Kids model train

Mike has been in touch – his theme is a kids model train layout.

It’s another great example of your layout can be whatever you want it to be:

“Greeting, Alistair-

Like many I would guess, I begin each morning propped in bed sipping my morning coffee (or perhaps tea) and reading the latest from your blog. Just pure pleasure to see the ingenuity and artistry of so many modelers.

Here’s my latest effort- not terribly ingenious or artistic-but it is a complete success. The theme here is fun. My 4 year old grandson is mad about trains (and garbage trucks). He lives in Benecia California and every day he gets to hear the California Zephyr and numerous other freight and commuter trains roll along the banks of the Straits of Carquinez headed for San Francisco.

So I set out this winter to build a fun model train layout using some of my old Lionel rolling stock that the kids could play with.

We had a huge family reunion around the solar eclipse this spring so we had a half dozen youngsters playing with this train- they ran the wheels off it, and not one problem! (and no, I don’t work for Lionel)

It was fun to build – nothing is particularly to scale, the colors are vivid, and it’s more playful than realistic. But I’m happy to say- the kids loved it, and I’d like to think it may have sparked an interest in model railroading that will stay with them.

Best Regards,

Mike from Indiana.”

lionel model railroad figures

kids model train theme

kids model train theme

kids model train

lionel layout

lionel model railroad

Kids model train:

model railroad lionel boat figures

lionel model railroad house

painting model railroad backdrop

kids model train

A big thanks to Mike for sharing his kids model train layout. I suspect in years to come the memories from this layout will always raise a smile from both generations.

And now on to Paul, who also shares a fine a example of a layout can be whatever you want it to be.

(Paul’s last missive is here: model train room.)

“This was my first attempt at building a model railway (and a house!) and I was so pleased with how it turned out I have not changed or added anything to it.

I do however miss the building of it so I have taken to making model aircraft from kits, The 1.72 scale fits well with OO, so they are hanging from the ceiling in the train house. I will send a photo of them soon.

There are 32 planes now a few of which were salvaged from the 50s/60s. They needed some repairs but that’s half the fun.

model train plane

 model railway plane

model railway room

It’s important to have access to all areas of the layout. A friend of mine tried to make a railway and spent time making his hill with a tunnel, then he had a derailment had had to pull the whole thing down to reach the train. The second picture is the answer. I learnt that before I even started.

mode train tunnel

model train access

Once again many thanks to you Alastair and to all the people for their lovely comments.


That’s all for today folks. A big thanks to Paul and to Mike for his kids model train layout.

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.

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

16 Responses to Kids model train

  1. Stephen Hill says:

    Great layout for the children , really like the bold and brilliant colors and great job on the painted back drop scene, especially the biplane . Looks like loads of fun and lots of inspiration.

    Paul , like your layout also , would be cool to see the trains going about . You may need an air traffic controller though .

  2. Macbear says:

    Ah yes. I remember my collection of kit-built aircraft, managing to keep a couple [only] from my teen years. My son caught the bug and we built several. He was asked to put on a display of WW2 planes at his school aged 15. Heart-breaking, that when they were returned two months later, every one was damaged – most beyond repair. I’ve often wondered about building one for old time’s sake… Well done, Paul -that’s food for thought.
    At present I’m working on a Modelux Coal mine headstock kit: I bought it new on fleabay for next to nothing. The seller is the manufacturer and when I found that a few parts were missing, I contacted them – their swift response: a promise to more than make good!

  3. Brian Olson says:

    Absolutely LOVE the shot of backdrop painting!

  4. Delmar gene Servoss says:

    nice and simple i like ir

  5. George Zaky says:

    There is nothing more rewarding than nurturing young minds and your layout is a treasure. Great job and you must teach the young-uns how to build & create. Your narrative is the best story.
    I was into model planes as a teenager and you struck a nostalgic nerve. Great memories.
    Your layout is great but it pains me at my age to think about crawling under to get to the hole. LOL
    Macbear’s response pained me to think about how so many people are so inconsiderate & disrespectful these days. The Big Al’s fan club is not like that.
    Big Al
    This one brought me way back into the archives. We had it good then.
    Takk så mye. (Norwegian)

  6. Hat says:

    What 32 planes and no airport

  7. Steve Ruple says:

    Mike, a awesome layout for the kids. Your granddaughter is quite the artist and it’s great that the kids loved the trains. I just live across the boarder in Michigan and just in the process of building a 027 Lionel gauge layout in my garage using the old style 027 track but I think it was wonderful that you built that layout for your grand kids, well done !!!!
    Paul, that is a very nice layout also.

  8. robert dale tiemann says:

    really nice layout. like the touch of the planes.

  9. JIm Noel says:

    That’s what model railroading is based on – giving children an interesting toy to entertain as well as train their mods to dream. The dreams often later become the basis of lifelong learning and even adult occupations.
    Congratulations – you have done a great job and you r grandchildren will never for get the fun at grandpas, no matter how long they live.

  10. Larry Dulaney says:

    Your kid’s layout is an example of the old saying “The whole is greater than sum of its parts.” Everything on the layout adds to the fun of seeing it operate and I absolutely love your motivation for building it. So many layouts we see amaze and inspire us to attempt realism to such a degree that the finished product winds up a “look but don’t touch” result. If that’s the modeler’s goal, that’s fine and I can appreciate the time and skill that went into accomplishing it. But you’ve built a playground that encourages a child’s imagination to create its own version of realism and I think that’s remarkable.

  11. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Mike your layout is so refreshing to me, it causes me to flash back to my start and run through to today. A wonderful layout including the painted walls. Well done. I agree with Jim Noel and other commenters.. What are the dimensions of the layout? Did you use O36 curves throughout? Or a mix of O31 and O36?

    Paul you have a nice railroad also. I see where I would need a floor scooter to sit on and ride under your layout to get to the center. I can still crawl on my hands and knees but that’s after I finally can get down to the floor, hahahaha, then getting back up is another problem. Hmmmmm, so maybe a hydraulic chair that lowers down to the floor and raises back up?? Anyway just having fun here. Once you get into the command center than lots of railroading fun happens I can see. Thank you and Mike for taking the time to add your layouts to Al’s site.

  12. Bill Butler says:

    The caboose lights still flicker when crossing a switch!

  13. Terry says:

    Fantastic layout ! Outstanding to build something for children. My two granddaughters when they visit enjoy playing and running my very old American Flyer trains. They were built to be played with. Not sit on a shelf to collect dust.

  14. Brian Rockey says:

    Lovely idea Mike to build the children’s layout. Perfect for them just to play and gain an interest in model trains, hopefully for the future. Love the backdrop.
    Nice layout Paul, and wow! that’s a busy airspace. We live about 20 miles from Heathrow Airport which is much the same lol!!!!
    Best to all.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  15. David F Zehr says:

    You layout looks great! I to will be hanging my aircraft from the ceiling. I wish I had provided this tip I got from my electrician. Paint your ceiling flat black. It focusses the eye on your layout.

  16. william janmes palmer says:

    love the fun esp the planes

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