High tech railroad club

Ed’s been in touch:

“I live in NC and recently visited the Model RR Club of Hendersonville.

Located in a old REA building their 100′ x 18′ HO layout has to be the ultimate one anywhere.

ALL Peco track and expensive switches (galore) 3 connected rooms, multiple thru track systems, local period scenery and very well done.

Here’s what impresses you; real time wireless, moving video at track level, all DCC controled sound, switches and signaling included, video track layout monitors w/touch screen or I Pad interface for trains, switches, uncouplers etc.

Manual switch controls along the track section where the switches are. Multiple members can follow their engines around the whole layout by using an app on their phones and watching some very sophisticated blocking signals.

Big $$. How do they do it? Apparently Hendersonville is home to a lot of retired electrical engineers and wealthy train buffs.


Hi Al,

First an update on the under-bed storage 00-gauge layout; for why? Because five trains on six sidings in a wardrobe doesn’t give much room for manoeuvre (which is half the fun!).

The 00-gauge under-bed layout has now been built as a folded triple-loop, overall dimensions 1970mm x 1174mm(6ft 6in x 3ft 10in). Requires a bit of fettling on the curves, occasional derailments still, but a work in progress. And I’ve had all five of my trains running on it simultaneously, using the DCC Controller from my Wardrobe Railway. [Tip: for anyone swapping their controller between different layouts, solder some stiff wire (paper-clip wire is perfect) to the ends of your leads, for simple connection into the controller’s spring-grips.]

More on this layout later when I’ve completed it: how to make quick-fit scenery such as stations with no room for platforms, bridges with no room for supports, lightweight tunnel, all to be kept in a single under-bed drawer; bearing in mind the track under the bed itself must be less than 2” thick including its base-board. I realise this may not be what most of your readers get up to, but that might make it interesting!

Back to my wardrobe, and I find it’s easy to lose track – at 00-scale – of just how big these locos were. A couple of period motorcycle combinations trackside keep things in proportion.

My daughter was having a clear-out and unearthed a Spitfire we made together many years back. That’s 00-scale too, so it sits on a convenient wardrobe shelf. To add a touch of realism, I photo-shopped some sky onto a piece of A4 paper: not perfect, but it is a working wardrobe!

Keep up the good work, always a pleasure reading what others get up to,

All Best,


That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming. Just mail me.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to stop dreaming, and start doing.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

31 Responses to High tech railroad club

  1. I have known of dust under the bed , but this is something else , good idea for people short of room

  2. Paul Shaw says:

    Hi Al,
    Great under the bed layout from Robert, I am in the process of making my son’s layout with a raised viaduct on the outer line, on a 6′ x 3’10” board Currently has 2 loops, 6 small sidings for locos and trucks, a small branch line, along with 2 long sidings for express locos and coaches. It may sound congested on the board, but once all the scenery is done it will all fall into place. Once this is completed I will start on my N gauge layout.



  3. MIKE,Seattle WA says:

    That is a good idea to put layout under bed BUT do I do with the junk that is under bed now??

  4. Tom says:

    Amazing stuff … got me scratching my head.
    great model railroading thanks for sharing.



  5. paul Otway says:

    I once had a layout under the bed, but I found it got dusty, also tall buildings had to be removed when storing it.

  6. builder Kim says:

    That is a cool idea but my dog would eat it.For people with high ceiling’s can always us a few small pullies and lift it up and down from the ceiling.But if the dog didn’t get it the dust bunnies would devour the city.more pictures be fun.thank;s Ed

  7. builder Kim says:

    sorry Robert.

  8. THOMAS says:


  9. Robert says:

    Two inches high? That’s a small dog you’ve got Kim!!

    And I take the point about the dust, except in my case the gap is so small the bottom of the bed gives it a wipe as I pull the track out!

    But all stuff I hadn’t thought of, thanks.

  10. Rob says:

    Wow, I couldn’t get my layout in my bedroom, let alone wardrobe. Good thinking for the short of space. Better a small layout than no layout at all.

  11. Greywoulf (Skip) says:

    I once hid under a bed until a guy left… Thank God there were no trains under there too! ;>})
    But it is an ingenious layout, and one can see the interesting switching afforded by all those passing sidings. Neato!

    As to the big club layout, it’s quite impressive I’m sure. But I’m not one who enjoys a lot of digital electronics on a layout. -Seems too much like ‘work’ to me, learning all that complicated control stuff!
    Probably why I’m a Marx tinplate fan? -I much prefer the basic toy gestalt! But it’s also probably a generation thing too, as I am a geezer…….. ;>})

  12. Toni says:

    I am a bit puzzled about the scale. I know about what size that scale “O”, “HO”, “N” and “Z” are, but where does “OO” fit into the group? Since I live in a studio apartment, I am considering of building a “N” scale lay out on a 3ft by 6ft door that I plan to put onto the back of a horizontal Murphy bed, which I may use as a room divider. I have an Atlas turntable that I wish to use in a small switching yard with a two bay engine house and a small passenger station, between a main-line and a small branch-line.

    Any ideas for a layout that I could use?

  13. jacob says:

    cool layout man it is really good considiering my tracks allways SUCK. still keep on building Hornby 00.

  14. richard graham says:

    Hats off to you for a brilliant underbed layout. As for the junk I would go “Potty”! Excuse this very English pun…

  15. Ken Hecker says:

    “I would go “Potty”!” Just a note that on the other side of the Pond, that has a completely different meaning 🙂


  16. Kirby says:

    I was in Chicago and when to the Techical and science musemum, I believe that’s what it’s called. They have a n-scale layout that’s really nice. Per the person there, it’s a million dollar adventure.

    I enjoy the articles and comments, as I’m working on a n-scale layout, and find them helpful. I’d like to see a little more on how the helo was build, spacing between the turns and diameter of the turns. If in the first article, I’ve lost it.

  17. Shadow says:

    I wonder if those electrical engineers would like to help me start up my 4×8 lay out ????????………….LoL Looks like I’ll need them !

  18. Duncan Galbraith says:

    I got my first layout 56 years ago, Hornby 3 rail “Duchess of Montrose” and 2 coaches/ It soon grew to an 8×4 layout on a 48″ high frame as Dad, my brother-in-law & uncles took an interest. When I wanted to operate it. my bed rolled under the layout! . D/

  19. Charles says:

    I and with the help of my wife, put a small HO layout together on a small table 5×6, first layout in 61 years, all the old DC with a few hand operated turn outs.
    I really have enjoyed the simplicity and especially doing the diorama and tweeking it on almost a daily occurance. All who have seen it cannot beleive the realism of the scenery. I play a CD of train sounds in a train yard complete with all the bells and whistles as an added treat. I just wanted to share my experience
    with all to say you can keep it as simple as you want and still have a great time.
    I hope to have a long and enjoyable retirement “playing with my trains”

  20. Dan says:

    My retired brother belongs to the Hendersonville club and yes, he is a well off retired engineer. He got interested in trains about age six(now 74). I got interested in airplanes and we are both still active in our selected hobbies.
    I live in the desert in Arizona and will never see that layout except in RR magazine and videos.

  21. David V. Corbin says:

    Or go the other direction. Layout suspended OVER the bed, pull down (synchronized) when you want to run it….

  22. Kevin McArdle says:

    I am thinking of having my wife move into the garage so I’ll have more room for my trains. Anything for the hobby, right?

  23. Bruce says:

    The general order of scales, from large to small, are:
    G (1:22.5), O (1:48) S (1:64) OO (1:76.2) HO (1:87) TT (1:120) N (1:160) Z (1:220).

    If you model in N scale, you should have a very nice layout with nice lengths and landscape on your 3×6 door.

    I did the same in small radius O three rail track on a door with about 3 inches added to one side. It had a pair of turnouts and buildings, crossing gates, etc. The grandkids loved it and it was easy to move when they did.

  24. Warren Ferguson says:

    To the guy moving his wife to the garage: please let us hear from you once you accomplish your mission. Oh, and where do we send the get well cards?

  25. Allan Blossom says:

    The only comment I have is to Al — print out scenery , how do I get it to right size for O gauge ???

  26. Mitch Pietruszka says:

    Recently visited the HO layout in Budapest and it was surely the largest, most realistic display I have ever seen. Most impressive was the use of local scenes and buildings. There are lots of interactive sections and includes things like trolleys and cable cars, all working. I took over 50 pictures !

  27. Minnesota Dan says:

    Very nice. Kids would like a model under the bed, that way there would be no room for monsters and such…..that always seem to lurk under kids beds. Just ask them.

  28. robert great idea,great layout
    hendersoville train club WOW !!!

  29. Dave Karper says:

    HO is 1 to 87.1.

  30. Frank says:

    I considered following the N-Trak modular system or even building a shelf railroad. I figure I can build several and link them or build essentially different railroads. I have an old Lionel train set (O-27) given to me and my brothers by our Grandmother way back around 1970 I think.
    I’d just like a “railroad” to display it and run it a bit. I don’t want to use it a lot or have it get dirty. I may just go with a display case and run it like at Christmas time. It has great sentimental value, but not my first choice in regards to scale.

    When I got the bug, my father gave me an HO scale train set. I did not want a set, as I did not want a “toy” train, but they’re okay. I got some stuff and built a few models, but barely enough for a full display. I could build some buildings and make scenery and add a bit to create a railroad…. and it is a nice scale for kids and adults. Like the book “HO Railroad That Grows” I can build something nice and interesting.

    I changed my interests and shopping to N scale stuff because while HO is not huge, you get more from N scale in tight space. I built a snowplow kit and purchased some nice cars at the Greenberg Train Show in Maryland. This is what I’d really like to work with and my rolling stock is of higher quality than the Ho scale train. Soon enough maybe I can setup something as seeing all the work others have done makes me remember how this hobby really fascinated me and has so many aspects to it.

    Frank in Orlando…. Orlando is big, but my space at home is limited.

  31. william j plmer says:


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