Even more railroad pics and tips

“Dear Alastair,

I enjoy all the tips and layout pictures and look forward to each new post.

I have been working on my own 00 Scale layout since June.

I came into the possession of a DCC Loco with sound in May and I was hooked.

I immediately started planning my own. I decided to name it The Great Western England Railway or GWER.

The area I am modeling I call Farland.

The main Station is Farland Howe and the country station at the other end of the layout and the highest point on the loop is called Shell Hill.

My wife’s name is Michelle, so Shell Hill.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

I live in Colorado, USA which is a long way from the UK, but I have traveled there many times and lived in London as a kid for a few months. It made a lasting impression.


“I rebuilt the old 1950 lionel plastic train.

I cut the train half and built the coffee sticks on the half train. And see the boxcars. I too rebuilt them.

I removed the plastic boxcars. I kept the metal flatbeds and the wheels, built the wooden coffee sticks on the flatbeds.


“Hi …try this one ….made a set up with a lake in it …made the sunken row boats a dock pilings sticking up from the bottom ….painted all the under water sceanes..

But here was the trick ..I made a whole in the deepest part of the lake.

An put a plug in it ….then I mixed up enough clear wall paper ( cellophane glue )paste pored it in to where I wanted the water line to be an stopped …

A few days later the top started to harden …an if you moved the dock ever so slightly the movement left like water ripples on the surface of the transparent paste ……

when it got to the hardness necessary to hold the load I pulled the plug ….an when the unhardened glue ran out ….you could see through the top layer an see all the thing under water …..you know plants ,rocks, anchors

Let me know what you think


A big thanks to Rob – really enjoyed his pics.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to make that start – you can do it – the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

35 Responses to Even more railroad pics and tips

  1. fred says:

    very neat, look real

  2. Nice job you have done on your layout Rob

  3. paul starr says:

    A very nice layout indeed.

  4. Rob McCrain says:

    Thank you,


  5. 'Nother Grandpa says:

    Congrats on a job well done (if, in fact, any set is actually “done” LOL.) Show us more as you have time.

  6. Cord says:

    Hi Rob –
    The GWER is a beautiful layout, and I hate to be picky, but they don’t call them “railroads” over there. They’re called “railways”. Great job, though!

  7. Peter Jones says:

    Cracking layout Rob, like the buildings and your scenics are first class, keep up the good work.

  8. Very nice lay out. I see you took your time putting it together. I like what I see.

  9. keith says:

    love the shot of the farmer with the sheepdog and landrover. I also like the way you have blended the greens well done. Keep up the good work. Keith

  10. Bob Miller says:

    Hi Rob,

    Hard to believe you only began this layout last June. Obviously you are talented and have an eye for design and layout. Very nice …. keep up the good work.
    DCC and sound sure makes a difference doesn’t it? My last comment in no way makes any judgement on all the purists, it just my opinion and running trains should be fun after all since it’s ultimately your railroad and you can do it any way you want.

  11. Nigel says:

    Great layout & detail, I like the contours. It would have been great to have seen a complete plan of the layout.

  12. Great Western England? The GWR did not stop at the border – it goes to Wales as well!

  13. paul Otway says:

    I Love the Great Western too!

    Hey Ritchie are you restoring that old tinplate Train?

    They are collectors items!

  14. Rob McCrain says:

    Thanks for all the great comments! These pictures were taken last fall. For more up to date information about the layout, go to You Tube and search “Farland Howe.” I will send layout diagrams and a link to You Tube so you can see what I have been up to.


  15. THOMAS says:


  16. Chris says:

    nice layout and sentiment over names etc, maybe you are one of those Yanks that have a very understanding wife that lets you build a massive purpose built “SHED” next to your house just for a model railway(s),haha you lucky man keep up the good work, and how about a video soon Cheers jordy1

  17. John Reynolds says:

    Nice work on bringing God’s Wonderful Railway to the states..

  18. David Nugent says:

    Can we see more photos of the complete track, not just small pics, it looks great, but I need to see more, so I can get a better idea of how mine will look.

  19. Arnold Robert Lee says:

    Very nice, I am copying most of these articles to remind me what I should include in mine-when I get that far. In the meantime pleas keep them coming, especially the written tips, I have one which will come as a surprise, even to myself when it happened. I have these HAND WARMERS, they are pads which when opened to the elements and rubbed become Hot. When that dies so’s to speak they go very hard to touch. When I opened one out of curiosity the material inside fell apart, Just the job for laying in between track sleepers. Waste not want not.

  20. darrel says:

    So, so, so jealous, of all the railways I see on here, but my budget is tighter than a thing that is really tight, like a rubber seel on a hydraulic ram or something, finally have a space to do something AND the time AND a great creative mind but v,v,little to work with I would ask for unwanted spares that folk might have but couldn’t pay the postage, but nothing ventured nothing gained, so if by chance you are feeling benevolent and have more than you can use, my address is 2 Southpark court, CH44 6PL. I realise its really cheeky, but any help would be hughly appreciated.
    Thanks and sorry Darrel Wright.

  21. Cary says:

    Nice tips guys- thanks for sharing. Rob, saw some of your videos on you tube, what a great layout you have and the fun you must have running it!
    Cary, Kentucky

  22. david neuman says:

    I seen a lot of nice layout but i havent seen one that i would want.

  23. Bruce says:

    Richi, saw a layout years ago the had a lake similar in “sunken” detail. Tha entire under water scene was created in a depression. Then bottom and shoreline painted in blue shades to simulate different depths. Underwater Objects came next including fish, shark, scuba divers, etc. A sheet of rippled vinyl was then cut to fit water surface and placed. Shoreline objects dock and sand, etc added. Boats were set afloat with the sunken hull portion sawed off.
    Really looked great and one could see all the under water objects. I suspect you have the same enjoyment on yours, but you may have difficulty altering.
    Great idea of yours. I’ll keep in mind for my next layout.
    Thank you and Al for sharing.

  24. Dale says:

    Rob, The picture of your track work in progress, how is it working out for you? The track in the center of the picture next to the switch tower, you have a left hand curve leading into a right hand turnout. You should have a tangent between the two. Steam engines and cars with long wheelbases usually have trouble. The change in direction is too abrupt. The steam engines drivers wheelbase is rigid and the rear of the long cars are still in the first curve, therefore you are twisting the frame. I would like to see your layout plan, looks very interesting.

  25. Warren Ferguson says:

    Hi, I just want to extend my thanks to you, Al, and to all those who contribute to your blog. I learn so much every day, and I’m amazed at the vast variety of railroading knowledge displayed by your readers. To all of you, Thank You! Warren

  26. Robert Rolfe says:

    If Richie posted a picture of the lake, well I id get it on this end. I would like to see it.
    NV Bob

  27. Robert Brady says:

    great layout rob,one thing where can i get the walk over bridge that’s what I’ve been looking for.

  28. Kirk Breakey says:

    Richie…I would love to see a pic or 2 of your lake…sounds very interesting.
    Rob, I will be going to you tube to see more of your great layout.
    Thanks yo all for the insights and ideas.

  29. Kenneth Hamilton says:

    I would like to see “O” gauge lionel layouts

  30. Will in NM says:

    Richie: The wallpaper paste lake sounds like a neat idea. Please send us a photo of your final results.

    Rob: Nice looking layout. Maybe my old brain is confused but haven’t we seen a bunch of Farland Howe videos before?

  31. Mike Basher says:

    Darrel Wright. What Scale/gauge/size are you looking for. You have asked for “spares” but but have not said what you scale you are modeling in.
    Also, great work on all of the layouts that I have seen here over the past year or so since I began reading the posts from this website. I look forward every day, to seeing the pics, and videos as well as reading the comments and tips. Keep up the great work Alister!
    Mike from NC

  32. micheal nice old train
    rob great layout I love the passenger trains

  33. Ross Herbert says:

    Dear Alastair,
    I greatly enjoy reading your blogs.
    This question is probably a bit out of the theme of your blog, but I would appreciate any help you could provide.

    I am in the process of downsizing to a boat, so I do not have a layout due to a lack of space.
    But, I do have various Railroads and trains that I like.
    Such as the Florida East Coast line rolling stock, old engines, etc.

    I am currently working to recreate the train used in the Wild Wild West TV series.
    I have identified the loco and cars that were used and found HO scale versions of them.
    My problem is two part:
    1. How to disassemble the cars so I can repaint them without destroying them,
    2. Where to find HO scale accessories that are not on the cars to complete the renovations, for example railroad signal lanterns.
    I am looking for comments or websites that might cover these topics.
    If this question is totally outside your blog’s scope, I understand.
    In any case, thank you for any help you or your readers might be able to provide.

  34. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi Rob You’ve captured a British railway and scenery very well. Lots of detail. One thing British railways all have is fencing. The whole railroad would be fenced in, even out in the country. A daunting task but would, I’m sure, bring that extra finishing touch. Not that we are ever finished. Fencing would vary depending where it is sighted some would be mesh and timber post some brick walls some stone walls, some timber boarded, just really depends on where it is sighted. It’s strange for us in the UK to see open tracks in both the country and towns as they are in America. Great effort well done

  35. william janmes palmer says:


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