HO scale cab ride on layout

Jim’s been back in touch with a stunning HO scale cab ride on layout.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best ones I’ve seen.

You’ll remember Jim from some earlier posts, and seeing as his weathered freight cars feature in this video, here’s some of his earlier stuff.

“Greetings Alastair.

I’m continuing to add more realism to my layout and have been installing more electrical lighting. The latest are trackside signals. And hope to add more. These are NJ International and operate manually.

This update includes a cab ride GoPro video and an iPhone video and some stills. There are two consists highlighting several weathered freight cars.

Should you consider posting this video, please know for some reason, the YouTube video playback may not be very clear as it sometimes plays at 720p HD and sometimes at 320p. In any event, I hope you enjoy the visual and sound effects updates. And great thanks for providing this entertaining and informational site as I’ve seen so many wonderful and highly detailed layouts from so many talented modelers.

Best regards,

Jim AZ”

HO scale cab ride on layout

HO scale cab ride on layout

HO scale cab ride on layout

model railroad engine shed

model railroad locomotive

“Good morning Alastair:

I love the information and ideas of your train world. I thought it might be helpful to some modelers to find inspiration out in the backcountry.

Recently I spent two days traveling with my cousin in Southeastern Nebraska. It is primarily Fran country. Rolling hills and mile after mile of farm country dotted with small towns. The smallest I saw was Pop. 75. Some in the low hundreds. The county seat had a mere 3,300 residents.

These small towns are full of old buildings that fit my 1950 and prior theme. Buildings from the late 1800’s in fact. My cousin was the head designer for the Lincoln, Nebraska Museum before he retired a few years ago. He is a local historian as well. I wanted to share a couple of ideas that the average scratch builder or beginner can do.

The first building is the “Roca Station” from a very small town Roca, Nebraska. It was restored and moved by the historical society. My cousin was the chief project manager for the station Reno and move. I changed the overall scale of the building to suit my layout. A little artistic license…

The second building is a small bank built in the 1800’s. I included a photo of the “foundation” I have created to simulate the original. It is a mattboard frame with talus rocks glued on. I simulate the mortar with drywall mud. After it dries, a Dremel and a small wire wheel sands off the surface to reveal the stones.

Again, a lot of the layouts are spectacular. Not all of us are wealthy enough to build them or even skilled enough to do the purist work. That is no criticism of those fortunate ones. Instead an encouragement to many of us who simply enjoy the hobby on a more manageable scale.

I am at the point now on my layout where only a small amount of ballast work left. I have started to wire up, and have multiple posts from your followers to help there since I am not that skilled at electrical. So at present buildings to fill the planned areas.

Cheers mate and a great day of modeling for all.

Clermont, Florida”

Old train station

old train station

old train station scratch build

train station scratch build

A huge thank you to Mike. And if I’m not mistaken, Mike also sent in these amazing scratch builds too.

Thanks also to Jim for sharing his HO scale cab ride on layout.

Please do keep ’em coming. That’s all for today, folks – except for this call to arms:

I enjoy sitting on the couch as much as the next man, but there comes a time when you have to strike out: is today going to be your day? Is today going to be the day you take the plunge with the Beginner’s Guide?

Course, I’m biased, but why not join in on the fun? I know it’s a great spectator sport, but it’s even better when you roll your sleeves up and start tinkering.

And for me, that is the key: tinkering. Over the years I’ve noticed not one of you is in a screaming hurry, because where’s the fun in that?

It’s all about tinkering. Scratching your head over the numerous problems a layout presents, and enjoying the process as it unfolds. It really doesn’t matter how long it takes, it’s a wondeful way to pass the time.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

39 Responses to HO scale cab ride on layout

  1. Nice to see trackside footage from the cab …Dave

  2. Robert Brady says:

    I was about to knock on the door til I realized it was a model lol nice.

    Al,Do you know why it won’t et me auto fill?,used to.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Love the train ride and the layout and the landscape.Maybe work in a passenger train and station..Just say n.

  4. Paul Case says:

    Very nice camera work.Jim would it be possible for you to show us the camera mounted on the car? By the way Al do you have your own layout and if so could we see it?

  5. Now thats the way you run a railroad!!! Nice and slow so you can see everything . It was as close to riding the train as can be. Nice! And a really sweet layout I enjoyed that ride, made my morning. Well gotta go bush hog, fields are getting high. Farmer AL

  6. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Fantastic ride on the rails,thank you for sharing.

  7. Dan Dickens says:

    That video is amazing – the layout is so real – if not for the garage door – it would be hard to tell. Nice set up.

  8. paul vogel says:

    Jim…..I really like your workmanship and imagination. Great job on your layout. Thank you much for sharing. Paul Ohio USA

  9. TK Free says:

    That was Fantastic !!

  10. Larry Kettles says:

    Nice job of filming I don’t think it is called filming anymore. Those long freights look good. How about setting up a switching job on your layout. Totally enjoyed it. POTTS

  11. Loved this video. Made me feel as if I were riding along. So realistic and well done. I particularly liked the sounds. Was mot tinny and the engine whistle. So good. Well done Jim. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Thanks Jim.
    Nice video of a great layout. Would it be possible to get a schematic of the layout to see how you fit it into your garage.

  13. Marty says:

    Wow !! Jim, that was fantastic . I loved it. I you would have hanged a sheet with painting of the country side where we see the garage door, I would have thought we were in the cab of a real train. Great job.

  14. Norman Rosen says:

    Do they give Oscar’s or Emmy’s for videos like this? Definitely deserves consideration. Loved the fact that his garage door looks like mine!

  15. Robert Rolfe says:

    Jim, GREAT JOB, so real. One question,how do you keep the dust off with that garage door so close? NV Bob

  16. William says:

    Jim! Great video as usual!! What is the length and width of the layout?

  17. Great video! Great layout! Well done!

  18. Ron says:

    Nice video, Jim. My brother has an N-Scale layout that we have been trying to film as a cab view, but haven’t found a camera that keeps the near field in focus. What camera did you use for the cab view?

  19. Jim MacLean says:

    Words escape me. Totally awesome dude! Great video, scenery & snaps. What model & size is your GoPro? Jim from CB.

  20. peter a pearson says:

    loved your video

  21. Danny Marso says:

    Great video, where did you purchase the camera? Great looking layout,nice you
    Are able to use your garage,we can’t do that in New England,in the very cold Winter. Thanks for sharing.

  22. David Schaffner says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful award winning video. Love the toots and whistles of the train sounds and the slow moving train ( the way real trains travel) and the wonderous ride through the mountainous terrain that seemed so awesomely real….The only suggestion as that maybe to make it even better, build scenic wall with hinges on the garage side so you can drop it down to work on the layout….
    Love your layout. No caboose seems to fit the bill since real trains have no cabooses anymore…….

  23. Jim says:

    Great thanks for all your gracious and wonderful comments. Videos and photography were not the focus of building a model railroad layout but doing so during construction was actually quite helpful. It would allow me to visually see a more realistic and close up scene or area on the layout. So actually, the current videos were an after thought.
    To respond to some questions: for Jim from CB, the camera is a GoPro cube purchased from Best Buy, an electronics store. It’s mounted on an small ore car with the body removed.
    The layout is a dog bone and the dimensions are 44” wide at each end and 34” wide in the middle. So I can actually get in and out of my car even with two cars in the garage.
    For NV Bob, I minimize dust by hanging a canvas curtain from the garage door ceiling rail. It also helps if and when it rains. Ha!!! Not so much here in southern AZ.
    And with no ac in the garage, well not much goes on except early, early in the morning.
    Again, I truly appreciate all your thoughts and comments and look forward to seeing your layouts, modeling skills and learning some of your ideas and techniques for this unique and wonderful hobby.
    Jim AZ

  24. Rex Lehman says:

    WOW, thanks, what a setup, spectacular work!Rex

  25. Ralph berry says:

    Great way to present your layout. Great sound.

  26. Clay Short says:

    Outstanding layout!

  27. Greg Schaefer says:

    Very nice Jim. The thing that I noticed was that there was no rocking or jerking movement of the camera. It seems to me that doing a video while you are laying track would be a great way to spot imperfections in your tracks while you still have time to correct them. And I am not all that excited about sound. Someone already pointed out that it can sound kind of tinny. Yours sounds very realistic. Maybe because the mic is so close to the speaker and you can keep the volume down? What system is it? (And is there a trolley version?)

  28. Alabama Mike says:

    Jim, your layout is great and so is your video. I really enjoyed watching the video.

  29. Terry Miller says:

    Jim–do you have any problems with tracks warping or moving out of alignment because of the AZ heat in a non AC garage?

  30. Warren C Gobin says:

    Great layout is it run with a computer.> Keep up the great work

  31. Bill Holt says:

    Super layout and nice video. GGOD JOB !

  32. William says:

    Watched Jim’s cab ride and all his previous videos with great interest!!
    What are the dimensions of the layout? Also how about an overview of the plan

  33. Tim Birdsall says:

    Nice ride, Thanks !!! I was a Locomotive Engineer for the BNSF for 39 years and retired in 2016. Brought back a lot of memories… I particularly got a kick outta the track signals that really had true indications;)
    Thanks Again,
    Tim Birdsall
    Lincoln Ne. USA

  34. william janmes palmer says:

    loved the cab view also with the very nice modeling

  35. George Zaky says:

    Many thanks for a great ride and to see an awesome consist or two. Wow! Keep these coming.
    You’ve got to show how a gorilla fingered, Mr McGoo eyed person like me can make a building look one half as good as yours. An how to, what you used kind of missive would be so appreciative.
    Big Al- Thanks for these awesome shows and the hard work you do.

  36. Mike Balog says:

    Great Layout Jim… with a Smooth Cab Ride Video,,, only one hick-up when the train went thru a switch you can see the locomotive and cars shake a little. Liked the Canyon the Train Went Through, and the details and correct train dwarf signals changing to the correct display colors when the other train completed run by. The Comments about your Garage Door…. perhaps you can hand a painted backdrop when you are operating. Suggestion to keep the dust off your layout, maybe hang thing painters thin clear plastic sheet over the layout.,and also keep dust and cats off the layout as well, Great Job Modeling… From Mike in New Hampshire, USA.

  37. Jerry Hardwich says:

    To Mike in Clermont, FL: would like to connect with you. I am in Tavares, FL. Thanks, Jerry

  38. Bill Crumrine says:

    Great layout and great video!!! Very professional!!!

  39. Rich says:

    The Train Ride was cool.

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