HO scale 12×16

John’s been in touch with his HO scale 12×16 layout:

“Hi Alistair,

I have been enjoying your site for a while now. Lots of good tips and great layouts.

I have included my HO layout built in Pennsylvania (USA) from 1993 and dismantled in 2013.We moved to California with no logistical way of moving it so I donated it to a model RR club that had to move and start anew.

The overall dimensions were HO scale 12×16 with 3 lines and a trolley (not shopping cart) line.

Many of the buildings are from the 4’x8′ train set my father built when I was about 8 (I’m 72 now). He was a painter so he made these out of illustration board and painted the detail – sort of a precursor to your printable buildings.

I am starting another layout – N scale – as I have less space now. I acquired all the N scale buildings, track, engines, rolling stock from a friend with a young boy, Travis, in the ’80s.

Travis liked my HO set (in a home previous to the 12 x 16; layout) so his dad built an N scale setup. It was too small for Travis to handle.

In the meantime a friend’s ex wife was cleaning out her attic where my buddy had an HO set up started. She said if you want it come get it. So I did. I didn’t really need all his stuff as I had mine, Light bulb went off! I’ll give it to Travis and his Dad. They were excited, but insisted I take their N scale stuff in trade.

I really didn’t want or need the N scale, but you know – free trains. So I have kept them for about 33 years … and now have a whole set up waiting to be created. I am going to set them up with DCC. Your articles have been extremely helpful.

I have also included a video (shot about 14 years ago – it’s a little rough)

Thanks for having this venue for model trains.


HO scale 12x16 width=

HO scale 12x16

HO scale 12x16

HO scale 12x16

HO scale 12x16

HO scale 12x16

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to John for sharing his HO scale 12×16 – it’s nice to know the love of trains never really leaves, whatever your age and how big the gap.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here, if you want to stop dreaming, and start doing.



PS More HO scale train layouts here is that’s your thing.

25 Responses to HO scale 12×16

  1. Stephen E Fetzer says:

    All very good. A nice train story intertwined with the human element. Thanks John, and Alastair as well.

  2. David Chrest says:

    Fantastic set up. I really enjoyed watching it. Send more photo’s and videos. Thanks.

  3. Larry Greenwood says:

    Really nice landscaping and building arrangement.

  4. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Great layout…… a lot of scenery and detail ….. and love the trains running.

    Good luck with the new project.

  5. Erick says:

    Looks great. Mine is going to look something like that.

  6. Jim AZ says:

    Nice size layout you had, John. Good luck and have fun with your new one.

    Jim AZ

  7. So much fun to see your excellent pictures an action packed videos. What a quality later! It gives me much inspiration thank you for sharing. I’m sending a note says:

    So much fun to see your excellent pictures an action packed videos. What a quality later! It gives me much inspiration thank you for sharing. I’m sending a note

  8. Bob Bouskill says:

    Very nice.

  9. Ward Lannom says:

    One of the best layouts and pictures I have seen. Good luck on n scale project. Please send pictures of your progress.

  10. Thomas says:

    Way to go John ! I just love to watch Trains running !

    The one thing I must say is that I had HO Trains for almost 40 years but I sold them all and went to N Scale … yes they are smaller but you can get much more in a confined space and there is just as much available in scenery, buildings, etc !

    HO is not as good as it is cracked up to be ! But I still love all scales of trains !

  11. ERSisk says:

    Question any modelers combining narrow and standard gauge track in a single roadbed?

  12. This is a great layout. Lots of activity. Glad there are steam engines!
    This is what I do in making roadway or street grade crossings. I have used card stock for years for the roads and crossings. Not corrugated. Whether the crossing is a single straight track crossing, or a curved crossing or a multiple non-parallel crossing, such as a road going through a wye, I first cut the card to the proper width of the road (20′ – 35′ or whatever), then cut it to the proper length to cover the approaches and centre area of the track. Then take black acrylic paint and paint the tops of the rails for the width of the road. Then I lay the cut-to-shape card carefully in place, press down and carefully lift it, to then have an exact impression of the rails. Then I cut the card on either side of the rail impression so I get the approach for the outsides of the track, and cut out the inside along the impression, making that cut a bit narrower to allow for a flangeway. I tapper the inner (Between the rails) piece downward so no couplers get hung up on it. These various pieces are glued in place and weighted. Later on I clean the paint off the rails. This has worked for me every time, using the rails like a printing press.

  13. Rob McCrain says:

    John, You have a very wonderful layout. It is busy but not too busy.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  14. Ben Olson says:

    John, I’ll bet the model RR club in Pennsylvania was thrilled to receive your layout when you donated it to them! It looks awesome. Good luck on your new layout!

  15. John says:

    Thanks for the nice comments, everybody. Looking forward to N scale (I think).

    I’ll post when I can. I spend a lot of my time these days updating the mechanical stuff (electric -plumbing etc on our 107 year old house. But there are pockets of time, straight to the train room.

  16. Lisa says:

    I was John’s neighbor when he &:his family lived in Pennsylvania. His train set up was impressive in it’s size and in all the attention to detail. For as MANY times as I had the pleasure of seeing it, I would always see “something new” because there was so much to enjoy. When my grandson would visit, John would invite him over and run the train set for him. His face would light up like a Christmas tree as he watched with wonder. The gift John shared with him touched my heart & these are memories for which I am thankful. “Thanks for the memories John” and good luck with your NEW set up!

  17. John says:

    Very interesting layout with Super detailing. GREAT JOB

  18. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice layout. like the bridges.

  19. Rich B. says:

    Both publishings today are off the charts. Meaning either could be continuation of the other and actually should be rated museum quality…

    More than 1 layout per day is too much to view as too many games and puzzles after to keep up with lmao. So bring back Dangerous D. anytime as part of content with these, a daily inclusion… if somebody doesn’t like it, too damn bad.

    And Again, Rich

  20. Stephen Hill says:

    What a magnificent layout . Truly remarkable . Your narrative is inspiring and just wonderful to know the history. The layout is awesome , great detail and scenes , it all works together well and just looks keen .
    Excellent work sir!

  21. John Tiffin says:

    Not sure which is more stellar, the pictures, the narrative or the hints and helps columns. This and other sites have inspired a renewed interest in setting up a layout in our house aside from the temporary one around the seasonal tree and the G scale in the back yard (small dogbone). Having tried several versions of a lift up board (mostly too heavy) finally have obtained permission to crowd up the basement with a wall mounted – hinged up and out of the way N gauge set. Thanks for the beginners guide and buildings prints. Keep the tracks running!

  22. Frank Pumillo says:

    Another stunning very detailed layout. Love the effort expended for these layouts.

  23. Steve Ruple says:

    WOW !!!! nice layout, beautiful scenery and a lot of trains running

  24. Terry Miller says:

    Dominic—great idea for making road crossing. Hadn’t thought of using the rails as a guideline. THANKS


  25. Don says:

    the whole layout is outstanding, wow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *