HO scale cemetery

Karl’s been in touch – his layout even features a HO scale cemetery:

“Hi Al,

Every morning I enjoy your blog with tons of news with a cup of coffee and the dog “Charlie” on my lab.

Originally I am from the Netherlands but lived in the US since 1974.

I am pushing 90 and started my layout 2 years ago. I am not as skilled and creative as most Modelers.

I live in Issaquah, WA. Which was a mining and logging City. It also had rail services.

It’s all gone and it now is a traffic congested City.

So my theme became “Issaquah ”

The layout is HO scale on a 13×6 table with DCC in the garage.

Covered the floor of the garage with interlocking 2×2′ foamrubber tiles to keep the cold out in the winter. The furnace and water heater keep the place pretty comfortable.


over and under table creepers

My over and under the table assistants with the work table on the cargo bed of the golf cart.

HO scale station

Issaquah station

HO scale freight

model railroad turnouts switch board

Turn out switch board

Container yard. The last 22 years of my working career I was Port Captain for Ocean going container companies. Before that I spent 24 years on the “high seas”.

HO scale track plan

Layout on paper

HO scale lake

Part of Lake Sammamish. Yes, the water is too blue.i am working on it to look more real.

HO scale main street

Congested Front Street

HO scale cemetery

Cemetery with funeral. Backdrop made from photo’s

model railroad switching yard

Switching yard

Burlington Northern train HO scale

Burlington Northern train with “consist”

HO scale with backdrop

Backdrop is montage of photo’s of Lake Sammamish. Early stage of city.

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Karl for sharing his HO scale cemetery ans other pics. 90 years young and it’s a fab layout too.

That’s all for today.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here.



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

53 Responses to HO scale cemetery

  1. Bill in Virginia says:

    Karl your layout looks great! You have done a wonderful job on it. I really like the city view down the street . That looks very real and reminds me of my home town 😀

  2. Alan Batcheldor says:

    That is really impressive Karl. Puts many of us younger ones to shame. I must get on with mine. It is taking too long! Keep up the good work.

  3. Peter Waring says:

    Karl, love your layout with lots going on. I know the water is the wrong colour but it looks great and adds a splash of colour. Peter…

  4. Nice layout you have built there Karle , with plenty of interesting detail ..Dangerous Dave

  5. Thomas says:

    Just love watching trains run ! Real nice !

  6. Lou Beechen says:

    That is really cool,

  7. Karl very impressed. I only hope that if I make it close to my 90s that i am able to produce a project like yours, LOVE IT.

    Eric the firefighter
    St. Louis, county

  8. JW Snyder says:

    Excellent job! It goes to show such artistry denies both the power and the prejudice that senior age can suffer.

  9. george zaky says:

    Great job. Trouble is you should never be finished and you have to keep adding and modifying because your spirit demands it. Keep it up and thanks for the inspiration. Hope to hear from you again.
    George from NY

  10. NJ Mark says:

    Fantastic layout, Karl. You have a great eye for details. Stay well and thanks for sharing! Cheers! NJ Mark

  11. Gerald Love says:

    Great job on the layout Karl, but I would like to see different angles of the ladder that you have in the first picture. I want to build one just like it. When you get older like us it becomes hard to lean over a layout without loosing it a destroying a bunch of buildings.

  12. Rob schweitzer, Murren & St. Goar Scenic Railway says:

    Absolutely love the view down your Main Street. Keep up the great work, your layout get an A in my book!

  13. Karl…
    There is much to love about your layout…
    When it comes to creativity however… Do not sell yourself short!
    There is much in your layout that shows your creative vision….
    The use of a beach chair on a floor dolly is genius…
    So is the ladder to help you reach the unreachable spaces…
    Then there is the workbench on the bed of the golf cart…
    Even more evidence of a very creative mind.
    Be blessed… You have a very young mind.

  14. Dave McClelland says:

    Conductor Dave from Ohio.
    Karl, you gave a push to start my layout. I am 71 and have all the makings of an HO scale layout setting on shelves. Your layout looks fantastic and gives me inspiration to get going on mine. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Scott Llewellyn says:

    Karl’s magnificent layout I to read these every morning with a cup. Really enjoyed this layout one day hope to get my layout far enough that I can send in some pics to. Keep up the awesome work. Scott from New Castle, Pa

  16. Jon B in Virginia says:

    Don’t sell yourself short…that is a great, creative layout. Very impressed with all you are able to do. You’ve inspired many of us to keep going.

  17. James Johnson says:

    Nice job Karl. I live just down the hill in Tacoma and this will serve as an inspiration to finally build the layout I’ve thinking about for over 30 years. I’ve like what you did with the panorama of photos which I assume are of Puget Sound. That’s a pretty cool idea for a back drop that anyone with a camera and a printer can do. Thanks

  18. Pretty cool!!

  19. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Karl, what a great job! Being able to look down that long main street with all the cars and businesses is awesome! Thanks for sharing and keep us updated!

  20. Tom says:

    Karl, great job, love the BNSF, good old Midwest RR. I started mine 2 years ago. And while I’m awed at the talent on this blog, I learn something new every day. I think your work is superb.

  21. Jim AZ says:

    Nice. You have some interesting and good looking scenes going on there. I too like the downtown street and building area. Thanks for sharing.
    Jim AZ

  22. Mark Diver says:

    Great layout! I’m in the process of moving and restarting my layout for the third time. What type of track did you use, Bachmann or Kato? Thanks , Mark

  23. Frederic says:

    Nice layout.

    By the way, regarding modeling skills, everyone has a different “style.” Not all layouts have to look as weathered and completely realistic as the famous Gorre & Daphetid. In that style blue water would be a flaw, In another style it would be just fine. It’s consistency of style that you want. A layout can be more or less toy-like depending on the overall effect that you want.

    By the way, years ago we took our young sons to a layout along the east-west interstate highway in Iowa, a tourist attraction. It was very toy-like, and I said something to the effect to my kids, who replied that they thought it was wonderful!

  24. David Schaffner says:

    Love the layout and the view into the city and the detail you have created…I had a huge layout about forty years ago stations on 4 4×8’s All Lionel o gauge. All the good stuff that they made so great in that time period…When I got married and starting having kids, that sorta’ was the end of ‘The Schaffner D& O railroad’…
    Thinking about getting started again, since now I’m a widow and retired at 78 years old….You have a lot going for you and the good thing is you can keep making it better….Greetings from Ohio. Happy Railroading….

  25. Peter Evangel says:

    Karl…I love the idea of the floor padding. I hadnt really given much thought to the hard concrete, but you have a solution!! Layout is looking very good.

  26. Peter Philips says:

    Nice job Karl. Everyone has their own style and taste and I think it looks great. I’m a Dutchman too and since 1976 in the US and now living in Southern California. I’m working to revive my original Marklin HO trainset with a 11 X 7 layout.

  27. Gary Manganiello says:

    nice layout……. I like the running of two trains on the same track…….How to you make sure they keep apart? I wish when I started my layout 2 1/2 years ago that I would have made mine longer and wider (mine is only 9×7). Great buildings.

    Gary M from Long Island

  28. Your layout is really nice. Keeping busy will keep you young.

  29. Dominic Joseph Radanovich says:

    Your layout is great. Enjoy the city views down the long streets. I am 81 and now am remodeling about 65% of my HO layout. I hope You are running some Milwaukee Road equipment since You are in Washington State. A good idea with the rubber floor pads. I don’t think Your water scene is too blue. When the sky is clear and crisp it is very blue and that reflects in the water. I’ve been a model railroader since I was a boy and will give up this hobby (maybe!) with my last breath! Greetings from Milwaukee!

  30. Ray PA USA says:


    Absolutely love your layout. Your creativity is top-notch! Golf cart workshop!
    I would never have thought about that.

    Stay safe and keep model railroading.

    Regards: Ray

  31. Hi Karl, Great layout. When I was 9 I received my very first HO scale oval set for Christmas. I loved that train set and played with it as much as I could. Unfortunately space was limited and I had to disassemble every evening. After a while it stopped working. I’m in my late 50s now and thinking of building my very first set. After looking at your wonderful looking layout, I feel more encouraged to proceed. Keep up the great work,
    From California, God Bless and keep on railroading.

  32. Mark says:

    Karl, love your layout!
    My hometown is Bellevue, WA; and I definitely went through Issaquah many times in the 1960’s, 1970’s & 1980’s. I remember when trains crossed over Highway 10 (now I-90) on the Issaquah trestle. I currently reside in Federal Way, WA; so it was nice to see a “local layout”. I think your lake looks great – we’ll just tell the city leaders in Issaquah, Sammamish and King Co, that they need to clean up the real lake so it looks like yours!

  33. Will in NM says:


    What a lovely layout you’ve created in just a couple years. The fact that you accomplished so much in your later years gives me hope of actually building my own layout. I was especially impressed with the quality of your city streets in the town. How did you make them? The striping for crosswalks, lane dividers and parking spaces looks very realistic.

    You did a wonderful job of designing the town with all the buildings and cross streets. And thank you for the video — I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. 🙂 Looks like you may have some DCC electrical feeder issues unless those trains momentarily stopped on purpose. 😀

    Please keep us posted on your future progress. You’re doing great so far.

  34. peter pearson says:

    Karl you have done a great job I am over 70 and have just started and you have given me a lot of help keep up the good work Peter P_

  35. OkieBikerDude says:

    You are doing a great job for a 50 year old. If I ever start my layout I hope to be one half as good, but then I’m only 70 something.

  36. Mark G. says:

    Looks great! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  37. OkieBikerDude says:

    Great layout. The attention to pedestrians is spot on and your roadways look great.

  38. Love the city scenes and how the railroad mixes well with the city. Nice balance.

  39. Gerard Lewandowski says:

    Agree with all the praise. What really impressed me was the turnout panel. So cool,
    brilliantly simple, easy to understand and make. So efficent!

  40. Dennis Finegan says:

    I’m 72, better get started on my layout! Nice job on the layout and the video. Puts a lot of us to shame.

  41. Phil Ozbolt says:

    Karl, great layout. I am originally from Renton. Now residing in Cle Elum. I worked in issaquah for 8 years. Nice job on Front street. I miss going to Fishers meats and Chicago Dogs. I got my first N gauge for Christmas at 10. (54 years ago). I’ve made a couple of layouts over the years that I was not happy with. You are truly inspirational with the quality of your setup. It looks like you also have the Snoqualmie passenger steam locomotive.
    Keep it up.

  42. Tom Provo says:

    I liked the fact that you had three trains running at one time.

  43. Karl says:

    Thank you all for the very nice comments. You know what? I tore it down two days later and started all over again, correcting all the previous mistakes .
    I was able to save most of the scenery of downtown Issaquah. The layout will be three ovals, 13 x 6 , connected with each other and a 5 track turnout.
    To run two trains on the same track is easy to do with DCC, you just control the fastest train of the two.
    I put 1 inch insulation on the table and make the table real level. I will also renew the busline with three feet interval feeders. Wish me luck.

  44. Alabama Mike says:

    Wow Karl, you put me to shame and I am only 78. You are doing a great job on your layout. Your city looks great and I like your track plan. Keep up the great work. I can’t believe you tore it down and started over. Good luck. I look forward to seeing the new layout.

  45. Nicely done. Great detail. Great that you are pushing 90 and still doing this stuff. Gives me hope. I am in my 80s.

  46. Pretty darn good for 90. I’m 67 and don’t have your talent.

  47. I hope i’m as skilled at you when I reach your age. The layout is awesome.

  48. Milton says:

    Add my compliments to all the above! I’m pushing 74 and you’re pushing 90! My layout is something I’m constantly trying to improve upon! You’ve raised the bar! Stay motivated!

  49. Milton says:

    Great job from a 73 yr old! Stay motivated!

  50. Milton says:

    Great looking layout! I’m 73 and started my layout in 2009! It’s smaller but I’m having a good time. You’re an inspiration to us all!

  51. Cary B says:

    Hello Karl,

    Your layout is absolutely amazing. Certainly got a lot going on there. Read prior comments and looks like your gonna upgrade the whole layout. Wishing you the best and look forward to seeing the new layout.
    Cary B from New Market Maryland

  52. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Marvelous!!! Karl do you have any lift out sections in the middle of the layout that normally can’t be reached even with the ladder assistant?
    What a nice job you have done.
    Dick(little r) from Hardin Montana

  53. Brian Rockey says:

    Really nice layout Karl.
    Best to all.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

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