HO scale layout 8×15

Jeff’s been in touch with his HO scale 8×15 layout:


I’d like to share with you and your readers my model railroading experience.

I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old I received an HO scale train set which we would set up around the Christmas tree.

When my oldest son was about 8 years old we put together a very modest 4×8 HO scale layout. A twice-around pike with a couple of turnouts and short sidings.

That project didn’t last very long as his interests turned to other things more important in his life (sports, etc.), and the layout ended up leaning against the wall in the basement.

While cleaning the basement after some 20+ years, I thought of selling it but getting it out rekindled my interest!

Having recently retired and talking with my wife about it, she told me I could have the “office” for a train room.

Off I went, designing my first real attempt at a model railroad layout, working with the real estate I had.

My choice was an HO scale layout 8×15 DC layout consisting of a double loop passenger line encompassing a double loop and figure 8 freight line representing the fictitious “Somerfield Valley R.R.” surrounding the main street area of the Village of Somerfield, and some outskirts.

Removable areas at the farm and village allow for access to the ill-fated derailment or track maintenance. I can operate 3 different trains at one time and the grandkids love watching!

ho scale 8x15 track plan

My design was based on 2 criteria…

#1 – Nothing against steam but I’m a bit partial to Diesel Power, especially EMD model locos. Reason being, I happened to have been gainfully employed by Electro-Motive at their McCook facility for the better part of 16 years.

Electro-Motive had been very good to me and my family. I have had more than 20 family members employed by them totaling more than 400 years of service, including my father, 4 of his brothers, his uncle and myself attributing for more than 200 of those years.

#2 – Set in the late 60’s-early 70’s, most of the people and buildings represent someone or something in my lifetime (family, friends, favorite establishments, etc.).

My wife and I have 7 grown children (three sets of twins and a single) and each is an intricate part of the layout, including their “significant other” and their children. Each representing their particular endeavor in life. Three of my sons have engineering degrees, therefore “3 Brothers Engineering”.

The fourth has a degree in biology and does clinical testing on water samples. (He can be seen climbing the water tower to take samples. Someone in town complained of a funny taste!)

Two of my three girls are involved with teaching “special needs” children (red schoolhouse) and the third is a college administrator but is very active in finding new homes for abandoned pooches (ergo “Kat’s Dogs”).

My wife worked at a bank for a time B.C.(before children) and I now enjoy gardening in my spare time (“Lucky Seven” farm). By the way…the farmhouse is an actual scratch-built scale model of our current home.

My parents also enjoyed gardening after retirement and sold produce (“B&B Produce and Honey”) as a hobby. Dad was also a beekeeper and harvested honey.

Aside from the Police Department, the Fire Department and Post Office (which all towns should have), most of the buildings about town represent something in my life.

A couple of ex-employers are Saxon and Motorcycle Headquarters. Enzo’s was a favorite pizza joint we frequented and “JC Fabricating” is dedicated to my brother-in-law who’s been battling cancer for the past 5 years.

The couple entering “Harold’s Hideaway” (favorite pub) are the two people responsible for introducing me to my wife.

I would like to thank Al for all he does for this site and to all others for their contributions.

I’ve learned so much about model railroading and continue to learn more each time I read this blog.

Hope you all enjoy my story and simple efforts for my HO scale layout. I’ve enjoyed working on this project and look forward to the next.


HO scale figure of 8

8x15 farmyard

HO scale motorbike shop

8x15 HO scale road bridge

8x15 layout town scene

HO layout town scene

HO model railroad bar on street

HO model railroad house

HO scale 8x15 livestock carriages

8x15 oval track

HO scale 8x15 with figure of 8

HO scale barn

HO scale main street

HO scale model railroad house

What a HO scale layout 8×15!

A huge big thanks to Jeff for sharing his layout pics with us – and for taking the time to write the narrative too.

I do enjoy reading how a layout comes together, and in particular the personal touches that are added to them. Makes them come alive!

If you enjoyed this post, have a look at Wayne’s HO scale 8×15.

And if you’re after more HO scale layouts of varying sizes – you can see lots more here.

Lastly, there’s a new question on the forum about Bachmann EZ track – can anyone help?

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

Oh, and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide, if today is the day you start your railroad adventure.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

43 Responses to HO scale layout 8×15

  1. Vincent Perry says:

    Looks great nice job

  2. Does Jeff allow people to come and see this layout in person?How long did it take to landscape this layout?

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Any town USA 1950’s / 60’s very homey feeling. Nice job.
    Bet that green tractor trailer doesn’t fit under that bridge 🙂
    The Critic

  4. Rich B. says:

    Like this layout, not overly done but just right. Not seeing those boulder size pebbles all over roads, grass- everywhere. The green tractor trailer losing top of trailer at low bridges (noted comment) lmao, draw bridges of coarse.

    Regards, Rich

  5. Paul M says:

    Best part of these stories is a consistent theme. My wife gave me permission!

  6. Mike says:

    Great story and layout!

  7. Rob McCrain says:

    What a wonderful layout. Nice going Jeff, it is great.
    Rob McCrain

  8. George Zaky says:

    Awesome! What now? Just for pain and aggravation change to DCC and sound, computerized controls, and automated signals- That’ll keep you going forever.
    Much thanks for the story & video. Keep your family safe.
    George from LI, NY

  9. Terry Sipe says:

    Great Layout. Using personal life experience adds a dimension all its own for the observer and especially for the builder. Great story and narrative. A work from the heart. Enjoyed the video. Great work!

  10. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice looking layout, like the town well done!

  11. mike tate says:

    Great story, I’m jealous that you worked for EMD. I love your layout, I’m working on a N scale and a HO. I’m kind of stuck on what I want for my N scale. But your layout gave me some ideas. KUDOS to you and your layout.

  12. Ruben Simon says:

    Thanks for sharing your “life story” with us. It must be a pleasure to run your trains through it.

  13. Erick says:

    Look pretty Kool.!!!!!! I hope mine comes out that good.

  14. Great job. Really looks “well balanced.” Not cluttered. Interesting use of the mirror.

  15. Ak says:

    Jeff, I really enjoyed your story and seeing your layout, and appreciate you giving the scale and overall size. Your layout and story gave me ideas that thus far have been stumbling blocks to my getting started on my HO layout. Any chance of getting a picture of your control panel? It looked very good, what I could see of it, and has answered questions about how I can control my layout. I have the start of track and equipment, including a DC control that my wife gave me about 30 years ago when I mentioned I would like to build a train layout. Trying to decide if I should sell the DC control and buy a DCC. Any suggestions?

  16. This might not be the most spectacular layout, although as a train set it’s great. But, what makes this special is the way you crafted your biography into it. I spent a good deal of time finding the locations you mentioned. I’d like some of your folk’s honey, and maybe a beer in that hometown tavern. I have one set of twins,but we found out that my wife’s great, great grandmother had three sets herself way back in 1900 or so. Hat’s off to mom for that!

  17. Wayne R. says:

    Nice job on the layout but I would suggest you put in a rail crossing drop arm where the tracks cross the road that has the semi on it. We want to be safe.

  18. Frank says:

    I didn’t think too much about the track plan, but you’re finished layout looks great. You didn’t mention it, but it looks as if you wanted to run trains more than base everything on operations like intricate switching.

    The terrain is what makes it look full, yet not crowded. I have never seen an entire railroad. Like most people I see a section of track here and there, so to me layouts don’t seem exactly realistic, but since you’ve been there and seen for yourself, I find it even more fascinating.

    You have a very nice looking model railroad.

    Frank in Orlando

  19. Very nice layout. . . mm mm mm! Just plain REEEEAL nice!

  20. Andrew Aves says:

    Thank you for sharing Jeff – A great layout. I should be interested to see how you reach across should the be a derailment in the tunnel.
    Andrew in Oz

  21. Alabama Mike says:

    Great job, Jeff. I enjoyed your commentary and the video. Also the pictures. You have so much change in scenery and it is great. Keep up the good work.

  22. Mike Childs says:

    What a beautiful layout and narrative. I especially liked the bee boxes and their keepers. Thank You.

  23. roger turner says:

    Awesome job, very real scenes. incorporating real people, place and things is a great idea, especially as it relates to your life. Enjoyed the narrative & keep up the good work.

  24. Michaël Dzamba says:

    Great job with the scenery, excellent!. Looks like you spent many hours on it.

  25. Christopher Clarkson says:

    your train layout is one that i’ve always wanted to have. i love how realistic it looks. i wish that I had a train layout just like the one you did. it’s a layout that any male or female would love running.

  26. Craig Aulenbach says:

    Hi Alister i was wondering where you might be hiding your how to spots on turntables?
    I’m hoping to make a roundhouse and looking for ideas.
    Regards Craig

  27. Don Henry says:

    Very nice layout. It’s not over kill .🚂🇺🇸

  28. Clay Clatur says:

    That was the best MR story I have ever read.

  29. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. The street scenes make the layout work and are realistically detailed. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  30. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Jeff….great looking layout…….nice job.

  31. Mark Hall says:

    I have HO and a small room 4/7 If someone maybe show me something please let me know thanks

  32. George Steffens says:

    That is an awesome layout. I wish I had the room for one as long as yours. I love long straightaways and sweeping curves. A good use of the wall mirrors, too.

  33. Will in NM says:

    Very delightful layout and back story Jeff. I especially enjoyed it because it feels alive with all the people and mini scenes like the beekeepers. Some people say twins run in their family … in your case, I think they gallop. 🙂

  34. Larry Lissak says:

    I chose an 19th century Southwestern HO layout even though I worked at EMD during the summers of 1965 (chip puller) & 1966 (crib attendant). My dad, Frank retired from EMD, as an in-house electrician. I enjoyed seeing how the diesels were constructed, especially the large milling machine for the top of the engines and the cranes moving the diesels around. I still have the Lionel pieces when we were kids.

  35. Wayne from Wisconsin says:

    Just wonderful. Very nicely detailed. A lot of time, thoughts and energy went into creating this stunning layout. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Steve Winter says:

    very nice layout and great narrative. I too, got a Marx HO train set for Christmas when I was 7 or 8. It grew from there. With a few years off for collage (and dating) I returned to model railroading. Married, our first house had no room for a layout, so I joined a local railroad club. I learned so much there.
    As for converting to DCC, it is not difficult at all. Most layouts (remember I said MOST) all it takes is changing two wires, the power feeds. If it runs in DC, it should run with DCC. The one caveat is return loops and wyes. All other wiring can be left intact..

  37. gene says:

    very clean and nice i like it

  38. TJK says:

    Nice job Jeff……I would have loved to have seen the control panel, saw a glimpse in the video and it looked awesome..TJK

  39. Steve Ruple says:

    Very nice layout, well planed and great scenery

  40. Chris Mitchell says:

    All I see is fun and love! What a great little family affair. Love the attention to details.

  41. robert dale tiemann says:

    really nice.

  42. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks Jeff for a great video and narrative about your model railway. I really enjoyed your video. Thanks for sharing. Cheers Rossco, Adelaide South Australia

  43. Steve Ruple says:

    I already left a comment but forgot to tell you that you did an excellent job on your paved roads crossing the tracks. I think the way you did it looks very realistic it’s not like the other ones I have seen, great job !!!!

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