Union Pacific HO engine – Mike’s

Mike’s been in touch with his Union Pacific HO engine layout:

“Good afternoon Al.

I Shot a video showing each scene in my layout and all my engines.

Santa Fe Freight
Chesapeake & Ohio Passenger
Union Pacific
Amtrak Passenger
Louisville & Nashville

I’ve updated my layout based on feedback from my last post.

I added ballast to my e-z track. It looks much better.

I added one set of traffic lights, crossing lights and street lights.

I’m still not that great with my wiring so I only have the traffic lights operating.

I’m also sending some pictures of each engine and some scenery and one more video that I had some fun with.

I want to thank you and your readers for all the tips and suggestion.

Now its time to enjoy.



Union Pacific HO engine

Union Pacific HO engine background

santa fe HO engine

santa fe HO engine

santa fe HO engine

sant fe HO engine

Union Pacific HO engine:


Louisville & Nashville engine

Louisville & Nashville engine

amtrack ho scale

steam engine ho scale

Union Pacific HO engine

passenger car HO scale

model train tunnel

railroad crossing ho scale

Union Pacific HO engine

model train building

model train building

And this one is the video:

And lastly Dan sent this in which I rather liked:


Well, the D&W RR has been in mouth balls for quite a while, so I have been absorbing the tips from all the other modeler so,but I think I have one or two.

The D&WRR has had box cars that were always what they call “shake the box”, they were quality cars, I believe they were Athern, just add the trucks,add the sliding doors ,etc. what they lacked was a good weight.

One day in a magazine, they said what an HO box or Hopper should weigh, I got a small light scale, to start weighing my cars, many were not heavy enough, which sometimes caused tipping on curves.

One day at a train show, I bought a couple of 40 ft. Box cars, and noticed how nice and “heavy” they were,opening the doors, I found a fairly large steel nut glued inside, to increase the weight.

I bought those cars, and started to add the nut to my box cars, covered hoppers,and Cabooses. The extra weight rides better and smoother.

Dan, Danville and Western RR”

That’s all for today folks.

I can’t thank Mike enough for sharing his Union Pacific HO engine update – stunning stuff.

If I’m not mistaken, I think a lot of the pics in the Beginner’s Guide are from Mike’s layout. And no wonder, they are superb.

Hope you enjoyed Mike’s pics and vids as much as I did – have a look at all the comments below.

And if you model in HO or N scale, have a quick look at the ebay cheat sheet. It’s a silly time of year for some great bargains.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

56 Responses to Union Pacific HO engine – Mike’s

  1. Bryan Atkins says:

    That’s very cool. I can’t wait to get my basement finished so I can start on my layout. I have n scale and ho scale models to display. Some of my trains are dc and some are dcc. But you’re layout looks great. Congrats to you .
    Bryan Atkins

  2. BILL says:

    great layout i wish i had that much room. i will when i convince my wife that i need the den as well as the spare bedroom .untill then keep up the good work on your project.i really enjoy layouts like yours.
    bill from newark delaware u.s.a.

  3. Max Dosser says:

    Fantastic !!!! The photo’s and video made terrific viewing.
    One small observation though. On the Chesapeake & Ohio the illumination in the coaches would be enhanced by fitting some passengers.
    (This may be like splitting hairs, but congratulations on a magnificent railway.)

  4. Ralph says:

    That looks great Mike, the ballast has made a marvelous layout even better.

  5. Art Borkowski says:

    I really like the overhead passenger bridge. Is there an available product/kit for this stunning structure? Thanks

  6. Dienzel Dennis says:

    I’m an “0” gauge guy but love seeing any thing train related–2 rail, 3 rail, G gauge to N gauge. If it has wheels and runs on a track….I love it. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work. Dienzel

  7. Pete Evangel says:

    Wonderful detailing!!! And you are right, the ballast makes a difference. Well done.

    Pete-Rainy Calif.

  8. Gerry Brown says:

    Hello, wonderful layout… My question is how did you strip your roads? What did you use for road way? Your roads look super nice! Thanks, Gerry

  9. Raymond Appenzeller says:

    Great detailing and effects! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing!.

  10. Randy Blankenship says:

    Great set up, nice classics, great detail👍

  11. Fred says:

    Love the railroad layout. Wow, that is awesome. Especially the crossing signals. So realistic. I love model railroading. You can create many different layouts. Super Job

  12. Ken Merrick says:

    L&N is the greatest and fitting for your outstanding layout. Our collage football stadium was built on the old L&N yard every time the score they blast the train horn how fitting.

  13. Ronald P. says:

    Simply Amazing !!! My dream layout that I can only “imagine” having in my home.
    Excellent work !!!
    Thanks for the post.

  14. gbadcock@yahoo.ca says:

    Wow great layout lots of things going on at once. Hope one day mine turns out half as good. A long way to go yet to get It up to were your layout is. Don’t seem to have time right now and when I get time don’t seem to have the funds to do what I would like to do with It. Anyway thanks for sharing a great layout. It was fun to watch.

  15. Ray says:

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Chris says:

    Awesome, I have N Scale and you have given me some look into a rocky hill, I have been looking around and some things just did not look right.
    Thank you

  17. Paul O says:

    Mike, I just loved the thunder storm @ 1:45 of the video!
    Perfect camera angle with the lightning reflecting off the coal tipple.
    Excellent modelling.

    Paul O

  18. Tim Morlok says:

    Mike, nice layout and great video. Just a operating comment from a retired railroader : if those are hazardous loaded tank cars you need one buffer car behind the engine and one ahead of the caboose. Tim

  19. John Deamer says:

    WOW mg Mikew it just gets better well done

  20. Mark Piznik says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful! Great craftsmanship and eye for detail! NJ Mark

  21. Alan Roberts says:

    Super Mike, so much going on.
    I loved those Santa Fe diesels. As
    a boy, I had a book with one on the cover when I was about 10. Been to the States a few times and done the Rocky Mountaineer I Canada. They stopped building nice looking locos in the 1950’s. They are all so ugly these days. Australia and NewZealand have similar locos and herein the UK they are no better. But maybe its just me!
    Great layout anyway. Alan. UK

  22. Wayne Pursh says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Real eye candy. I am in the process of building structures for my layout and detailing the city area. One year into the project and scenes like this keep me inspired. Congrats, Mike. Thanks.

  23. Voxsacra@outlook.com says:

    Wow, Mike! Fabulous layout with great sounds. How did you produce the thunder and lightning storm? Ultra realistic effects your sound is fantastic. I’m (finally) been given room in my home to build a railroad, and I want an “empire” like yours. Your video has convinced me to go full DCC. Thanks for sharing your layout!


    Jon in Jersey

  24. Nicely layed out Mike
    and lots of great detail…
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  25. paul Otway says:

    A really neat layout.

    Paul from OZZie

  26. wayne sund says:

    Great looking layout Mike. I’ve only been building my layout for 12 months, just plodding along doing a lot of ‘scratch build’, and some of your scenes have inspired me for some ideas for my layout (HO).

  27. Ian Mc Donald says:

    that is one great layout. so busy with all those train just great to watch, quite a few times I must say. the detail to scenery is superb. not short on finding ideas thanks a lot hope to see more.

  28. Desert Rat PHX AZ Tom says:

    Really amazing I am a 72 yr old beginner it must have cost a fortune. I don`t have pockets that deep, I have been watching this site for a while now and this is the most impressive work I have ever seen. Please keep up the good work. Tom

  29. Gary says:

    His layout is great, love the scenery! One thing though, his layout looks like 1950/60 scene and the modern Train and some lighted signs (Amtrack) does not fit in with town or landscape. But overall GREAT.

  30. Ken Stramel says:

    Very nice. All so real.

  31. Bill Koester says:

    Great photos & video !!!

  32. Austin Wilson says:

    Stunningly beautiful Mike. I highly doubt my layout will ever be that superbly done like yours. I have a very large layout with an even larger rail yard and continue working on it, almost daily now that it is winter time and I am semi retired now. Love my HO scale DCC layout with my mostly CN engines.

  33. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    Very nice, appreciate the hard work it took.

  34. fred day says:

    my god most of this is so good i can only imagine the time and effort going into the layouts . a question for you all if you all had a $100 or so budget for engines what brand would you recommend and are there any to avoid

  35. ARNIE STEINER says:

    Hi Mike,
    Impressive amount of detailing; looks like a very busy locale. From the looks of the rolling stock and structures on the layout, I take it is free-lance and eclectic: that is, not focusing on a particular era, or railroad and location, but instead integrating it together. Just having fun running trains! Nice job. – Arnie

  36. Larry Johnson says:

    I really enjoyed looking at Mikes layout . It really is a terrific one. Way to go Mike keep up the great show.

  37. JAY T. says:


  38. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks Mike for sharing.. I love videos as they really describe a person’s layout. Great job! Cheers Rossco Adelaide, Australia

  39. Bob From Towson says:

    HOLY MOLEY MIKE!!!! WOW, I thought my layout was starting to look good but man you have blown me out of the water with yours!!! FANTASTIC !!!!!!

  40. THOMAS says:

    The video was cool but the sound is not real and it is way too loud !
    Thanks for having trains that run !

  41. Robert Brady says:

    why do most modelers begin with Santa fe locomotives ? Bet it’s the war bonnet.
    Great layout. Don’t quite understand the 50’s era mixed with the 2000’s era though
    The Critic

  42. Brian Rockey says:

    Wow! Lots packed in there Mike, great layout and quality video. Thank you.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  43. Lester Wayne Larrew says:

    To Fred Day,
    I have been model railroading since 1963 (I’m 87 years now) and to answer about what engines to avoid most of the time you get what you pay. I have both dc and a few dcc. As for dc, I like Mantua and Athearn. Because I only have 3 dcc engines, I make no comment on them

  44. Eric Kiehl says:

    Man that is a awesome layout, the scenes and scenic routes are unbelievable looking. Details are the best part of a layout and you nailed it.

    Very nice

    Eric the Firefighter St Louis Area

  45. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Great layout. Only comment is the landscaping between the 2 tracks going into the tunnel. In reality I doubt this would exist as the maintenance of that central section would be so onerous as to make it impractical in reality.

  46. jack masarie says:

    Great, Mike. Truly inspirational (“I can do that”). Your sound on the video is GREAT (especially the thunderstorm). Better than the canned music that goes
    with so many videos.
    Shlack in NC

  47. Mike Balog says:

    Hi Folks: Thought I would Chime In. (1.) The Layout is Great, Lot of Buildings, give a Sense of Industrial Settings. Liked the Video, with the Stream Train coming into the station, with the Arrival Announcement… Wondered about how many times in Real Life do you see a Train going thru or Under a Coal Loading Facility used for Locomotives? Wouldn’t that be on a Yard Track Off the Main Line? (2.) Wish there was a Layout Plan or Drawing to Refer to…
    (3.) Regarding the Overhead Walking Bridge… There is another method to allow passengers to get from the Station to Board Trains on the opposite tracks…. Use an Underground Tunnel. You can make a Simulated Stairway by the Station, with the “Stairwell Cover” next to the Station Platform and another one on the other side of the tracks… Common in Large Towns and Cities… Like an above ground Subway Stairway Entrance.

    I remember growing up in Bridgeport, CT. the Main Station had those in order to cross over the N.H.R.R. 4 Track Main Line. AND When the New Haven CT. RR Station was Renovated and reopened in the late 1980’s, They rebuilt a Tunnel that lead from the main Union Station underground crossing under the 4 Mainline Tracks…

    Where I Live now, near the VT. / N.H. Border,,, the White River Jct Main Station, has an Underground tunnel between the Station and the Post Office, So the U.S. Mail could go from the station directly to the Post Office in Bad Weather… The Tunnel and Elevators from ground level are still there. The Metal Grating Covers with the elevator are still operational. Though have not been in use for years. Would be very easy to model, just make a 8 ft long x 6 ft wide raised base with a corrugated metal cover, similar to a basement Bilko Door used on residential homes. You could make this using aluminum foil glued over some balsa wood for a cover door.

  48. Mark T. Pianka says:

    great layout looking good a job well done!!

  49. Bill Crumrine says:

    Now that is a model railroad layout!!! Really neat and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the video. Congratulations.

  50. Erick says:

    Looks good, I hope comes out that good.

  51. Allan Jelinek says:


  52. Fred Driver says:

    Looks great, but thought tram was travelling a bit too fast and didn’t stop long enough at stops.

  53. Berniedoc says:

    You brush a little clear chalkboard coating on your engines, cars and even buildings to remove the shine,makes them look even more real.

  54. Tom says:

    Ken Merrick is right on TRACK …. Grew up there myself . Enjoy the original colors of L & N diesels. Went to U of L in the early 60’s… Very nice Layout !


  55. John Sims Gray Sr says:

    this layout is so cool

  56. robert dale tiemann says:

    reallt nice set up.

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