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.
Attached are some latest pics of my layout:
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.
And if today is the day you get started and join in on the fun, the Beginner’s Guide is here.
PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.
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.
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.
A nice succinct layout , love the Grand Suspension Bridge in the back ground.
Play factor A+.
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.
Excellent work what is the size of your board?
Nice layout Dave Keep it going Always remember a layout is never finished
Looks like your layout is coming along nicely…have fun
David’s work does his talking. Nice job. I like the buildings.
Steve from toms river
Like Everything about the layout.
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!!
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!!!!!!!!!!
Very well done…
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
wotta great little layout
and when ya have just so much space ya gotta kram it all in there
just keep it runnin’ fellas….
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
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.
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.
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.
Nice job Dave, Thanks for sharing keep up the good work. Rgds
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
a great bit of craftmanship it has given inspiration to others that bridge looks great do lots more then more photos.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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. 🤠
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!
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 !
Your layout is wonderful! Pay no attention to the civil engineer– he probably has no friends and gets his joy from criticizing others.
You didn’t paint your fascia yet I see.
Only one critic on this page Raymond,lol
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.
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
Hi Al, and all fellow modellers,
Many thanks for the mostly positive comments on my layout. I really don’t mind people like the retired engineer making criticisms, but frankly it was not supposed to be realistic. I just built it for fun and to learn – it is my first attempt at a layout and I wanted to learn everything that was needed to make a fun an interesting layout, from wiring to ballasting, all of which I learnt from youtube.
Overall the layout runs just fine – it is “finished” now and Al did post some pictures of that on an earlier posting. To answer a couple of questions:
The board is 6’x4′. The trestles are for car bonnet spraying – available on ebay. It is HO scale and all Hornby track. It is DCC and run by the smaller of the Hornby DCC controllers as I wanted trains with sound, which makes such a difference to the fun. I have many many more photos if anyone wants to see anything particular….
Just wanted to say this looks great use of a small space
Off to a great start, my friend. I look forward to your updates. Happy modeling!
David, That’s a great layout you’re creating. I find it hard to believe it is only 6 x 4 feet. You’ve certainly squeezed a lot of fun into a small space.
Ray Thomason, the engineer, makes some valid observations about the limitations of model railroads and the need for selective compression of prototype features. He’s right that a real railroad would rather do a “cut and fill” than build a tunnel. Still, as the old model railroader wall plaque reads:
Rule 1: This is my railroad.
Rule 2: I make the rules.
Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment, and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of any visitor perceived anachronisms, detail discrepancies or operating errors, consult Rules 1 and 2.
A lot of thoughts to consider…
Our layouts are a form of kinetic art,. Art takes many forms and some who appreciate one form have no taste at all for a different one. People who love J.S. Bach will probably not be great fans of Coolio or Dr. Dre. The reverse is also true. There is photo realistic art, impressionist art, the surreal (What if Salvador Dali built a model railroad), “modern art”, and so on.
Here is one thing that is very true about Model Railroading however… Almost no one has space to model anything to exact scale — Everything must be compressed.
One truism about the hobby is that “There is a prototype for everything.” While not 100% true, it is amazing the things that exist in the real world that most experienced modelers would say “That isn’t prototype.” To the critical “Civil Engineer” I have seen tunnels on real railroads where one wonders why they didn’t just open it up ar realign the right-of-way to avoid the hill altogether.
A classic example of this was in Virginia City where the Virginia and Truckee railroad tunneled right under Mount Saint Mary’s Church. The basement of the church cannot be more than 10 meters above what was the top of the tunnel when the railroad was in operation! 7 meters would be even more likely.
Also, this tunnel goes through slope they could have run around the end of and avoided the tunnel altogether. This is not the only such example in the United States. About a decade ago a new rail line was installed to better serve Los Angeles Harbor and the Port of Los Angeles… A fair portion was built “cut and cover” so that the tunnel roof is barely above the tops of the trains… Real Estate can be valuable when it is scarce!
Years ago Model Railroader — Kalmbach Publications — used to have occasional pages they ran with the banner “It Ain’t Prototype”… One memorable picture was a railroad control tower that looked like some fool modeler had just set it on the ground…The dirt did not quite touch the bottom of the building and it most assuredly had not “settled in” — This control tower was in a railroad yard on one of our major railroads….
It is very easy to be a critic, very easy to put others down, very easy to destroy… Try building something however — Even the simplest layout can be far more work that one would first expect. Civilizations are made by builders, some good, some “not so much”. The world has a surplus of critics and others who take the creators for granted… But it is the creators who build the world and make civilization possible.
Keep up the fun work David. Ignore the negative comments of Ray. Not needed here!
I would like to applaud Dave for his layout build and for sharing it with us. One’s creative juices need an outlet and that first layout design progresses into track laying, ballasting, scenery and structures. I do hope that what Dave has shown us will be the first of many layouts he will construct. I would like to comment, if I may, on the post from Del. The phrase Del has used “to build something everybody else will like” caught my attention. I am sure that this thought is shared by many hobbyists. And I do hope that this idea has not held him or anyone else from enjoying this multifaceted hobby. Whether one builds a module or fills a loft or basement, the phrase “having fun” is undervalued. I hope that Del and many others will begin a project that will provide many hours of enjoyment and personnel pride.
I agree with many previous comments. Thank you for sharing your layout Dave, and all the others brave enough to share. It is a great start and I can’t wait to see your progress. Please keep us all updated. Ray, please leave this blog and find another venue to spill your negativity. It is not wanted or welcome here. Perhaps you’d like to show us pictures of your perfect layout??? Didn’t think so.
To all the Critic’s. Post your layouts soon for all of us to see before you post anything else. We all are waiting.
Pappy USA East TN.
Nothing wrong here that I see! Does it put a smile on your face? Do you enjoy it? If the answers are yes THAT is what this is all about. My layout is 120 sq. ft. and it can be picked apart easily. I enjoy it! My grandkids enjoy it! Others that view it enjoy it! I know a few tricks and help others, I enjoy it! That’s the only thing important. I put on olde radio shows while I work on it or Polish Polkas or Big Band,
I enjoy it! I shall now step off my soap box(hopefully not fall on my face) and enjoy watching what I created.
I have built 5 layouts over the years in various houses where i lived . They did not have the ballasted track and trees and all the other things to make a “model ” RR. but they gave me hours of enjoyment moving cars to and from the various sidings to be emptied or loaded . my coal mine gets a lot of empties in and then i hand load them with coal . move them out on the “coal turn ” . I run my railroad to suit me . have scratch build a lot of buildings then removed them and replaced with bigger and better ones . Being a retired fire chief I built a scale 6 bay fire station in HO scale . Guess what its to big for my lay out in truth most HO buildings are to small for those found in real life . But they do work out well to “make the scene” on our RR’s so just keep building your world as it suits you . enjoy it. others do and one day you will be gone and some one will say look at what John- or David or Ron built and he and the grand kids really enjoyed “running his railroad ” So until the day the heavenly Golden train comes and we climb aboard . Enjoy your railroads .
Ron Schultz, take a vacation to Towson, Maryland and visit the Fire Museum of Maryland. They have the complete facade of a cast iron front engine house from the 1870’s on display. That one is small enough to fit the smallest of layouts. If I ever get the space for a layout, I’ll have a 3D print made, and scratch the rest. Oh, yeah, I was a tillerman in the?Baltimore City Fire Drpartment.
Raymond, chill out. It’s a hobby to be enjoyed, by the ideas of the modeler.
There are no rules, it is not a competition. “No wagering please”
Please forward your “perfect layout “ it will be nice to see how Mr. Perfect does it.
Nice job Dave, looks great.
My layout has European rolling stock set in an American scene. Nothing can be more un-prototypical than that. Marklin trains and track on an American layout. That’s what I’m doing and I’m happy with it. I could look at a layout, any layout and find something to be negative about. Model railroading is a great hobby that can be enjoyed by engineers and non-engineers alike. I am a retired engineer and like to duplicate in miniature what I see in real life. I don’t always get things to work like I would like, but I have fun trying. I have had people say to me “why are you wasting your time playing with toys”. That kind of response tells me a lot about that person. But others can understand why I devote my time to model trains. I see it as an art form, like painting or sculpture. If anyone need to get a life, it’s the Mr. negatives out there.
I am constantly impressed with modeler’s abilities to put layouts together with buildings and scenery that draws one into the scene. Your structures make sense and provide purpose for the tracks and trains. As the rules state, Rule 1 always applies. Besides, as also noted above, there can always be found a prototype if one is willing to look. As another retired engineer, I always considered engineering to be part art and part science with the art being at least as important as the science. I generally tell rivet counters that we dig these things out of the hills and use them as is.
John Roebling also completed construction of a railroad suspension bridge across the Niagara River just below Niagara Falls. It was replaced as locomotive and car weights grew beyond its ability to support them. It demonstrated the ability of suspension bridges to carry railroads successfully. Ray
Great start Dave and that is the important thing. As you proceed and make a mistake, so what, it is called learning on the job. Something our retired engineer may not have enjoyed. Build it like you want and as it pleases you.
Before H O trains, I restored and built classic cars, I did them the way I liked and was happy if someone also liked the way I did it, if not, thats ok.too.
I think that approach is what modeling is all about. Hobbies should be fun, not trying to please everyone else.