very Nice; I am going to do something like that.

  10. Lester Wayne Larrew says:

    What a great job you did. Please send more pix, a track plan and videos.
    Lester in Jawja USA

  11. Rob Sanderson says:

    @Jim Kennedy I also am a N scaler. I’m building my bench work now, a 2 1/2 x 5 table. Framing it now, plywood top coming soon. The size doesn’t matter. Just enjoy your layout.

  12. Vinnie MONTAGNA says:

    Well I have the copper and the sheers. I will fabricate the same to correct my deficiencies. Thank y’all for the remedy. Regards Vinnie fro the Island of Staten.

  13. Your previous 027 can only generate one word, “WOW”. The scenery was great. Can’t wait until you fully develop the HO layout.

  14. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Dave……quite a layout……..love the colors and all those structures……..just looking at it says that you put a lot of hard work and love into that layout. Great job.

    Ken…… nice piece of electrical work…….this is something I haven’t mastered yet. It always takes me a long time and many tries to get my electrical work done right.

  15. Dan Willams says:

    DAAYYUMM!! Nice job, beautiful layout.

    Dan in Richmond Va.

  16. matiSon says:

    Ken, I have been working on the pick-up issue for a couple days now in G Gauge. I will give your method a shot. There are cars that I would like to light up, and this may work for me. I am also trying to convert all of the plastic wheels to metal. Much of the rolling stock in G has plastic wheels. For such a high price, I expected better materials.

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