Loft railway – Dave’s

Before we get to Doug’s Lionel trains, Hall of Fame member Dave has been back in touch with his loft railway:

“Hi Al, just uploaded this short video…

All the Very best to Yourself ..and may your site continue for years to come.



daves loft railway

model railway backdrop

model railway bridge

model railway freight curves

intercity 125 loco

intercity 125

loft railway

OO scale platform

OO scale freight

OO scale repair

loft railway canal curves

A huge big thanks to Hall of Fame member, Dave. Don’t thing I’ll ever tire of his loft railway.

Now on to Doug.

You’ll remember him from his Lionel train set.

A lot of the comments Rob got were, “Where are the trains?” – so Rob has been kind enough to send in some train pics:

steam engine

diesel loco

polar express

model train loco

model train loco

model railroad locomotive

In fact, he sent in lots of pics.

You can see all the trains on his Lionel train layout here.

Now on to something completely different.

Over the years, certain tips and gems of advice keep popping up in different posts, from different people.

And I thought it might be quite fun to list a few “does and do nots”, and then see what’s added to them in the comments.

So here you go, let’s start with these pearls of wisdom for when you’re starting your layout:

1. Don’t build a complicated analogue train layout – it’s really worth the time to get your head around DCC. It’s easier and you’ll have a lot more fun with your model trains.

2. Making the curves too tight, or not making the baseboard big enough. Derailments are soul destroying, and there’s nothing worse than a train track that doesn’t run flawlessly, or a track that won’t run a new larger locomotives when you add to your fleet.

3. The train rack being right on the edge of the baseboard. Trains have a habit of jumping off the edge when they derail. And adding scenery like mountains and tunnels when your track is rightup against the side is impossible.

4. Not building your tunnels so you can get inside them. It’s no fun fishing out derailments and cleaning the track when you can can’t get to where you need to.

5. Not being able to reach (comfortably) every square inch of your layout. This is why some layouts have holes in the middle.

6. Making the baseboard too high. Sure, it makes wiring underneath your layout easier, but it also make things harder to reach (see above) and harder for the grandkids to enjoy your model railroad.

7. Making your baseboard too low. You’ll get constant backache and wish you’d never started the hobby.

Please do leave a comment below if you have any advice you’d like to share.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you pick the hobby back up, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

23 Responses to Loft railway – Dave’s

  1. JJM says:

    You be da man, Dangerous D!!!

  2. John says:

    Fabulous use of your loft space, so much packed in !.

  3. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi Dave. You have managed over the past few months to transform you layout to one which models reality. Most full size railways run outside of towns and have as you do long sweeping curves. You’ve manage to depict well reality. Many new modelers and indeed old hands should have a good study of your layout before building or modifying their railway. There is still a wealth of things of interest without being overcrowded with buildings and roadways. Well done always a pleasure to view your layout and videos.

  4. Robert Brady says:

    Dave; Great videography. Oh Magoo you’ve done it again !
    The Critic

  5. Terry Sipe says:

    Doug, You have an impressive layout. Thanks for the train pics. I especially like the O gauge Florida East Coast engine. Being raised in Florida and now living in Pennsylvania, my gigantic 2’x4′ N gauge is FEC. Nice work.

  6. Cary B says:

    Hello Al,
    The listed do and don’t tips were right on, if beginners read your helpful hints what a great start they will
    As for Dave H’s layout, it is always a pleasure to see what he’s sharing to the model railroading community.
    Cary B

  7. Jim Landing says:

    Amazing layout and use of space.

  8. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice looking Lionel Layout, Nice string of B & M boxcars, did you ever check out OGR Forum lots of O scale topics. HAGD enjoy your layout!

  9. John Riepe says:

    This layout took my breath away. What a magnificent microworld of trains.

  10. TJK says:

    What is the length and width of your loft space.
    Looks great!

  11. Marklin ed. says:

    Like the tips today THANKS. What is the best height for the base boards. Dave your always wonderful to see on Al’s site.
    By the way


  12. Curt Schulte says:

    Good morning Dave,
    This is my first response to a blog.
    I am new to the hobby and building my first layout. It’s small 8’x10′ all HO. My curves and turns are all 30″ radii. This makes for smooth operation.
    All of your “do’s and don’ts” are right on the mark. I have listened to many railroad hobbyists have taken all tips given.
    The biggest tip you have is to make sure you can reach every square inch of the layout easily. That speaks volumes!
    What I have learned along these lines is that the layout that is operated from the inside of the layout, “donut” can be areal headache. Many a builder have built beautiful layouts. The exception there I have found is that one must crawl under the table to exit when other persons are operating other trains. This seems to take the fun out, sore back, bad knees. To those I suggest good foam knee pads.
    As for me, I can walk around my layout and can reach every inch of my track easily. That is a great tip. Also, I engineered a hoist system that allows me to raise and lower my complete track from floor to ceiling. Working on the wiring is easy and it’s in a stand or sit position.
    Anyway, I would like to thank my new friends with the SCMRRC, and a special thanks to Mel for all the help.

  13. Dave your set up is awesome a whole lot of work I would imagine having a lot avaiable is indeed a great find I had that sort of space in my son’s barn but when he sold the place I had to take down what I had started to put together , never found another spce like it

    you have provided all of us some thing to think about

  14. Dan Piccolo says:

    I have watched many of Dangerous Dave’s posts but never have seen a track plan. I would love to see one.

  15. Erick says:

    Amazing layout; Keep up the good workmanship.

  16. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done, Dave. Always great to see your layout videos. While I like the clickety clack of the wheels over the gaps in the track, will that constant running cause damage to the wheels? Just curious.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  17. Love Lionel! My layout is 120 sq.ft. You did a great job,

  18. Allan J Jelinek says:

    Where’s the middle rail? Or, is that “S” gauge Lionel. Awesome layout. I’d never leave the attic. Great job. Very talented.

  19. robert tiemann says:

    i really like what you did here. i havent put mine together again yet but when i do ill post it.

  20. Rob Schweitzer says:

    Dave, you started out my new year in grand fashion with your video. Thanks so much for posing it.
    Rob Schweitzer
    St. Goar & Murren Scenic Railway, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

  21. Jim Browning says:

    Wow! Dave’s layout is absolutely fantastic. Meticulous details. The background scenery is spot on. Awesome job Dave! Keep the videos coming.

  22. George Steffens says:

    Hi Dave. I have enjoyed your videos and tutorials ever since I became a member of this blog 7 or 8 years ago. You truly are an inspiration. I am soon to be 78 and have been modeling in HO since my father bought me my first Lionel HO trainset when I was 13 back in Due to jobs,getting married and raising a family, I have been in and out of the hobby. I currently have a modular 6gr8 ft layout in the shape of the letter C. There is a 4 ft lifting bridge across the opening of the C. When I am feeling better and have the courage,I will send Allister some photos and a description. Stay healthy and creative as you are. All the best to you, George

  23. Andy in Yakima says:

    Hey Allan, there is a third rail in those photos, if you don’t fixate on them, they just tend to disappear. That is the beauty and fun with Lionel O gauge!
    My club is HO, but my home layout is Super O Lionel.

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