I do love posting pictures of folk making a start on their model railways – because that’s what it’s all about… making a start:
This may be an unusual request, but a sincere one. It has been years since I built a layout. I did my study model and had a preliminary landscape design…
The track work is very close to what I had originally planned… only a minor change. My thoughts have changed about one area and I would appreciate any advice your subscribers might have.
The attached photos show an area that was going to be a mountain and associated grade through sharp cliff walls. I added one line too close to the ascending ramp and it created an issue. Would you mind asking for ideas on this?
Thank you and keep up the great posts. There is a lot of talent out there.
Cheers…Mike …Clermont, Florida, USA.”
“Al: Thanks for your terrific site. I am an old guy as well. My wife and I are building an N scale railroad. It is called the Fairfield and Cheston line.
It is based on real towns from central Pennsylvania in the USA. We haven’t rebranded our locomotives yet so they still carry the Pennsylvania Railroad road name. We have one Chessy locomotive as well.
We are modeling in the 1950-1970 era. Our buildings, trucks and cars are from that period. Names on businesses came from the business directories from those towns. Fairfield is a small farming community. Cheston is the big city. We took some license, It really is a county.
The layout is approximately 14 feet long. It is L shaped. The widest part is 5 feet wide. The base was made from do it yourself kitchen cabinets that I assembled. This provides space for all stuff we use for the layout: building materials, track, tools, paint, glue etc. It also provides access to the wiring. One cabinet has bedding in it so when our kids come for a visit they want to stay in the train room.
On top of the cabinets we constructed a framework of 1 x 3 lumber in grid fashion. We used old drop ceiling tiles glued to the framework from which we laid out the surface for the train tracks. The ceiling tiles were cut, dug out to form our river beds and lake. Then lined with plaster. They were finished using Woodland scenic water kits.
Mountains and tunnels were made using foam from all that stuff that get delivered by post. The foam was covered using Sculptamold, painted brown and landscaped. Most of the buildings were kits with a few modified to fit a specific application.
My wife started detailing the insides of some buildings. Takes more patience than I have, but gets us lots of wows when people see them. She even dressed storefront windows. This is a work in progress. Working on a lumber yard on one end and a refinery complex on the other end. This will add another 3-4 feet to the layout.
We just converted the layout from DC to DCC. We have two DCC locomotives and plan to convert a couple of our better DC locomotives to DCC with sound. Turnout operation is so much better with DCC. We have 22 turnouts and most now have companion block signals. The digital controller display shows turnout positions. I am trying to learn how to program routes. This gives new meaning to teaching an old dog new tricks. I even have software that will allow me to operate everything from my laptop. Just need some more learning time.
Hope your readers get something from this.
“I thought you would like to see my scratch built Canadian Pacific Freight Station.
The freight station is just down the road from my observatory. Made of the same material
as my observatory, cereal box cardboard, and painted with my favorite paint, HUMBROL.
I painted the cardboard, which was a grey colour, an earth brown. I used a scriber to
rule off the board lines and then painted the entire building with a clear flat HUMBROL
paint. The roof was a fun thing to do. I painted the roof a mid forest green and when the
paint was still tacky, I used a thinner and white wash to give the effect of sun bleached
look. I hope everyone likes my freight station the way they liked my observatory.
Thanks Al for all the great emails you send to us around the world. Please keep them
All the best to you from Dave in Ontario Canada.”
That’s all for today folks. A big thanks to Dave, Yale and Mike.
It still amazes me what lands in my inbox each morning. Please do drop me a mail if you have anything you’d like to share.
That’s all for today.
Please do keep ’em coming – and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to start on your layout.