David’s update

David has been back in touch with an update.

He’s a man of few words this time – but the pictures speak for themselves.

And besides, for me, it’s all about making a start, which I why I post half built layouts.

“Hi Al,

Attached are some latest pics of my layout:



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Big thanks to David for sharing.

And don’t forget, today is the very last day for the little Kahuna offer. (They’ll be on the site at full price tomorrow.)

Please do keep ’em coming folks: let’s share your tips, pics and videos.

Latest ebay cheat sheet? It’s here.



42 Responses to David’s update

  1. ray thomason says:

    As a retired Civil Engineer and an ex railwayman (though I defected to highways), may I make a plea for modellers to study the prototype before creating their structures. Now I know that a true model of a major terminal station would take up a area of a full size tennis court and that the scale distance between stations would be a quarter of a mile, but there should be no compromise on engineering save for the radius of curves. Even then the “bible” British Railway Track” recommends all curves less than 10 chains be fitted with check rails. My main grouse is the modelling of inappropriate structures for I am unaware of any Suspension type bridge structures on full size railways as the rule for such is high dead loads compared to low live loads which is not the case for railways. Further so many layouts one sees has a tunnel portal at the end of an embankment; under these conditions the little 4mm or 7mm construction gangs would rather excavate out a comparatively small amount of earth rather than tunnel through it! Finally, fencing is the bane of a railwayman’s life in order to protect the public,children and live stock from wandering onto railway property so consideration should be given to this when constructing a model. I could rabbit on for hours about the wrong types of bridge ,retaining wall or barrow crossing used in models, but enough for now. I don’t wish to be completely negative and may I say that there are some wonderful near perfect layouts around given the restrictions as mentioned earlier.

  2. Sue says:

    This looks great – I am a beginner in this and space is limited. Love the suspension bridge. It has really inspired me again. I was given 00 Flying Scotsman 15 years ago and so far done nothing with it. Please could you tell me the size of your set up and the make of the tressels.


  3. Michael Hill says:

    A nice succinct layout , love the Grand Suspension Bridge in the back ground.
    Play factor A+.

  4. Del says:

    Due to various reasons I haven’t built a layout in about 30 years, but I sure do like to see what other folks are doing. Please keep the pictures coming and maybe when I have the room and the time to build I’ll have enough ideas to build something everybody else will like.

  5. steven stclair says:

    Excellent work what is the size of your board?

    Steve Australia

  6. Jim Volmer Sr says:

    Nice layout Dave Keep it going Always remember a layout is never finished

  7. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Looks like your layout is coming along nicely…have fun

  8. Steve from New Jersey says:

    David’s work does his talking. Nice job. I like the buildings.
    Steve from toms river

  9. George Ross says:

    Like Everything about the layout.

  10. Clive Hill says:

    I think the retired engineer above needs to get out more and get a life.
    Dave, take no friggin’ notice of Mr negativity, your layout is excellent.
    Power to your elbow, and bollix to the critics!!

  11. Hank Vonk says:

    Why the negative comments from this so called engineer. Who cares if there isn’t a fence or a bridge that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Who ever said a layout should be perfect. The naysayers like you. Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!

  12. John Reynolds says:

    Very well done…

  13. I too am a Engineer[ two types] I too have knowledge of d/l and l/l also know that it does not even apply to railroad modelers working in fun showing their skills to the best of their abilities and knowledge. Intelligence is where ALL applications are used. Talk to those of your kind and give more credit to others not as versed as you write to be. Weeds serve a purpose too, but they are soon dug up. Enjoy life and let others enjoy their hobby as best they can- I do and still appreciate others.

    Keep up your good works with your hobby and keep it fun. Many of us care that you do well as you afford what you will on your layout no matter the so-called right way to do so. Good luck!
    Harold Jr of Grand Prairie, TX, USA

  14. wotta great little layout
    and when ya have just so much space ya gotta kram it all in there
    just keep it runnin’ fellas….

  15. John says:

    Well done coming along fine. Think you have managed to get a lot into it given the small board your using. It is what you want to do on your layout not what others expect. As for the retired Civil Engineer well, he could do trying to understand the problems which people have to overcome by trying to build a model railway in a small area. Anyway his comments were quite uncalled for and I wonder if he worked for BR or probably; Gov.com doubt they could find a hard hat large enough for him. On highway’s was he, Maybe that is why some of our Motorways were out of date before they were built. That is of course if he ever got outside of the drawing office. Notice he did not leave his name.
    Nice layout with plenty still left to do like fences work on the centre and the like. Look for to seeing it progress…………….John

  16. Lindsay says:

    Oh dear. I’m 60 years old and approaching the retirement in which – I hope – I shall be able to devote some time to the model railway I have always wanted. Of course I’d love it to be an 0-gauge main-line, with all the mileage and the scenery, or yet in P4. But to our “Civil Engineer”, can I say, we just don’t have the space, in our garages, lofts or spare rooms to do all that. Manx of us look with envy at those huge spaces some of our confrères in America or Canada have to work with.


  17. Jon B says:

    Mr. Civil Engineer please take up a different hobby and leave this blog. I can’t believe someone like you would have the audacity to criticize the hard work, creativity and passion of these hobbyists. Please make your final post a heartfelt apology to these folks and leave us all in peace to our hobby.

  18. Mike from Melbourne says:

    I am a practicing civil engineer, and these days we talk about fit-for-purpose (not “up to code”), which to my mind describes this brilliant little layout. The purpose is to have fun and I think David is doing just that – and bringing pleasure to those who see his work.

  19. Les says:

    Nice job Dave, Thanks for sharing keep up the good work. Rgds

  20. Mike in Rochester, NY says:

    The layout is terrific, Dave. So much in such little space. Really inspiring, creative; it’s not only a train-board, it’s a story-board. BTW: Pay no attention to comments that say so little while taking up so much space. Keep up the nice work.

  21. Chris says:

    I reckon you should do what ever you feel like. Who cares if its not prototypical. As long as you are enjoying the challenges of the hobby, let your construction ideas run free. PS that suspension bridge looks awesome.

  22. Graeme Bregani says:


    I do enjoy good reviewing almost as much as good train layouts.
    Our retired Civil Engineer is of course correct, and I’m glad to hear from him.

    I am 71 and about to construct my very first train layout.
    Like Dave, I am going to use ‘imagineering’ as my inspiration, and allow trains to run through my excitement, stop briefly at my grin and run chiefly on my joy.
    Please do join me, but excuse me, “I’ve got an empire to build”.
    – Scotched.

  23. Rod Mackay says:

    Whoa! Civil Engineer is quite right, looking closely at the real thing is not only very helpful if you’re modelling, it’s also fascinating, there’s a reason for everything and seldom any wasted expense, and whatever you build will look so much more real if it’s at least BASED on real life, however many compromises you have to make for size and budget. So many model railways are based only on “look what I got cheap at the swapmeet, now where can I put it?” which is fine if that’s what you want, but actually being able to say you built something that has a personal connection, such as the station you used to use, your folks’ old house, the bridge down the road, is MUCH more satisfying.
    So, 5mph speed restriction over the suspension bridge, oh and looks like you might have a railjoint stepped just above the tunnel mouth. Have fun!

  24. Mike says:

    I remember when I was many years younger I did not think I could make realistic scenery so I planed a railway on the moon! Not practical with steam power and open carriages but kept me busy and happy for some years.

  25. barry lipton says:

    What size table is that?. Is it HO scale as in the united states.
    To all of you ” ENGINEERS” please STOP!!!!!!!!!!!! being critical this is a hobby not a professional railroad.

  26. Chris says:

    Maybe we all need to take a step back and breathe deeply for a minute or two!

    I think Dave’s layout is very complex and imaginative, with a lot of details , given the space he is working in. I also think that, those people who aspire to replicate “the prototype” and adhere to the rules and restrictions that go with that should be given a tip of the hat for working to a level of complexity that most of us can’t even understand – let alone approach in our own modeling efforts.

    I can understand why someone who does understand the rules of the “real world” and strives to model them accurately would be highly offended when presented with a layout that violates those rules, and he has a right to speak to that, given his level of expertise and his plea to other modelers to try to do a better job in employing those rules in their layouts. For his perspective, a layout that adheres more closely to the rules is more enjoyable to look at and appreciate.

    At the same time, this hobby is so multi-faceted and multi-level that I think there should be plenty of room for those of us whose, size, expertise and financial constraints – or those who just want to put together something fun to play with – should be able to coexist more peacefully than this! After all, there’s a long distance between a “country fiddler” and Itzak Perlman, but the world of the violin seems to be able to accommodate them both!

  27. Michael Day says:

    A fine layout in such a small space. I guess most of us who don’t have lots of space have to accommodate curves sharper and grades steeper than we’d like, both very demanding of track alignment. Although I’ve always used Flextrack I think if I had it to do over I’d use Setrack where short radii are unavoidable as the curve is preserved right up to the end of the piece, whereas that last inch or two of Flextrack doesn’t want to curve. None of us enjoys seeing big overhangs of passenger coaches on the outside of tight curves and it’s not a bad idea to mask the outside of those curves with scenery; the inside overhang is far less noticeable. Regarding gradients, a 4-inch length of half-inch straight strip is very handy to lay lengthwise over the rail join at the top of the slope. Even the slightest, barely visible hump can cause poor electrical pickup and derailment. I pin my track to a soft board and where humps are noticed after the track is laid, I get the cranked Dremel bit going underneath until the hump disappears. Good work, Dave and keep us posted! Mike

  28. Ian Mc Donald says:

    a great bit of craftmanship it has given inspiration to others that bridge looks great do lots more then more photos.

  29. jon says:

    Hi all, great job,this is a hobby for us to enjoy and create with our mind and usually limited space. Who really cares about the logistics at the end of the day.
    I am a chef by trade,when someone cooks for me I don’t judge I appreciate what the person has done. This is the beauty of a hobby no rules!!! have fun everyone Jon Canberra ACT.

  30. John says:

    As for the guy who though the so called civil engineer was fair comment who did not sign his name either. I do not intend to take step backwards. Far as I am concerned he is an idiot. I have been modelling railways since the early 60s am now retired and still modelling. I also worked for British Railways years ago but not on a permanent way gang. I over the years have never read such a rude and ill informed (about model railways) review about a small layout which somebody has put a lot of time and effort into. If they like it or not.
    I to have read and used all the BR manuals and applied them sometimes to my layout. I enjoy using stock and locos from all sorts of railway companies. Mainly GWR, LNER, LMS, SR, and post war BR, and other older companies as well. Although this idiot seems think he is the only person on the planet who looks at the real railway world he may be surprised to know that there are a lot of people in the hobby who study real world practises using BR manuals etc;
    There are a lot of people in the hobby with perhaps more knowledge than he has even. I suggest that before writing something else he tries to learn something about model railways first. …..John

  31. Raymond Appenzeller says:

    A fine layout indeed! I only have one concern as I was looking at your layout I noticed the legs being used to support it. Are they strong enough to maintain the weight and anyone that may lean on layout say doing some work on it or fixing a car. Just concerned and curious.

  32. Andrew Walker says:

    To the Mr engineers out there we build these mostly for fun and enjoy doing so .We don’t need rivit counters coming along and pulling them to not sure our railway we will run and build what we want
    AW (UK)

  33. Cary Buter says:

    Very nice layout David. Looks like a UK scene and I love seeing layout from other parts of the world
    Thanks for sharing for posting Al


  34. Craig Burton's says:

    David, your layout is Awesome! Pay no mind to civil engineer,he doesn’t have a layout, like most engineers he is ONLY book smart, looks good on paper. You have ojt,one up on him. Keep up the good work and enjoy! Craig. USA

  35. Terry Miller says:

    Dave–nice layout–good work. My attention was caught to the building with the tower in several of the pictures. It looks kind of neat—I am assuming it is not scratch built. Can you tell me what it’s called and where you got it?

  36. Ramsey Arnold says:

    FYI – TRAINS (Granted, not FREIGHT Trains, have been crossing the East River in NY City since trains began, since that SUSPENSION BRIDGE (over 100 years old) was completed by John Roebling’s son. The Brooklyn Bridge – trains, cars, trucks, AND pedestrians is one of NYC’s Icons.

    Great, Inspiring layout giving me a boot along my reentry to model railroading, AFTER 60 YEARS. 🤠

  37. TOM SAWYER says:

    people should remember, it’s my model and if i want to hook thomas the tank engine to the union big boy #4014 i will!

  38. Bob Baselice says:

    I have to agree with John.
    A suspension bridge is quite an undertaking when it comes construction.
    And it adds a wonderful look to the layout . Also shows imagination when it comes to model railroad layouts.
    There is a bridge in Philadelphia that crosses the Delaware River and connects Philly to Camden NJ called the Ben Franklin Bridge it is a suspension bridge that also has a train bridge built in.
    Google it and you’ll find pictures of it!

    Loved the layout and this site ,
    I’m glad that Al was able to keep it going.
    I look forward to reading it every morning while I have my coffee!
    Thanks Al !

  39. Bayne Eason says:


    Your layout is wonderful! Pay no attention to the civil engineer– he probably has no friends and gets his joy from criticizing others.


  40. Robert Brady says:

    You didn’t paint your fascia yet I see.
    The Critic.
    Only one critic on this page Raymond,lol

  41. Steve Joyce says:

    Rivet counting on someone’s 4X8 layout is impractical. One tries to put as much stuff on it as one can to give it visual appeal. So spreading out a train station and bridges to make it more distance accurate is unfeasable. You would only be able to have one or 2 structures on it or need a bowling alley to keep “realistic” distances.

  42. george zaky says:

    Why would someone like Ray comment like that is beyond me. I am an engineer and resent my peers that are so untuned to life and cant read the room.
    Since I am on the rant- Please! All you wonderful people submitting your talents include the scale, where you are, some particulars like track info, DC or DCC, switch types, brands etc etc. We admire your work but you leave us hanging.
    Your bridge is much better than mine and is wonderful. Keep us posted and keep up the good work. Great buildings- tell us about them.
    George from LI, NY

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