Michael’s layout

“Interesting stuff. In case it might appeal….I’m an Englishman living in New York…building my second ‘N’ scale layout with the help of my stepdaughter who is now 32 yrs… the first one we made was in California when she was 11 yrs.

The whole point of this one is to use as little as possible things from the model shop (which are lousy in NYC anyway) and also to make it as individual and asymetric as possible…. it’s going to be a sculpture/diarama of New Mexico that happens to have trains.

My rolling stock is nearly all pre-owned (second-hand things) that we bought as ‘broken’ and rebulit/painted whatever…the baseboard is an open 3’x3’x3′ cube that the scultor downstairs in my factory/loft used to put sculptures on, covered with teo sheets of plywood from the dumpster….the furniture factory on my ground floor supplies foam that I grind up for foliage etc and we collect coffee/tea for ground cover/ballast etc.

We break ALL the rules..train liveries are all my designs, passenger cars all lit with their own LED/batteries inside…I have a flair for rebuilding locomotives, old pre-war American ones are particularly tricky in steam (the first trick is to put current pick-ups in the stupid 8 wheel,2 truck tenders so that the short wheelbase 6 driving wheels don’t stall on the turnouts (points) …the list goes on…just thought it might be of interest..specially ” What Not To Do’ written in a funny, entertaining way.

My loft overlooks the Harlem River by the Park Ave lift bridge which carries ALL the trains out of Grand Central (sadly now only boring details) and there is a freight line IN THE RIVER on piles which takes the CSX garbage trains from New York to Virginia twice a a day so I am not lost for references.

Here’s a few pix of how we have progressed since December
















And Dangerous Dave is back in the loop after his knee op:

“Morning Al, here is the follow on video from the new cement wagons , I bought a new loco to go with them its a class 66 with beautiful sound and livery.



Keep ’em coming folks!

And if Dave’s inspired you, the latest ebay cheat sheet is here.



23 Responses to Michael’s layout

  1. Peter Boston says:

    Nice one, love the sounds and, indeed, the whole layout.

  2. steve says:

    impressive , look forward to seeing it when it’s completed

  3. Steve from New Jersey says:

    Way to go. Save the old unwanted things. It is just as much fun to use the things around us and make it look good. Plus you save a lot of money. Nice job
    Steve from Toms River

  4. Ed Clark says:

    As a fellow N Scaler I can appreciate small and used stuff. Nice to be able to scenic in a small space at a reduced price.

  5. david vulgar says:

    when i saw the first pic with the glasses i thought that the two ronnies where doing it. But seriously it is looking pretty good

  6. Craig says:

    I am very impressed not only with the layout, but also with the Class 66 engine. I did not notice any hesitation or stuttering when it first started. Really smooth!

  7. Bedros Anserian says:

    Fantastic job, layout, sounds and scenery. Thank you sharing with us your plan.

  8. Peter Jacobs says:


    just to get an idea, would it be possible to get the dimensions of the shelves (track bed boards)on Dave’s loft layout. (track plans?) We are selling our house and I need to find a house with a decent loft.
    The width of the base boards (shelves) do not look too wide, but he is able to run 7 / 8 lengths of track in parallel (except on the curves) so they seem to be at least 2′ 6″please let me know.

    Many thanks.

  9. pretty way kool little project layout !!
    and building outta ‘recycle’ too
    One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!!
    my cudos to you and your daughter
    keep it runnin fellas….and gals…!!!

  10. Tom says:

    A work of art … A masterpiece! Using resources around you. Can’t wait to see it through. I use 2 pair of glasses on my railroad one at either end. I forget things so I don’t have to go back and pick them up.

  11. Joe R Gray says:

    Great video of a great loco,,,Keep them coming… Have a great spring and summer…

  12. Patrick Gallichio says:

    Thanks for sending Dave’s video’s i love watching them while i have my Breaky, he’s layout is one of the best i have ever seen, a very talented guy with an eye for detail. I retire next year and thinking of build a small layout your tips are invailable.
    thanks again

  13. steven stclair says:

    Great to see a Dave video again. Class 66 to me is a horrible looking loco. I first saw one running through Scunthorpe Station where I used to live on You tube a couple of years ago and it just lacks the classy looks of the older class 37 and 47. The cement tankers on the other hand look excellent. When I film my train Bachmann tribute to Dave the 66 will not be there.

  14. Perry says:

    Michael. Nice job. As I’m not a “rivet counter”, I really like the idea of creating your own liveries. I learned a long while ago that my railway is built for me and my pleasure. Look forward to seeing the final product/

  15. paul Otway says:

    a NICE LAYOUT, I would like to see the completed layout featured in ALs emails.

  16. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great layout plenty of enjoyment ahead like the idea of recycling nice to hear another family member is getting involved. good to see trains on the tracks looking forward to progression photos Ian from Aus.

  17. monty says:

    Hi Al, Michael, Dave,
    thanks for shearing you work with us all it looks great and recycling is the way to go with modelling lots of good stuff out there.
    Dave Great to have you back up and running again,hope everything went ok with your op, I was only asking about you last week on Al’s site.

    all the best to everyone. Monty Perth Australia

  18. Tad heath says:

    Nice!!!! Need any peco or atlas switches, track & some accessories. ..I have alot of code 80 track and cork bed….anybody interested it’s all new!! 607-438-9475

  19. david howarth says:


  20. david howarth says:

    The answer to the question on Dave`s layout measurements is yes they are 2.8 ft and just under in places width down both sides , the ends are 2ft . 6 ” and in total its 30ft x 8ft layout ..

  21. GOPAL DAGA says:

    A great job. True introduction of DCC system. Weathering and layout is very impressive. Keep it up!
    GOPAL Daga, India

  22. Rod Mackay says:

    Dave, in answer to your question, Metronet was one of the private consortia that our former Labour government brought in to run the infrastructure of London Underground. They were supposed to maintain and operate the system while modernising it, there were (IIRC) three groups of underground lines tendered but two of them went to one firm. Both met with severe problems and I believe have either gone bust or “handed back the keys” as they say, and the system is again run by Transport for London. GB Railfreight is one of the UK’s general freight haulage firms and work all sorts of trains, but they were contracted to haul new ballast and rail for Mwtronet from round the country to the exchange points with the Underground, so some of their locos were repainted in the Metronet livery for this work – “the Tube” is the nickname for all London’s underground lines, although only about half the system is actually of the deep bored-tunnel “tube” construction, the rest are larger loading-gauge cut-and-cover or surface lines. “Sir Edward Watkin” was one of the great pioneers of the 19th century railway age, and was responsible for many great projects as well as being an early advocate of the Channel Tunnel.

  23. Ralph in Eureka, Missouri, U.S.A. says:

    Dave, very nice new loco! I’m always amazed at how different your real-life engines sound as compared to what we have today operating in the USA. Thanks for continuing to share your wonderful / educational videos.

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