HO scale dcc locomotives – Jim’s

Jim’s been in touch with his HO scale DCC locomotives:

“Hi Al.

Jim from Cape Breton, Canada back again with Part #4 of my layout.

To answer some previous questions, my layout is in a 12’x14’ room with a 1’ shelf attached all around the 4 walls with offset & apposing 4’x8’ sections projecting out from the 14’ walls.

There are access walkways between the 4’x8’ sections & between the 4’x8’ other sides & the 1’ wide shelves.

One 4’x8’ has a roundhouse & turntable & the other 4’x8’ has an engine workhouse & transfer table.

There is a 2 track hinged bridge that lifts up by hand and spans the door opening to the room.

The rolling stock in the freight yards are static & are there simply to fill out that spot on the layout. I do very little switching & the consists stay as they are.

All the locomotives have access to the main lines via turnouts. I put in false bottoms in the coal cars & then topped them up with 1” of crushed, real Cape Breton coal to make them look full.

Out of my HO scale DCC locomotives – a black FP45 Canadian National loco with the white CN noodle was the piece that first got me interested in the hobby. It is a Lima (made in Italy) and was given to me in a box of used HO scale train stuff by a co-worker at the time in the mid 1970’s.

The loco would not work, so I took it all apart & discovered that the motor & it’s electrical brushes were clogged by lots of metal filings. After removing the filings & a light oiling, everything worked fine.

I lived in an apartment at the time & often thought that if I ever had the time & a house with available space, I would take up the hobby. In 2003 plans started to become a reality.

When I switched over to DCC in 2007, I up graded the old CN FP45 with a DCC decoder & since then, have upgraded it again with a DCC sound decoder. So you see, it was not only the very first part of my hobby plans, but also, is still very much a part of the layout.

All questions are welcomed & keep ‘em on the rails you fellow train enthusiasts.


HO scale dcc locomotives

HO scale dcc locomotives

Now on to Ray:

“Good Day Alastair,

I have been enjoying your daily emails and the many tips for years now and wanted to share a video and some stills of my n scale project I have been working on for 6 years.

Don’t know if we can ever say they are complete. Always adding rolling stock, touching up scenery and working on JMRI and controlling up to 4 locos on this 4X7 layout.

It has been fun and made easier thanks to the many tips shared by your community of modelers.

Thanks to all and continued fun no matter what scale you enjoy.

Ray Cardello
Exeter, NH”

4x7 model railroad

n scale 4x7 model railroad

4x7 model railroad

4x7 model railroad

4x7 model railroad

4x7 model railroad track plan

A huge thanks to Ray and to Jim for sharing his HO scale DCC locomotives.

I thought Jim’s narrative really does capture what this hobby is all about. Your layout can be whatever you want it to be.

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.

24 Responses to HO scale dcc locomotives – Jim’s

  1. NJ Mark says:

    Beautiful stuff! It’s all in the detail. Thanks and Cheers! NJ Mark

  2. Nice looking layout Ray , and JIms done a good job with his , both looking great …Dangerous Dave

  3. Donald Scharenbroch says:

    Jim, can you share a layout plan? Also what scale is your layout?

  4. Sheldon. Phoenix. USA. 🇺🇸 says:

    Both lay outs are very well done.
    Video shows trains moving at a reasonable rate of speed. Excellent!

  5. Jim you stated that there is a lift out at the door entrance. I also have that issue and haven’t worked out how to run the electric where the drop down hits the rest of the track. PLEASE inform me how you wired the track , i.e. did you connect the wiring. I have three tracks on this lift out and haven’t figured out how to connect then to the other side. HELP! Thank you all in advance.

  6. TONY BEECHER says:

    Weathering your cars would help. In fact,weathering buildings would help as well. Right now, everything looks plastic.

  7. Ian McDonald says:

    great work Jim. nice detail. running trains are great.

  8. Robert Brady says:

    Ray, I took notice you haven’t painted your building’s facades. Why may I ask?
    They totally look unfinished and plain. Although I’m not a fan of weathering i am a fan of depth and color. That being said you do have a nice layout.
    The Critic

  9. Frederic Svoboda says:

    “Weathering your cars would help. In fact,weathering buildings would help as well. Right now, everything looks plastic.”

    A little Dullcoat spray would greatly improve anything that is unnaturally shiny at minimal cost.

  10. Terry, Fleet says:

    To James Richards and everyone else with door or age related mobility limits check out the Southern California Traction Club’s solution. An entire hinged lifting bridge complete with multi track, live overhead traction wires and gantries, all isolated by the bridge lock. I witnessed it in action some 15 years ago so neat and now for me so desirable.
    As to weathering do your own thing. Again one modeller I came across who collected many of the beautiful ready to run H0 un-painted brass rolling stock vehicles available primarily in North America could not find it in his heart to paint them, so he created a layout for electric hauled trains of all brass stock with the lines laid in surfaced roads and buildings cut from black card or board as silhouettes. Surreal but looked amazing.

  11. Erick says:

    Pretty neat layout. Mine is going to look something like that when i dune.

  12. MG Sonkin says:

    Well done. Great detail

  13. Charles Eyster says:

    Does anyone ever run their unpainted brass locomotives and freight? I’d love to see a video of this! I don’t own any brass, mainly for fear of messing up the painting of them. Too costly mentally and financially!

  14. William J Donlen III says:

    Intricate weave in track plan and the details are wonderfully executed!!

  15. Steve Lauderbaugh says:

    Could you send me a couple of pictures of your hinged lift up bridge that shows me how you built It with any comments. I need to see how you got the tracks to line up when the bridge is lowered. My bridge is a lift out one but would like it to be hinged. Thanks

  16. Berniedoc says:

    Paint clear chalk board coating on all plastic trains and buildings. It takes the shine off and makes them look more reaistic.

  17. Jim MacLean says:

    RE: Donald Scharenbroch’s Question.
    My layout is in HO scale & 14’x12′ in size. In a previous video posting on Al’s blog, I recorded the entire layout from above. It is also demonstrated in my “Jim’s Train Movie Part 1” which can be found on YouTube. Thanks for the interest.

    RE: Steve Lauderbaugh’s Question.
    The hinged lift up bridge was also explained in a previous posting on Al’s blog. The unhinged end of the bridge when lowered mates with an open box-like feature that aligns the double tracks on each side & on the bottom. Hope this helps.

  18. Ron Roedel says:

    To all those who write in with criticism of other modelers efforts, including but not limited to, needs weathering, looks too plastic, the one vehicle is a little to big, you didn’t include a track plan.
    I would like it if you are going to pick someones layout apart, please include photos or a video of your masterpiece, with a track plan so that the rest of us can learn from your expertise.

    Ron from Sunny Florida

  19. Stephen Hill says:

    Amen Ron from sunny Florida !!! There are many facades to this hobby , I emphasize hobby , many talent levels and resources , ages and abilities. Yes that includes the engineers as well as the novice , not all are aiming for that “perfect “ effect or absolute realism, some just want to see what they can achieve and enjoy . It’s great that there are modelers that want to create very real scene and period correct layouts with aged buildings and weathered trains and track … kudos to you , your expertise is important and often conveyed with encouragement to the beginner . Others just aren’t that concerned with those great details they just are having fun … there’s room for both . However there’s no room for rudeness and discouragement. Clearly those critics in the bunch never were a coach or never have been coached in a team environment. Sad for you . I’m quite proud of my display , it’s full of plastic buildings, scratch built buildings , weathered and un weathered , the important thing is , I created it with my imagination and resources, I’ve many compliments and yes there are many areas that could be critiqued and shredded , that isn’t the motivating factor of my interest in the hobby , nor is it I suspect for a vast majority of model railroaders . It isn’t necessary to simply look at each person’s submission with the mindset that this is wrong , that is wrong . Like the other fella said .. let’s see your work and find all the flaws and shred your work and motivation . I suspect those with that criteria in mind do not have much in their lives to ex it’s them and certainly don’t have exquisite layouts of the own . It’s all model, none of it is going to be real to the degree of being completely realistic, they are models . Give a break and appreciate what others are doing rather than scrutinize everyone everyday . Get a life even , get over yourself , I’m just glad you’re not in my family , I’d hate to have to put up with you

  20. Stephen Hill says:

    Great layouts from both submissions, wonderful work and craftsmanship all around . I like the bold colors and clean look . Brilliant displays , look forward to seeing more

  21. Brian Olson says:

    This former Winnipeger lover your work! Well done eh?

  22. Terry Miller says:

    Ray’s layout looks great–my only suggestion as far as the track plan goes is to make the left hand turnouts at the bottom left of the plan right hand switches instead.
    This would give the train on the inner tracks access to the outermost track instead of just a loop back to the tunnel.
    In other words: The outside track has access to the tunnel track with the current switches on the bottom right but no way to get back to the outer one.

  23. Steve Ruple says:

    Nice layout’s Jim and Ray.

  24. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice stuff. good work.

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