Mine layout update – John’s

John’s been in touch again with his mine layout. (His last post is here.)

“Hi Alastair,

John from Baltimore here with an update on the coal mine layout.

This mine is kit-bashed from several buildings, the Walthers Gravel pit, Diamond Coal mine with some parts of other buildings added.

Stairways and ladders not with the Walthers kits are from Tichey train group, and the transformer, lots of other stuff details piping, the trestle and the coal dump is scratch-built.

The mine is now home in the mountains (still under construction all around it) and I think it worked out pretty well. Turns out that I had to build a bridge when I places the module because the valley was just too deep to work around.

All the tracks are in and the tedious task of eliminating the derailment points is underway. My test is to back a 20 car train all around the layout slowly. If any bad or flakey places are there, bcaking through will find them! Oh, ya can’t back a train with the toy horn-hook couplers, have to be Kaydee of other upgraded ones.

Next update to the mine layout will be the mountains, trees and stuff on either side.

Regards, and to you and all the railfans across the globe.

John from Baltimore”

HO scale mine trains

HO scale mine layout

model railroad mine layout

model railroad mine layout

mine layout trestle bridge

model railroad mine layout trucks

model railroad mine

Stunning stuff from John. Have a look at all the comments at the bottom of the page.

If you look at the first post for his mine layout, you’ll see a wonderful pic of his table with nothing more than a few pieces of track on it. Now look at it!

Just goes to show it’s all about making that start.

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

And if all these posts have got you itching to start your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still updated daily.



50 Responses to Mine layout update – John’s

  1. RIch B. says:

    It’s the destination not the journey (@ coal mine). Not sure if scenery is completed or not but what great potential. Appears to of been much fun either way and a case of just get it done:) Mine is very detailed and complete looking, worked once at a leather tannery (plant electrician) that reminds me of this.


  2. ellis english says:

    Nice, Beautiful detail, lot of time and work on this one, reminded me of a lot of things from my youth, thanks for sharing this one………….yours r

  3. NJ Mark says:

    Beautiful !! The detail is fantastic. The drooping wires really are neat. Cheers! NJ Mark

  4. Malcolm hodgson says:

    Oh YES! Great work John! I am loving the mine workings. Your weathering is excellent and your attention to detail. It feels alive when you view the photos. Please keep updating us and provide more photos, maybe a trains eye view from track level would be cool.


    North Wales

  5. Jim Aspin 2 says:

    Looks great!
    Great design work.
    Weathering and aging well thought out!
    Is the trestle made from wooden dowels and what else?

  6. John Frye says:

    The trestle is basswood wood strips, 3 different sizes. The bridge abutments and foundations are rigid pink foam insulation. I like the rigid foam because it is easy to carve, easy to glue in place with foam cement or caulking, and takes paint well. The mine smokestack is a section of mini-blind operating rod, pipes are sections of model kit sprue cleaned up and bent with heat from a soldering iron. insulators on the transformer are screws. Sky-lights are windows from old buildings. Stuff just laying around for details. like most modelers, I don’t throw out old buildings when they aren’t needed, roofs, windows, doors, brick sides, all get re-cycled.

  7. Wm althaus says:

    What s fantastic coal industry you have set up! Can almost hear the coal filling all the hoppers. Great detail and layout of the mine buildings. You have done some research to make it the way you did. Great job and looking forward to see more. Bill in Virginia

  8. Kenneth Seegert says:

    Very nice and detailed work thank you for sharing with us.

    Ken in Michigan

  9. Rube Simon says:

    Simply superb!

  10. Chuck Bartonek says:

    Outstanding layout , excellent detail.

  11. John Reynolds says:

    That mine is unbelievable! Absolutely fantastic. Amazing work. An inspiration. Great idea on how to test track to find the dodgy bits.
    John in California

  12. So impressed with his detail. His scenery is one of the best I have ever seen. Fantastic work.

  13. Joe says:

    awesome !!! looks real landscaping and all

  14. Frank says:

    Really great detail and attention to realism. I am jealous but enjoy your artistry. Please keep it up and keep us posted.

  15. Bob M says:

    Great job on the mine John! Also great blending of mountain into backdrop, great depth perception…

  16. Norman Rosen says:

    Trestle and mine are very impressive. You have done an excellent job and thank you for sharing.

  17. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    What a wonderful piece of work that you did John, it looks like the real thing. I can’t wait to see when you are done with the Landscaping of the mountains. I can’t wait to start, I am building tables, 13- 2′ by 4′ tables. Thank you Al, for everything you did on this site. I looked for the model Railroad layout plans for track layouts so I can get a round about figure on how much track and cost wise I will have to purchase. I do not see the program on track plans anywhere, is there something I need to know where I need to look for that program? Please let me know, I am on a Limited amount I can spend per month. I also would like to thank everyone on there input on what they have put together on there train table’s. Thank you. Keep the rails under your feet and keep on trucking.
    From over the big pond,
    Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year
    SDG St.Petersburg Fl

  18. Robert Zimmerman says:

    Nicely detailed. Keep up the good work.

    Bob from Maine

  19. Joe says:

    WOW!!! GREAT layout!

  20. Hemi says:

    LOVE IT MAN!!!!! The CSX “Influence” is VERY NICE!!!!! -My “Home” railroad!

    MERRY CHRISTMAS from Hemi to all those CRAZY Model Railroaders reading this including you Al!

    KEEP up the good work John….. Looks GREAT!

  21. David Haskins says:

    very nice layout, looks like something in a movie.

  22. TOM SAWYER says:


  23. Richard Stern says:

    It does not look like a model it looks like the real thing you did a beautiful job on it . Detail is very well done. You have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
    Old Taz Montana USA

  24. Benjamin Wright says:

    Looks great! Well done!

  25. David says:

    Very nice John , that is some layout

  26. Dick Hasselman says:

    That man has everything needed:: Imagination, skill and patience t

    Dick H

  27. Carl says:

    Beautiful design and execution. If the trestle was inverted would it fit the gorge better and even more realistic without the track gaps at both ends?

  28. Tim says:

    A very great work of art on the scratch built mine project.

  29. John Frye says:

    To answer the track gap question. The gap at the ends of the trestle is prototype, the expanse of the rail support timbers from the last bent to the abutment is less than the span between the bents. The concrete abutments take 2/3 of the landing load of the track and trains. The design is from an old B&O right of way standards manual. The B&O wooden trestles had several extra stringers. like one on the top of the bent, and another down the middle of the bridge at the cross braces. On high trestles, these were used as walkways for inspection personnel.


  30. I have built a train layout and my Bridge and tunnels in HO Scale. I back my Train up using Kaydee coupler and it works great. I have a 4×8 layout in my back patio. I cover it up in the winter time so it doesn’t get wet and warped. The wood is painted and I keep getting Ideas and it gets bigger and Bigger.

  31. rob bay says:

    pretty cool mine structure

  32. Bob Cassidy from Maine says:

    Outstanding all around. Workmanship is wonderful. Takes and amazing amount of patience.

  33. Bill Holt says:

    AWESOME, Time well spent. Great detail

  34. Eric Kiehl says:

    WOW. I love it, that has to be one of the best looking mine towns ever. You have done a superb job.
    That is something to be proud of.
    Thank you for showing it off.

    Eric the firefighter. St. Louis Area.

  35. Robert Brady says:

    CSX RULES east coast , Nice job.
    The Critic

  36. Erick says:

    Great Layout!!!!

  37. william matthewsd says:

    Best I have seen yet very nice !
    Buildings look life like your an artist!

  38. Marklin ed says:

    Thanks John wonderful layout. I starting a layout and need to decide the theme, it may be a coal mine. Hope it’s as good as yours

  39. Gerhard Kaschmieder says:

    This is THE ultimate work of art – call it “Inspiration Mine”, the details, the colors (aging from use), the blending in of scenery and layout is just…………no words!!!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Gary K. Hudson, Wisconsin

  40. Ruben Simon says:

    Incredible! Fantastic work!

  41. Hemi says:

    GREAT work! NICE to also see “common” railroads that the 2 of us model. I go all the way back in the days of B&O steam as well as Western Maryland Steam…. However I model Maryland, and Pennsylvania states of the 2 railroads….

    NICE JOB! Can’t wait to see more of the work you do to the layout for mining! That has a GREAT railroad serving it!


  42. Neill Singletary says:

    Wow. Love CSX. Started here as Seaboard Air Line -ran 100 yards from my bedroom as a kid. Had to hear the 11 o’clock go by every night before I could sleep. Rode it every Saturday 8 miles to go to the movie in another little town. Thanks

  43. Jerry Barto says:

    Totally Brilliant and perfect detail !!!!!

  44. Gary Gissiner says:

    Best layout ever the scenery is spectacular. Seen many layout home made and professional and this has to be one of the best

  45. Roger, Kentucky says:

    Fantastic looking mine, great job.

  46. Stephen E Fetzer says:

    Reminds me of Telluride, Co. features before the Ski Boom.

  47. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    Very complex model. Great job. You can almost smell the operation.

  48. Rod Mackay says:

    Reminds me of Bargoed, where the pit was on the valley bottom with the washery right by it, a dense mass of industial action and wagons moving everywhere, the coal being brought up the shafts in narrow-gauge tubs several to a cage, and run by gravity round an elevated deck to tip onto belts for washing or stacking, truly fascinating to watch.

  49. Peter says:

    This looks great. Is it in HO or O scale?

  50. Mr. Ron from So Mississippi says:

    Fantastic layout, but with so much fine detail to look at, one tends to look for imperfections. In photo # 5, the trestle legs on one of the bents is not centered on the concrete footing.

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