Jake’s stunning layout

“My brother and I started this layout approximately 2 years ago, at that time we called it the “2 Jakes RR”, as time went on and construction moved at a fair pace we came up with the Potomac Branch & Jasper, the 2 main areas serviced by the PB&J( now known affectionately as the “Push, Bump & Jam”)

The layout is 17′ X 17′ and is a walk through. It has a double main line totaling 170 feet in HO scale. All engines are DCC with more than half of them with sound. we are presently motorizing the switches, we have plans to install block signals, lighting in some buildings, and caboose lights.

I use Woodland Scenics materials for the landscaping, in a few places rock molds were utilized but for the most part rock faces are hand carved and painted.

My brother handles all soldering jobs, engine and rolling stock repairs, painting and anything electrical. My job covers landscaping, model assembly,and weathering.

I`ll send updated photos as construction is completed.


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Elk River Logging Co. engine 9 hauling a load of bark across Elk River ( this Bridge was built by me 40 years ago, it`s been in every layout I have constructed, 5 to date)

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A work in progress, inside the engine house, there`s a lot of work here to finish this scene …… stains on the floor from years of repairs, arc welder in the pit, overhead lighting, more furniture in the office,(files, shelves etc.)”

“This is what the plastic kit sold in the US by AHM, Lionel, IHC and Model Power and probably a dozen other importers would look like. But having grown up in a cucumber [specifically pickle cucumbers] growing area I knew what a pickle plant should look like so I did a bit of kit bashing.


This is the final result. Now there are tanks for vinegar, purified (read filtered) water, a receiving dock and sorting room, a larger brining tank and a packing room.”


enjoyed these two – a stunning layout from Jake, and John’s Pickle factory looks like a very satisfying scratch build!

And to all of you who haven’t started creating yet, “this will get your started.

Keep ’em coming.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

42 Responses to Jake’s stunning layout

  1. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    You are a very creative “young man”! Nice job, very realistic.

  2. alex says:

    Thank you for your dedication, the updates, tips, pictures and articles.

  3. a r murrell says:

    Wonderful layout, smashing work, will look
    really special lit at night–great modelling.

  4. Daniel says:

    I also have my bridge I built 40 years ago and am trying to find a place for it or just display it on a shelf above my latest layout!! Fantastic!

  5. Steve Roberts says:

    Excellent work. Beautiful building work Well done.

    Steve R UK

  6. Ron Schultz says:

    I need a pickle and peanut butter sandwich, add a little miracle whip and I’m good to go. started making these 70 years ago when i would be hungry after returing from the city swimming pool . See what your pickle factory started. Time for me to move some freight carrs on the South Point RR ( HO )

  7. Ed Macomber says:

    Breathtaking, Jake. That bridge is, understandably, a keepsake! You details are among the best, starting with your vehicles through to your buildings.

  8. George Lewis says:

    I really admire your continued efforts and dedication to the layout. It helps to have a partner who keeps you focused.

  9. Ed says:

    Great modeling work. You can buy LED welding and fire, blinking lights for about $10 each in all 3 scales.

  10. stunning layout John!! the detail on the scenery and the buildings is terrific and the 40yr old bridge is a piece of art!!

  11. christine says:

    Very nice, wonderful work.

  12. paul Otway says:

    Nice bridge.

    Paul otway

  13. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great work on the layout that bridge is a work of art, and the scratch build is unbelieveable, nice work.

  14. John Reynolds says:

    Stunning isn’t the word…
    A very excellent layout, tremendously well done!

  15. charles anthony says:

    Thanks for showing us a quality and clear layout.
    Would love to see more with your mountains and tunnels?.

    Best always,

  16. Raymond Bove says:

    What a truly fabulous layout. Loads of atmosphere and attention to detail.

    Any details available on the building of the log hoist or crane?



  17. Bill says:

    Great work. I like the period vehicles you are using. Are they Classic Metal Works?

  18. David Oyler says:

    Push, Bump & Jam? I was thinking Peanut Butter & Jelly! Excellent work, guys!

  19. Great looking lay out. Nice to see brothers working to gather. Ejoyed the whole lay out. Good health to you guys.

  20. Al Allison says:

    Wonderful looking layout. I have a 4′ x 8′ logging layout in my garage and four of us are working on a 20′ x 30′ layout at a friends house. We currently have most of the tracks laid and are able to run trains. We are starting on the scenery and have completed a small town and two roundhouse areas. The youngest in our group is 70 and the oldest is 80.

  21. Kevin McArdle says:

    Beautiful layout, and shows the difference between a ‘toy’ train layout, and a craftsman quality layout. Great model making. Happy railroading.

  22. Very nicely detailed love it you do wonderful work maybe one of these days I’ll be able to have a layout like that

  23. David Wibbels says:

    I enjoyed your pictures of the layout. The derrick is just like the one That I remember watching as a child. I wonder if this is a available model or just one that you made. Maybe I can include one in my layout. David

  24. Mike Childs says:

    Wonderful job! Would it be possible to see an overview of the entire layout?

  25. Tommy says:

    Very good I like the detail

  26. Hemi says:

    AWESOME Layout!!!!! VERY NICE! Great work! Keep it coming!

    NICE job on the building!!!!!


  27. Anthony says:

    Congratulations on your fantastic layout, lots of attention to detail and fine craftsmanship.
    Happy railroading,

  28. Robert Hirning says:

    Your material is so fine that you really deserve a better camera. Try using a SLR camera where you can set the f stop up to 24 or better 29 and use a tripod with longer exposure. That should correct your chronic problems with focus. By closing down the aperture of the camera you get almost everything in focus within the field of vision.

  29. Will in NM says:

    Jake, Thoose are great photos of an obviously well made layout. I love the period you’re modeling and all the vehicles. I’d love to see a track pln and some photos of the overall layout. Your engine house is superb!

    John, That’s a cool pickle factory! I have an old Revell HO pickle car that has always been one of my favorites. Maybe some day I can add a pickle factory to my layout so I’ll have an excuse to run that pickle car. 🙂

  30. Erick says:

    Nice Layout.

  31. John says:

    Beautiful! And extra special bridge!
    And just another quick thanks to Al,
    for bringing these to us every day!

  32. Dan Williams says:

    Great work by all!!

  33. Mike Ormsby says:

    Fantastic modeling! So, how about using some cotton and spray colors into it, then stick or super glue them on the smoke stacks or muffler pipes on the trucks?

  34. Rich B. says:

    This is very well built and track ballast is really defined from the “GRASS BLADES!” duh. Some growing on siding rails in one scene and this does add to reality. Duly noted also some track ballast runoff by a loading dock- perfect.

    And I’m not using a magnifier, it’s what’s picked up immediately. So why not just emulate what area outside a cat box looks like after scratching a-bit in it. So there’s a few so called critics still out there that can hardly spell yet criticizing the critic? Guess What! It’s MY opinion so stay out of it today, just as the builder has their way of doing what THEY deem correct… gee, guess I’ll still sleep tonight. Now I’m not finger pointing here but I have better things to do than reply to worthless dribble-Drabble. Look at the blog, not me lmao. This layout is outstanding in every aspect.

    Rich, once more

  35. Ross Herbert says:

    Very nice layout.
    Ron: What kind of Jelly goes with a Pickle & Peanut Butter sandwich?

  36. Brian Olson says:

    Well done!

  37. Steve Ruple says:

    Jake, nice scenery pictures.
    John, awesome pickle factory.

  38. Jim AZ says:

    Quite nice. Good looking scenes and the background looks great. Show us more.

    Jim AZ

  39. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice work, love the bridge.

  40. robert dale tiemann says:

    nice job. i like the bridge.

  41. Don says:

    love the lumber yard & train repair station the entire setup is awesome, well done.

  42. Steve Gispanski says:

    First thing Al, how are things going over the pond. Thank you for making a difference in changing my info, “cell phones” can be a pain in the neck. Putting it nicely. 😉 any way, nice spread on the layout. Beautifully done. Just saying thank you again. I got to get mine back up, it’s been a while. Talk later, Spader.
    Stephen G.

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