HO scale 11×22 Santa Fe layout

Jim’s been in touch.

He sent in some pics and youtubes of his HO scale 11×22 ft.

“I will be 75 next month and I have “played” with model trains all my life.

When I was five years old my father bought me my first train set.

It was an O-gauge CB&Q Zephyer. He bought it used from a friend whose son had grown tired of it.

My dad covered a 4′ x 6′ sheet of plywood with a green Army blanket and tacked down an oval of track with a passing siding.

Together we added some houses, roads, cars and trees. Good times.

About 3-4 years later I got a A-A Santa Fe Marx set for Christmas.

When I got older we passed those sets on to younger kids in our neighborhood and I messed around with HO for a couple of years.

Then life happened. After High School, I enlisted in the Army and served in Vietnam and Washington DC. Got out of the Army in 1969 and went to college.

After graduating landed a good job, got married, bought a house, and raised two great kids.

During that time I was in-and-out of N-scale and 3-rail O-scale.

I build an 18′ x 8′ O-Scale layout in my basement and was a founding member of the Independent Hi-Railers Midwest Division.

We had the LARGEST modular Hi-Rail layout in the world and would travel to major cities (New Brunswick NJ, Cleveland OH, Madison WI, St Louis MO, Minneapolis MN, Chicago IL) to set-up, display and operate our layout.

In addition, we also participated in 4 or 5 local shows each year.

Fast forward, I retired at age 58 with plans of building a large HO layout in my basement.

Many starts and stops, tear-down and rebuilds. I was never satisfied with the results. My carpentry and electrical skills never measured up to my desired standards. I wish would have realized that sooner.

In 2018 I met with the good people at PMD (Professional Model Design) to discuss having them build an HO layout for me.

Yada, yada, yada… 16 months later they delivered a beautiful 11′ x 22′ HO layout.

For now, I will just post these three short videos. In the near future, I will provide more information and include pictures of the build process and MORE videos.

For now, please enjoy these.


santa fe model railroad HO scale 11x22

santa fe passenger train HO scale 11x22

santa fe freight train HO scale 11x22

santa fe freight bridge HO scale 11x22

santa fe sidings HO scale 11x22

model train road crossing HO scale 11x22

model train road crossing

A huge big thanks to Jim.

Really liked his back story, especially the line, “then life got in the way”.

It’s something we can all relate to.

But I think he’s made up for time with a HO scale 11×22 in his basement. Looks great.

That’s it for today peeps.

Please do keep ’em coming. My inbx is hungry for your tips and pics.

And if today is the day you say no to just sitting on the side lines, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

19 Responses to HO scale 11×22 Santa Fe layout

  1. George Zaky says:

    The pics & video are of a beautiful layout. Your narrative was great, especially of the modular units which you took to those shows. You did it your way and I know the feeling when after you finished something it wasnt up to your standards but I am comforted in knowing that I built what I did and it is mine-warts and all.
    11×22- I’m so jealous.
    I would love to see what PMD did and more of the layout.
    All be safe
    George from LI, NY

  2. Walter Rabe says:

    How much did it cost to have the layout built??

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Photo’s 6 & 7 look so alive. Great job !
    The Critic

  4. Robert Brady says:

    Also Jim I noticed your ballasting is excellent.
    The Critic

  5. Rob McCrain says:

    Jim, Your layout demonstrates a master’s touch. It is skillfully created and obviously well thought out. It is not a spaghetti layout, all track and no scenery. It is wonderful. Great video too.
    Rob McCrain

  6. Erick says:

    Well done. I hope mine turns out that good.

  7. William Orton says:

    What a great layout. I’d love to see an overhead view with how the bridge is integrated. I don’t think i could stop making changes to mine, but once you had yours built, you’re locked in.
    Pls send more pics…always looking for ideas on how to integrate a future upper level.

  8. THOMAS says:

    Why does it take 4 engines to pull an 11 car passenger train ?

  9. Charlie Muller says:

    I’d also like to know what it costs to have a layout like that built by a professional company. I’m older myself and although I’m pretty good at building models I don’t trust myself to take on some heavier carpentry work.

  10. Great farm scene. And thanks for your service.

  11. jack guasta says:

    Am not familiar with PMD. Can you give me their location/contact info?.
    BTW, loved your layout.

  12. john peddy says:

    Looks great!!!! Wish we could see the entire layout and track plan so we could get an idea for those of us planning a layout in that amount of space.

  13. James Marek says:

    Guys, thanks for all your nice replies. As for the cost, let’s just say it was worth every penny.. I will post a link to PMD in the near future. From there you will be able to calculate what your cost would be. Factors are: size, scale, amount of detail. You can get just benchwork, track work and electrical. All other details are priced separately. Or you can finish it off yourself. I supplied many of my buildings and about 100 of my 350 trees.

    Why four engined on that Tran? Because that is exactly how the Santa Fe ran the El Capitan passenger train..

    Stay tuned. SantaFeJim

    I will be posting my track plan shortly. I will also include details about the “build” and LOTS of pictures and videos in the next few days.

  14. Chris Kilgus says:

    Santa Fe colors have always been my favorite. So well represented with Jim’s layout.

  15. Andrew Aves says:

    Awesome Jim – I’m looking forward to more details
    Andrew in Oz

  16. Allan J Jelinek says:

    I love passenger trains, like your Santa Fe. I’m looking for an “N” gauge Burlington from Chicago to California to get back in the hobby. I used to be “O” guy but moved into a town home. Love your layout.

  17. That was the best imitation concrete road I have ever seen. Money well spent. Send more videos.

  18. Frank says:

    Everything looks so real, it’s amazing.

    You managed to create beautiful scenes within the layout as a whole.

    Frank in Orlando

  19. Steve Nicholson says:

    I searched for PMD and cannot seem to find it. Can you help me out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *