How Dave started his model railway

With the risk of turning this site in to ‘Dave model railway site’ I thought I’d post another video by Dave.

But there are three good reasons behind this.

Firstly, Dave is often asked how he got started – and how long his layout took.

Secondly, even I haven’t got tired of looking at his layout.

And thirdly, he has really helped me out with an ongoing decoder problem that I think I have finally solved (I’ll know as soon as my new purchase arrives). So I thought another video of his only fair 🙂

Hope you enjoy it. And for those who have already seen it, bet you still watch.

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PS Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

23 Responses to How Dave started his model railway

  1. thomas waller says:

    thank you …..nice to watch

  2. Gruffalo Grandad says:

    As another older modeller, some 40 years ago I used to have a lot of OO stuff, nothing fine scale of course! Being something of a squirrel, I never threw that away – it’s still in my loft. With two young grandsons (at least)now, I want to start again but I am loath to throw out what I already have. Dave’s wonderfully idiosyncratic model has just about convinced me that I must go DCC but I have a lot of lovely white-metal kit built engines (a fan of God’s Wonderful Railway you see) and fitting DCC decoders will probably be a challenge.
    So there you are – Thanks Dave for inspiring a resurgence in rail modelling for me (+++) and thanks Dave for causing such a load of indecision about going to DCC (—).
    It’s now my turn to ask for help and advice it seems!

  3. Martin says:

    Aw! I am disappointed, when you put “how Dave got started” I thought it would tell us how he managed to get such a big room, was it made in the loft space, a garage? or does he live in a massive home? Most of us would only have that area if we were a member of a club.
    Also how one man can afford to obtain the massive amount of track, buildings, lighting etc. etc. especially in 2 years. There again most of us would only dream about it.
    Lottery winner maybe?

  4. patrick says:

    great video Thanks

  5. David Roston says:

    You are an inspiration Dave to do all that in 2 yrs. Would like to know where you get the buildings from?
    I aspire to compete with you, but my loft is not as big!

  6. this question is for dave, when i watch your films, which are very heplfull in my planning, i note all your railcars seem to be 1/2 the size of here in the usa. i was wondering if you can tell me why?? your passenger cars are the same as ours, but boxcars and tankers are much smaller?

    st louis mo usa bobby

  7. Paco Gayon says:

    Congratulations to Dangerous David. It is fantastic. I wish I have the space he has. But I am glad for what I’ve got.

  8. I enjoyed you show. keep up the good work.

  9. dave says:

    This was started in my loft , I did have to board it out first of course, and it is not as big as it looks , now at about 30ft. x 8ft. most of the buildings are Metcalfe build from card, and a few Hornby Skaledale range , some are bought on e bay , but track was all new . not as expensive as you may think

  10. Al says:

    Al thanks again for email great stuff as usual.
    Keep it it is very inspiring and appreciated.
    You do a great job. Hopfully a enjoyable
    Best as always, Al The Rookie

  11. Ben Zalewski says:

    The videos are a pleasure to watch. The camera is very steady. The image doesn’t bounce; makes it easy on the eyes.
    -Ben Z

  12. Russ says:

    dave just cannot stop watching your vids !!.. your layout is superb!!.. mine is still in a box :{ but have one grandson maybe another on the way and I think its time to have a go again lols.. was talking to my sons the other day diff.. conversations and they mentioned the last time we tried .. lol the oldest is now 25 and they remembered our little experiments like yesterday it goes to say by far nothing like yours dave but what a project to aspire to lol .. Looks very technical though lol

    more vids please!!

  13. 'nother grandpa says:

    Nice video- love this setup!!
    Note to Gruffalo Granddad- I am also considering restarting a model RR interest of some 50 years ago– i feel no pressure to go DCC. Drop me a note at and we can exchange ideas (nothing for sale here!)

  14. chris says:

    great video to watch

  15. kenny clarke says:

    hi dave i noticed you had a dynamis controller how many do you use and if you use more than one what other sort do you use It,s a great model that i never get fed up watching thanks for sharing it with us

  16. Cord says:

    As previously stated, I could sit and watch Dave’s railway videos for hours, would never get bored of it, absolutely no need for apologies! That having been said, I was just a bit disappointed with what little there was to see of how Dave got started, the evolution, etc. But never mind – just looking forward to the next video!

  17. Gary Lynn says:

    Dave these type of video’s inspire me to no end.
    I wonder how do you get into the middle
    Of your layout ?

  18. Roland says:

    Dave is great and I always enjoy his videos, ALL of them.

  19. TOM says:


  20. Alan Boswell says:

    I think Dave deserves a medal for the inspiration he has given to thousands of us mere mortals, good on yer mate.

  21. Toni says:

    Your videos are never really too long. I am sure that there are others like me who say that the videos are short. I would say a lot of us enjoy watching the videos, mainly for ideas and to see how you may have solved a problem that we are facing as we build our layouts.

    I do have a suggestion.
    In a past comment posting, someone offered the idea of using a hand-held microphone while video recording. I do believe that it to be better if you do the video recording first, then after do a bit of post mixing (or dubbing) of adding your comments. I would also add, while doing the post recoding, of reducing the volume of the train sound effects so that we hear your voice clearly. (I have a hearing problem that blurs or muffles more than one sound that are at about the same volume.)

    Otherwise the videos are really good. Please keep them coming. I’ve been learning something from each of them

    To other responders. It appears that the layout is in the loft area of his home. For him to get to the center opening, he does a “Duck Under” to get to it, since he does not have a lift-up section.
    For Russ, even if you have a grand-daughter, don’t be afraid to introduce her to the hobby of model railroading. As a woman of 60 years, I am enjoying the planning of my own “N” scale empire on a 3’x 7′ door. I just wished I had someone to introduced me to it when I was younger.

  22. dave says:

    A lot to answer , but as I said the layout size is 30 x 8 ft. my controller is the basic Dynamis , just one hand held controller , as Tony says , I do have to duck under to get to parts of the layout , unfortunately i do not have more footage when I started, it as also been said that I must have spent a fortune, well over 5 years probably £5000 that equates to £1000 a year £20 a week , I dont smoke and very rare visit the bars, so I spent a lot less than the average smoker , drinker . (one way of looking at it ) and a model railway is something that lets your imagination work , something you can look at later and enjoy

  23. Andrew johnson says:

    I like dave’s layout alot, having started on a Marklin layout myself built on an old single bed (6′ 6″x 3″) wich slides underneath an ecisting standard bed’ I now have learnt some lessons with the limited space lesson (1) don’t add too much track. (leave some space for scenary)
    lesson (2) don’t make the track plan too complicated. (short sidings are useless)
    lesson (3) don’t let a toddler nearby, even if the old tinplate is quite robust the plastic buildings may not be.

    all these lessons and others not mentioned may guide me when i build my next railway.

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