Double level HO scale layout – Don’s

Don’s been back in touch with his double level HO scale layout:

“It has been a while since I last sent you about my new layout.

My Old layout had a few problems. It had three lift/duck unders that just made running no fun. They were hard to keep aligned.

Also the scenery blocked the only window in the room.

The old layout was a continuous incline with a turn around at each end. The new layout is three levels connected with a helix.

The first set of pictures show the lower staging level. This level will be operated by a dedicated switcher.

It will bring assembled trains to and from the main level. there they will be connected to appropriate motive power. The helix connects the staging to the main and upper levels.

The helix also has a turn around for the main and upper levels so they can be run independently.

double level ho scale layout

model railroad track

model train track

model railroad helix

model railroad helix

atlas track plan

These are pictures of the main level. They are basically from right to left off the helix. Much of this level is from the old layout.

Mainline track was completely replaced and grades changed to match the helix. This level was lowered to 30 inches. A floor jack was used.

The new layout was a result of my wife deciding that we needed hardwood floors throughout the condo. Several sections of the old layout were stacked on dollies that the floors installers moved as they put in the new floors.

The bottom track under the waterfall is now only a display as a result of lowering this level.

Double level HO scale layout:

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

These pictures are are of the window treatment and the unfinished Baltimore area.

The two upper level bridges span 28 inches each with approaches to let in as much light as possible.

The girder bridges cross the main level. The new main level is to the left. It will have the Camden station and the B&O warehouse shown.

model railroad benchwork

model railroad warehouse

model railroad bridge

model railroad bridge

These are pictures of the upper level. They are from left to right. The center is from the old layout.

All The Main line was replaced. There is a branch line 5 inches above, Both corner sections are new to allow the track to cross the window and enter the helix.

Double level HO scale layout:

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout

These show the new branch line bridge to the top of the helix. Tentatively the top of the relix will be a logging camp. Also is a picture of Harpers Ferry that connects the upper level to the helix

double level ho scale layout

double level ho scale layout


A big thanks to Don for sharing his double level HO scale layout.

Don’s last post is here – it’s been quite an evolution:

Atlas flex track layout

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

16 Responses to Double level HO scale layout – Don’s

  1. Foola Sheet says:

    Great layout love to see video when complete. Always liked the multi tracks.

  2. Rich B. says:

    Could review these recent layouts all day long. Thoughts here are these torn down and rebuilt just for a change maybe every decade or so (yes, know of Dangerous Dave). Perfect coloration of falls, streams, rivers. Especially the turquoise hued flowage of that one in particular shot. Reversing Falls in Pembroke (sp?), ME that same hue when tides are churning coming in and going out (sort of blender emulsified salt water). Noted also in places with wire polarities spaced from each other as the old knob and tube stuff was. Safest ever thought, in use over century ago at least. Still in use, many of the old farms and dwellings here…
    Must be more of these complete basement sized projects out there, wasn’t sure if any even existed anymore.

    And Regards, Rich

  3. Don says:

    beautiful workmanship, love the bridges & the loops, when finished it was be spectacular.

  4. Don R - Florida, USA says:

    Don that will be quite a layout when complete. Obviously you are familiar with Baltimore. What model kits are your red row houses? Did you build multiple houses from a single kit or does it come with all four homes? Or, did you scratch build them? Being from Baltimore, I want to use some on my layout.

  5. george zaky says:

    Quite a project you’ve undertaken. Very nice job on the scenery and a layout is never done. Keep us posted on updates and I would love to see a video of the running trains.
    Big Al
    Cheers! 😊

  6. Tony Weisbecker says:

    Sir that’s one beautiful layout you have going but I believe you have too much time on your hands . I wish to be as lucky as you besides not having any room for such a grand layout i probably not live long enough to finish anything close to this outrageous wonderful exquisite masterpiece . Besides I’d need AI to control it all not alone remember who’s who and where everything is going . Honest I would wish to be in your shoes . I have been collecting for fifty years now have at least hundred and fifty locos with a few being built (Bowser locos) with all the other stuff and trimmings to run and build but not a inch of track to run them on . ROOM I NEED ROOM , ha ,ha . Hope to accomplish something someday before my days end . Your a lucky fella alrighty .

  7. Greg Marples says:

    Beautiful work! I am at a similar place with my much less ambitious N scale layout, and I find myself wondering what to use to give a uniform, finished look to the cross sectioned edges of the table. Currently cut from Masonite or 1/4” plywood, whatever was laying around, I am debating whether to use 1/4” hardwood veneer plywood (worry about the curved edges splintering when sawed), or some kind of hardboard just painted. A creek with deep banks “dumps “ right off the front, I thought about inserting some plexiglass over that. Why are you planning?

  8. Mike Gibbons says:

    To Don R,

    Try looking at Custom Model Railroads for the Row Houses. They are located in Baltimore and have Baltimore structures for both HO and N scale. This company also built the current layout in the B&O Train museum in Baltimore.

  9. Mike Gibbons says:


    Great job on your lay out, love the realism!

  10. Don Kadunc says:

    Row houses are multiple 933-3778 Cornerstone kits glued together. There are good directions with the kits

  11. Rich B. says:

    Already here awhile ago. Nothing changed… it’s all good.


  12. Ross says:

    Don: Beautiful work. Are you in a basement on a loft?

  13. Tony Weisbecker says:

    It would take a couple of life times to build that beautiful layout . Most excellent . I wish I’d see more European locos on these great layouts . I have dozens of locos and everything else but no layout as of yet ,NEED ROOM . I have all the early 1800’s locomotives plus many home built Bowser loco’s . I won’t settle till I have a layout like Don’s here someday if I live long enough . Perfection at its finest.

  14. Don Kadunc says:

    This layout is in an upstairs dedicated bedroom. The row houses are multiple Cornerstone 933-3778 kits. The instructions tell how to connect multiple kits. I am currently working on the unfinished Baltimore lower level and will try to explain the process used to come up with a design. I should have some progress next month. While not shown, I use Masonite for the facia. It is flexible, easy to cut to contours of the scenery, and is very paintable. In some areas I will add clear flexible Lexan plastic found in big box stores for storm doors. This will protect delicate scenery and track close to edges.

  15. Steve Ruple says:

    Great layout, a lot of work to be done

  16. robert dale tiemann says:

    lots of time and effort, it shows. very nice job.

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