George’s fun Lionel layout

“Hi Al,

this layout was a year in the making with my grandkids.

The kids loved seeing the project grow with their help. They also made some great suggestions for the layout adding some of their Legos to the layout. They so enjoy coming over to play with the trains.

Most of the rolling stock and engines we purchase at yard or estate sales. I even found a hobby shop which was going out of business. Some items were purchase on e bay etc, etc .

I did not use a table for the trains. I repurposed some used kitchen cabinets. Makes a closed storage area.

The scale is o mostly Lionel and MTH.

Although this layout is not as elaborate as most of what I see, it is basic and fun for the kids and us to have quality time together and hopefully produce a younger generation into model rail roading hobby.

Happy railroading!


lionel layout

lionel railroad

lionel railway

lionel model train

lionel model railroad

Really like what George has done, mainly because it seems like he’s had lots of fun with it, and that’s what it’s all about.

Whenever a Lionel layout comes in, I’m always reminded of Michael’s 11 x 27 Lionel layout.

Now on to an observation by Sid:


While scanning for layout ideas last eve, and the TV shows in a dead zone, Showtime once again showed “unstoppable” a 2010 movie, of a runaway train. (Based on true events).

While having watched it over and over, this time i got into the shots of the tracks, since this was filmed in and around Pittsburgh,PA and Eastern Ohio.

Suddenly i realized that some of the perfect curves and switches i am trying to make, are not so in real life railroading.

Last was a educational film for me. Strongly recommend anyone who likes trains and has not seen, do so.


“Hi Al,

I am wrighting you Belgium. Sorry for my very bad English.

After 35 years I restarted with my hobby Marklin Ho lay-out.

Here by i send 2 pictures off my small new lay-out.




model train track plan

A big thanks to Guido and George.

George writes that his layout is ‘not elaborate’ but I disagree: any layout is better than no layout, and I’ll bet you’ve made a load of memories with the grandkids.

And Guido – what a start! Well done. I know I keep banging on about it, but making a start is more than half the battle.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today has made you want to start your very own layout, the the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still going strong.

32 Responses to George’s fun Lionel layout

  1. John Frye says:

    As a guy who has worked for railroads for 45 years and still is, the movie “Unstoppable” was indeed interesting. The only thing wrong with it was that it was “Hollywoodized.” The real events are interesting enough, and even while the idea of walking a train these days (especially a moving one) is preposterous, I could buy that being attempted. Where they lost me is first when the rescue locomotives de-railed and exploded. They don’t. Ever. second when the train went around the turn with the outside wheels on the track and the inside lifted off. That never happens. Ever. The outside rail would flip, or the wheels would climb off. Always.
    Hollywood = take a good real story and kill it.

  2. Lester W Larrew in Georgia USA says:

    George hit the nail on the head when he said “fun!!” That’s is what it is all about.

  3. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Totally agree with George and Lester, the main idea is fun whether that be building, track-laying, scenic or just running. When the fun ceases so does the hobby … rivet counters have probably been modelling for years and may well be ‘correct’ but it is the personal enjoyment that counts.

  4. james Snider in Napoleon Ohio, USA says:

    The movie unstoppable was very close to the actual runaway locomotive. During the actual incident the locomotive did not tip on the curve. The actual incident was started in a rail yard on the East side of Toledo Ohio and ended on a North & South track parallel to I 75 near Lima Ohio, in North western Ohio, I live about 45 miles North West from the starting point. I did not keep any of the articles that I read nor made notes from some of the railroad engineers I knew so I can not give you any of the details. This should give you an idea of the area where it actually happened.

  5. JACK WINDT says:

    i think its great to get the kids involved…….and to bond with them….good for you…….

  6. Sandy says:

    I wish I could speak a foreign language Guido.

  7. David Ryder says:

    I like what you have started. I just have one question, what is going on under the second layer? I see three tracks going under and only one track coming out (or the other way around) and wondered what you did under there.

  8. dave says:

    If you want to see a Movie a whole lot more realistic see Runaway train with Robert Duvall !! another is The Train a WW2 flick they really crash old steam locomotives and rolling stock that were going to be scrapped No CGI in 1964 ! Unstoppable was OK but not real at all as others say no way locomotives explode and you cant tip em ether (a scrap out fit I had trucks leased to cleaned up a CSX mess south of Louisville the tracks were still intact but had slid down a steep hill ) Another is a French film Battel De rail again real equipment wrecked . its on you tube !!

  9. Bud Swartz says:

    A lot of the movie “Untouchable: was filmed around Olean and Portville NY. The highway runs right along side the train tracks for several miles. The RR was the old Erie RR from Chicago to NY City.

  10. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    I agree with Dave. I got lost going under the second layer also. Great to have grandkids sharing in your hobby. Keep it up.

  11. EssKay says:

    A wonderful, entertaining track plan! It’s all about having fun.
    By overwhelming public demand, we need to know what’s happening under the second layer. It’s as simple as one becomes three but what you can’t see is always tantalizing!!

  12. Guido says:

    Under de second layer de 3 tracks comme together en the result is 1 track


  13. Hey George! Congrats! You got three important things right. 1. You’re having FUN!
    2. You got the kids involved and loving it!.3.The layout is perfect! There are many different levels in this hobby and whatever works for you is the important thing.

    Now Guido. The layout is interesting and many creative ideas went into the track plan which is great and your English is fine. You should come to the U.S. if you think yours is bad.

    Thanks guys.

  14. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Well said Peter. It’s all about enjoyment where a simple circle with a battery train or a rivet perfect (as you put it) layout

    Just do your own thing.

  15. bEN hAWKINS says:

    I sure am glad to see some 0 Gauge Layouts, this does look good, vintage but good. I am not against the HO, N Gauge, because I have and still have them packed up somewhere, So I like to see them all.

  16. Robert Brady says:

    George; Considering the era ur modeling you might want to change out those wooden bridge piers to Artificial concrete. Just say n.
    The Critic

  17. John Hauser says:

    George, Guido:
    Our hobby allows us to be creative, plan our moves, design, build and enjoy what we have made. It has a beginning but never really ends from the time we first fell in love with trains to the present day. The fun and enjoyment this brings grows , as well, as we share these homemade masterpieces with others. Keep up the good work.
    John – Long Island, NY.

  18. From America. Great job. Very impressive.
    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Ron Scultz says:

    grandfathers kids and railroads go together then when you add later the great grand children its the best .

  20. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool Layout.!!!

  21. John Birch says:

    Colourful, creative and fun, George, with quality time with grandchildren. What more can you want?

  22. Terry Miller says:

    Guido–I hope you realize you have a reverse loop under the elevated portion as seen from picture #2. This of course means you’re going to have to reposition the direction of travel before the train hits the switch or it will stall. I’ve always found this to be a pain in the ****.
    Whole layout looks great.

  23. Timothy Morlok says:

    Guido, nice start to your layout. I hope that you know that the diagonal track in the center creates a reverse loop at both ends of your lower layout. the diagonal track needs to be electrically isolated from the rest of the tracks or you will have a short circuit at both turnouts. You will also need to wire a double throw – double pole – center off toggle switch into its power leads in order to be able to reverse the polarity of this track while you change direction on your power supply for the rest of your layout. Your upper loop also creates a reverse loop where it merges into a single track unless you use the diagonal as the running track for part of your oval. Personally, I would make the third track from the left a stub siding and then the only reversing loop track would be the lower level track on the right between the far diagonal and the bottom upper loop switches. I hope this helps with the design of your layout.

  24. Dave Karper says:

    Terry & Timothy, Marklin is three rail like Lionel, therefore, reverse loops need no special wiring.

  25. JACK MASARIE says:

    Shlack, in NC

  26. great job looks good I am a lionel fan to.

  27. Alabama Mike says:

    Guido, great start on your layout. It is a very impressive track plan you have started. I look forward for more pictures when you start your scenery.

  28. Peter Philips says:

    Finally we see some traditional Marklin M track layout. Just like I have for many years on and off since 1957. The major benefit of Marklin trains and track is a 3-rail AC system. The outer rails and bed are the common while the center point is the hot one.. Therefore, you can make as many reversing loops as you like!
    Keep it going Guido!

  29. Stephen Hill says:

    Looks like fun to me , I’m sure your grandchildren are loving playing with the trains . After all isn’t that pretty much most of our stories … inspiration derived from childhood . I’m seeing future modelers .
    Great layout . Does the overhead train run also ? Couldn’t help but notice it along the crown molding . What a fun grandparent you must be .

  30. robert dale tiemann says:

    cool layout. good job.

  31. Steve Ruple says:

    George that’s a great layout. Great fun for the Grandkids. I’m building a Lionel train layout also and I have some Lego kits that I’m thinking about adding to it because there about the right size. I also have some Lego electric trains that I have built from kits that are awesome. I’ve been collecting Lionel trains ever sense I was young and I’m now 77 years young and starting a new layout with them.

  32. Tom Busler says:

    Don’t forget Silver Streak with Gene Wilder while discussing runaway trains. Very entertaining.

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