Mike’s train show layout

“Hi again Al.

Started this layout in March after I sold the Seattle Pacific Science Center Show layout. That was HO scale, Copper Canyon is in N scale (Think I forgot to mention before,sorry).

Layout is on 3 hollow core doors with a sandwich of foam topped with thin veneer. From that point it’s pretty much all foam. Carving tools and track laying.

Then comes the plaster wrap and plastering. Moved out of house to train shed for finishing. Originally was 2 doors with 3rd added later to include the sawmill and ocean waterfront scene. It has a mainline with continual running and shortline that runs off the main with a short consist with switchback operation to make a complete loop back to the main.

MRC basic DCC with 3 controllers.1 for each consist…Keeps it fun…. And now it’s time for it to go away to make room for next year’s show…. It takes me about 9 months to complete a layout up and running…All for now….

















“Hi Al,

I visited the Scottish Model Railway Exhibition in Glasgow this weekend, and came across T Gauge

If anyone hasn’t the room for a larger gauge layout, they could try this.

The rolling stock is very small indeed. See attached picture.

All the best, and thanks for keeping the community going.



A big thanks to Mike and Paul – Paul’s pic reminded me of quite a few of the layouts on the site that really are tiny. The suitcase one always sticks out in my mind.

There you go folks, please do keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet if you want to bag a bargain.

Or if you just want to get off the armchair and get your hands dirty, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



30 Responses to Mike’s train show layout

  1. Rod Mackay says:

    T gauge is very clever but haven’t yet seen any pointwork or indeed any T gauge train running at less than warp factor 7, no doubt in time the technology will improve dramatically but I would think twice about it at the moment. You can have a small but very satisfying switching layout in N scale which will be far easier to see, detail, clean and operate, in not much so much more space, or if you’re really pushed for room and have a bigger budget there’s Z scale.

  2. I like what I saw and want something in that size and category. What’s the price tag for something of that size to be built? Thanks in advance for reading and responding to my msg.

  3. Don J says:

    great looking realistic mountains and structures.
    one comment== place coal mine off of mainline by tunnel.
    make a separate run around track for the mine would be better and look better also.
    good work

  4. Ben Hawkins says:

    I would like to see a Video of your layout running, Anyway, Looks Great.

  5. Somchai Chantananad says:

    Mike’s layout is superb i am into American N scale and would love to have this layout or one very similar.

  6. Lee Barry, CEO LZPMRR says:

    wwhere can one buy a “T” gauge set with track, engine ,cars and power pack. I have seen videos of them but have only seen one and that was in 2014 at Nat’l Model RR Show in Cleveland,Oh. There was one set up. I have asked several people about getting one but everybody says they are not available. It is my understanding they run on the same principle as the the old Lionel Magnatraction. I have seen a video/commercial showing one of them T track trains going “up a wall and then back down. Try that with your Z,N,HO O or G sytems, hell most won’t stay on the tracks on curves at a high speed, especially if the outside rail ain’t elevated. I am only interested in a new, never been out of the box set, but will look at other ones.

  7. Don Stanley says:

    Impressive!, all in 9 months and then start again, Impressive!

  8. John Berger says:

    That’s awesome!

  9. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Answer: There is actually only one mainline runaround for the passenger train, all other tracks are short-line delivery/pickup. For the ones that asked, this layout is available for sale so that I can recoup funds for next years show. I don’t know contact rules for Al’s site here but will add my tele number and see how it goes. 360-420-7479. Thank’s to all who left comments, Mike

  10. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Added coment: This layout is expandable also to create a larger more detailed one. Also what I forgot to mention in the dessertation is that all the waters are Envirotex, slightly colored with the ocean water having seaweed and sand. Mike

  11. sure a hell of a lot of round hay bails where are the hay fields being all I see are mines and mining equipment and do not tell me that’s what they got off the land after clearing the forest away cause that’s bullshit ant you know it lol but nice layout but crowded as a most are that we see lol / hell I would hate to repair any of them locos or cars with my big short stumbie fingers lol

  12. Eppi Santiago says:

    What a remarkable layout, amazingly good.

  13. Helmut Eppich says:

    Excellent pictures. Reminiscent of “Model Railroader” Magazine coverage. Loved absorbing all those great images of different layouts. Pleasant memories.

  14. Helmut Eppich says:

    These are excellent pictures, reminiscent of those “Model Railroader” Magazine photo layouts. Was always interesting to see the differences in style of each railroad setup.

  15. Dr Bob says:

    Nice detailing of your scenery, should be quite a sight when you’re finished. I have seen the layout a few times at the Pacific Science Center with my grandson (school trips, etc). Very impressive! What made you go from HO to N? Keep up the great work!

  16. Bob says:

    Really like all the red dessert sandstone. One of the nicest layouts I have seen with respect to making use of relief.

  17. Dan Marso says:

    My layout table is only 4X8, HO . Would think about converting to N , but D&WRR has so much invested in HO , it would be prohibitive, to replace all the HO stuff. I can’t even imagine building a layout every 9 months,! But going to train shows and selling the layouts is great. We don’t have many shows in New England any more, several of the shows have closed, which is sad. Thanks for the great pics, and all the tips !

    Dan Marso

  18. nice layout
    excellent detail
    look fwd to your next
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  19. jJIM OREILLY says:

    ho is my gauge how many man hours did it take you to do it.

  20. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Reply to “Round hay balls”….Like to know where you found them as the layout has none…and for the “Hay field”…look behind the small tent-shaped shed…my goodness!!!….Dat’s hay agrowin dere…And the language needs a little clean-up…Reply to “Why HO to N…I do a different scale for each year’s show…Thank’s again for all the added comments…They are very appreciated…Mike

  21. michael brookman says:

    Looks like Mike has a good idea: build and play, build and play, build and play. Like many, I started my layout years ago and only have some track laid! I might try a door layout just to finish one and have something with which to play! Good job, Mike!

  22. deon says:

    great job mike it never fails to amaze me the effort people put into these layouts

  23. Ian Mc Donald says:

    what a great effort in 9 months to do all that, detail outstanding. very good photos.

  24. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Looks Great

  25. Ron Jamieson says:

    Spectacular detail. Would love to see an overall photo showing how the 3 doors fit together.

  26. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    REPLY TO 3 DOORS TOGETHER…First two doors side by side attatched on underside by three 1X4’s glued(Liquid Nails)and screwed….Then door on ocean end same way end to side…Then ocean end cut to suit….Send me your email and I will try to get a couple pics from underneath layout….A little hard to do a it is setting on a table…Mike

  27. DAN says:

    REPLY TO PAUL. IN THE 1950’S IN THE US I started a TT GAUGE layout, then later joined the Air Force.
    In the 1970’s in Southern Calif. I saw a hobby shop that was selling tt and i bought a set. They said companies were going to try to restart tt gauge products. I did research and found TT is very popular in Europe and even in Russia.
    I still have my tt set and plan to use it with my MARKLIN HO three rail AC train set . The tt would be a narrow gauge lumber business .

  28. Helmut Eppich says:

    Fantastic job! Great layout and detail on the entire set. Especially all the realistic scenery. Excellent photography work with those camera angles and shots too!

  29. Bob From Towson says:

    Mike, Congrats to you! I have S-scale AmericanFlyer trains and believe me that is small enough for my tired eyes and shaky hands to work with. I envy anybody that can model such small layouts…its incredible!!!

  30. Bruce in Denver says:

    Fantastic layoutt!!!! What did you use for the mine track rails?

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