HO Santa Fe layout

Jim’s been in touch with his HO Santa Fe layout:

“I will be 75 next month and I have “played” with model trains all my life.

When I was five years old my father bought me my first train set.

It was an O-gauge CB&Q Zephyer. He bought it used from a friend whose son had grown tired of it.

My dad covered a 4′ x 6′ sheet of plywood with a green Army blanket and tacked down an oval of track with a passing siding.

Together we added some houses, roads, cars and trees. Good times.

About 3-4 years later I got a A-A Santa Fe Marx set for Christmas.

When I got older we passed those sets on to younger kids in our neighborhood and I messed around with HO for a couple of years.

Then life happened. After High School, I enlisted in the Army and served in Vietnam and Washington DC. Got out of the Army in 1969 and went to college.

After graduating landed a good job, got married, bought a house, and raised two great kids.

During that time I was in-and-out of N-scale and 3-rail O-scale.

I build an 18′ x 8′ O-Scale layout in my basement and was a founding member of the Independent Hi-Railers Midwest Division.

We had the LARGEST modular Hi-Rail layout in the world and would travel to major cities (New Brunswick NJ, Cleveland OH, Madison WI, St Louis MO, Minneapolis MN, Chicago IL) to set-up, display and operate our layout.

In addition, we also participated in 4 or 5 local shows each year.

Fast forward, I retired at age 58 with plans of building a large HO layout in my basement.

Many starts and stops, tear-down and rebuilds. I was never satisfied with the results. My carpentry and electrical skills never measured up to my desired standards. I wish would have realized that sooner.

In 2018 I met with the good people at PMD (Professional Model Design) to discuss having them build an HO layout for me.

Yada, yada, yada… 16 months later they delivered a beautiful 11′ x 22′ HO layout.

For now, I will just post this video. In the near future, I will provide more information and include pictures of the build process and MORE videos.

For now, please enjoy these.


santa fe model railroad HO scale 11x22

HO Santa Fe layout 11x22

HO Santa Fe layout freight train 11x22

HO Santa Fe layout bridge 11x22

santa fe sidings HO scale 11x22

model train road crossing HO scale 11x22

model train road crossing

A big thanks to Jim for sharing his HO Santa Fe layout.

Now on to Peter.

He’s been busy scratch building from the printable buildings:

“Hi Al,

Here’s one of my scratch builds.


I really do a get a kick out of seeing what you’ve created with the print out scenery.

A huge big thanks to Peter and Jim.

Really liked Jim’s back story, especially the line, “then life got in the way”.

It’s something we can all relate to.

But I think he’s made up for time with a HO scale 11×22 in his basement. Looks great.

That’s it for today peeps.

Please do keep ’em coming – just hit reply to any of my mails if you’d like to share anything.

And if today is the day you jump in and join in the fun, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

15 Responses to HO Santa Fe layout

  1. Brian Olson says:

    Especially like the shots of the car at the crossing. Very realistic.

  2. Eric Kiehl Firefighter St. Louis Missouri area says:

    Jim, first I would like to thank you for your service to our country.

    Layout looks marvelous and very real. Great job.

    Eric Kiehl Firefighter St Louis County Missouri

  3. Rob McCrain says:

    Beautiful layout. I do love the Santa Fe El Capitan and Chief. Excellent slow roll by. Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  4. John says:

    Jim… nice! If you can pass along an image of your professionally designed track plan it would be great!

  5. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Peter- nice scratch build!
    Jim- you definitely left us wanting more! Thanks to both of you for sharing.

  6. Kevin McArdle says:

    When in doubt about your carpentry skills, use Mianne bench work for your needs. They will build custom bench work for whatever situation or configuration you need, and it can be broken down and transportable should you need to move. MIANNE benchwork.


    Some really good scenery work! And the Warbonnet is my favorite~

  8. William Hoch says:

    I really liked the El Capitan too. I grew up in San Bernardino, Ca and got got to see up close the train with 2 “A units and 2 “B” units pulling out to get over the Cajon Pass.

  9. Ron Kehl says:

    Very nice scenery!!!

  10. John P Verrengia says:

    Your amount of detail is JUST RIGHT. You didn’t jam everything together. Done in excellent taste.

  11. THOMAS says:

    Thanks for running your trains … Looks great !

  12. william janmes palmer says:

    awesoe loved the quiet sound very solid

  13. Patrick Barry says:

    Great layout! I am just now planning to get involved in building a layout myself. If you know of any used sets for purchase, please let me know. I am not the handy type but I really want to get involved.

  14. Old Ben says:

    Jim How much did it Cost?

  15. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Jim…..great looking layout. Nice to see the trains running.

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