HO train layouts – Michael’s

There are hundreds of HO train layouts on the site – here are some of them.

And this is Michael’s:


This is a HO scale layout consisting of 3 separate zones. Farm, Village and Mtns. There are 2 bridges, 2 tunnels and lots of interesting things to see along the tracks. I use EZ track. It’s just easier for me to work with.

The platform is L shaped 4X8X6. DC powered.

I used plastic, laser cut; self build (balsa) and paper houses and buildings. A little bit of paint makes them look more realistic. I purchased a bundle of paper houses I saw in your emails. They were easy to assemble and add a nice touch of realism.

The roads are made from a Woodland Scenic kit. The little details like the billboards were made from actual billboard pictures I found on the Internet. I reduced them to the proper scale, printing on photo paper, and attaching them to a painted balsa wood frame.

Mountains are made from 1” thick rigid insulation, stacked, glued, cut, shaped and painted. I also added some natural stone; plaster tunnel portals, and paper retaining walls. All topped off with some mosses and grasses I bought at the craft store.

The farm scene is my favorite. The farm house is paper, the store is laser cut and the barn and silo is built. I added a lot of little touches like the wheat and corn field as well as the plowed earth.

I topped it all off with people, animals, fences, gravel roads, vehicles and a few other items to make it fun.

I added a few more pictures.



HO train layout locomotive

HO train layout bridge

HO train layout store

HO train layout farm

HO train layout farm

HO train layout trees

HO train layout town scene

model railroad farm

model railroad curve

Another cracking layout. But it’s not just these gems I want to post – if you’ve put the time in and made a layout, please do send in pics.

That’s all for this time folks. Until tomorrow.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get going on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

72 Responses to HO train layouts – Michael’s

  1. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    A “Dog Blog” sounds like a really great idea.

  2. Chuck says:

    I’d love to see a diagram of Michael’s 3 zone layout. This is something just like I am trying to get together myself! Great pics thanks…..
    Also I the Dog Blog – there are many around but I’m sure with your following it would be great!

    Keep up the good work – I look forward to these

  3. Drew says:

    Those hay bales are friggin awesome. How were they made?

  4. Sai Kodi says:

    A blog for dogs will be great! By the way, we have 2 german shepherds! They are great dogs!

  5. stuart says:

    great pics. those hay bales r good. cheers

  6. Richard says:

    Agree with Chuck, would like to see a diagram of the 3 zone layout. Nice looking from the pics.

    My dog is a Bassoon, half Basset and half Coon hound and enjoys sleeping, eating and drooling in that order.

  7. Albert Weir says:

    Michael i love your city sceene and the mountain great job keep up the good work

  8. Joe Micik says:

    I agree with Chuck. I would also like to see the overall 3 zone layout. I am toying with that kind of set-up but just haven’t got the right look yet. Great job on your farm setup.

  9. Perry says:

    Nice layout. Well done. I’d like to know how the hay bales were done too. I’ve been experimenting with Cheerios for my N guage.

  10. Roland Burch says:

    I agree with Al, you did a great job. Do you have a picture of the whole layout or large sections, so we can see how the 4x8x6 worked out?

  11. Charles says:

    Glad to see you back. I wondered what happened. Keep up the good work I really appreciate your site. I particularly like the tips and how-to parts. The vid’s are very interesting and 0leasurable to watch.

  12. Mike says:

    Hey,how did u make those hay roles? awesome!!,I have two red mules,I put out a 5×5 roll of real hay,when they get it down to ho size,i take it away,the bad part is I never know when that will happen so I set my alarm an ck it every 30min,results are pretty good but I am always tired!!,got to be a better way!!! Thanks!!…….Mike



  14. jim Massie says:

    Michael great job. I to would like to see photo of the whole layout. Thanks.
    Dog blog is great idea, we have a Basenji, she is constantly making us laugh.

  15. kimo says:

    Great workmanship, very intereating

  16. Don says:

    Yes, many stated about the hay bails earlier. Yes, they are great looking and yes, how were they made?

  17. Pete says:

    Want to know what the hay bales are made of-they are really neat!!

    Waiting for your reply!!

  18. chris says:

    nice job

  19. Peter the Mackem Jones says:

    Great layout Michael I really like the buildings, were they scratch built or kit? either way they are impressive, well done.

  20. Roger says:

    Mike, very nice work. Great attention to detail. Inspires me on my
    less productive moments.. Thanks.. Rog

  21. Cameron Davies says:

    Congratulations Michael. Very nice layout. The down town scene and the crop scenes are great. Like many of the other readers I would love to know how you built the crops, fields and hay bales.

  22. Tom says:

    Mike, I like the farm scene and yes those hay bails are awesome! Much to do about nothing, but a lot to do about something. I like the concept of mountains town or village and farm it all fits your layout and the addition of the different types of bldg. etc. makes for a wonderful layout. I am happy for you … show it off proudly! thanks for sharing!

    Al, I like the concept of a ” Dog Blog” awesome! Some of my best friends are dogs. Glad you are back up and running … sure missed you.

  23. Tom says:

    Al, now about the dog blog. My wife Chris and I our dog died. Her name was Ginger. We had her for almost 13 year. She was with us the time our children were growing up … Ginger died the year my son was graduating from high school. She was a border collie and spits mix. She was beautiful. She had a small bell around her neck. To this day at times we can still hear her jump down from the bed and that bell ring. Yes she is still with us. Ginger holds special memories in our hearts. Can’t wait for the blog to share our memories of her. I am a lover of dogs. Share stories of other dogs I have been in association with through the years.They truly are our best friends.

    If the dog blog is anything like this railroad blog It
    will be awesome!

    Thanks for all you do for all of us … I do not like to speak for others but I think I can this time we are all appreciative and great full for all that you do.

    best regards,


  24. Don says:

    Great job Mike. It’s great to see somebody putting their signals at a realistic height. You have an interesting seasonal mix of snow on the conifers, freshly ploughed fields, and newly cut hay! Who cares! Have fun. (Yes, please tell us about the hay bales) Thanks, Don

  25. great layout the detail is unbelieveable. love to see more pictures.

  26. Max Dosser (Australia) says:

    The street scene is fabulous. The layout overall is excellent.
    Dogs: I have a female German Shepherd ( bitch at times ). She is the fourth GSD I have had, all the others being males. Heide (kennel name ; Wiimaurs Raggamuffin ) will be 11 yrs old on 23 March. She got the first two Sheep Herding Titles a month before her 9th birthday, and only had 7 formal training sessions. Us two oldies ( I’m 75 and she is 10 & 11/12 ) took part in two herding demonstrations in mid December at the DogsVictoria exhibition.

  27. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    Michael’s layout is nice and, yes, I want to know how to make the hay bales, too. Really good job of the furrows on the farm.
    Would love a dog blog. I’ve owned almost fifty dogs in my lifetime and have lots of stories including a couple of German Shepherd tales (pun intended!).
    Grannytoot (working on HO, N, and Z)

  28. Gordon says:

    Do you have the track layout published somewhere?

  29. dave says:

    Nice !! that’s some of the most detail of farming I have seen .The rest is great too !

  30. art says:

    Mike excellent photos of an outstanding layout. Detail is amazing. I also would like to see the entire layout. Not the track layout, but the relationship of the 4′ section to the 8′ section to the 6′ section.

  31. John Parkin says:

    Hi Michael, fantastic layout, keep up the good work.

    Al, I think you are doing a wonderful job too.


  32. Chuck Hodgkinson says:

    Wonderful, Michael… Have you produced a video of your Layout? I would love to see it…. Many of your scenes look fascinating… I would like to add a logging mill and a coal loading cite in the mountain area… Chuck

  33. THOMAS says:


  34. Dan Forestin says:

    Outstanding work on the areas shown would like to see 3 things 1:a picture of the entire layout 2: a track plan of the layout with curve radius listed 3: more photos from each section. I have been working on a “L” shape layout for a while now. I was trying to hold the minimum radius to 30″ but finally gave up on that idea cause I just could not get it to work. Now am trying to hold the minimum to 28′ and it looks like it may work. I wanted the large radius because of full length 89ft. passenger cars, pig flats and 4 and 8 door auto box cars. I know they will run fine on 24″ but they look so much better on the larger radius curves(personal opinion) if it comes out half as nice as yours I will be happy. Hope to see more of your fine layout in the near future. dlwdan

  35. jim morris says:

    Great job. jim

  36. steven stclair says:

    Great layout. Every morning I wake up to this Al fantastic.

  37. Babs says:

    Have been in dogs a lot longer than in trains. Would love a dog blog! We have 2 Pem Corgis who run our lives. Wouldn’t have it any other way. We recently moved to a 2 story home in Maine. Neither dog had ever seen stairs, having grown up in a one story job in SC. Sidney has finally learned how to navigate stairs and is sleeping on my bed where she grew up. Evan on the other hand wants nothing to do with stairs so sleeps alone in the kitchen. Very sad.

    Working on my HO layout, now 6 months in production, and learning much from this site. Thanks to all who have posted pics and tips. Great work Alistair.

  38. Gary P. Dettl says:

    Dear Mike
    Awesome layout, love the detail. The farm scene brings back fond memories of working on my Uncle’s dairy farm in Door County WI during the Summers, while growing up in Milwaukdd. Is that a “McDonald’s” drive in, in the background of the city scene? Also, would like to see a track plan.
    Regards GaryD.

  39. tom in az says:

    Mike I model all the same ways you do. Did a N scale several yrs ago. then a HO. Tore down the HO and now rebuilding new one. How did you make the farm fields? My rows are bad yours look so real. I use all the same work you do but don`t get as good of looks as yours. Great job, looking fwd to seeing more. Tom in Payson Arizona.

  40. Jim says:

    Nicely done. Farm area looks so real.

    Jim AZ

  41. Mike Richardson says:

    Mike, you have a great layout and I am impressed with how well everything looks. I know you put in a lot of time and effort and it shows.

  42. What a great layout! And I agree those hay bales are awesome! As with a lot of things modeled, that farmer is getting a tremendous production off his little farm. Certainly a very talented farmer, as is his father, Mike!

    About the dogs, Alastair: what a nice idea. Why restrict to the funny things. Dogs are noble creatures and often do wonderful good deeds. You maybe should include that, too.

    Keep doing it Alastair. We think you’re great!

  43. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Great job Michael on the lay out, I had a lot typed up on the comment, I got side tracked with my my oval set up around the Christmas tree I came back to find my LG tablet locked up. So my hat is off to your setup. I like to see more, pictures and lay out.

  44. Bill from WV says:

    Several people have asked to see a photo of the layout and I would, too. Will you share the track diagram as well? The level of detail is fantastic!


  45. The farm was scaled down nicely. I loved he corn patch! Overall, lots of details. Great job!

  46. Paul Case says:

    You can buy hay bales from Woodland Scenics in HO & O scales. It would be neat to find a free substitute. Thinking maybe of sissal or jute rope, but don’t have any yet. If anyone has some around the house let us know.

  47. Jim says:

    Michael, I sure love the pictures of your layout – awesome job on the realistic details. As others have mentions, I’d sure love to see a wider over all pictures of the layout and if possible a track diagram layout. I’m planning either an HO or N scale layout and the size of your layout fits nicely with the available space that I have.

  48. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Layout looks very nice, keep up the great work.

  49. Earl Jones says:

    More overall pictures please. Great looking layout! Everyone, try quickly saying “dog blog” 10 times and listen to what it sounds like!

  50. Nice job. would love to see more, I have an apartment la out in u shape but don’t know how to photograph it and put it online. when I get my own house I will build another lay outwit DCC. I love the idea of a dog blog. Bill in Ca

  51. David Trigger says:

    Hi Al

    I’m not far from you ! 🙂

    I’m a former Kennel Club registered breeder/trainer (Rough Collies) & successfull trained GSDs but by far the most challenging were the infamous “loopy” Red Setters. It really is in the breed and I urge anyone to research & choose wisely.

    Fair but firm is the best maxim. Remember to be what the dog most wants – the Alpha leader ir Pack Master. If you don’t, they will compete with you & may well win. The biggest failures I have witnessed reflect one common trend: the dog is SMARTER than the handler.


  52. Rob Schweitzer says:

    The layout photos are super. I particularly like the farm. I’m modeling a German one and found the hay bales from, I believe, Noch, a German company. Our ten month old Wire Fox Terrier, Chaucer, says he would love a dog blog. You UK people know about the Wire Fox’s and their crazy ways, they are very rare here in the states.
    Rob from Ann Arbor
    St. Goal and Murren Scenic Railway

  53. Tim Shirk says:

    Question, how difficult would it be to take a 10 x 5 fixed table and make it into modules? Seems I never thought about this when building layout. Does one just cut it up and try peicing it back together later. Anyone ever try this? Thanks for any feedback. Tim S

  54. Lee Hirsch says:

    To Tim. Please do NOT just cut it up, it will not go back together perfectly. First, take a good look at your track, and decide where it will be the easiest to sepatate, not thru a turnout, etc. Then measure and mark where you want the cuts on the underside. Then glue a long 2×2 on either side of the mark, drill 2 to 3 holes thru both 2x2s at the same time. Now you have a way to perfectly realign your sections by putting bolts thru those holes, after cutting your layout apart on those drawn lines. You may have to put a thin shim, the width of your saw blade, on either side of the bolt holes, if you removed the sections of track where the cut was. You will also need to put quick disconnects on any wiring that crosses a cut line. Do this before cutting. Also
    mark your sections.
    Have fun, remember measure twice cut once. Lee

  55. Very talented…great detail with some ideas I will use. Also I wold like to see overall layout pics showing how things relate. However I must say WOW.

  56. Great Layout! — would love to see a video of with train running!

  57. Erick says:

    Awesome layout, I hope mine turns out that good.

  58. Howard Zryb says:

    I would love to see some examples of what others have done with your print-out scenery..

    My layout is nowhere near a condition to take pictures… very primitive compared to other layouts you have featured, but it’s my first one. And my grand kids love seeing the locos go around the track. And my oldest grandson (almost 6) is fascinated with the print out scenery that I’ve constructed. I will build some more with him that he can use on his Brio trains.

  59. George Roland Krigbaum says:

    The workmanship is great. I agree with the comment about the hay bales. I like others would also like to see the overall track layout.

  60. Jerry Swick says:

    Recently retired 57 yr old have loved trains all my life when I was young we would visit grandma and grandpa they lived in Davis junction ill I attempted to do ho layout on 4×8 plywood got discouraged. No help or guidense since you have been educating me the urge to get started is really kicking in. I think that the enthusiasm with the model railroad enthusiast has been awesome to see. My 2 big interests are water mountains with tunnels and tressells. Guess I lied there’s 3 how to elevate tracks to operate efficiently. Any response to a beginner would be appreciated

  61. James says:

    Very Impressive Great Work and thanks for sharing

  62. James says:

    Great farm scene!

    Make it a dog AND cat blog!

  63. Rick Hamilton says:

    I bought HO scale hay bales at a train show in Virginia (Dulles) or Maryland (Timonium) years ago. Suggest looking online.

  64. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Mike…..great job…….you must have enjoyed putting that together. Love the
    detail. The farm is really impressive and so is the town scene. Great job.

    Guys….please…..no more “dog blogs”…..

  65. David Friar says:

    What I truly love about this site is the fact that the comments are always positive. So many sites online today, everyone wants to be a critic. On here, everyone just enjoys everyone’s work. Each morning I look forward to opening my e-mail and seeing the wonderful work that everyone does on their layouts. The positive responses are a bonus.

  66. Erick says:

    Looks great? I hope mine comes out that good.

  67. Ben From Chicago says:

    Mike, the farm scene and the gas station are outstanding! Thank you for posting the pictures of your layout. Like others have said, I too would like to see more of the total layout so feel free to post again! Excellent work, keep it up!

  68. David Ryder says:

    Michael, great job! I would appreciate it if you would show us a track plan with wiring. Thanks.

  69. Adam Stein says:

    Great layout, would like to see trains running.

  70. Jim C says:

    Nice layout and pics. I see you built Blair Line’s general store. I had built one a few years ago in n scale and loved putting it together. Looks great on the layout and more realisitc than the plastic models. Keep up the good work.

  71. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Very nice looking layout Mike yes that farm is fantastic! Great Job!

  72. 100DollarBill says:

    A couple suggestions:
    Ballasting the tracks would add additional realism.
    Consider changing the trolley track to the type with cement ties. Are there loading platforms for the trolley?
    The windmill in the photo looks to be taller than anything else in the layout. Is it really that tall or was that a camera issue?

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