Ken’s 16 x 12 layout

Got this in from Ken, and the pictures speak for themselves. Best of all, the whole family rolled their sleeves up and got involved:

“I worked for the Milwaukee Road and CP Rail for 42 years as a locomotive engineer.

I retired in 2009 and began building this layout in 2011. The layout is 16 feet at its longest point and 12 feet wide in places.

I worked in the Chicago area and modeled this layout according to some of the yards I switched out, such as Bensenville yard where I would start out to Chicago’s Goose Island. My sons have been a big part of this layout also. My older son , Joe constructed the foundation and my younger son Mark, the scenery.

A lot of the buildings were kits that I put together and painted. My family and I have truly enjoyed watching this layout grow and come to life making it what it is today. We enjoy having other families visit and enjoy it as much as we do.

I appreciate all you do for model railroading. Thanks!

Ken”

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A huge thank you to Paul for sharing. It’s easy to look at a layout like his and think, “Wow! Probably best if I just stay on the sideline and watch.”

But where’s the fun in that?

Starting is the key, and that’s what the Beginner’s Guide is for.

Just remember, there was a time when Ken, and Richard, had never made a layout before… It’s all about having a go.

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming. Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

Best

Al

80 responses to “Ken’s 16 x 12 layout”

  1. Robert Stone says:

    Please, Please, Please include track plans

    Thx

    Bob

  2. David Hedlund says:

    Just curious, do you have the above items for “Z” gauge?

  3. David Jeannotte says:

    Unbelievable, the layouts are amazing!! I am in are and would give anything to have the time… And money to do one half as good as these. I have a theme I want to revolve a layout around, it’s just finding the $$ and time lol… Thanks for sharing though.

  4. Bill Orzechowski says:

    I would love to see the track plan. I am presently planning a 8 X 16 layout. I haven’t had a layout in over 30 years and finally live in a home with space. (And my wife said I could.)

  5. Rod Mackay says:

    Lovely job Ken, full of atmosphere.
    Rod

  6. wow that’s one of the most incredible layouts I’ve ever seen
    the detail is superbe
    wow John always has terrific models
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  7. James Lawson says:

    Very nice job. My loft layout is the same 16 by 12. Time is the great limiter, more so than money as lots can be achieved by using a lot of materials that ordinarily are thrown away such as polystyrene, wood off cuts etc. Only hope my ideas come to fruition in the fullness of time. Always look forward to the local shows in the North east

  8. Dangerous Dave says:

    Great Layout you have built there Ken …and John …well you sure make some great boats , be ideal if we had good weather and decent lakes …Dave

  9. Mark Piznik says:

    Simply Awesome. Great attention to detail. I loved the water effects!! NJ Mark

  10. Nathan Perreira says:

    Amazing layout, with your railroad experience and your artistic talents you really brought this layout to life.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Nathan

  11. Don says:

    What can I say but out standing and wish I had her no how.

  12. terry powers says:

    16 x12? Boy, I wish I had that type of room!

  13. Ed says:

    A great layout Ken with such detailed scenery. I really like the thought that the family has been involved and gives you all, not only a sense of achievement but also a focal point. I wouldn’t mind betting that many a family conversation has started around the layout. Inspirational!
    Ed

  14. Dave Ewing says:

    Hi Ken, people like you with so much talent really motivate me to strive to do even better, well done.
    Dave in Eden NC

  15. John R says:

    Very nice layout with great detailed scenery

  16. Larry Johnson says:

    This is just a great, fabulous layout! So much detail, which is also the hallmark of my A&C RR. My ’56 Mark 2 Continental is black.

  17. Jon B. says:

    Stunning, absolutely stunning. Great attention to detail, some of the shots look so real I had to look twice. Please share more, perhaps a video. Thanks Al for sharing this artwork.

  18. paul Otway says:

    Nice railway .

    paul

  19. Jeff says:

    Do you have the track plan

  20. Kenton says:

    Awesome layout!

  21. Ray Makgill says:

    All I can say is WOOW, thank you Ray.

  22. Larry Johnson says:

    This layout is something that dreams are made of. Right now I am dreaming of a larger space for my layout,somewhere in the range of 20 by 20 . But thats just a dream . This layout is a real treat for the eyes.
    Thanks for sharing
    Larry

  23. Harold says:

    Impressive layout; nice detail, but it would be nice on these featured layouts to give the gauge. The last layout did not mention the gauge either.

  24. David Hodges says:

    Ken, What an amazing layout – one of the best I’ve seen, and so realistic! Even the road striping not being so ‘perfect’ makes the scene look so real. And I understand what you mean when you mentioned how your friends enjoy viewing your layout. There are many people who love to see a good model train layout! David in Indianapolis

  25. Ian says:

    Beautiful. You have obviously spent a great deal of time on the layout. It’s the little mini-scenes that add so much interest – I like the police scene!

  26. Ian Mc Donald says:

    it is really great when the whole family get involved. the scenery is real like. great work and keep enjoying the hobby.

  27. David De Bondi says:

    Wow Ken, stunning.

  28. Rene Vanderneut says:

    Wonderful looking layout ken.

  29. Joe says:

    Would love to see the whole layout as a picture.
    Great work.
    Joe

  30. Mike Wright says:

    One of the better ones. Keep up the good work!

  31. Tom Durham says:

    Ken, what scale are you working with? Guessing HO? Thank you for a great show.

  32. Ross Johnston says:

    Sorry Ken! I’ll try again. Could you please send in your layout plans to give me some ideas as I am about to start my layout. Cheers Rossco

  33. Pete Evangel says:

    Ken and family. Absolutely fantastic. Attention to detail is tremendous and everything looks very “finished”. I really love that this is a family affair and all hands had something to do with it. I think you can be proud of what you folks have put together.

    Pete-At home of Super Bowl 50

  34. peter bridges says:

    what scale is your layout regards

  35. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    One of the best I’ve ever seen. Simply wonderful.

  36. John Ortis says:

    Very good looking layout . I bet it’s ho thanks for the layout pictures. John from Milwaukee Wisconsin 2-2-2016

  37. John says:

    stunning so reealistic great stuff

  38. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Great layout,defiantly would like to see a track plan.

  39. Carlos says:

    Great detail, great layout, and the best is that ALL of the family participates!!!!
    Please Ken, provide a simple track plan, a hand drawing will be enough, I can see you have curved turnouts, it seems you have 2 levels in one section…I am planning to build a smaller room like 11 by 12 only so this could be a good basis. Please share plans!!

  40. Ken paulsen says:

    I will work on a hand drawing of track plan and post ASAP!! Thank you all.

  41. John says:

    fantastic layout and attention to detail love the sub

  42. Jon Fourre says:

    Great stuff! This site continually provides me with great ideas. The double curved swiches in Ken’s layout solved a problem that I have had with my own layout. Thanks to you folks for continuing inspiration.

    Jon from Green Brook, NJ, USA

  43. Ken Stramel says:

    Excellent. So real. Great job. Keep going.

  44. chuck67 says:

    This layout rates at the top in my book. You guys are artists that like to model. Detail photo’s are impressive. Thanks for sharing

  45. Noel says:

    Very nice lots going on,great job

  46. Noel freckelton says:

    Great job brilliant layout.

  47. Tom from South Carolina says:

    A beautiful layout! I am going to build another layout in a month or two as i have just moved here. I thought this was a great day when I saw this layout… A delightful experience. Where did you get the police scene??? Awesome…a video?
    Tom.

  48. So many models , love the artwork , I have an N scale figure eight unfinished
    from 4 years ago that has 3 layers to it but it is only 6′ by 30″ so it is too steep an incline for most of my locos to pull much freight up or hold back on the
    down side . so I get a lot of derailments from the turnouts at the bottom area .
    I have been away from this hobby for to long and I am glad to see all the work you all have put together -thank you for the kit in the pants to spur me on guys !
    George

  49. David says:

    Like to see a video of the trains running.
    Impressive layout.
    Dave.

  50. Paul Vogel says:

    Hey Ken, come on over to my house and bring your brain. I’ll supply the coffee, beer and the sandwich of your choice. Great layout Paul Ohio.

  51. John S Dawson II says:

    Beautiful layout Ken!!!!!! Can I use photos of your layout as a diorama for mine?? Lol, j/k. AWESOME!!!!!!

  52. chris leseberg says:

    Mr. Al
    Really enjoyed viewing Ken’s layout and a particular photo (#12) caught my eye. Back in the early 50’s I was raised in a home like that only it was a 2 story.
    Would like to know where could find the building so could include it in my layout if you don’t mind.
    Many thanks and blessings
    C

  53. Kermit Beckmann says:

    The pictures of your layout are over the top. Having grown up in New Jersey next to the Erie Lackawanna I had visuals of what you must have seen every day of your 40 years on the Rail road. Love the visuals of the meatpacking plant and other debris beside the tracks it is definitely as realistic as I can ever remember. Your sons did a great job as well. You’re keeping of scale is five star.

    Merry Christmas
    Kermit

  54. ken says:

    It’s the beauty of what you have accomplished that keeps me in amazement of what can be done. Great job!

  55. John says:

    Love the freeway(tollway) overpasses as that’s truly part of Bensenville. Nice work.

  56. John C. Rasp says:

    This has got to be the best layout I have ever seen! It is so realistic and full of life. The trees, rocks, water, people, police scene and the street with the worn center line are amazing. I love the way the tracks wind through the scenery. The only thing I can say about this layout is WOW, WOW, WOW!

  57. Gary O'Connor says:

    What a remarkably talented family you are. The scenery is simply stunning. I love the scene with the motorbikes. Your attention to detail is amazing. Everyone that looks at these pictures will be envious and, hopefully, encouraged to do as well themselves though I doubt that many of us will succeed.
    I would really love to see a video and, of course, the track plan.
    Take a bow, you deserve every one of the accolades you have received here and more.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Gary O’Connor. Australia.

  58. Henry McCoy says:

    Wow nice model . Love the detail work . I will be 54 in a few days I wished we could go back to days of steam . I grew behind the B&O roundhouse in Baltimore . I can remb. steam being pushed aside . Lotta good memories .

  59. Reed A Millner says:

    Ken, You and your family have hit the nail on the head for me. Great work!! So many times you see nice layouts with life looking so perfect ( and fake) but not real. The attention to detail you guys deliver is over the top. I’m 66 years vintage, retired and about two months away from starting my bench work in an area 26′ X 13′. My vision is to have a layout that comes to life like yours. I figure it will take me 20 years and if I need more time I’ll just add on another 20 years.

    Again GREAT WORK and thank you very much for sharing your efforts.

  60. wayne guess says:

    choppers were a nice touch , to a very nice layout

  61. Terry Beeler says:

    Great job. I only hope mine will turn out something close to what you have done. I am building the old Missouri and Northern Arkansas from Harrison Arkansas to Seligman Missouri.

  62. Terry Beeler says:

    great job. Can only hope mine turns out somewhat close as yours.

  63. Ross Johnston says:

    Great layout Ken!!! I have just finished my baseboard framework in my shed which is 20 x 18 aand you have given me some ideas re the inclines. Enjoy and thanks for sharing your layout. Cheers Rossco, Adelaide South Australia

  64. Franco428 says:

    I think he should adopt me so I could enjoy this marvelous layout. An outstanding job of creating a world in your home.

  65. Wayne Stirland says:

    my word this is the best layout I have seen to date by far, (apology to other great modellers) most definitely something to aspire too although room cost and the dear wife are prohibitive items to be considered, can’t wait for parts to arrive and clear the space for my first layout to commence.
    well done and thanks for sharing.

  66. Jerry P. Cram says:

    Very nice…I am only one year into my 8 X 12 HO layout and hope in 5 or 6 years I can enjoy something similar…I am deliberately taking it slow…I don’t want the fun to stop when I’m “finished”…On the other hand I’m 74 and would like to see it done before I take the big “dirt nap”…Good job !
    Jerry Cram
    Raleigh, NC

  67. Awesome job Ken. I just started a 12×20 layout in my basement and would love to see the track plans for this layout. Most people think I’m crazy for doing this but I have a real passion for this hobby. Most people just don’t understand why I do this. Because I love it.

  68. Robert Krumwiede says:

    Ken,
    I grew up in Bensenville and your layout looks better than the area ever did.
    One of my Uncles worked at the yard and took me there so I could get my
    Chevelle out of the back of a rent-a-truck.
    Great job.

  69. Kenny A. says:

    Looks awesomely realistic. I also had to look twice. Some of the street scenes look so real. Great job. I’m just a litrle sourh of you in Oak Lawn and would love to see this in person. WOW is all the more I can say. Kenny.

  70. Al Hinkle says:

    One of the very best I’ve seen. Would enjoy a personal visit. Must be so enjoyable to watch trauns pass so many scenes. Wish when layouts are displayed that the scale would be provided. “O”, “HO”, “N” etc.

  71. steve joyce says:

    have to add my request for a track plan as well. Love the detail in the scenery. I’ll hopefully be starting mine in 6 months or so. Been accumulating all sorts of stuff for years. Been going a little nuts lately buying stuff…little people vehicles and all those extra special buildings you think you need

  72. Jim Eberly says:

    Great look. I’m planning a layout about that size. I’d love to see the track plans.

  73. Lou says:

    Fantastic job. Truly a labor of love.

  74. how do I get the layout plans and is it HO I going to build a 24 X 16

  75. Dan McMahon says:

    Ken & Family, congrats on a wonderful layou, my Grandfather was an engineer on the Milwaukee Road in the 40’s&early 50’s. Sadly i never met him, but Thank You for Sharing

  76. Allan Jelinek says:

    WOW
    I really feel like an Amerture when I see these layouts….. Great job…..AL

  77. David Henady says:

    Amazing layout! I love the attention to detail, the lighting, and the realistic setting. I would love to see a POV video from trackside and a camera car. A track plan would definately be a plus.

  78. Steve says:

    Awesome!!! Brining your memories to life by building future memories for your family and friends!!! Great job. Enjoy!!
    Question – can someone provide info on how a layout of this size and complexity allows for access to the areas beyond ones reach? I don’t see any access panels, which if there are access panels that’s amazing in and of itself!!

  79. Bret Peterman says:

    I am so impressed. I am building a new layout (5’x9’) and love the mountains you built. Were they made from extruded foam? Really nice.

  80. Rich B. says:

    No mention of zip code…… I’ll be moving to that camp by the pond with Lilly pads lol. Always wanted a railroad career myself, had to settle for DoD though. The detail even is exceptional with individual scenes that require explanation- none.

    Regards, Rich

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