HO scale layout 14×4

Yale has been in touch with his HO scale layout 14×4 – he’s taking steps to make sure others enjoy the hard work they have put in over the years:

“Alastair there comes a time when we are no longer up to doing the things we enjoy.

I am now 85 and with the aches and pains that come with that age for some of us I can no longer maintain the Fairfield and Cheston Railroad.

I’ve enjoyed sending in photos of my progress over the years. I’ve also enjoyed drawing on the wisdom of others to help me with the challenges we often face as modelers.

So the question I was faced with was who would get my layout. Checked with family and friends and had no interest.

If I left it until I passed I had no doubt it would be dumped. I didn’t want 20 years worth of work by my wife and I, as well as thousands of dollars to go down in the trash.

I found that the Cape Fear Model Railroad Club was willing to take the entire layout. They have a store at Independence Shoping Mall in Wilmington, NC.

They are going to put it on display at the Club’s entrance. It will be seen by far more people than in the train room of my house. I am looking at the best way to dismantle it.

HO scale 14x4

hO scale store and cars

It is 14 feet long by 4 feet wide. It is fully digital with four DCC Locomotives. It is modeled after a real place, Fairfield and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I’ve included a couple of photos to show the details we’ve included in our work.

I am documenting everything that they need to know. I have volunteered to supervise the rehoming project. Thought I would share this with your readers in the event others reach this stage in their lives.


Now on to Dan – who’s sent in another missive on his layout:

“In the post of the Lowell Junction Local, I showed the lower staging and return track. I used a mountain to cover the loop.

The gravel pit covers the Boston return loop. I just thought that two mountains was a little too much. So I made the loop a gravel pit. It is probably a foot or so deep.

Location of the gravel pit to be. You can see the Lowell Loop and the Boston Loop which are at opposite ends of the layout.

HO scale benchwork

Placement of the processing plant.

HO scale benchwork

The Gravel Local at work. The empties are brought up from Boston and the loads must be weighed and then sent to Winchester for sorting. Some of the gravel goes to Bag-O-Crete and some goes to the Big Dig in Boston. We usually have the beginning operators start with this local.

model train gravel factory

The pit.

model railroad gravel pit

View for below the pit.

HO scale town scene


Now on to Scott:

“Alastair: thank you for the great site you run for all of us aging train nuts.

The last time I posted pics of our DCC HO layout some of the comments asked where the trains were so here us a video with new Aethern Lehigh Valley loco.

My wife and I fall in the scenery over train running camp but the people who live on the layout insist that the trains run on time.


model railroad town scene

HO scale model train brake van

model train town

model railroad locomotive

HO scale model railroad locomotive

model railroad overhead view

HO scale model train loco tunnel

model railroad freight

model train freight car

model railroad brake van

14x4 HO scale track plan

(Here’s the youtube link if you want a larger screen.)

A big thanks to Scott – I really enjoyed the video. It’s also a really good example of how making that start is everything – here’s how Scott’s layout began:

model railroad laying track

And thanks to Dan and Yale for sharing his HO scale layout 14×4.

I really admire what Yale has done – a great way to pass on all that hard work for others to enjoy.

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.

23 Responses to HO scale layout 14×4

  1. Brian Messenger says:

    Very nice video of your layout Scott – well done.

  2. Ronald Latek says:

    Dan – where did you get the gravel processing plant? Is it scratch built? Are plans available?

  3. Don says:

    well done, love the gravel pit, the city is great, as is the countryside.

  4. Brian Olson says:

    No small task moving a layout, and it will be hard to say “goodbye.” Good to know it will have a new home!

  5. Donald Strohl says:

    Breath taking to say the least!!!

  6. george zaky says:

    You brought up an issue that us ancients will have to contend with at some point. My very selfish view is that my trains are my happy place and basically all you have to do is maintain it and run it . Will it to the group and let it move after you’re gone. Better than that crap on TV.
    The layout is grand and nobody loves it more than you.
    Hey Dan
    The updates are sweet. Work that gravel line ! What fun.
    Awesome! Great video of your talents.
    Big Al
    Lots of great stuff this AM. Thanks

  7. Rob McCrain says:

    This has got me to thinking. This business of getting old or worse and what happens to a layout is something to think about. I have an extensive collection of n scale cars and engines plus of course Farland with my large and growing collection of OO rolling stock. What will happen to it. Planning for that day or having a plan is not a bad idea. The rolling stock and locomotives can all be sold at this time in the hobby’s history. What about the layout, buildings and trees? Hmmm, I must give this more thought. Thanks for the posts Dan and Scott. Rob McCrain

  8. TJK says:

    Hey Yale, I also think about what will transpire with my layout when I’m gone.
    I am sure my layout will come to its demise as I am sure none of my kids will take what it takes to have the layout live on. I am certainly glad you have found a new home for your efforts to be enjoyed by others. Mine will be tossed out the window I’m sure, hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars will not live on.
    YOU…..have secured a place for YOUR signature of a labor of love to survive. You may have to say goodbye to your workmanship, but that supervising authority to assist and manage the dismantling will be a memory that will live on in the new fresh interest of children and adults for years to come.

  9. Mr Ron from south Mississippi says:

    I would cut the layout into 2 pieces, 4′ x 7′. Clear an area 6 to 12 inches at the cut; add legs at the cut end. Label all the wires connecting the 2 halves; remove buildings in the area. A 4×7 ft piece can be moved easily with a little help in a pickup truck. This will minimize disruption,

  10. matiSon says:

    It brings me sadness when I hear of a long loved train layout that after the passing of the Chief Engineer, some relative who doesn’t have any interest in keeping it, parcels everything out piece by piece for pennies compared to the initial cost. Your story still makes me a little sad, in that you cannot enjoy the trains anymore due to pains, (yes that’s right: plural pain. It’s something that I unhappily learned as I grew old.) but I am glad to know that your layout will go to a place where it will be seen by many, and hopefully used by some. I hope that you get to visit it from time to time.

  11. Yale M Schiffman says:

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I may send along a few pictures after it is dismantled and when it gets installed in its new home. The clubs goal is to have it operating by Christmas. That is when the club facility gets the most traffic.

  12. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Yale…….. I understand your feelings and glad your layout is finding a new home. I am *0 years old and have had 5 back operations and my mobility is limited. I am having the same thoughts as you; I would not want it to be tossed in the trash.

    Dan……. that room is enorormous….. that will be some layout. Great work on the pit and mountains.

    Scott…. love your detail…great layout…..and great train speed.

  13. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice landscaping.

  14. NJ Mark says:

    I am glad that your many years of work and craftmanship will have a great home. It isn’t the money that is important, it is a part of your and your soul and creativity will live on. I fear that when my time comes to go to the great beyond that my work will wind up in some trash heap. Until then CHEERS! NJ Mark

  15. Steven Kurtz says:

    Lay out as beauty, Additionally, it has the good stuff that every engineer, designer and runner of trains would respect. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Rod Mackay says:

    One way of preserving a layout for the future is to write it up for one of the modelling magazines or failing that your local newspaper. Your family might not have the space or technical interests to keep the layout but a copy of an article can easily be added to the family archive.
    Another way to secure a future for a layout is to make it sectional and write up simple step by step instructions for dismantling and moving it, and a wiring diagram to help any purchaser get their head round it.

  17. Bob Cassidy says:

    Looking really good, nice job! Where did you get the B and M GP9?

  18. Pete from Michigan says:

    Great suggestions for ‘end-of-life’ model train layouts. It is like creating a will. Create a plan to dismantle with clear instructions, as noted in the comments. Contact possible recipients, if there are any and include them in the ‘will. If none, the instructions to disassemble will aid anyone who may purchase the layout, even if piecemeal.

  19. Brian Olson says:

    Great work, especially like your attention to detail throughout the layout. Those small scenes make such a big difference.

  20. robert dale tiemann says:

    really cool. lots of time and space, needed to put this together. its shows.

  21. Thomas Busler says:

    I am 76 and only have benchwork done. (Still looking for decent S Scale track)
    BTW, when you start cutting the layout apart, I would suggest using a “Multi-Tool” vibrating cutter. Much easier to handle than circular saw or jig saw and less clearing of area before cut.
    Tom in Mississippi

  22. Scott Mandelup says:

    Gary M. Thank you. Also on Long Island Where are you?

  23. Tim says:

    Yale, glad you are able to re-home the table. Couple years ago I started thinking about this. My table cannot be easily taken apart. And will not fit through 90 degree turn at top of stairs. My oldest brother took apart our old table from parents house. He tore tracks up and removed what he could. Sawed up table and three out what he thought was junk.
    I “rescued” the box. It sat for couple decades in bsmt. Till I started. I stopped working on mine, when I realized no one in my family would want it AND it could not be easily disassembled. Table is ten by five feet and tips up against a wall. I finally had to rig up pulley system to raise and lower the table. The framing and wiring is problem as the framing was engineered to make table capable of stresses put on it. All that is kaput if cut into sections. My advice to anyone is to plan ahead for tables eventual relocation.
    Because it WILL be! Or it will be destroyed eventually. Unhappy thought. Just one man’s opinion.

Leave a Reply

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