Building O scale train layout

Lawrence has been back in touch with the progress on building O scale train layout.

Here’s what he’s been up to:


An update to my O scale layout and some info on projects not on the layout.

First, I wanted to replicate the elementary school I attended grades 1-7 in Cherry Valley Massachusetts. The problem with that is that it was torn down over 30 years ago.

After a year of digging in the memory of two of my sisters and myself. I started on the project.

I know it is a brick building with doors and steps on the front and both sides. A two-story building that had the first, second and third grade on the first floor.

The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades on the second floor. A large hallway separated all the grades side to side and front to rear on both floors.

What size to make the rooms? We remember the older students were in five rows, front to rear. And there were 5 or 6 students in each row. Then up front was the teacher’s desk. That means they were relatively large rooms. The assumption was made that the rooms on the first floor was the same size.

And we knew that it was an old building when my father attended the school in the late 1920’s. The first and third grade teachers not only taught us but also my father, LOL they let us know that many times. All buildings in Massachusetts have steep roofs because of all the snow we get.

Not to put that data on paper. Using the enclosed conversion chart, I drew a top-down view and a side view (doors and windows in place) on paper in actual O scale. Sorry I did not think of making pictures as I went.

From the paper I copied the layout onto 0.04 styrene sheets and cut them out. Glued a printed brick wall onto all four sides. Glued a clear plastic piece for each window with a 3 mm wood strip (for the window pane).

Added 3 mm strips around each window and doors. Added one quarter square strips vertically and horizontally to ensure the styrene stays flat. The stairs are layers of balsa wood and covered with the printed brick wall paper. I used Elmers wood glue on all the above, this did substantially better then CA glue to keep the items blued together.

The sides were held together with magnetic corner clamps to apply the styrene glue. I also added one-inch square gussets top and bottom of each corner to prevent future warping, shown in the picture. The roof gussets were put in place (next picture) and then the roof added.

The second picture shows the school sitting on the layout. It looks big but taking measurements in comparison to the other O scale buildings on the layout the sizes match. The second picture is a close up of the school. The next pictures show the side wall with the bracing, the roof from the inside and the corner gussets.

The next two pictures show the finished product of scratch built pedestrian crossovers. One is over two tracks at the same level. The other one is over two tracks where one of the tracks is raised up four inches. I did buy a kit that shows how to make staircases in O scale. Only used the kit to draw the pattern to get the proper step and rise of the staircase.

Now to get off the layout. Herein are two items associated with trains that have nothing to do with working on the train layout.

I have seen lots of puzzles of trains. Enclosed is the train puzzle that I just finished. I have six more on display in my train room. I also saw a cross stitch picture of a train. I had to have it so now I am in the process of sewing it, also displayed here. If you want something you just have to get out and do it yourself.

I not only want to thank Al for all the work he puts in to get all these layouts to all of us. But I also want to thank each and every one you that sends the work and information into A for the enjoyment of all of us.

Lawrence from Madison Virginia”

Building O scale train layout

Building O scale train layout

Building O scale train layout

A big thanks to Lawrence for sharing his building O scale train layout.

I thought the idea of adding his school to his layout was a fun project – he sounds like he’s enjoying the other stuff too. And that’ what it’s all about.

That’s all for today folks.

Don’t forget The Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to start on your own fun.

Please do keep ’em coming.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

10 Responses to Building O scale train layout

  1. jack masarie says:

    Go “O Scalers”
    Shlack in NC

  2. Bob Amling says:

    Nice job Lawrence! I too enjoy creating scenes that remind me of my past.
    Bob in horse country NJ

  3. Erick says:

    look good

  4. Ruben Simon says:

    This reminds me of P.S. (Public School) 37 in Queens, NY, where I attended 1st & 2nd grade around 1950. When I was 33 and about to move to South Carolina, I drove to all the places I had lived, to take a photo of each building. While in this particular Queens area, I asked where P.S. 37 was and was told it was a house which had been destroyed! I remember very little of it and had no idea it was just a house! But they must have made some alterations to turn it into a school because I remember being so small that the bathroom door was too hard for me to push open and someone had to do it for me when I needed to use it. 😀

  5. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice job Lawrence keep us updated!! look into joining OGR Forum for O scale think u would enjoy. God Speed!

  6. Bruce Gaither says:

    Hi railers rule
    Bruce G In Michigan

  7. Bob From Towson says:

    Hey Man!! I love the outdoor snack shop off the crossover bridge.. Great stuff man!!!

  8. Dave KarperDa says:

    Beautiful scratchbuild. Why is O three rail always called O scale? Granted,buildings are to scale, but NMRA standards are for two rail track. Three rail is hi-rail or tinplate.

  9. Frank says:

    It’s funny how now I wish I could have taken photos of tracks and trains anytime I saw some when I lived in Virginia. I see them here too, but I have no idea which railroads are still in business as they continue to use old cars for years and years.

    Maybe someday, next time I am driving around on longer drives I’ll try to grab some photos. I’ve always found it interesting how some people know a lot about their local railroads, but so much is hidden from view except for a few road crossings and an occasional length of track along highways.

    Maybe growth of the country has buried what was once more out in the open and visible to residents.

    Nice building Lawrence. Sometimes you have to “guestimate” and just balance all that you know or remember to get it right.

    Frank in Orlando

  10. JoeSinME says:

    Lawrence, Google the name of your school and you may get lucky and find a yearbook online. Most yearbooks had at least a few pictures of the school.
    Frank, I join in your wish that I had taken photos when I was young in Virginia but a camera would have been an expensive luxury when I was a boy,.
    My grandfather was the General Foreman of the maintenance yard for the Southern Railroad in Richmond. I was lucky enough to go to work with him a few times and rode the engines with him around the Yard and turntable to various stalls. I don’t think the Richmond yards exist any more, as Norfork Southern I think is headquartered in another state.

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