Lionel model train

Doug has been in touch with his Lionel model train:

“Dear Al,

I have followed your postings for some time revelling at the awesome displays that you readers have.

As there are many many more hobbyists using the HO and N scales, the set ups they had were mere curiosities to me as I run an older Lionel 027 and am limited to how much detail I can create.

Of late however you have been posting articles of the larger sets so I decided I would send you a sample of what I had created.

In 1959 I received a Lionel train set at Christmas, as the years passed the set got bounced around, in moving boxes, from house to house, being set up several times and taken down once more.

The intention had always been to give the set to my son once he began a family, however when he bought himself a hobby farm which included a fair size barn it was decided to once again set the tracks up and see what happened.

In or around the year 2005 the Canadian dollar became par with the almighty American dollars and for a few weeks it even exceeded the value. At that moment I proceeded to purchase additional tracks and cars to enhance the set up as the actual space I had was now 22 feet in length and 18 feet wide. This was a far cry for the 4 x 8 setups I had been used to.

Unfortunately my son met someone and decided to sell his farm, leaving me with little choice but to pack things up my Lionel train set only this time I had some 50 packing boxes full.

At the same time I had decided to get together with my high school sweet heart who I had not seen in 39 years. She accepted to allow me to bring my trains with me and I moved to Calgary, Alberta from Montreal, the only hitch was I could not set the trains up inside her house.

Eventually I was able to construct a small set up along the outside wall of the house, with another smaller operation in the garage. during the winter months both set up were mothballed.

My companion past away in 2018 from cancer, leaving me with little option but to pack the train setup once again so it could be moved.

I decided then as I was to be living alone to purchase a residence where I could enjoy the trains to their fullest extent all year long and this is finally what I was able to accomplish. No doubt at my death the trains will be packed up for one final move, but I happily will not be around to see that happen.

I have organized the layout so one track runs completely around the outside, which the other track runs more or less in an L, yet also can transfer off on to the centre table.

I had purchased two legacy locomotives so that when my grandchildren visit they can run each their own, on either track, all my other other engines have to be controlled by a transformer which at their young age they find a bit complicated.

As for photos, I had to do a bit of organizing, as the grand kids had been very busy with their imaginations and several of my scenes had been taken out of context. I have included a zipped file of some 43 photos for you to use as you wish – I have letter coded them with my paragraphs of the description)

So if you will permit the first shot is what you see as you descend into the basement.

Lionel model train

lionel model train lighthouse

lionel train set

lionel train set

lionel backdrop

Under the bridge I not having more room, placed a small mock up of a camp ground my companion had help make while we were together in Calgary.

lionel model train cars

In my city I have used several different structures some being Wrebbit 3 D puzzles , the tall building were also puzzles I had accumulated while working for a gift distribution company, the side walks are from Majo kits , the roads are HO Play Tape which I enlarged to fit my 1/43 scale vehicles.

lionel model train car

lionel signal box

lionel fire station

Taking you in to a more industrial area I have created from card stock a replica of a transport warehouse M&D a transport company with whom I did business back in 1968.( there is some interior work in the warehouse)

lionel train warehouse

lionel warehouse

lionel warehouse

lionel model train warehouse

Of course any one using the large trains will recognize the Marx terminal , this comes from a boy hood friend who got it as an Christmas present but who was not really into trains and since he had three daughters figured I could make better use of it. ( a shot of the interior of this warehouse also)

lionel loading platform

I have tried to create a more or less suburban area again using Wrebbit 3 D puzzles , I am not quite finished organizing the area to suit my tastes , I need organize a more grassy looking base on which to place the houses ( this is one work in progress area).

lionel house

lionel house

As I very into trucks ( I have some 300 of them many still in boxes) I reconstructed a service station I had purchased when I was about 13 ( which I foolishly gave away when I got married).

lionel truck stop

lionel lorry

lionel truck stop

In Calgary, I had made a simple water scene to allow for connecting the two tables I had built at the side of the house so decided I would incorporate it once more in my new location. (work in progress is fixing the over pass that was demolished at the time of the move)( S, T and U)

lionel train set

lionel harbor

lionel water scene

As I had a good number of Wrebbit 3 D houses I created another suburban area.

lionel train set houses

lionel train set houses

lionel train set houses

Town centre is made up of card stock, 3 D, K-Line, Lionel and other buildings . I used an old tobacco container to make my water tower, labeling it with the name of the town I was brought up in.

lionel houses

lionel road

lionel road

lionel road

The next area is a location that is a work in progress, I have several card stock buildings – Clever and Evans – products that I am cutting and gluing together trusting I will have room enough to place them here , and on the lift up platform.

lionel train set

This takes us into the middle section where you can see the outside track running through the bridge and across to the side table and the other track running around the interior which connects to the interior track on the side table . Again there are a multitude of makes of buildings.

lionel train set

lionel model train truck warehouse

lionel model train street scene

lionel model train truck

lionel track and road

lionel model train city

lionel model train cars street

The next to last photos was my latest work making a commercial street scene, one photo was taken with people lined up on the street, the second was with out the people as my grandchildren had banged into table and knocked all the people off.

lionel model train stores

lionel model railroad stores

Cold winters are long in Canada, and now that I am set up in my very own basement I can spend hours up hours working , running and otherwise enjoying myself with my set up. This very last photo is really a favourite of mine, it shows just how much fun you can have, letting your imagination run with out having to be political correct.

lionel train set police station

Trusting you enjoyed the tour as I have enjoyed all that you have posted.


Moncton New Brunswick


A big thanks to Doug for sharing his lionel train set with us – and his narrative too.

You can see his Lionel trains running here.

That’s all for today folks, hope you enjoyed it as much as me.

Whenever I get a Lionel email through, it always reminds me of Bill’s Lionel model railroad.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

31 Responses to Lionel model train

  1. James Johosaphate says:

    Wow, I was so eager to know your life story! Glad you posted it. Really made my day complete. Nice layout!!

  2. My Z scale model train layour also has a Doug’s Donut Depot.
    Since my name is also Doug.
    Great to see that building.

  3. WOW!! That is some set. Thanks for sharing that!!

  4. george zaky says:

    Tres bien. That immense layout is you and I so enjoy seeing an imaginative scheme. Keep at it. Thanks for sharing and send some videos of running trains
    Merci beaucoup
    George from LI,NY

  5. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Doug sorry about your love one, Nice looking layout a job well done, enjoy your O scale trains, When you have a chance take a look at OGR Forum lots of info for O scale and other gauges. (I’m sitka on ogr after our Husky) God Speed !

  6. Dwight in Toronto says:

    The grandkids gotta love that setup.

    I had to do a double take at one photo, just to confirm, and YES … there were actually a few remnants from an old Kenner Girder & Panel Building Set being used to show the iron work of a high rise building in the early construction phase!
    That brought back a lot of memories – my brother and I got much enjoyment from one of those sets back in the late 1960’s.

  7. ken says:

    Nice job good to see o Lionel style layout. Good work you have done.

  8. Ben Hawkins says:

    I am always wanting to see some 0 Gauge layouts and articles,
    The scenery was in great detail in this one

  9. Raymond Peterson says:

    The detail if fabulous and clearly the layout is very large but if I am not mistaken, I only saw trains in one photo. I would love to see your trains as well as the layout.

  10. Dave S says:

    It clearly looks like you have had fun in putting this layout together. I was disappointed not to see any of your trains. Like so many model railroaders, my first trains were from Lionel when I was a kid.

  11. Jerry Kolwinska says:

    Very impressive. Lots of detail creates viewer interest.

  12. David Schaffner says:

    Brings back a lot of memories from fifty years ago. OOps! I’m telling my age.
    See a lot of old Lionel stuff and some plastic Ville and a whole lot of good stuff you don’t hardly see anymore. Good job,
    I had a nice Lionel layout on two 4×8’s and a ton of stuff with just about every assessory you could think of. From crossing gates, oil derrick, tower station and so many others I have forgotten. Tons of Plastic Ville, Marx and American Flyer all mixed in. Them, I met my wife and soon after, out with the trains and I sold the whole thing for a godly sum, but not near enough what it would be worth today. Keep up the good work…Love it.

  13. Calvin says:

    You have encouraged me to set up my Lionel trains. Lots of fun but need to see some of your trains.

  14. Dave Karper says:

    I, too, had Lionel. It was under the Christmas tree the morning of Christmas 1940. I held on to it for years even after going to HO in 1946. At a later time in my life during a period of no work, I traded the set to my Lionel collector dentist for dental work, It stayed on display in his collection until his death. I don’t know what happened to it after that

  15. Douglas Mathers says:

    Great pictures Doug. Thanks. You certainty moved around Canada a lot. A story in it’s self! Sure would like to see a video of the trains running. Thanks for waking me up this morning.

    Regards Doug

  16. Mr Ron from So Mississippi says:

    Although I am not a Lionel fan, you have created a fine layout. The street scenes are what makes the layout, not the trains.

  17. Ron Edwards says:


    The best part of the layout is that it used to “play with the trains.” I, too, am an O-gauger. I still have my first train (Lionel of course) that Santa brought to me in 1951-52 at around age four. I have my mother to thank for still having it. Last time I saw it run was in the early 1960’s, but it will find track space once I have my layout electrified – all wired up but cannot find my track interface unit. Like you, my layout efforts were moved around a bit, but I am sure it is somewhere among the boxes. The $64 question is “Just where is it hiding!” Keep up the good work. Enjoy every minute. And consider posting a video with trains running one of these days. Ron in Springfield, VA.

  18. Looks Great!!! But were are the trains?

  19. Alabama Mike says:

    WOW! Doug, this is a great layout. I can see you put in a lot of time and work building all of this. I also enjoyed the story with it. So glad you shared this with us.
    Pictures were great also.

  20. Benny Rosario says:

    Enjoyed everything, but where’s the train and as the father of two, of NYC’S finest I think you should close your Dounut shop or add more civilian people to it.

  21. Garry Schneider says:

    Al, There are usually a few things in my inbox in the morning; however, it is wonderful stories such as this one from the Far North of Canada to which I go first. Thank Douglas for sharing his elegant layout with us, and the fascinating story he wrote to accompany it. Being Lionel people ourselves, my wife, Leslie, and I love to see some three rail layouts.
    Fair Winds, Garry and Leslie, Maine

  22. John Wiarda says:

    I used to run Lionel with my friend until he passed away.Hid daughter now has the O scale and G scale. We ran booth at the Torrington Are Model Railroaders in Torrington, CT. Both O scale and G scale are no longer at the club. Just N scale and HO scale are at the club. It is a modular layout that we take to shows. Our next show is at the Big E in west Springfield, MA the last weekend in January 2022. Amherst Railway Society is the Prime Sponsor.

  23. Tom Provo says:

    of course the cops are at the doughnut shop. I really liked the amount of work you put into it

  24. Quite impressive, especially for 62 year-old equipment!

  25. Ak JIm says:

    Beautiful layout!

  26. Super layout! Love O guage! What even makes it better is that I can see them,

  27. henry e sippel says:

    one of the best 0/027 layouts i have ever seen, never to be compared to n or the smaller ga.. i had a 4 sheet table carpet covered , with std loop on the outside, 2 o ga loops and a s ga loop inside. i was starting to fill in the spaces with lionel metal buildings, and other acessories, my wife died and so did my train drive.

  28. It’s a pretty nice 027 basic simple layout I like how we put the timbers or railroad ties under the the track on the one part of the layout and the gravel I like the grass I’m the one the one way out and the clouds are really nice on the backdrops

  29. Mike R says:

    Very nice work! Thanks for the pictures. The one that really caught my eye was the construction site with the red girders. I still have my set from 60 years ago and the brochures that came with it. A great creative toy.

  30. Dave Karper says:

    Henry Sipple. I lost interest in all of the world around me when my wife of thirty-one years died. It took a year for me to get back to being in the world again, and slowly my mode railroad interest returned. I know it’s tough, but hang in there. If you’re thinking of selling, don’t! Hang on to it all for a while to see how life changes.

  31. Dan Williams says:

    Love the red I beams!! I had that building set many years ago. Wish I still had it.
    Dan in Virginia.

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