O gauge layout – Gus’s

Gus has been in touch with his O gauge layout:


I really enjoy your site. I thought I would send a few pictures of my layout four years in the making. The layout is 9’-0” X 17’-0” (274 x 518). We can run four trains. Some of the scenery is store bought and a lot is scratch built from materials around the house.

The table is built aircraft style with ribbed construction and 2 x 4 legs that have gusset braces at 8 perimeter locations. The center is supported by 4 2 x 4’s. The deck is two layers 1/2” plywood.

The trackage is the old fashion Lionel tubular track set on foam track bed. There are about 800 hand cut ties glued under the tracks with o scale ballast.

The layout is powered by two Lionel 275 watt transformers.

The lighting is divided into five separate circuits and are powered by five multi tap transformers.

All of the building scenes are built on 1/8 thick board so that I can remove each scene and place it elsewhere on the layout.

The mountain and tunnels are made of scrap styrofoam and sculpted using a hacksaw blade attached to piece of wood and heated red hot with propane torch then covered with plaster cloth.

All main buss wiring is # 12 with # 14 feeders. Wanted to make sure minimal voltage loss. One thing for sure is that you learn to correctly wire the layout so you don’t burn up things.

Have some of the usual accessories. Coal loader, stationary crane, water tower, culvert loader and a circus car. The locomotives are Lionel, K-Line and Williams 1950 to present.

Thanks for a great site and all of the ideas. It great to see what you folks do across the pond.


O gauge

O gauge

O gauge

O gauge

O gauge

O gauge

O scale

A big thanks to Gus for sharing his O gauge layout. Whenever an O scale comes through at the mo, I always think of Martin’s O scale.

And here’s one from Dave that fell through the cracks:

“Hi Al, just uploaded this video trying to lighten the day.

Hope this can bring a smile to some!



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

Now on to Bill:

“Hi Al,

Thank you for all the posts! I read them every day and save most of them for future.

I have finally started!

As a kid, I set up my Lionel around the Christmas tree and ran it until tinsel fell on the tracks popping the circuit breaker. It has been seventy years since those days and I have finally started my layout.

I decided my first effort would be a conservative 4 x 8 early twentieth century California Sierra Mountains logging operation with two connected tracks in HO scale; an upper/inner logging track bringing rough cut logs down to the mill and village where they would be cut and loaded onto flat cars for transport to “market” on a larger mainline.

I have completed the bench work and laid out both lines, but now I am losing some confidence.

My lower mainline should be fine with 18” radius and 2% incline/decline, but I’m more concerned about the upper layout.

I have designed the track on a 12” radius with 3% to 4% incline/decline hills.

My intention is use a small loco, x 6 x, or Shay at slow speeds pulling three or four logging cars. Am I destined for continuous frustration with derailments using this tight of turns?

Thanks in advance for your input.


California, USA”

Please do leave a comment below if you can help Bill.

That’s all for this time.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to make a start on your very own layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



39 Responses to O gauge layout – Gus’s

  1. The last night for Tony’s.

    Ginger makes a surprise visit.

    And a great job on an O scale railway!

    Thank you for a terrific relief from the virus!

  2. Michael Glass says:

    Love your video & it did put a smile on my face, the layout is beautiful, I’m 65 & I’m a Model Railroder my railroad is HO & N Scale Amtrak & Metra.

  3. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Thanks again for your update. I really like the recent changes to made to your layout. Good to watch your trains running. Keep entertain us

  4. Peter Farrington says:

    Many thanks to Dave for his latest episode of light relief, I like your enthusiasm Dave, your carp wouldn’t survive where I live in Cheshire as we have Herons that throng our local canal. I am going to have a look at those magnetic couplings you have demo’d as they do seem to be a very useful piece of kit.
    I have made the most of the sunny weather this last week to complete the main structure of the mountain tunnel section of railway, it’s about 12ft long on part of the 10ft diameter turning loop at the bottom of my garden, woodwork painting and styrene mountain to follow.
    I am one of many who are in a 12week lockdown, no leaving home for anything, at least my railway and computer keep me sane.

  5. Larry Mlynek says:

    Great Job! You are so creative.

  6. JACK MASARIE says:

    Great, Gus. Love all you have done.

  7. george zaky says:

    9 x 17- wow. How do you get to the middle? Would like to see an overall plan. Nice work
    Many thanks.
    All be well
    George from NY

  8. Robert Brady says:

    Love the village set up not The 3 rail tracks.Not a fan .You would have thought they would have caught up to the rest of the manufacturers with the electric pickup.

  9. Robert Brady says:

    Well before your advice I was hanging in Tony’s Night club,had a wonderful time was getting sort of tipsy so I left and caught a train home. Good night Dave Stay isolated.

  10. Great detail. Unfortunately N scale is too small to do some of this stuff.

  11. John Ultee says:

    My old American Flyer train set, put away in 1962, keeps calling to me and you people aren’t any help in resisting it.

  12. Dan Hulitt says:

    Gus, wonderful o guage layout, lots going on. Wonderful words of advice from Dave and nice to see things growing. Our snow has pretty much left, but not time for planting yet.

    Mn Dan

  13. Susan Cannon says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful layouts! Great job on the O scale Gus!
    And thanks for the video Dave!
    Y’all stay healthy and take care of yourselves. Much love to all my fellow railroaders around the globe.

  14. Bob says:

    You can not help liking dangerous Dave and his wonderful railroad that actually runs. So much better than mine. I also love the Lionel layout featured. Good work by everyone

  15. David Schaffner says:

    Always cool to see the Cookie Monster pop up….Love the grey bridge and often wonder where he got all of them fantastic buildings, houses and his wonderful array of autos, buses, trucks and all things interesting…What a great layout of interesting engines and sound effects….I get just a little more jealous every time I watch one of his videos. He is also a master videographer…..I’m still trying to figure his accent…UK?

  16. Dave is always a delight…
    That O gauge layout is just fantastic,
    Very nice “High Rail” work… So realistic you hardly notice the old Lionel track.
    Al’s print out scenery is its own world of fun…
    I have started on my “Shelter at Home” project…
    A freight shed using the covered bridge, the wooden tunnel, and the barn.
    Some of his other textures will come into play as soon as I can get more ink for my printer!

  17. Mike Matejka says:

    Love the Lionel – with ballast and ties the 3-rail track is not a distraction. I model in multiple scales, but always include my Lionel, because it is just plan “Fun.” Gus did a great job with his scenery and his buildings to creata a great layout.

  18. Joe Gennari says:

    Beautiful garden!!! WOW!! Question… What do you do with your FISH in the Winter?
    pray for the world! this could be a very long time before we are able to move around…….there will probably be a different normal!
    god be with everyone!!!

  19. Will in NM says:

    Gus, Wow! I’d never thought of laying ties under Lionel 3-rail track. What a great way to keep your Lionel and still achieve better realism. Nice layout! I especially liked the downtown scenes. Now if you could just figure out a way to add the hand-laid ties to the upper level tracks … 🙂

    Dave, Thanks as always for another entertaining and informative video. I wish you could teach us all to do such great video editing.

    Keep safe everyone! Too many of us model railroaders are in the vulnerable age group for coronavirus.

  20. Joe E Wallace says:


    I have enjoyed your videos for some time… The one thing that has enhanced my watching is the OUTSTANDING background prints that surrounds the layout… It gives me the idea while watching that it is way more authentic than before… almost seems real… Love it… jw

  21. D.J.Radanovich says:

    The layout is great and Your garden with the Coi pond is so beautiful. You’ve brought us all a cheery respit from the present trauma. Thank You so much.
    D.J.Radanovich, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  22. Hemi says:

    GREAT O scale layout! NICELY DONE!!!!

    I myself, model HO scale with a little bit of N scale tossed in for forced perspective, BUT I have a couple O scale engines that I got for gifts and one will always be a “Shelf Queen” but the other one!? A Lionel 3 truck Shay in Western Maryland, I just wished I HAD a circle of O-54 or o-72 curves to run it on during these times! As I have some straight track! I got circles or curves in O-27 and O-31 but the Shay won’t run on those tight curves! SO for now I’m stuck at just “admiring” it!!!!

    Be GREAT to find someone local to me with an O scale layout to get it some good run time too!

    So I’m envious! NICE JOB!

  23. Thanks all for your comments re my video , just to answer a few , I use Cyberlink. Power Director for editing , it can be downloaded as a free trial for 30 days , maybe worth trying ….think the programme is now about $80 Power director 15 is my last one …as for my accent , yes from good old Yorkshire in the UK …and the question re my Koi in winter time , i put Polycarbonate covers over for about 4 months , just leave one filter running ..they sort of semi hibernate …..think we shall all be Happy when Tonys can open up again ….Dangerous Dave ..aka DMR

  24. Very nice layout gus shows all your hard work.Dave your video was great I love
    watching all your passenger trains and the garden was very nice too

  25. Dwight in Toronto says:

    Gus – very nice job, going to all that trouble laying the extra ties under the three-rail toy track. But after doing all that detail work, why oh why leave the elevated sectors of track hanging suspended in the open air? Model railroader quality work on the flatlands, but toy time amateur work on the raised sections. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and presume that you intend to finish off the elevations with proper bridge trusses etc when time permits.

  26. Jim Aspin says:

    Love your layout!

  27. Erick says:

    Nice. Would like to see more.

  28. Greg Marples says:

    Gus, I really like the row of brick storefront buildings. That street is so inviting! O scale must take a lot of detail work. Dave your koi are beautiful. I have some goldfish I’ve had for nearly 20 years now(and their offspring, of course), but it gets too cold in northern Kansas to keep koi. There is 6” of ice on the pond now except where the pump is keeping it open. I divert the stream/waterfall flow directly into the pond to keep it aerated. Occasionally when it stays very cold for a long period, I have to dump a few buckets of hot water in the pump inlet box to keep things open. Don’t think koi would like it!

  29. Mike Balog says:

    Hi Gus:
    Fantastic Job on the O Scale Layout. Great idea to Put stained Ties under the old fashioned O scale track. Makes it look More Realistic. Regarding the Upper Level Track… really liked the heavy support columns supporting the upper lever. You Could make Iron or Steel supports to Run between the columns, Like Girder Bridge Sections and paint them flat black so, it looks more realistic,,, the track look like it is suspended in mid air. Liked the Details of the Town,… when you get the chance, you can name the streets to put them on the street signs. Like the other scenery details… This one’s for Dangerous Dave ~ Always enjoy watching your passenger trains run, especially with the realistic diesel locomotive engine sounds, pulling into and out of stations.. And on run by’s ,.Your details are excellent. Always enjoy your realistic videos… And You have a great Pond and garden as well. Great Work… Hope you and your Mrs. Continue to do Well This Winter.. ~ We are in the Middle of a “Blizzard” Over here., Less than 200 Ft. Visibility, Heavy Snow coming down. 20 – 30 mph winds blowing the Snow Sideways.. City Plowed us out Twice since 9 AM,, Filled up Again.. Had to Shovel off part of my front porch just to let my Dog out for 3 Min. Then he charged back in the house! Wonder How you would Depict the Blowing Snow Storm on a model RR layout ??? From Mike Balog, Lebanon, N.H. U.S.A.

  30. From the recent posting . looks like there are a lot of us old Lionel guys still active. Gus your set up has provided me with some new ideas, thank you for this.

  31. Great looking railway, buildings and all the automobiles and people make it look great.

    The only thing I could see is there is no people inside any of the train cars . They need people sitting in the chairs and at the tables in the dinning cars to make it look like they are transporting them.

    Just saying

  32. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Gus great layout!! Well done!! Nothing better than a good looking O scale layout, like the U.S. Army switcher. Again, very nice, you should check out OGR Forum it’s for o scale and s gauge. Enjoy your layout!

  33. Bob with N scale in MI and AZ says:

    Gus, best job of making O scale realistic with additional ties and ballast I’ve ever seen! Great work in the buildings, etc. as well!

  34. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Gus nice looking O scale layout very well done. Alway nice to see O scale still alive and well! Like the US Army switcher! For you O scalers take a look at OGR Forum, think you all will enjoy the tip and great photos from the members.

    God Speed!

  35. robert tiemann says:

    nice fish pond. i always like big train sets. i have a friend that has a three story house that has trains on all three stories and the basement. hes single of course, and has the time to do this. he has at least 200 trains and a lot of spare time on his hands. lucky guy. your set is also nice and big. the walkover is a nice touch. i wish i haf the room and time to put mine back together, but in the future.

  36. A beautiful layout. Lionel is neat. My main layout is HO gauge, but I have a nice collection of Lionel O gauge as well as American Flyer S gauge , and Marx, etc. What always bothers me, in any gauge, is when an elevated railroad has no supports horizontally under the tracks. Only rails and some ties floating in mid-air. This is very unrealistic and in the real world would collapse under the weight of the trains. The real world would have steel, cement, or wood horizontally supporting the rails and resting on some sort of vertical pilons. It is a simple thing to use wooden or plastic appropriately sized beams to support the rails. This would give a more realistic and believable appearance to the elevated railway. Thank You, Joseph from Milwaukee.

  37. Mike Childs says:

    Dave, I hope you’re not serious about “ the last night at Tony’s”. I’m sure a lot of people would miss the colorful blinking lights and scantily clad lady. As usual, great video.

  38. TO MY FAVORITE “UNCLE AL!!” Thank you sir, as an Older Vet from California, I do so enjoy see your E-mails EVERYDAY!! The Ideas, Pictures Videos, & jsut the messages from all your subscribers makes me feel More connected & Very much LESS ISolated!! THANK YOU for All that ou do to Keep our Hobby “ROLLIN’ ALONG!” Jeff F.

  39. Great work guys. I do favor O-guage as my layout is 120square feet and some go back to my father. Enjoy!

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