Gray’s fundraiser layout

“Hi Al

Just about finished my exhibition layout (Westalan). It has been built to use as a fundraiser in support of Macmillian cancer support, in memory of my late wife, my best mate Alan West & his wife, who all died of cancer within 12 months of each other. Alan and I started the layout together, but unfortunately Alan never made it passed the baseboard stage.

It has taken 2 years of nearly something done every day, but it was well worth the effort. There is full lighting, a working electric turntable and flying helicopter.

I have attached a few photographs, and hopefully you and the other guys and gals enjoy them as much as I did taking them.



Big thanks to Gray for sending this in. Really hope the layout does well for you.

That’s all for today my friends.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you want to make that all important start, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

56 Responses to Gray’s fundraiser layout

  1. Thank you, I really enjoy the videos the best.

  2. bernard says:

    please say a very big HELLO to Gray on his layout ,how very nice to have bjuilt it in the memory of his relatives ,so all the very best to Gray and of course to you Al
    LTYA Bernard

  3. anto says:

    nice job hope it does well for u at the exhititions looks great well worth the effort good luck

  4. Charlie says:

    Yes, what a tragic story and very sorry for your loss. I gave up smoking more than 25 years ago and hope that effort has reduced the chances of me getting lung cancer. I hope they were not smokers?

    What a great looking layout-congratulations. Can you tell me more about the layout -how big is it and what does the plan look like? Might be a good idea to include this type of information , just like what you find in the magazines and would eb very useful to those who would like to replicate or just get ideas.

  5. jim says:

    I’m sure Alan and the wife’s would have loved it. It’s beautiful and thanks for sharing it and the story with me.

  6. paul starr says:

    Great layout for a great cause,hope it raises lots of cash

  7. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Great!!! Another inspiration for us all!!!

  8. Pete Wotring says:

    Well done-an outstanding layout!!I would be happy to have mine look that good in a year or so!!

    Hope all goes well for you with the fund raiser.

  9. John Coffey says:

    Gray,this a wonderful looking layout that you have I am sure your helpers would have enjoyed it very much.

    John Coffey
    Junction City Kansas

  10. Andrew says:

    Very happy to see others modelling with old Hornby Dublo roling stock and locos

  11. Paul Jennion says:

    Very nice & neat layout

  12. John R says:

    Great layout and idea to fundraise A link would be a great help as Macmillans are a fabulous cause good luck

  13. Norman Backman says:

    A great looking layout, certainly a truly “labour of love”. Would it be possible for Gray to do a video of the working layout as I am sure it would be spectacular seeing it working!!

  14. andy says:

    Great job, they would have been proud

  15. chris says:

    great layout, hope that you raise lots of cash for a very worthwhile cause

  16. Gene "Hat" Hatfield says:

    Gary love the camping tents. Am working on an Indian Teepee village diorama. I thought scratch built Teepees would be easy to build. Wrong!
    Very nice layout with so many memories. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Timothy says:

    What a wonderful way to honor those who passed on….you are to be commended…..

  18. charles anthony says:

    A wonderful legacy for those who were loved and for the future to help in the research to cure this disease.

    chuck in setauket,ny

  19. Ian says:

    I especially like the campsite. Never saw one on a layout before. 30 years ago I spent several months camping around Europe. One of the best times of my life.

    Very sorry for your loss, Gray. Glad you have the great layout to occupy your mind.

  20. Tom Pica says:

    A great tribute to their shared hobby. I am sure they would have apprciated it.
    They are smiling at you accomplishments !

  21. Graham Watts says:

    Hi Charlie, the layout is ‘n’ gauge. 3.2 mtrs × .800. I will do a scale track plan and send it to Al for you guys to see. It needs 3 operators to run it, as as mahy as 4 trains and the fiddle yard can all be operated at the same time.

  22. Bob Miller says:

    Well done Gray. A nice layout and I’m sure it will do well. I kept looking for that helicopter!

  23. Eppi Santiago says:

    Nice layout. Kudos to you guys..

  24. Tom says:

    What a wonderful commitment to three wonderful kindred spirits. Each one of them live within what you have accomplished. During the difficult journey your efforts the love that is there within each picture. How fragile life is … but how strong the spirit. I admire that

    I hope your fundraiser goes well … and all that you wish for be the least that you receive. much success!!



  25. Tom says:


    Did you pursue Bachmann DCC on the internet and if so did you find what you needed?



  26. Kaustav says:

    Very sorry for your loss… I cannot even imagine my life without my wife and my best friend.

    Great to see that you found peace in building this truly wonderful layout and it is being used for such a great cause – Kudos to you. I hope that I have such strength, such clear conscience and such clarity of thoughts when my time comes.

  27. John Parkin says:

    I think it is a very well done layout, and should draw crowds of people who in turn will hopefully donate to a great cause.

  28. Gray Watts says:

    Hi Guys for your information, Westalan will be displayed at the Exeter railway show between the 28th of May and the 1st of June this year. Anyone who wishes to see it will be more than welcome for a view and a chat. And for Charlie the layout is ‘N’ gauge and measures 3.2 meters by 800mm. I will endeavour to do a scale track plan for you and send it to Al, hopefully he will publish it.
    Thanks for all your kind thoughts, Gray.

  29. stratocaster says:

    What a beautiful thing to do for the Macmillan cancer support. I am sure you will raise loads at your exhibitions, I certainly hope so. These pictures are superb and I would love for you to submit a plan and perhaps a how to, would be worth a donation or two I would think. Just a thought but a very nice model indeed.

  30. Perry says:

    Great work and a fine tribute

  31. Steve from Exeter NSW Australia says:

    Fantastic work Gray. What a very fitting tribute.

  32. THOMAS says:


  33. Carl D Crapo says:

    I just lost my dad to cancer and a few other problems three months ago. I never thought of doing something like this. I hope you raise a lot of money for the cancer center.Love the camping site.

  34. John Cahill says:

    Super job, Gray! I lost my modeling buddy and best friend to cancer some years ago and didn’t touch a track for 5 years. Thankfully I’m back at the hobby again
    and going gangbusters! What you we doing is a credit to you and those you remember!! Best of luck with fund-raising. John

  35. Roland Burch says:

    Great job, Gray. It is a wonderful thing to do for your love ones.

  36. John Reynolds says:

    Excellent tribute!
    May the fundraising go well.

  37. Peter says:

    wonderful layout, emotionally beyond words for your loss.

  38. So sorry to hear of your great losses. Your work is endearing and serving it’s mission for you in a great way. Hope you raise sufficient funds to keep helping others as you show that you are interested in doing. May God Bless and keep you-regardless. Harold Jr.

  39. Richard Everett Muller says:

    Please use a tripod and concentrate of focusing. As a former professional; photographer I can state that it is inexpensive and oh so important~! Otherwise I love these layouts and the efforts used to achieve them.

  40. Jim says:

    It’s always great to see new layouts. And this one is great. Great detail too.

    And so sorry for the loss of your wife and friends. But a wonderful tribute to their memories and the Macmillan support group.

    Jim AZ

  41. Glenn A. Badcock says:

    Sorry for your loss my friend and fellow railroader. I lost my Mother some years ago now to lung cancer she was 79 years old. My Father died within months after her he was 81. I am glad I did not take up smoking. I started to build my railroad a few years ago now and am still at it on and off. I wish you all the best in your fund raiser. We can only pray that one day soon there will be a cure.

  42. Preston Dannelley says:

    Congratulations on a job well done sir! Like the others, I hope you are able to raise lots of money to help fight this insidious disease. I, too am sorry for your loss.
    I was quite interested to hear about the helicopter, but was unable to locate it. Eyes getting old I guess. I worked on them during my time in the service in Vietnam and they hold a special place in my heart.
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  43. Cary says:

    Great job Gray and thanks for sharing! I admire your commitment to stay busy after suffering such a loss. Hope your fund raiser exceeds all expectations.
    Take care….. Cary in KY

  44. J Dentner says:

    First. My most sincere condolences to Gray on the loss of his wife and friends. I too lost my younger brother. Your layout looks fantastic! I hope mine looks half as good when I finish the D. A. D. s pike I am building. The name comes from the first letters of my grandfathers, and fathers last names. The “s” denotes me (the grandson/son).

  45. Art Bearden says:

    My condolences go out to you and family in your loss. You should be proud of what you have done in the memory of you wife and friend it is a beautiful lay out, hope you get a chance to do a video of it in action.
    Have fun displaying it in there memory.
    From Florida

  46. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Gary, I am so sorry and my condolences to you. To hear that your wife and your best mate and his wife passed all with in a year brings to mind just how short life really is. I can go on about life but I am not. You and your best mate did an outstanding job on you guys lay out. Love the tents, I just can’t seem to find them here State side, it seems that all the toys stores are going away. When I was over in Germany I could find toy stores everywhere.
    Great job on the lay out, my hat is off to you and your mate, and of course the ladies.
    SDG St.Petersburg Florida

  47. Bill from West Virginia says:

    I am very sorry to read of your loss. The layout is amazing and it is a beautiful way to remember your loved ones. God Bless.

  48. Bob Martin says:

    Great layout , beautiful memorial for your wife !

    Bob Martin

  49. Jim Volmer Sr says:

    What a great way to pay a tribute to your friend and his beloved wife. Hopefully the fundraiser does well. Great layout, congratulations

  50. Brian Rockey says:

    Nice layout Gray. Would love to know how the helicopters work??? I have a Chinook with load over one part of the layout, and a Sea King rescue scene on another part, both static on fine fishing line.
    Brian Rockey

  51. george zaky says:

    Stellar layout and I hope you realize that you touched a lot of people because of Big Al here. Please send more info, videos, that helicopter intrigues me, progress reports, etc. Be well
    George from NY

  52. Herman Crauwels says:

    It’s always great to see new layouts with good scenery. And this one is great and large. Great scenery too.
    HC Treintje Belgium.

  53. paul says:

    Great layout and detail all the hard work and hours have payed off would be nice to see video of it working at some point …well done

  54. Excellent work.

  55. If your wife and your friends are able to see your work they would be very proud of what you have done.

  56. Malcolm says:

    Very nicely done. Had to read the comments to find out it was 1:160. I never smoked but still developed cancer. Both my parents smoked, doctor says second hand smoke may be worse than smoking itself. Sorry about your friends, I’m sure they would be proud.

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