HO scale Boston and Maine

Dan’s been in touch with his HO scale Boston and Maine layout:

“After finishing my layout, a hobby shop owner asked me if I would be interested in building a layout from scratch for one of his customers. I met him and we worked out a plan of attack.

We took a plan drawn for him and modified it to his liking. The owner had no skills at modelling, and I agreed to do the whole thing.

The HO layout is 45 feet by 15 feet with a 10 foot by 2.5-foot branch.

If you look closely, you will see that I have view blocks around the layout. All the layouts I have built have view blocks. This way you can’t see the same train in the same scene twice. I have done this on a 4×8 HO layout for a museum.

From start to finish it took me 7 years working 1 day a week. I was working on 3 other layouts at the same time!

He was from Boston. He moved to Indiana for college and stayed. The layout “represents” his memories of his time there. The layout goes from Boston to Lowell Mass. That is about 60 miles in length.

Boston is on a lower level with 7 storage tracks and two run through tracks. Arriving from “Boston” the train enters Winchester where there is a local classification yard.

This yard takes in bound trains and breaks them up for various destinations to be stored in Boston.

These trains will later come up from Boston as trains to be made up into the 6 locals to serve the industries on the visible layout.

This operation is done between operating sessions. Two of us come over to his place and make up the locals. I then make up the switch lists for the next session.

Leaving Winchester a train goes North through Winchester Highlands, Wilmington, Billerica, Lowell Junction and on to “Lowell”. Lowell is also under the layout at the opposite end of the railroad and not connected to Boston.

Lowell has 6 tracks and the run through tracks. At Lowell Junction there is a branch to Ayre on the New Haven railroad. At Winchester there is a branch South to Woburn.

A unique feature I set up for this layout is the morning commuter runs to and from Boston. With a fast clock we run an hour and half portion of the commuter schedule. There is a timetable just for that run.

Once an operator finished his or her tun, they pick up one of the 6 locals and head out to work. These locals run from easier to experienced based on the operator’s experience. The most difficult is the Woburn Local.

An experienced operator takes about 50 minutes to do the work. All locals return to Winchester.


HO scale boston and maine

HO scale track plan

HO scale bench work

Boston and maine locomotives

HO scale boston and maine

model railroad sidings

model railroad end

HO scale model railroad

HO scale model railroad

HO scale boston and maine

A huge big thanks to Dan for sharing his HO scale Boston and Maine layout – what a project! 7 years of toil too.

As you all know, I do love a layout with a theme, for me, it’s what seperates them from the others.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, 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.

22 Responses to HO scale Boston and Maine

  1. Larry says:

    Not sure I understand the “view blocks”…

  2. Stephen Hill says:

    A lot of planning has gone into that , it looks remarkable. I like the way you created the scenes and track so as not to be everything in your face all at once . Very pleasing to the eye, and relaxing . Nicely done

  3. TJK says:

    I have lived (67 years) right in the middle of all the communities mentioned in the narrative. The layout looks terrific, although there is not an area that resembles a single community mentioned from Boston to Winchester to Lowell. That certainly does not take away from the extensive labor to create such a layout, I just do not see the mention of the area this layout is intended to resemble. There are no mountain elevations from Boston to Lowell that even compare. Not trying to be negative at all to the modeling talents by any means, just do not see the reflection of the geographical area intended to be represented. Grade A layout of scenery and imagination though.

  4. Marvin Putman says:

    Absolutely beautiful, very nice detailed design

  5. Kevin McArdle says:

    All I can say is “wow”!

  6. Rob McCrain says:

    I like the track plan. Excellent execution of the benchwork. It appears to be a fun layout to operate. Nice going, Rob McCrain

  7. Brian Olson says:


  8. Jeff says:

    great layout, nice work. I enjoy seeing layouts with a lot of detail.

  9. george zaky says:

    My word! 45×15 with a branch.
    As I drooled while going over the plan, reading the narrative, and trying to match plan to the pics many thoughts raced in my mind. “He” wasnt a modeler so you built if for him. Who bought all that inventory? 7 years-whew.
    The light and truth for me is I guess I’m not a good modeler but it is my plan, my story, and the total picture-warts and all- is all mine with the memories burned in the brain cells for me to cherish while controlling my beauties around the track.
    BTW every engine is a beauty. When she goes over the bridge I remember the paint I spilled, thru the tunnel-the thumb I smashed, thru town- how proud I was to think of that, by the mill- Hah- I made that, and a sense of accomplishment is soothing to this old codger.
    You are the creator of that magnificent layout and obviously able to use it and you must be proud. What memories will you keep when the light grows dimmer.
    Big Al
    Awesome. Be well

  10. santafedan says:

    View blocks are to prevent seeing the entire layout at once. It keeps you focused on the scene where the trains are operating.
    Also, this is both an operating layout and a scenic layout. You can have both.

    The layout is the owner’s layout and this is how he wanted it. The “flavor” is the idea. He wanted to capture New England.

  11. robert dale tiemann says:

    thats a lot of train. very cool setup.

  12. Roger Turner says:

    Fabulous layout that reflects the hard work and talented dedication to build.
    Would love to see a live operating session.

  13. GaryM from Long Island says:

    Wow….some room……some layout…… great work

  14. Michael says:

    huge layout!
    thank you for including the layout track plan

  15. Michael says:

    how do you get to those upper sections? a duck-under or?

  16. santafedan says:

    The stations of Boston and Lowell are not modeled. They are just where the staging is and the run through tracks.. It is basically a long oval!

    Also, the concept is to have trains running behind industries when possible in and in front when necessary. Just like the real world. I will post the local jobs next.

  17. Mason Dirickson says:


  18. TONYROMO2 says:

    I have no idea what everyone is talking about, you can’t see anything it’s to far to see what has been done maybe after it’s been finished and we get some close ups.

  19. santafedan says:

    Tony, more to come. I didn’t want to overwhelm readers.

  20. Walter Aldorisio says:

    I was raised in Winchester and took the BM to Boston many times. Dan did an excellent job building the layout. It was never supposed to be an exact replica. We took a lot of modeling license.

  21. Norm says:

    I grew up in Winchester. I remember raiding the caboose for flares and bangers when I was ten or so. Is the statute of limitations past?

  22. Runna Muck says:

    Fantastically finished basement. Fabulous RxR ,would love to see it running . color me jealous.
    Runna Muck

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