HO scale lumber mill

JD’s been in touch with his HO scale lumber mill.

“Hi Al ,

I started model trains when I was a teen and over the years I made several attempts to build a layout, however there was always something that came along to prevent it from happening. Now that I am
75 and fully retired ,I have finally got something going.

Your e-mails are awesome. So much information and a huge help and big money saving ideas. I love your e-mails and everyday I look forward to receiving them.

I have attached a few pictures. My layout is called Cedar Junction, The theme is western mining and lumber operations in Colorado and California in the late 1800 s to early 1900s. Take a look at my HO scale lumber mill.

I have been working on it for about 4 months now. My mainline and all sidings are operational.

Your web site has helped me so much. I did not realize what it takes to build a model train layout.


HO scale lumber mill:

HO scale lumber mill

model railroad trestle bridge

HO scale model train

HO scale trestle bridge

trestle bridge by HO scale lumber mill

My HO scale lumber mill:

HO scale lumber mill

bridge by HO scale lumber mill

“Hi Al,

I was at the Scottish Model Rail exhibition in Glasgow last week and I took these photographs of an amazing exhibit.

They are of a model of the Forth Rail Bridge in ‘T’ scale, I have never seen so much accurate detail on a model before. The guy must have lots of skill and patience.

The thing is, I can see the bridge from my house, it’s about 5 miles away as the crow flies. He even got the detail of the hotel my wife and I had our wedding reception in many years ago…

I only hope you can share this on the site, if only for the sheer skill and detail.


model railway bridge

“Hi Alister.

I’ve been dreaming of a layout since my dad bought me 2 n scale sets 49 years ago. Here’s my first n scale modded layout I’m working on. I wanted a small layout So I went looking on the web and found a printout for a door top that had a turn table, round house, a bit of yard, and was.

I had a Arnold turnable and 6 stall round house for years and was looking for a nice layout to base around them. Now it was time to re educate myself on the world of model railroading. What type of track. DCC or DC. types of turnouts and controls. Etc. So I decided to go old school with DC control. I did a mockup and was not pleased with traffic logic nor the amount of spurs.

I also was thinking modular. So I created a two way main line for expansion when I turn 102, and use them as spurs until then. My idea is to build it as a portable unit with a lid for storage and transport. Sort of an over sized suitcase. One thing I thought about is scenery.

I kept the KISS acronym in mind and decided on a engine maintenance theme. So no hills rivers and tunnels. I have not forgotten DCC. The track electrical will be wired for DC and have wiring for DCC for future upgrading. I’m looking at Turtle and NEC switch controls as they can be used both systems. I’ll be building a switch/ traffic control board and hope to make it detachable. I’m sure I can find a place on the lid to have a storage pocket for it.

Attached is the original plan and a pic of the current mockup. I’m sure things will change as I learn more and problems crop up.

Any input will be considered.



A huge thanks to JD for sharing his HO scale lumber mill, and thanks to Eric and Eddie too for today’s missive.

I did enjoy reading JD’s words: it’s really nice to read the site is helping folk turn their daydreams and thoughts in to a real layout. Sounds corny, I know, but it makes it all worthwhile.

That’s all this time folks.

If you’ve enjoyed this one as much as me, please help keep the doors open and support the blog.

You can:

1. Buy the track plans PDF and Beginner’s Guide here.

2. Or you can dive straight into membership here. Stay as long or as little as you like.

(You can cancel directly with the payment provider at any time, or just mail me and I’ll do it for you. There’s no fuss or questions.)



142 track plans PDF

32 Responses to HO scale lumber mill

  1. The T gauge Forth Bridge was at the Warley show at the NEC in November. I was with a friend, originally from Edinburgh, and he, like Eddie, could see the bridge from his flat.
    It is a masterpiece of modelling.

  2. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    Wow !!

  3. Eric says:

    Eddie. What a great model thanks for taking those pictures for us all.
    Eric. Hi namesake. Great you are starting up your railway after all those years, may I suggest you stick with DC, I am on two Facebook sites and the amount of problems people have with DCC to me isn’t worth the effort. I will be sticking with DC.
    JD. Looking good so far keep up the good work.

    Eric (Leeds) UK.

  4. Raymond Beale says:

    Beee-U-ti-ful stuff! Lots of great artists and engineers. I’m just a watcher, but I loved my trains when I was a kid.

  5. Brian Messenger says:

    Wow JD, excellent work for 4 months. Just love the rock work as well as the wooden trestle. Nice job on the mine. It will need to be weathered (look dirty). But you are getting there quickly. My 5 cents worth. Brian

  6. Mikael Macht says:

    Beautiful job is all I can say. Great job on the layout of track design. Can’t wait to see the rest of it done.

    Still working on my drawing for the layout. Still collecting cats, track and other equipment.

  7. Brian Messenger says:

    When it comes to DCC, you can make it as difficult (I don’t think that that is possible) as you want or as easy as you want. I switched from DC to DCC about 9 years ago and never looked back. Yes you do get “teething” problems as you go but nothing that can be solved vey quickly. Talk to a few of your fellow model train Guys who have DCC and get their pro’s and con’s on it. It really makes running trains a lot better like double heading locos and more that one loco at a time on the same track. If you do decide to go the DCC route, get a well known make like NCE, Digitrax or Lenz, in the UK, Gauge master also do a good one. Brian

  8. Skip Kerr says:

    Started working on my new layout about a year ago and am still laying roadbed and track. Your site has been both an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge in my planning stages. Keep up the good work and I will include some photo’s next time…

  9. tom williams says:

    The model of the Firth bridge is positively amazing. No engineer (retired as I am or otherwise) could resist being completely blown away by such a wonderful bit of work. I salute you…

  10. Tracy says:

    As I’m working on getting started on my own layout, bench work done at this time you give me more inspiration to keep going.

  11. Paul Bailey says:

    Really am enjoying your emails and links to what folks build/create…
    Keep ’em coming!

  12. Bob Lust says:

    “T” scale. WOW!! Didn’t know anyone still modeled in it, although, if I remember correctly, the Russians and East Germany used it way back.
    No getting around it the bridges are fantastic.

  13. Perry says:

    I concur with the above comments. I belong to a club with a portable layout, it runs on DCC. I own the Digitrax control unit and 2 boaster units that the club layout runs on. Also all of the club members that have there own layout run on DCC.

  14. Jack L. Casner says:

    Where can I find out more about T scale?

  15. Gary.e says:

    I’ll take one. , way cool

  16. Ken says:

    JD the layout looks great! I’ve been working on my new layout for 3 months and am nowhere near ready to lay track. You have made great progress.

  17. George says:

    Great looking bridge and the other pics look great to , it looks like there are a lot of great builders in this herd !
    I have stared the one for the grandson , I am saving up the money for a better
    camera so I can get some pics to send in some day !
    keep the info and pics coming guys I still don’t know every thing of about this hobby after many years and many fails + wins and restarts .
    I started and finished an test track for my locos and rolling stock a couple days ago , it makes it a lot easier to find problems with them !
    thank you for the emails Al , they help and I try to store them as best I can !
    Be well and stay safe every one !

  18. Bill Holt says:

    JD, this layout is AWESOME !!

  19. Paul Selwyn Otway says:

    Looks good

  20. chris says:

    I do hope that between the Jetty and the bridge one of those building includes the establishment we had a fine Scottish tea at. It looks so real.

  21. Ian Mc Donald says:

    just great layouts they bring a lot of enjoyment to allot of people thanks.

  22. Pete T. From Fla says:

    JD, that’s a keeper. Great job.

  23. Rod Mackay says:

    Regarding the post at 5.05, T scale is new and tiny, even smaller than Z, I think it’s something like 3mm gauge, I E whatever you do don’t drop the loco on a patterned carpet. I think you’re thinking of TT scale which was 3mm/ft scale and track gauge of 12mm, or about halfway between HO and N, there is still a following for this scale in the UK and Europe, I think Roco now do ready to run German prototype models for TT, but the old Iron Curtain firm you mention was Berliner Bahn, which was handed back to its original owners after the Wall came down. I had a mostly Berliner Bahn layout years ago and will send Al some pix when I get a mo.

  24. Gerard Lewandowski says:

    Love the Bridge. Is this the one I heard called the Firth of Forth? I’m from the US and haven’t it called just the Forth.

  25. Gary M from Long Island says:

    ERIC……. I love the track plan and then the layout……..I did the same thing with my first layout……..used SCARM for the track plan but then had to change it as I started laying the trackwork……. its all about running your trains and operating your layout. Send pictures and video as you progress.

    JD……great work……bridges are fantastic……send more pictures……its going to look great.

  26. DJfromNJ says:

    A fantastic start to JD’s layout! A bit of weathering to add authenticity and he’s the proud owner of a model railroading gem. WELL DONE!

  27. Ashley Herbert says:

    I saw the Forth Bridge layout at a pre- corvid show. It is truly amazing. I was so impressed that I went ahead and made a simple T scale layout of a double loop.
    T scale is 1:450 track gauge 3mm. The engineering of the trains is excellent. They have magnetic wheels to aid traction and high quality motors that work well on a PWM power supply to give good slow running.
    You do need tweezers and magnifying glasses to work on it.

  28. Will in NM says:

    Eddie, Thanks for the photos of the T scale bridge and village, Amazing that it’s so detailed in such a tiny scale!

    Eric, I think you started with a very good first track plan. However, I’m not sure your changes to the plan in your mock-up are an improvement. It looks to me like you’re trying to squeeze in more track without really improving the operating possibilities. For one thing, splitting the yard leaders into multiple Y’s actually reduces the number of cars that can be stored in the yard and complicates any switching moves. There’s also the idea of leaving some open spaces in the layout to make it more realistic as suggested in Lance Mindheim’s book on model railroad planning. It looks to me like the open area on the original plan where the yellow and green areas meet would be a nice place for a town or some rural buildings and fields.

    I don’t see any easy way to add a reversing loop within the current track space, but your off-table extension could provide one. That would allow you to run trains out and back instead to having to back them into the yard after a few trips around the ovals. If you do add a reversing loop, it would then be wise to add at least one run-around track at the end of the yard so the engine can be decoupled from the train.

    Of course, all of that is just my humble opinion. You should do what makes you happy. On my HO test layout, I have the same problem with no room for a reversing loop.

    J.D. Your layout is looking great! I especially like all the trestles and bridges. The mine building also looks nice, though it needs some weathering to look more realistic. Keep up the good work and post more photos of your progress.

  29. Erick says:

    Wow looks great.

  30. Dave Karper says:

    The Forth Bridge is an absolute knockout I deem this bridge the greatest one in all my years in model railroading, and I had to shoo away dinosaurs to build my first layout.

  31. Daniel says:

    Looks amazing !!

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