HO scale logging railroad

Al has been in touch with his HO scale logging railroad:

“Attached are some photos of my 4′ x 8′ layout for you to post if you desire. I am 73 years old and retired from a career in commercial fire protection.

My layout is set in the northwest United States in the early 1940’s. The buildings are all wooden kits with the exception of the saw mill and power house which are plastic.

I have two DCC steam engines with sound, a 3 truck shay and a 0-6-0 tank engine. All of the buildings are lighted and I am going to install some street lights in the near future. The mountains are made of rigid foam which was shaped with a wood burning tool, knife and rasp.

I enjoy your posts and have gotten many good ideas from them.


Lacey, Washington”

HO cross track

HO rock face

HO tmber yard

HO scale logging railroad

HO sidings

HO forest

HO scale logging road

HO water tower

HO girder bridge

HO tunnel

A big thanks to Al.

If HO scale is your thing, there’s a collection of HO scale train layouts here.

Now on to Lester:

“Hi AL.

I read your email every time I get one. I enjoy them so very much. I’m not exactly a newbie as I have made at least 10 layouts since I bought my first train set as an adult in December 1963 for my two sons, then ages 3 & 4. I have made or helped make layouts in O gauge, HO gauge and N gauge and have had fun with all of them. I’m current in HO gauge and probably remain there for the rest of my life.

I don’t know what category in which to put this, but I’m a number cruncher in real life (accountant) and here are formulas for calculating speed of HO/OO gauge trains.

actual feet/time in seconds * 59.386 will give scale mph

actual meters/time in seconds *313.493 will give kph

I will derive the formulas for O gauge and N gauge in the near future.

Lester in Georgia, USA”

“Beware of paralysis by analysis. It’s easy to use up too much time planning so that you don’t get on with construction.

Make a start and then you can make corrections as you go. (Some basic plan is of course required.)


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Desmond, Lester and to Al for sharing his HO scale logging railroad.

I do love the layouts with a theme, for me, they stand out a mile and I thought Al has done a cracking job.

That’s all for today folks, please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you’re inspired by Al.



23 Responses to HO scale logging railroad

  1. Luen says:

    Nice layout Al with plenty of detail. Can I suggest you extend the siding at the saw mill so that more wagons can be unloaded one after the other.

  2. Brian Olson says:

    If there is a “Standard Size” for layouts it’s 4×8 regardless of scale. My N Scale layouts are 6×12 and 2×4.

    This is yet another great example of how you can maximize the fun of this hobby regardless of layout size.

  3. Stephen Hill says:

    Lacey, what a wonderful layout , great depth and realism . Having had served in the navy and been stationed in Seattle i appreciate the lush green scenery .. too bad you can’t make it rain eh … Great job sir , you’ve captured the essence of that area , brings back fond memories.. thank you .

  4. George Zaky says:

    Logging is my favorite theme. That’s why I started an HO layout because I could own & operate a Climax, a Shay, & a Heisler which are the 3 types of geared locos specific for logging. Of course the Bachmanns sheared their gears & require the NWSL metal gear set which I havent mustered up the courage to fix. The layout stays idle & dusty.
    Nice job on your layout but I would really like to hear that Shay on the rails.
    Paralysis by analysis is my nickname. Oh the webs we weave. LOL
    Big Al- Keep truckin

  5. John W Richmond Jr says:

    Alastair Lee,

    I think you should put a book together, and pick your favorite “stunning” layouts, at last ten or more. With all the pictures you have received, I think it would be a best seller for your model train fans.

  6. Chris Sylvester says:

    Wow!!!! That’s a great job on your layout!!! Great job on the design and detail!! I have gotten some great ideas from everyone here when I see what they have done and hopefully when I make my layout up definitely gonna use them!! Thank you for sharing your ideas and pictures it helps us newbie’s a lot !

  7. Ted Schwalbe says:

    I’d love to see a wide shot showing the entire track layout. I am limited to a 4×8 and am looking to start my next layout.

  8. william j plmer says:


  9. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Al- Great layout- thanks for sharing! I love the details, especially the motel and general store- very well done!

  10. David Schaffner says:

    The thing that hit me right away was your planting of trees that made your layout imaginary….

  11. Linda says:

    Thank you for sharing ! Very nice
    Question :
    would you mind sharing where you buy or obtain your vehicles ?
    and what scale they re for :
    HO scale:
    O scale:

    Thank you

  12. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Lacey…: nice job…. I like the scene with the trestle bridge and the water tower and building.

  13. Greg in Missouri says:

    I understand Desmond’s comment, and I have certainly been guilty of overthinking things in my life, but for me the research and planning stage was every bit as fun as the building and operating phases, and I do not regret the extra time a spent!

  14. John Reynolds says:

    Very nice logging layout.
    The comment about “Paralysis by Analysis” is some of the best advice I have seen in years, To often we want to get things “right” and thus never get anything started or “done”.
    A special note to George Zacky — While geared locomotives are closely associated with logging, they were found in other industrial applications as well. Also there were many logging companies that used conventional power as well. Some in California used 0-4-0 Porter tank locomotives (narrow gauge) and other small locomotives. In the northwest you could find 0-6-0 locomotives, 2-6-2 locomotives and other rod engines as well. One of Bachman’s 2-6-2 locomotives could put your logging operation back in business!

  15. Charles Weiher says:

    This looks like a great layout. I can’t believe all this is only 4×8? The detail in your pictures is amazing. I would sure like to see a track plan. Is there a video on you-tube of this with trains running? Very well done, congrats!!

  16. Willard Wheelock says:

    Wow! Great logging railroad! I am partial to the logging railroads as I live in WV and have visited the Cass Scenic RR often. I would like to see a track plan for your fine layout as 4 x 8 is about all the room I have left from the other railroad layout.

  17. David Ryder says:

    I’d love to see either a wide shot showing the entire track layout, or a track plan. I am limited to a 4×8 and am looking to start my next layout. You’ve done an amazing job!

  18. Michael says:

    What is Riged Foam I’m having trouble deciding how to make mountains

  19. Sparky says:

    Awesome layout. Love it all but the logging and Mill works is right on and really has me thinking. I’m still in the planning stages. Thanks for sharing.

  20. robert dale tiemann says:

    great detail. really nice work.

  21. Dave H from the Pacific NW says:

    Hi Al from Lacey. Dave from Shelton. Like you’re layout. Wondering if there are more modelers in the Oly area.

  22. bill palmer says:


  23. Steve Ruple says:

    Lacey, what a wonderful saw mill and logging pond. If you wouldn’t mind, could you send a diagram of your layout, I would love to see the rest of your layout and more pictures. Awesome job, your layout looks great from the pictures you provided. All the room I have space for is a 4′ x 8′ layout.

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