S scale – John’s

John’s been in touch with his S scale layout:

“Dear Al,

I am writing to you from Pearland, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Ten to twelve years ago my son Michael and I became interested in model railroads during our annual family Christmas visit to Northampton, Massachusetts to visit my mother in law for the holidays.

Look Park always has a very nice S scale model train display operating, and my son, then about 9 years old, was given a nice customized Christmas train car as a present from his grandmother that would be running on the layout when we visited each year. Our fascination with model train layouts thus began.

Having never done anything like this before, we were fortunate to have met Steve Allen when attending the Look Park display.

He was one of the main S scale trains railroaders in that area, setting up and operating the layouts each year.

He became a great mentor and advisor for us in starting a layout back in Pearland in 2012.

Steve was invaluable in helping me to learn about S scale, and guiding us on what to look for with S Helper Service items to get us started.

My son had fun “designing” the basic layout structure and paths for the tracks, including some small rock hill formations, and a big mountain to put a tunnel through.

A lake was designed also, fed from a long waterfall from the top of the mountain.

Due to space, we were working with approximately a 4ft by 6ft benchwork structure with plywood base, and several layers of form core.

Over the next 6 months or so, we built the layout, laying track, roadways, buildings and streets and lighting.

There was not really a particular geographic area or era that we designed from, but just what seemed to be fun and fit nicely in how the layout was put together. It did end up being a slightly older time frame, and certainly not today’s modern style.

We added cars and trucks, and of course people in the small town. Over the following years a few things were added and slightly changed, but because of space, it has stayed pretty much the same.

I have included a few photos from the beginning, and some showing the layout as it is now.

Hope you enjoy seeing our rather compact S scale layout!


Pearland, Texas”

s scale trains overhead view

start s scale train layout

tunnels for s scale train layout

model train adding scenery

s scale mountains

s scale trains overhead view

model train signal box town

model train town

s scale overhead view

scale freight train

model train railroad lake

model railroad store

s scale boat lake

s scale freight train

model train town

model train farm

model train curve

s scale track plan

Now on to Dave:

“Hi Al,

just had another day up on the NYM Railway, and a trip to Whitby on the train, maybe fill a corner on your web site with some real steam.



A big thanks to John for sharing his S scale trains. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing your layouts.

You can see more S scale layouts here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

18 Responses to S scale – John’s

  1. Thomas E Hirsch says:

    That is a Very nice S Scale layout, it sure is detailed and that SP Tiger Stripe Loco looks sharp, you sure have done a Outstanding job !

  2. James says:


  3. Don says:

    Very nice.

  4. John Goodman says:

    Loved the excursion to Whitby! Great filmwork, editing, etc. Very relaxing; beautiful English countryside.

  5. John Bullock says:

    Great story and pics! You’ve done a lot in a small space!

  6. Stephen Hill says:

    John , you and your son have accomplished a great deal . That is one keen display . I can’t think of a better father and son bonding activity . I’m glad y’all have that . Great detail , lighting is perfect , just a quaint little town . Great job !

  7. Brian Olson says:

    Yep, it’s not about space but how you use the space you have. This is excellent!

  8. Alan says:

    Super S scale layout. My favorite scale, but don’t have the room. Love it.

  9. Robert Millott says:

    Great detail. Shows what can be done in a small space. Very nice layout too. A lot of thought has been put into your layout.

  10. Harold says:

    Great job. I love the detail!

  11. robert dale tiemann says:

    i have a cousin that has a set, 4×4 has z, n, ho, and o, on it. very tight but it looks really good. yours is veery nice.

  12. george zaky says:

    YAY!! An S scale brother. I so love your layout and especially because you said “we” built it. Very good modelling skills and a very nice & simple plan with tons of interest. How about a little more info on the buildings, did you do AC or DC, where did you get the people, and some techy tid bits for us fans.
    Looks like Lionel fast track & switches. I had 2 Lionel switches that never worked and that forced me to rip it all out and go to American Models flex track & switches that are far superior.
    I hope you use yours & your sons talents to keep on modelling. You’re good at it.
    Dangerous Dave
    Much thanks for a glorious morning movie thru the country side. I hope this finds you & the Mrs well.
    Big Al
    This took a refill on the coffee mug. Muchos gracias.

  13. Barton says:

    Rides around the layouts are fun. However, the ride form Grossmomnt to Whitby is a real joy! Well done, and Thank You!!

  14. Terry Miller says:

    Very nice. The mountain top over the rear tunnel portal reminds me of a Dairy Cream ice cream cone topping. haha. Keep up the good work


  15. Dave H from across the pond says:

    Love the NYMR train ride. Thanks Dave for the wonderful trip.

  16. Dave Karper says:

    I have fallen in love with Whitby. I have a soft spot in my heart for English architecture. Also, the countryside is beautiful.

  17. Malcolm says:

    Robert Tiemann says he has a cousin with a 4×4 layout with Z, N, HO and O. That sounds interesting. Perhaps he could persuade his cousin to post some photos. Has anyone ever used Z scale on an HO layout (for example) for forced perspective? If you are not modeling on something the size of Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg that could enhance depth effects.

  18. Stephen White says:

    Love the footage Dave. Please keep them coming.
    Best Regards
    Steve white (Sydney)

Leave a Reply

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