Dennis’ layout

“Hi Alastair,

My tip is to use sanded tile grout for ballast you can get black grout and grey grout and mix them to the color you want grout comes in many colors.

If the grout is too fine mix some sand in with, it if you do add sand you will have to glue it down without the sand all the grout needs is water.Haven’t tried this but N scale you could mix sanded grout (floor grout) with non sanded grout (wall grout). I’m in the states and grout is cheap sanded grout comes in 25lb bags wall grout In smaller bags . So you should have plenty off grout left for friends


“Started this with one idea in mind – mining and lumber mill – then added a reverse track for a little pusher car to go in and out of the mine, then added the first raised track, then the second, then another reverse track going from the mine drop-off to the processing shed, and on and on. 5 trains running on one piece of plywood!


That’s all folks – please do keep ’em coming. If you’ve got a layout – half built or beautifully finished – we’d all love to see it.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you pick this hobby back up, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

25 Responses to Dennis’ layout

  1. Scott Anderson says:

    Nice lots of details. Should run at scale speed, this is not very realistic.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. MIKE,Seattle WA says:

    “D” May your friend REST IN PEACE. & thank his wife for him serving. God bless all the service people

  3. JIm Noel says:

    This is one of the more fascinating layouts you have presented. Thanks,

  4. Roland Burch says:

    Dennis, I have never seen a layout like yours, I like it.

    God Bless your friend and his wife. I am also 62 and a Navy Vet from that time, 1969-73.

  5. jacob says:

    lovely track keep on building

  6. Nice layout you have built there Dennis

  7. THOMAS says:


  8. Terry Payne says:

    Great layout well done Dennis.
    On the subject of logging I am building an American n gauge layout part of which includes a sawmill. This is my first attempt so am a bit naive where to scource certain items. Can anyone help re scourcing lumberjacks/ logging equipment and anything related etc

  9. paul Otway says:

    I love Bush tramways.

    Some model ideas some lines use converted Trucks and tractors as motive power. They remove the road wheels and replace them with rail wheels.

    Other lines use locos they purchased second hand from railway companies.

  10. Robert C. Fager says:

    Thanks for the available information and images. Bob!

  11. Rev. Harry C Wigmore III says:

    This is really a neat lay-out. Of all the train lay-outs whether o-gauge, n-gauge, HO, or even the S-gauge, this would be with the mining cars of the mine is real cool. It reminds me of a mine in the Millville, West Virginia. Here the railroad, CSX, goes in and p/u the loaded cars and takes them to destination. even as a small replica load those cars up we got to get them to destination!!!!!
    Thanks again for a great lay-out!!!!

  12. Fred Staley says:

    Nice layout !! Do you have any Shay style (gear drive) they use @ West Virginia lumber sites ??

  13. Fred Staley says:

    Nice layout !! The lumber lico’s went to the mountain top !! Do you have any Gear Drive Shay locos? Still use them in West Va (Scenic Railroad State Park !!

  14. Carl Halgren says:

    I have not seen a Shay in HO scale in at least the past decade. I saw a photo of a lumbering Shay which literally ran on logs (still round). The engine wheels were shaped like a bicycle wheel so as to fit around the logs. Laying rails was fast, easy, and cheap. A great solution for small lumbering camps where rails are used for a short time, then the activity relocated elsewhere.

    I have found logging information in many places on the web. One interesting item showed the logging train on a track where one rail was lower than the other, resulting in tilting the log car. It was tilted at about a 10 degree angle. The log car (flat car style) was unloaded by removing the stakes or chains from the downhill side, letting the logs roll off the car onto a slanted wood platform (about 30 degree angle), and landing in the lake or pond at the sawmill.

    There are also numerous books on logging.

    Keep on training,
    Carl in Kansas (Kansas is not a logging state!)

  15. Cary says:

    Hi Dennis, lots going on in this layout, much great detail that grabs the eye. Lots of activity and running 5 trains…. ! Sounds like great fun to operate. Thanks for sharing. Cary in Kentucky

  16. STEPHEN PARKER says:

    What fun – Lots of action and beautiful.

  17. Andrew Aves says:

    A wonderful layout Dennis – Full of interesting scenes – Thank you for sharing. Andrew in Oz

  18. David Schaffner says:

    If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it….

  19. Frank says:

    I don’t know a lot about the intricacies of railroads, but I tend to see a lot of smaller railroads based on logging operations and lumber mills. Also they tend to be the choice of people who are really into scenery. I gather that they are easier to model because they don’t require as many “items” as say a modern layout.

    We often have to sacrifice, but adding a siding or another loop when you have very little room must feel very satisfying. Besides just seeing trains run is better than keeping them stored away unseen. I like the idea of going for simple layouts and then expanding them with another table, drop down leaf or module.

    Someday, I would like to build a couple of shelf railroads and maybe a couple of 4×8 layouts with just ballasted track and scenery to run the old Lionel, my HO and N gauge stuff. And if I can build a full layout (we might be moving soon) it will be N scale.

    Frank in Orlando

  20. HAL MITCHELL says:

    would love to see a video of everything running…pictures just don’t cut it…model train layouts should be on the move…

  21. Stephen Hill Woodstock GA says:

    Dennis , that is a cool layout , lots of imagination and detail . Nothing more exciting than a handful of trains running about on the same display . I too have multiple trains on my display and it’s really a cool effect . Great job!

  22. william james palmer says:

    very nice

  23. john says:

    looking good !!!

  24. James says:

    Say, not bad, but the snakey track seems like it could be a problem with derailments? Has it?

  25. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice layout. good work.

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