HO scale layout plans – Ken’s

Ken’s added to the HO scale layout plans on the blog with this fine update:

“Greeting Al from across the pond. I’m very close to be completed on my Willoughby Junction railroad layout.

It’s an HO scale double/triple oval with two loops on the north and south sides, with a town loop to pick up passengers at the depot.

It looks much different from the 1st phase that you posted. I’ve added phase 2 and phase 3.

My idea originally was to have it be industry heavy with lots of switching opportunities. But after my wife discovered Woodland Scenics built-ups, my industry heavy layout went out the window!

So, my contingent plan was to have a continuous running loop with some switching which worked out quite well.

I remember growing up in Flint, MI USA playing around the staging yards on the Grand Trunk box cars. I was too afraid to try to jump from one to another like my big brother did! So, my layout consists of Grand Trunk trains and its successor Chessie Systems.

I even have CSX locomotive which took over Chessie. I have a bunch of LED’s on the ceiling so I can create different moods.

My backdrop was purchased from a company called Wallsauce right there in the U.K. It’s a picture called “Side Pike of Heaven” in Little Langdale, England, United Kingdom. Someone asked me that from my first post.

People that come to visit are really taken back by my train room. I installed a Broadway Limited “Lightning Storm” machines. It does add a very cool effect I dread the day we ever have to sell our house.

I hope you enjoy the photos.


ho scale layout plans mountains

HO scale town scene night

ho scale layout plans town

HO scale layout plans:

HO scale motel

 model railroad street

model railroad truck loading

HO scale farm

HO scale loading platform

HO scale horses

ho scale layout plans freight

model train park bikers

model train farm

 HO scale brake car

ho scale layout plans street

ho scale layout plans freight

ho scale house

 ho scale horse

ho scale layout plans barn

model railroad car tunnel

model train house

model railroad street ho scale

HO scale layout plans:

o scale layout plans building

 ho scale layout plans mountain backdrop

ho scale layout plans tracks

ho scale layout plans double loop

 ho scale layout plans mountains backdrop

HO scale track plan

o scale oval

 ho scale layout plans mopuntain backdrop

A huge big thank you to Ken for adding to the HO scale layout plans and sharing his stunning pics.

I asked Ken about the chimp which you can see at the end of the video, and replied with this:

“Yes, he’s Winston our porter. He has a glass of bourbon on ice on his tray. It’s actually colored epoxy and fake ice cubes that I had leftover from pouring my pond.”

I do love all the personal touches on your layouts. Jack’s 60 model railroad was full of them.

Lastly today, there’s a couple of questions on the forum that are stopping some people making a start, and we can’t have that. Can you help?

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.

model train answers

52 Responses to HO scale layout plans – Ken’s

  1. santafedan says:

    Very good and interesting thoughtful scenes.

  2. James Martin says:

    What a terrific layout, beautiful work!

  3. Peter Smith says:

    Ken, your layout is amazing and where did you get the backgrounds from they really give the layout depth.

  4. Robert Burke says:

    I must admit I don’t always get to watch video submissions to the end, or play them at a faster speed; (more of a reflection on me than on the contributors, each of whom offers so much in ideas and creativity), but I watched Ken’s video at normal speed, spellbound and in awe. What a truly excellent wonderland. The only criticism I would make… no, just kidding, couldn’t find one. Thank you, Ken, for the inspirational boost to my starting-out ambitions. Bob from New Zealand.

  5. Rich B. says:

    Isn’t that something, can’t decide if the back-drop makes the RR or other way around. That one photo with the deer stare into the headlights is priceless….

    I wonder though if thin sheets of Masonite can be used, sprung for rounded corner radius backdrop scene. Have seen this done and backdrop as is, a knock-out anyways!


  6. Jeff J says:

    Absolutely amazing detail. I love seeing layouts like this when there is a lot on them but done so intricately that it doesn’t look cluttered. Well done.

  7. Sandra Riddle says:

    Wow wow and triple wow. Such detail. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Sandra Riddle says:

    Wow. Such detail. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Ben Shay says:

    Amazing work! That had to be a lot of fun to build.

  10. gene SERVOSS says:

    very good you did a great job so vivid you expect the people to start moving at any time thank you

  11. Brian Rockey says:

    So many amazing details and cameo scenes – fabulous layout! Gorgeous backdrop as well. Premier League achievement.
    Best to All
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  12. Bill in Virginia says:

    Beautiful layout! We have enjoyed the fruits of your labor :))

  13. Jim Landing says:

    Amazing, incredible detail. Thank you Ken

  14. TJK says:

    Great lighting and terrific addition of detailed figures and scenery.
    Nice work Ken……

  15. Rob says:

    What a great layout this is. The building kits and WS ready-made lighted buildings are something. I am sure many happy hours of model building and planning went into it. Great work, Rob

  16. Tony Weisbecker says:

    WOW ! ! ! Beautifully detailed layout so much realism its incredible I feel like I’m there in some of those scenes . Thanks for the pictures .

  17. TJK says:

    Ken, just watched your video, nice stuff. In the beginning of the video you show a Wonder Bread warehouse facility. I grew up in Malden Massachusetts, as kids we would go to the “Day Old” outlet where you could buy cupcakes, ring dings etc.
    This outlet is actually walking distance from “The largest Lionel Train dealer in the world.” Great store, but I will refrain from mentioning the name of the store as the counter representative is not a people person.

  18. Brian Olson says:

    Stunning an understatement!

  19. Stephen Hill says:

    Wow ! What an amazing layout . Remarkable detail and reslism , blows me away how you’re able to create such real scenes and very effective lighting . Must have taken a long time to construct such a masterpiece. Very well done . I especially like the monkey at the controls , it’s like the song has come alive..”the monkey and the engineer”.
    Great work , thank you for sharing and inspiring .

  20. Jeff says:

    Absolutely stunning layout! I can’t wait to start on mine. I may borrow from your design as I think it’s really well thought out. Excellent job!!

  21. Ken Holbrook says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. The backdrop is a photo called Sidepike of Heaven from Little Langdale in the United Kingdom. I purchased it from a company called Wallsauce also in the UK. With a layout like this it will never actually be complete. There’s always something to do. I just completed ballasting the right side loop yesterday. Feels good to have that done. I like the way it changes the sound of the trains even though the track is laid on foam road bed. I’d love to hear how people ballast their turnouts. HO scale is a little tough to do without interfering with their functionality.

  22. Robert E Brady says:

    Love the Town, You didn’t miss a thing. The clarity of all the water was spot on.
    I’d live there.
    The Critic

  23. George Zaky says:

    Incredible! There are so many of you that exhibit mind boggling works of art, expression and craftsmanship. I am in awe. There are so many aspects of your scheme that demand repeat viewing.
    Guess its time to still build an industrial extension and blow us away again.
    Big Al
    Cant top this!
    Its snowing now, coffee, & Ken -blissful quiet. Awesome.

  24. Don Kadunc says:

    Wonderful detail..

  25. Kirk Knutson says:

    Stunning! Absolutely stunning!

    Kirk in Tacoma

  26. Don Kadunc says:

    Wonderful detail.. A lot of thought into the scenes.

  27. Bob From Towson says:

    OMG! My favorite of all your wonderful scene pictures has got to be “The Deer In The Headlights”!!!! Absolutely amazingly inventive !!!!!

  28. Robert Gevert says:

    Unbelievable layout!! What a beauty!!! The detailing is outstanding and the backdrops as well!!

  29. Ken G says:

    I love your layout!
    It’s looks like I could just walk down one of those streets or go get in ice cream! I also like it takes us back to a simpler and perhaps better time in America.


  30. Eric Kiehl says:

    Ken, Speachless, Award winning. Amazing layout nothing but first class. Something to be proud of. The detail is impeccably. Great Job.

    Eric the retired Firefighter from St. Louis Missouri Area

  31. Dave Kyle says:

    Ken, you have captured a real life like layout. You have done some excellent work and I am sure anyone that see it will agree. Great work.
    From Dave in Niagara Falls Onterio Canada.

  32. Dave in AZ says:

    Amazing detail.

  33. Jim AZ says:

    Truly one of the best. The lighting effects are stunning. And the scenes are amazing and filled with great detail. Great modeling skills.

    Jim AZ

  34. Peter Farrington says:

    I have to admit that I am somewhat jealous of all the modellers who have a dedicated railway room, loft or basement. Mine is outside in my garden and subject to the British weather which at present does not allow me to much in the way of minimal scenery and maintenance. My wife commandeered the loft after I had installed a proper floor, power circuits and lighting, I don’t have a garage I can use, therefore, scenery is very basic at the moment and not all of the electronics are set up yet when I have got something worthwhile to show I will send in some photo’s.
    I admit my main problem is I have no real aptitude for doing scenery, I make too many mistakes to make it worthwhile attempting anything too eye-catching like most of the contributers.

  35. robert dale tiemann says:

    very interesting layout. i like the old cars. very nice detail. good job.

  36. Gerald Edgar says:

    1st time I’ve ever seen a motel modeled. GREAT job all around!

  37. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome layout, many scenic sections and pictures. I think your wife had a excellent idea, well done !!!!

  38. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Oh this is an incredible layout. So spacious looking, not crowded and so full of detail and wonderful scenes. Yes deer in the headlights. Lighting, blending with a perfect backdrop so well done. And Winston enjoys it too I betcha!!
    Wow wow wow, thanks so much for sharing you and your wife’s great efforts.

  39. Peter Hubbard says:

    Ken, I too grew up in Flint. I remember waking past the Wonder Bread factory on my way downtown in the 50’s and early sixties. I used to play in the field next to Pierce School. On the far side of the field was the east=west track that we used to walk. One day, a small switcher came by as we were crossing the tracks. It stopped and the engineer offered us a ride. What a fabulous experience, even though the ride lasted a couple of hundred feet.
    Great time to be a kid.

  40. Frank Pumillo says:

    Absolutely stunning and the amount of detail is exceptional! Great job and enjoyed looking at the photos!

  41. Glenn Dean Holden says:

    wow- what more can I say- love the deer in the headlights though!

  42. John Philip Ruetz says:

    Nice layout . Great detail. But, I had this eerie feeling that Winston was watching me the whole time.

  43. Mike W says:


  44. REGEL L. BISSO says:

    I don’t comment often, but your layout is superb. The people and attention to detail is incredible and very realistic. I like your realistic train speed too. So many have their trains running at scale speeds of 90 mph or more.

  45. John Birch says:

    Stunning detail. A work of art!

  46. richard rudolph says:

    Love the detail specially the signage.

  47. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    Ah, deer in the headlights. What a euphemism.

  48. Robert T Beard says:

    Ken, you’ve done a wonderful job on your layout. It has good workmanship and a lot of careful detailing. Since the heart of operation is switching, I just wonder if letting your wife take every square inch (just about) for the detailed non-railroad scenes you won’t get bored just watching your trains run in circles. As the eminent model railroad expert, Frank Ellison once said, “Industries are what provide the rationale for the railroad and switching opportunities. Non-rail activities should be relegated to the background.” However, each to their own. It’s your railroad.

  49. Ken Holbrook says:

    To Robert’s comment on switching being the heart of operations and non-railroad activities being relegated to the background: let me say that I have (7) industries plus a passenger depot for switching opportunities, so there isn’t enough time to get bored. Plus, I can run (4) trains simultaneously to add a lot of nuances to my layout. I never get bored watching one train go left while the other is going right behind it. I can’t blame my wife for taking up all my space because it’s my wallet that pays for this stuff. I enjoy trying to make my town as realistic as possible and in the evening when the moonlight LED’s are glowing a blueish-white, it’s very satisfying watching (and listening) to the clickety-clack of the trains traveling at 15 MPH through the evening moonlight. Having a glass of wine with Winston tops it off!

  50. Tom Appel says:

    This is fantastic!!!! One quick question: where did you find the wall scenery?

  51. Peter Hyndman says:

    A fantastic layout!
    I am just getting “re-started” with my HO scale trains..
    Where are you able to find the scenic back drops? I’m new to this so your help is greatly appreciated. Is there a Canadian outlet for these?
    Thank you , Peter

  52. Keith Ross says:

    Stunning layout thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

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