“About 6 years ago, when I was dating my girlfriend, now my wife, I was inspired to take down my trains that were just sitting in the attic for over 15 years.
I utilized used plywood as the platform. We laid it out on floor level with four trains. She liked doing the tedious task of connecting the wires. It was crude but what a joy working as a team.
When we got married, we added an extension to our house with “my” intention of using it for my current train layout.
Innocently, I asked her to design this room which at the end she contended that it was “too nice” to make it as a Train room. Ultimately, I used an 18 by 12 area in another part of the house for the layout. I made individual modules for the layout.
The articles in the train magazines inspired me to replace my Lionel trains with MTH engines. I am now running eight trains simultaneously and two trolleys.
A lot of the materials we use are derived from common household products and organic items that we collect from our occasional walk in the park, like for example: dried stalks of grapes, branches, seeds, leaves, etc.… We use hairspray as preservatives for these organic materials. These are notable in the parks and farm that I created.
I designed this layout with the concept of having an urban and suburban community accented with seasonal amusement parks.
On the far right is a ski resort. The ledge and the face of the mountain are covered by imitation snow which was created by my wife melting a bar of ivory snow by agitating it manually in a pail of warm water. The end product is easy to sculpt to any desired shape
On the elevated far left is a “Disney-inspired” carnival. And at the center mountain top is a summer resort hotel. Here, you will notice a trolley that runs continuously from the ski resort to the carnival (as if transporting passengers).
In the city center, I created a multilevel structure. Starting with the 1 st level is a subway system in the like of New York Penn station. We have three trains running on this lower level. The main tier has three trains running throughout the scenic views.
As in any busy city, delivery trucks keep the streets occupied, accidents always happen and ongoing construction occur. My wife installed all the LED lighting in these emergency vehicles. The upper level has two trains running.
When I started this layout, I had no idea how it would turn out. There were no plans. Things just naturally evolved. I was fortunate to get everything to fit together and run the trains without colliding. I use four Z4000, one z1000 transformers. I use one Lionel ZW for the lights. I am also running DCS with two TIU’s.
The layout is still a work in progress. I used an IPhone to make this video. I am glad that I made the decision to take down the trains from the attic. It is an immeasurable joy to share it with my family, especially my grandchildren and the children of our friends who come to visit. Their faces that are in awe when they see all the trains running is Priceless!
Sometimes, using your imagination provides the most satisfaction for a layout.
I thank Al, for the guidance, motivation, and inspiration that he provided me through his e-mails and all of the people that provide information each week in making this layout a reality!
Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.
A huge thanks to Hank, I did enjoy his narrative. It made me wonder how many folk have trains in the attic gathering dust. So if that’s you, why not have some fun with them instead?
And the Beginner’s Guide will point you in the right directions too.
That’s all today folks, please do keep ’em coming.
Great layout for not making any kind of plans looks real life like. Trains look great. Real nice hope my layout looks this good.
love the passenger sets great job congrats
Holy Smokes 8 trains running simultaneously on multiple levels, what an achievement. What a fun layout. Very creative use of lighting. Love the theme park. In addition, it is nice to have a spouse/life long friend that loves doing scenery.
No wonder the kids are in awe! So am I. So much light and movement really brings the scene to life. Great job.
Fantastic layout with a ton of interesting things going on. Nice work. I think it’s wonderful your wife enjoys working on it also.
My trains go back to 1949, and have sat dormant in boxes for decades, and will probably never be used by me again. I do however enjoy watching the videos of the end results of the painstaking work done by folks like you. The labor of love put into the work, brings immeasurable joy to you and to those you share your joy with. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy !
What you two have created is nothing short of amazing!!!
WOW! I model post war and MPC O Gauge. Great layout! Lots going on!
Great job Hank!
Great train layout.Love to seeing the steam engine with smoke coming from the chimney. Well done.
Very nice layout. Glad to see he has slowed down the speed of his trains as they look more realistic. lot of people on the site run the trains way too fast.
Such an excellent idea Hank. So happy to read that your wonderful wife approves and even lent a hand. I showed your message and video to my wife for the encouragement to have her assist me with the up-date of my layout. Perhaps your joint venture will be the inspiration to get my layout back-on-track! Pun intended.
Regards, Tom (USA)..
Hurray for an O Scale layout! I’m encouraged to try …. just as soon as I find some more room! Greetings from Illinois in the US. Len
Nice job! Very nice (& busy) layout… personally, I’ve never been fond of traditional Lionel “O” gauge because of the third/middle rail (even the blacked-out style) & the fact that I’d never have enough room to set up a decent layout in that scale, but you’ve really done it justice… & kudos to your lady also for sharing the joy of it w/ you… lucky guy! All the best & happy railroading…
-Bob W, NH, USA.
Extremely busy layout and my hat is off to both of you for pulling it all together. I’m in awe over the way the LEDs are meticulously laid out for the construction and emergency scenes, as well with the other lighting. Fantastic job!
Hank, what a fantastic job packing so much detail into limited space. I would not have imagined that stacking multiple levels would have worked so well. Looks like you, your wife and your visitors are having great fun with the railroad, a joy to see. Thanks for sharing. Cary in KY
amazing to see so many trains running really great. nice scenery and lighting.and you say your not finished. Thanks for sharing it certainly has made me think about more trains running.
Ah Hank, a man after my O gauge heart.
Absolutely love the layout. My story is similar to yours. For the longest time my Dad’s O gauge Lionel trains, cirr. 1952 sat in various basements and attics until December of 2015 when my grandson and I dug out all the boxes dusted everything off and fired them up. Ever since then the whole O gauge model railroading thing has become an absolute obsession and I’m sorry to say my wife hasn’t been near as understanding but that’s another story for another time. Keep up the good work and O gauge forever. O gauge Frank in Saint Charles, MO
Kudos to all you O gaugers. I too have my 1947 Lionel set. It’ll be on new home tracks by spring, I hope. Last time we ran trains was about 5 years ago.
Bruce in SC USA
Watched your video again for the 15th time and can’t get enough of it. Just when I thought I had Al’s clientele figured out, they pull a 180 on me. I thought sure you were going to get a bunch of snippy remarks about.how your layout is too busy or how .you could accomplish so much more with a smaller gauge. And what do I get, nothing. Oh well, keep on training.
O gauge Frank
Although I have never been a fan of the tight radius curves of Lionel I am in awe of the detail on this layout. It is not detailed like and HO-scale layout with realism, but detailed with whimsy. Good job.
Hank, what a great inspiration! I love seeing the O gauge layouts. The multiple levels gave me a great idea. My son has an extra room and has always talked about putting together a layout. I’ve got lots of track, several locos, transformers, rolling stock and other accessories. I think he and I can pull this off! Great layout and thanks for sharing!!!
Gary Seattle, Wa
Wow 8 trains running thats great keep up the great work.