Linda’s fantastic train project

“Al–I do a lot of modeling with flex track and use nails to secure the track to the layout.

I reuse the rails for newer layouts but I found by the continual cutting to the new lengths, the small nail holes in the plastic ties are never where I need them.

I don’t have a small enough drill bit to drill new holes but I found a great solution: Straighten a large paper clip, heat one end over a candle, and using a pair of pliers (so you don’t burn your fingers), plunge it into the tie in any location you want.

The hot clip melts a perfect size hole almost immediately with no muss or fuss.



Idaho USA”

“Mr A.

I found if there is something missing on your layout, look at it. Think of your options to what would fit and not be over or under powered. Then research it to see if it would look right. Example make a sketch, put a picture there or something close to it which you’ve laying around. It doesn’t have to be perfect. All you’re doing is getting a visual idea some solid positioning.

Then either build your idea into a reality to fit the location and fill the open and or missing piece-area or get what you feel would be right from your locate hobby store.

Example: the other day saw an article about building your own telephone-utility poles in the Model Railroader magazine. The individual used both house hold an pre made items.

I choose to make mine all from scratch matrrials purchased at local craft store. I ‘m building over 50 poles using his rough deminsions plus 4 open span truss bridges. Glue and all materials were less than $30.00 USD and have a lot left over for who knows what?
Happy railroading


“Hi Al,

Have been enjoying all the input from everyone on your site. Great ideas and layouts.

I wanted to send you my first three “Train” projects while figuring out how to start our layout.

First, we had purchased a sign from the Punxsutawney, PA, USA. train depot. This was special for us because my Mom was born and raised in a little town just south of there.

I had an area about 3 ft x 8 ft at the bottom of the stairway in the basement. I dug out a door I saved from an old chicken coup, three old windows and some old reclaimed wood. Then started building my Depot.

I had blown up pictures of mountains and Stellar BlueJay from our Colorado trip, and local squirrels then arranged them behind where the windows and door would go. I then painted around them all to fill in the spaces. What fun building and decorating. Here are some pics.










I can’t tell you how much I loved Linda’s ‘depot’ – brilliant, just brilliant. Please do let us know what you think too in the comments below.

Thanks to Terry, Chris and Linda. I really enjoyed putting this post together for you – hope you liked it. Beginner’s Guide is here if it’s got you chomping at the bit.

And of course, the latest ebay cheat is here. Did you know it’s the thing I get the most comments on?

Please do keep ’em coming.



17 Responses to Linda’s fantastic train project

  1. d j howarth says:

    Few good tips there , must say Linda`s is a great way to add realism to windows …very good ..Dangerous Dave

  2. Steve Fetzer says:

    THINKING and LOOKING outside of the box – GFLT

  3. Bruce says:

    Moved from Texas & building new in NW corner of South Carolina. Have a 10 x 60′ area for new layout. Just read this post and spot by Chris on making utility poles. Perhaps he will share more details and maybe a few pics on the build one parts he used.
    Love all the posts. Been into trains a long time. My first was a Lionel set given by Mr. Claus in 1947. Had a windup first.
    Thank you for your site.

  4. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    Very clever, well done.

  5. yvon says:

    for holes in your flex, using a heated needle you get a point end to do the stuff

  6. David Dent says:


  7. George Ross says:

    Winter Is Coming More Indoor Railroading Time.

  8. Ray Suckling says:

    Hi Terry,
    You can get a Pin Vice and set of small drills from EBay, ideal for what you want and very cheap. They are used for drilling holes in printed circuit boards, I use one for drilling holes in my sleepers and they work fine.

  9. Tom says:

    Linda’s Depot is awesome! Hall of Fame material right there.

  10. Richard says:

    Wow what a wonderful idea and beautiful sitting area . I will keep this in mind for my new area.

  11. Thomas Murphy says:

    There’s no doubt about it, this post today was mighty interesting. Linda’s photos were prime idea material. Terry’s comments about his reuse of used track has sparked my curiosity about buying used track from ebay. And as I have the need of more power-poles on my layout, I wish Chris would include some pictures of his technique.

  12. Steven Teiger says:

    Thanks Dave for your coach lighting tip. Unfortunately, as opposed to what was stated in the video, he doesn’t post these items overseas, so I had to post them to my mother in the UK!

  13. Wayne says:

    On fixing Flexi-Track, I used a staple gun with the pressure on the spring eased a little, then pinned them latter
    That damned colonial form down under

  14. Ty says:

    A more diverse audience participation would have made your grand stand better,

  15. Cary E Price says:

    Great tips and info, thanks to all!
    Linda, What a great and original idea. Sure you had had great fun putting it together, it looks wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing here. Cary in KY

  16. Linda Howell says:

    Hi Al,
    Thank you for posting my pictures on this wonderful site and for the kind words.
    Thanks to everyone for their encouraging comments as well.

  17. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    I like Linda’s depot setting. A couple years ago I set up an escape room involving the disappearance of Punxsutawney Phil the day before Ground Hog Day, and people had to find Phil before it was too late for him to get his medicine to keep living on. It was so much fun and the room was patterned just as Linda has done here, but not as good as Linda’s room. What a cool grand entrance something like this would be to one’s train room. Thanks Linda for sharing, well done and fun.
    Lots of good tips today too!!

Leave a Reply

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