HO train table construction – Glyn’s

Glyn has been in touch again with an update and a video this time, it’s on so much more than just HO train table construction.

If you need to jog your memory, Glyn’s last post is here.

“Hi Al

Ive just uploaded my first attempt at a video of my HO layout construction.

It’s not terribly professional I’m afraid but it does give some sense of how things are progressing.

Having edited the video about a month ago I’ve since added another outer double mainline loop to extend and connect the 2 outer limbs of the layout to create a mainline through station instead of the end terminal station shown in the video.

I’m in the process of starting to video the extension construction but it will take some time editing the clips.

I’ll get them to you as soon as I can.

ho train table construction

ho train table construction

And here’s the video – HO train table construction:

Thanks again for all you do to bring us together as hobbyists.



Next, some pearls of wisdom from Mike:


You can purchase an app to help with scaling conversions. I used Woodland Scenic Scaler. Very helpful as I added road beds, scratch buildings, and scenery.

Laying the Track- I use an all in one track for my layouts because most off the shelf beginner sets come with this style of track.

Its easy to work with, come in many different lengths, straight , curved sections, and you can add turnouts, crossings and crossovers.

It does have some limitations but it is perfect for most beginners.

The plastic road bed does not look realistic however with a little weathering and some ballast it looks just great.

In my garage, I measure and tape out on the floor the shape of my layout. Once completed I then layout the track.

The all in one track makes this very easy as it just snaps together and apart.

Note: I made a few early mistakes (costly) when purchasing locomotives and rolling stock.

Follow the manufacturers recommendation on ” runs best with 22″ or 18″ radius track” if its best run on 22″ and you have 18″ you will have issues with operations on the curves.

Power Up- I switched from DC to DCC on my second layout. Most new sets come with a very basic DCC system.

The basic sets are easy to program and add a bit of realism that really adds to the fun.

I used the Bachmann Dynamis system but there are many others out there that are more and less expensive.

The beauty of these systems is that you can control the entire operations of your layout from the tip of your fingers. ( lights, speed, sound, crossings, turnouts etc.)

The newer controllers are even more advanced. You can run your system from your phone or tablet.

Scenery- Most of my tips are already posted but I do like to add real items like rock, moss, dirt. I will use ground coffee to simulate dirt and small twigs and branches for my trees and shrubs.

I like to make my own signs and billboards when possible. Its much cheaper and I think they look very realistic.

I just search on line for the signs I want to build, ( billboard , street signs, railroad signs etc,) print them to scale and use painted balsa wood to build the posts and frames

I also add graffiti and decals using a similar technique. You can purchase decal/transfer paper at a local supply store. find the graphic you like on line, scale, print and apply. Cheap and easy

I build mountains and tunnels with foam, plaster sheets and sometime a combination of both.

I did learn from an early mistake to add an access panel on the back side of the piece for the unfortunate derailment or cleaning.

I think that’s all I have for now.



A huge thank you to Glyn – did enjoy the video on HO train table construction and a wholelot more. It’s strangely satisfying to see what other folk get up to in their garages, basements and lofts.

That’s all for today folks. Please do keep ’em coming because it’s getting very thin on the ground this end again.

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.

model train answers

51 Responses to HO train table construction – Glyn’s

  1. Shlack says:

    Thanks for sharing, Glyn. So much to see and from which to learn!!!. A great
    example of having so many projects simultaneously in progress, while still
    being able to run our trains.

  2. Eric says:

    That is one large layout Glyn, oh to have all that space to work in, Looking impressive already, The talus and rocks do bring life to your river scene and look very realistic. Well done keep up the good work be interesting to see the updates when ready.

    Eric (Leeds) UK

  3. david howarth says:

    Well done with the layout Glyn …it sure has progressed well ….Dave

  4. Great progress Glyn this will be something special. Your bridgework and multi level plans are very impressive. Well done good luck with the progress . Some sidngs are extremely close to the edge but you will be building a wall before you park precious stock there I guess! Regards Steve

  5. Gary lashley says:

    Great video I’m learning more about model railroading everyday thanks to everyone

  6. John Breeze says:

    Great layout, wish I had the space. My shunting puzzle is coming on though! Excellent video, lots of ideas my my own layout. Keep up the good work.

  7. Bob Lee says:

    Just-.-.-brilliant !! my loft layout has come to a halt, I broke my hip and it isn’t healing, I think that’s the correct terminology, so the layout is not going to happen. Shame as I purchased 50 locos and coaches etc.

  8. Patrick says:

    Awesome layout & excellent craftsmanship…

  9. Dan Marso says:

    Magnificent layout, thanks for sharing.

    Dan Marso

  10. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    Nice layout Glyn. We do a lot of video work here and if you will leave the captions on the screen for five (5) seconds or more the average person can read and comprehend the art work as well. Just remember, your viewer is not familiar with your layout and must digest the whole scene in order to benefit. However, you are doing a good job.

  11. christine says:

    Lot of work, lot of money. Looks like fun.

  12. Marty says:

    Glyn’s, all I can say is WOW !!! You have one of the nicest s lay outs I have seen on this web sight. You are to be congratulated on your craftsmanship, it is outstanding !!

  13. rocco maley says:

    Great layout Glyn. Can you please tell me how big it is. Thank you.

  14. Dave Whatley says:

    Thanks a lot that was a great video. I know it’s a lot of hard work of love for trains. Dave in Savanna, Ga. USA

  15. Impressive layout Glynn
    lots of good ideas coming to fruition
    keep em runnin fellas
    stJohn in long beach calif

  16. Tracy says:

    Thanks for sharing, Great Video.

  17. Pete Evangel says:

    WOW!! Very large layout. You’ve done quite the job with detail and I cant wait to see more, especially the addition you spoke of. On minor suggestion on the video. While I like the text on the screen, it fades out much to quickly. I think there is a slight problem with iMovie, some of the text is hidden and we dont get to see it. Just love seeing the trains moving through the layout. Love the sounds from the U.P. loco. !! Keep up the fine workmanship.

    Pete-Rainy Silicon Valley.

  18. bob townsley says:

    shame about the camra shots to frast slow down so as to take in all the shots of layout

  19. dewaine says:

    this may be hard to belive but thats is the first time i have seen a model train come up an incline with full secess. that was great.

  20. Cliff says:

    Spectacular! Great layout & outstanding scenery, bridges & buildings. Hope to see video of it when it’s completed.
    Cliff (NJ) USA

  21. Jon Brobst says:

    One of the better water scenes we’ve seen. Great progress. Fun video, thanks for sharing.

  22. Glyn says:

    Thanks for all the helpful comments guys – I really appreciate it. Especially helpful were the video comments. This is my first video attempt and the points are well taken. I will change the iMovie scripts as I noticed the fade can be difficult to read in the final product. I used text instead of vocals as my microphone is a little iffy so purchased a better one which I will use to voice over the next video. Dave is my gold standard so I have a long way to go!:) I will also linger longer on the still images so people can see detail for longer periods of time. Bob I do hope your hip heals and that you can get that loft layout going again. And a big thank you to John once more for the outstanding tutorial on building the retaining wall which I will be using to protect some of my close edges. As for the question about size, the layout is currently about 13’x22′ (close to 4x7m). I’m waiting for the Faller Bietschtal bridge to arrive before I inset the big double main line definitively and landscape it as I need to get the track bed level correct.And yes… lot’s of money over a long period of time as I have collected all these bits and pieces – but then boys will be boys and we do love our toys!! Regards to all, Glyn

  23. James Miller says:

    I almost gave up after seeing your work bench area! Nice progress. I just wish I had that much space.

  24. Jeff says:

    Great work! Cant wait to see more of the layout

  25. Rene Vanderneut says:

    Good looking layout even though it still in the construction stage.

  26. charlie says:

    Glyn. All I can say s (WOW) keep us up dated.

  27. Ian Mc Donald says:

    that is some layout, the video will go in the library, was great to see a bit of everything from start to scenery to trains moving, keep up the good work looking forward to the next video.

  28. Peter Hastings says:

    Great piece of work as has already been mentioned wish I had thar amount of space, but love watching the American locos. True giants compared to ours. Keep up the good work.

  29. Gerald Glass says:

    Great job blending table top and bench work to create a multi-level layout; I may
    borrow your techniques to achieve a similar effect on my next O-gauge layout!

    Jer, Las Vegas

  30. Joseph Stately says:

    Fantastic job on your layout & video. UP big boy loco is great.
    NJ USA

  31. Kevin McArdle says:

    Beautiful work, but next time how about running what I think was a Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 sitting on a siding.

  32. Tom says:

    Truly a beautiful and realistic layout!!! Everything is great. Thank you for sharing our mutual interest, hobby. Well done on a great great job that is a work of art!

  33. Bob Zimmerman says:

    Nice layout. Cant wait to see anther video.

    Bob [ Me.] USA

  34. Mike RICHARDSON says:

    Glyn, what an amazing layout you have. It is great and I love the Big Boy with it’s sound. The black and red engine with the firebox is also extremely well done.
    Mike USA.

  35. Bill Ruth says:


  36. John schmehl says:

    Very nice and I like the size.

  37. Thanks Glyn, You have restored a faith in this hobby to a lot of us. From your ventilated paint area, to a meticulous work bench, on to a great undertaking. YOU have shown it can be done, and done well. Thank you!

  38. Robert Brady says:

    European and American Loco’s on same layout? Please explain.
    The Critic

  39. Jimmy john says:

    Don’t you dare weather that Big Boy ! RU Mad?

  40. Chris Sylvester says:

    Wow!!! That’s a great job on your layout and a great video thank you for sharing your layout gave me some ideas!!

  41. Bob says:

    I really like your layout and video

  42. Chuck Bushey says:

    Glyn, very impressive! I am especially interested in your round house area as this is the place of my beginning of my layout but haven’t found what I need as yet. My plan is to model the St. Albans, VT station, yard and roundhouse. The original roundhouse (still there) is almost 180 degrees. I’ve been looking for a roundhouse model that I could use for designing and building what I need and yours looks very similar to what exists in St. Albans, VT. Can you direct me to where you found your models for this? My Grandfather was a Conductor on the railroad back in the 40’s – early 60’s and many of my uncles worked in the St. Albans yard.

  43. Will in NM says:

    Glyn, Great photos and especially, the video. I really liked the way you showed the layout progressing from concept plan to operating trains. On the video side, I think your plan to add narration is right on. I put my headphones on to listen to your video and took them off when I realized there was no sound. Then when you ran the gas turbine I realized there was probably sound there and had to put them back on. That was lucky because the Big Boy test run was excellent. Just out of curiosity, when did Union Pacific send a Big Boy to Europe? 🙂

    If you don’t add narration, then you might consider Dangerous Dave’s clever use of musical background on some of his videos. All in all though, a great first effort at video production. Thank you for sharing with us.

  44. Heather Logan says:

    Well Glen I have to say you have done a lot of great work there I only wish I had time & place to do that sort of thing & look forward to going for a full run on your track when you get it all finished, thumbs up great work.
    While I am here we have made a start at doing repairs to our set again after the move & I have been busy putting things together that I made up as well & Jason is working on doing a video as soon as we get it powered up again, for his first go he had the camera up side down some how ha ha ha but he’s worked out the right way up now so as soon as we get power going he will do the video, can’t wait to see how it turns out so we can fix any problems the camera finds for us. Hope all are well & staying safe too Heather & Jason.

  45. Will in NM says:

    To Chuck Bushey, I don’t know if this helps with your roundhouse problem, but I have two 3-stall Heljan roundhouse kits along with four Heljan 3-stall add-on kits which would make about a 180 degree roundhouse. They look very similar to Glyn’s roundhouse.

    I bought these about 15 years ago from Walthers, but they no longer sell them since Walthers came out with their own modern 3-stall roundhouse kit and equivalent add-ons. I also have the Heljan 14 inch Turntable and motorizing kit. If you’re interested, maybe Al can share our email addresses. I’m at the point that I doubt I’ll ever get the time to build them the way I had planned, so I’d be willing to sell all or part of them at cost (about $30 per kit) plus shipping.

  46. Will in NM says:

    Chuck, I forgot to mention that these are HO scale if that’s what you’re looking for. Also, if you search online for “Heljan Roundhouse Kit” two links to Walthers should come up: one for the roundhouse and one for the 3-stall add-on kit. The photo of the roundhouse kit shows six stalls, but the kit only builds a 3-stall roundhouse. They’re listed now at $57.98 per kit but they aren’t in stock and no longer available at Walther’s. I don’t know if they might still be available in Europe.

    I hope this helps.

    Will in New Mexico

  47. Chris Rohrer says:

    Great Layout Glyn. I love the mix of European and American locos. When I rebuild my layout after the move next year, mine will also have a Japanese Shinkansen (Rule 1) The Roundhouse used to be available from Fleischmann who also make the turntable, but a Faller model is available which fits the turntable. Beware of different ray degrees as they may not fit if your not using the Märklin / Fleischmann TT (7.5º between rays)
    Fat Controller of the Bondale Railway / Bontal Bahn

  48. John Burnett says:

    Excellent presentation & layout; truely first class.

  49. Berniedoc says:

    I like the mountains,look so real.

  50. Brian Olson says:

    Where there’s space, and will, there’s model railroading!

  51. Vince says:

    Bob Lee ….. where do you reside. Maybe we can some train members come and compete your layout. Wish u well. Regards Vinnie from Staten Island , NY

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