N-scale U-shaped layouts

There are quite a few N-scale U-shaped layouts on the blog now – and here’s another from Gregory:

“Hi Al;

I’ve been reading your newsletter for a few years now, and I’ve decided to send in something of my own in case you’d find it useful to other members.

A little bit of background; I’ve had steam in my blood at least as far back as the age of 4. It runs through the family. My father introduced me to model trains at an early age, though I love any number of aspects of railroads, railroading and trains.

My earliest remembered experiences involve some HO trackage on a table my dad had built prior for his own collection of N-Scale, and then moving into G Scale sometime shortly thereafter. Most of my childhood revolved around G scale since it was easier for a child to work with, plus my father had some issues of arthritis creeping in with his own hands.

As I grew up, I also developed an interest in live steam, and of course, the real thing was the ultimate thrill for me. I left the hobby to the side during high school as other commitments didn’t really allow for much of anything else, but the spark was still inside, and after I turned 18 and had a license to drive, I started going to a local hobby shop to browse, and to a nearby station at night to watch the trains going through.

This kept up through college and a few years after I finished, the bug was back in full. While having an apartment of my own, I started working on a layout in N scale, using some leftover stock of my father’s, and building a new collection up.

I put that to the side when I got married and became a step-dad to two wonderful children, but I introduced them to the ideas, along with my step father, and my own dad, who’s layout was now the major occupant of a 20 x 20 room in his basement.

Finally, a year or so ago, we moved to a new duplex with room in the basement for me to restart building a layout in earnest.

It’s been slow progress, because budgets have to be watched at all times, but it’s been more meaningful as a result. My son and daughter aid me in regularly working our layout, a 11.5 x 12 N-scale U-shaped layouts, built in sections for the inevitable day when we have a home of our own.

We have a long way to go, but we have enough wiring on the mainline done to run our equipment most of the way around the layout (though not without some rough spots, since nothing is fastened down or smoothed out just yet. I’ll share some photos for you if you’d like, and I’m detailing my build more on my YouTube channel and personal website.

The layout is run using a DCC system, just because I was able to get a good price and it allowed for a bit more ease in some regards with the wiring. The kids have picked up some woodworking skills, the basics of wiring and even have started learning skills in soldering.

There is a long way to go before this layout will have a “finished” look, though as my dad always says, an empire like this is never truly finished.

I’m approaching 40 now and I try to use this layout as an inspiration to my generation (and younger ones) that this is such an amazing hobby, because there are so many things you can do and learn in the process of participating.

My kids (14 and 13 now) regularly show friends and teachers the work we do as well, and it seems to be piquing interests in others. Hopefully that will lead to this hobby having a bright future in this age of video games and electronic toys.

I hope, if you share, that your readers enjoy, and if you would like, I will continue to send updates as the layout grows.

Best wishes,


N-scale U-shaped layouts

N-scale U-shaped layouts

N-scale U-shaped layouts

N-scale U-shaped layouts

N-scale U-shaped layouts

model railroad laying track

model railroad laying track

“Hi Al,

my new loco arrived yesterday (the xmas present to myself ) one of the buffers was missing so rang the retailer who instantly said send it back, so no video of my new train, its one of the new 67 class in the pullman livery, looked very good.

So just did a short video on my phone of the Deltics blasting away, quality not great due to been taken on phone.

Hope to have the new one by next weekend.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

A big thanks to Dave and to Greg for adding to the N-scale U-shaped layouts.

Loved what Greg has done – it’s easy to see how others want to get invloved when the see a layout spring to life. Can’t wait to see his updates!

That’s all for today folks, please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your layout.



PS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

24 Responses to N-scale U-shaped layouts

  1. Dwight says:

    Impressive track plan Gregory. Nice collection of rolling stock and motive power, by the looks of it, and plenty of sidings to accommodate it all. I shudder to think how much you’ve spent on Kato snap track, turnouts etc … wow!

  2. Mark Allen says:

    great start Greg!!

  3. Bob Richards says:

    Nice start Greg and children. I’m sure it is lots of fun for you with the children helping. This could be the beginning of a lifetime hobby for you all. Most of all it’s great having time with the children. Anxious to see as your layout grows.

  4. Bob Richards says:

    Dave, watching your layout is always a great inspiration and enjoyment. What is the size of your layout. I consider you a professional model railroader and videographer.

  5. Gary Manganiello says:

    That is a fantastic start……… I love your yards and how you designed the whole layout.

    Looking forward to your updates. I am also curious on how long it has taken you to get to this point and how long it takes to complete each section of your project.

    Gary M

  6. Gary Manganiello says:

    Dave…… the detail in your layout always amazes me.

    Gary M

  7. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Terrific start Greg. I like what you have done. A nice roomy layout room too. I am anxious to see how it comes along. The Kato Unitrack is so nice to work with.
    I always appreciate seeing Dave’s layout too, his trackwork looks to give flawless operation.. Time spent to insure trouble free trackwork adds a giant bonus to enjoyable railroading..

  8. Love the layout photos of Gregorys railroad. Anxious to get started on my own. Would like to know what YouTube channel I can see his layout on. Please post this info somewhere.

  9. Alan says:

    Super layout Gregory I use Kato so easy to use have you thought of some Kato unitrams around 100 pound each you can get astarter set with track for around 250 are you based in the uk what is the pink type material you have the track on

  10. Joe says:

    That’s the big up-side to “N” scale! However, at 74 HO is as small a scale I can comfortably work with.
    My HO layout is 12′ x 8′ and could be bigger but it keeps me busy. You know what they say, “Your layout is never finished!”

  11. Jon Hafstrom says:

    Hi Gregory,

    Your N scale layout is just about at the same stage as the HO layout I am currently building. If you could update Alastair (or me, directly) on your next steps and progress it might really give me some ideas on where I go next. I am using Kato track and building my own control board with homemade turnout switches with red and green LEDs on the board and also out on the layout by each turnout. Thanks for the photos and have fun with your layout. -Jon

  12. David says:

    A wonderful start to a lifetime layout. I am interested in how the track is fastened to the foam?

  13. Roger Clark says:

    I wanted to ask Dave where he gets the stone walls that can be seen along the tracks at about the 1 minute mark of the video. Thanks

  14. Wonderful work.

  15. Fred Driver says:

    Thanks Dave, just love that sound of the Deltic. I have had one on order for five months and still waiting. It is a contest between that and my new Toyota RAV4 which has been on order since April, as to which arrives first.

  16. Greg Marples says:

    Greg, great layout plan! The sectional “J” is a great idea. You seem to have solid board of some type for a surface, so why all the thick foam board under the level areas? I have just used cork roadbed and #55 flex track and have no issues with vibration transferring to the plywood. Just seems unnecessary, of course I’ve never used that fancy Kato snap track! Pretty expensive stuff, and so many joints to deal with! Unless you’re planning on digging into it for drainage and stuff. That would make sense. Love that your kids are taking an interest!

  17. Joe Vinciguerra says:

    Hi Dave.

    Your J layout is exactly what I was looking for for my basement. Can you provide a photo or diagram of the entire layout and the approximate bill of materials needed to complete it? Also, interested in any DCC infor you can provide.

    In your experience, what ages are N gauge suitable for?


  18. Erick says:

    Great work. I mine turns out that good.

  19. Louis Caputo says:

    Please send us periodic updates, Greg, as you’re off to an ambitious start. Would like very much to hear detailed info on how you go about building and operating your DCC layout!! You definitely “caught the RR Bug” and are likely to “infect” many folks!!

  20. Karl E Thomas says:

    Great that you just did it and wow it is looking great 👍soon you to will be a master builder. Thank you for sharing this project so we can learn and get doing.

  21. Brett says:

    Dave this is an amazing layout! I ove what you’ve done and the size of your layout is very impressive.


  22. THOMAS CREAMER says:

    Thanks to you Dave … I always enjoy watching running trains !

  23. Peter Briggs says:

    Hi Dave, your layout gives so much pleasure to all of us – best distressed rails in the business. Being an engineer i wondered (as i do) I wonder if someone can produce scale flexible coach connections to make the layouts much more scale?
    Given what is already produced perhaps a nudge to them might elicit something? I just noticed your ‘power station’ in the back gorund! Lovely!
    keep it up pal
    best regards

  24. Brian Moretti says:

    Yeah cool start , if you want more inspiration
    Go to my YouTube channel
    I built a huge N scale layout using Kato track

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