John shows us more of his stunning layout

John’s been in touch with this fantastic recap of his stunning layout.

(His previous post is here.)

“Hi Al,

John from Baltimore here.

On the last post you so kindly put up of my coal mine and lighting improvements, several people commenting expressed an interest in how the layout started and grew, and what the final track plan is.

The layout is now 2/3 of the way done from a scenery point of view, some fill in mountains right and left of the mine, and backdrop painting. I went back through pictures and put together sort of a timeline photo montage.

The first picture was the inspiration for my layout, the real Keddie Wye at the north end of the Feather River Canyon in the Sierra Mountains of California, my railroad transported the scenery to the East Coast of the U.S.A. in West Virginia. As mentioned at the beginning, I determined that most of the highly detailed work would be done in my wood shop, which is outside in a garage.

This meant that the modules could not be wider than the doorway to the basement of the house. Designing the modules and working out a track plan left me with a decision that 2 of the modules had to be built inside at the layout location, as they were too big a footprint and I had a storage island we wanted to keep which is under the mine mountain where I have storage tracks. So the storage tracks below the mine mountains, and the city module were built in place.

We never used the sink on the island (no idea why it was there) but wanted to keep the storage cabinets under the island provide. The mine and train storage tracks were built above the island, and the isle behind the layout is access to bulk food storage, also, the compromise with the wife for that access that gave me access to the storage tracks! A win-win.

Since most of the detail work in the city was done on the buildings, it still could be done outside and the buildings placed on the module inside, as an example the 3-stall roundhouse has kit-bashed building additions, air conditioning, water tower, added piping and a radio antenna on the roof, and were built in the wood shop. There’s no scenery on the storage tracks.

On the schematic, pink is the first bridge module, blue is the next town module, purple the storage tracks and finally green for the mine module.

Building the bench-work for the city module in place also gave me plenty of space for my modeling junk underneath, I use boxes and plastic bins. So far the only trains I’ve run are for testing the tracks for continuity and clearance for 85’ passenger cars. Wiring of the switches, signals and blocks to come soon as I can get to them. I tried not to repeat photos I’ve sent in earlier, but maybe a few crept in here.

John From Baltimore”

Keddie wye

ibridge frame

bridge module

bridge layout

bridge module

bridge module

bridge module

sample model train

backdrop art model train

model train town module

model train town module

model train town modules

model train mine

model railroad mine

model railroad mine

model rairoad mine

A huge thanks to John.

It’s been wonderful to see all his updates, and this recap really does show just how much busy he’s been. Amazing stuff, and I can’t wait for the next update.

That’s all for today folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And if it’s time for you to start laying tracks again, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here.



32 Responses to John shows us more of his stunning layout

  1. Alan Batcheldor says:

    Seriously impressive. Puts me to shame. I must get on with mine and avoid distractions.

  2. Robert says:

    I think he John done a great job it has obviously taken a lot of time and effort to achieve such a layout

  3. NJ Mark says:

    Fantastic! There are no other superlatives, just FANTASTIC! Cheers! NJ Mark

  4. I’m thinking of starting an HO layout for the first time. This layout of John’s is unbelievable. I only wish I had the space and knowledge to build something like John’s, maybe someday. Great job John hope we can see it when its all done.

  5. Eric says:

    I can only echo NJ Marks comment, superb workmanship,
    Eric (Leeds) UK

  6. Cary B says:

    Beautiful job John, the quantity and quality of the structures alone are to be admired and the scenery is quite awesome
    Cary New Market MD

  7. Don Poitras says:

    You have a great talent.You strike me ,as “A MAN WITH NO FEAR”Awesome work,Don P.

  8. dr. al says:

    beautiful John, great skill. keep us in the loop with future posts.

  9. Ron McCauley says:

    I am planning my next empire, which will be in a similar 400 square foot space. Would you please send me a copy of his track plan? I would really appreciate it. Thank you…..Ron

  10. george zaky says:


    awesome, creative and artistic talent supreme. Thanx for sharing all the pics and narrative for us. Hope you get some “machinery” running on that layout and you must send some videos.
    George from NY

  11. DJ from NJ says:

    WOW! Artistry and near perfection in model railroading, brought to us by talented John.

  12. LOVE all the bridges,,,that’s talent. Really nice layout! Farmer AL

  13. dan hulitt says:

    Well, John from” Balmore”, truly a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and engineering, worthy of printed documentation. Wished I still lived in Balt. County so I could see this!

    Keep us posted. I have an old B&W (16*20) photo of the B & O station with Camden Yards in the background if you need some photo decor.

    MN Dan

  14. Jim Johnson says:

    Nice job John. A very inspirational setup. I have 35 feet across the back of my basement just begging for a layout. Having seen what a fine job you’ve done, I may have to get off my duff and start construction.

  15. Jim says:

    An impressive layout for sure. You’ve captured some unique and interesting scenes here. It should be fun to run trains when you’re done.

    Jim AZ

  16. john Schaeffer says:

    That’s nice work ! Very Good !

  17. Bob Virnig says:

    Awesome! Wish I had the room to make a bigger layout your size.

  18. Norman Rosen says:

    Bridges are fantastic! Well done.

  19. Joe Gennari says:

    FANTASTIC!!! Just Amazing! What talent and skill!!! WOW

  20. Jim Turner says:

    John, my wife’s Wow attests your success on this one! We have taken that Feather River drive to Lake Almanor- one of America’s spectacular scenic routes-and you have got us both wanting to go back. Your replicas of the old WPA trestles and bridges in the Sierras are perfect. Jim. SoCal

  21. Robert Brady says:

    Patience is a necessity which you obviously have quite a bit.Don’t forget to show us a finished product. first photo on post looks absolutely life like.Great work.

  22. Wow This is amazing thanks for sharing with us I’m going to share it to my new Facebook group TRAINS ACROSS THE WORLD my gold behind the group is to bring everyone together in this world to share the love of this hobby in one place from railfanning, how to videos, layout updates, photos and anything about train’s

  23. Hemi says:

    WOW!!!! The bridge-work looks AWESOME!!!! NICE job man! Keep up tyhe great work on what looks to be one GREAT layout!!!!!

    Surprised your not modeling the B&O being from Baltimore!!!!


  24. Very impressive. Heaps of good ideas.

  25. Jim MacLean says:

    Unbelievably awe inspiring layout John. Those trestles are really something! Jim from CB.

  26. Wm althaus says:

    Excellent work! The bridges are fantastic. Well done. Bill in Virginia

  27. peter a pearson says:

    I have my table done its not as big as yours but you have given me a lot of hints with your layout thank you peter

  28. Mark T Pianka says:

    out standing layout!!!!

  29. Earnie Smalley says:

    Great work. I love those trestles. An awesome layout. Great inspiration

  30. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Wow, very nice.

  31. James Malins says:

    Just Great

  32. Richard Dono says:

    Wow .Makes Me want to get back on my Lay out. Thanks Richie Richmond Hill N.Y.

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