Model HO scale coal processing plant

Joe’s been back in touch – this time he’s added a model HO scale coal processing plant – and logging operation too:

“Hi Al; back when I began planning the layout, I decided that I wanted no less than 36” radii on the two main lines with a minimum od 34” on the short lines.

I did not want to place the engine yard/facility in the middle of the layout nor the main passenger station either.

I also wanted the yard to be outside the mains. That would mean more room inside for sidings and the town.

I had a 14’ x 30’ room to build in and came up with a 12’ x 8’ table.

Anyway, you’ve published 100’s of my pics in the past but here are som of how I utilized those corners.

This first group is the “west” side.

Over the back “West” corner is the coal facility. The engine is now operated by “San Juan Coal”

This is the Santa Fe Depot at Grants, NM

 model ho scale coal processing plant

model passenger train

HO scale station

HO scale town

model ho scale coal processing plant

Here are photos of the “East end”

The logging operation supplies the sawmill on the outskirts of town.

model train water tower

Overview of the engine facility – sand tower and coaling tower

model ho scale coal processing plant

Engine facility with 2-8-0 over the ash pit.

Loading logs for the sawmill

logging operation

Overview of the “East end”

model ho scale coal processing plant

Keep posting Al! Great to see what others are doing.


A big thanks to Joe for sharing his model HO scale coal processing plant and logging operation too!

As you all know, I do love an update – and you really get a sense of what’s invloved in putting a layout together with Joe’s earlier posts:

HO scale lumber yard (Joe’s previous post).

12×8 HO scale (Joe’s very first post).

That’s all for today folks, except for one thing… thank you so much for all your email and words of encouragement.

Most of all, thank you to everybody that has supported the blog by buying the track plans PDF and Beginner’s Guide.

And thanks also, to the very kind people who have just jumped straight in and become members.

With membership, you get lots of printable building downloads, volume 1 and volme 2 of the track plans, and more posts.

You can stay a member for as little or as long as you like. No tie ins. No questions. Cancel direct with my payment processor or me with zero fuss.

Please do keep ’em coming.

Just so you all know, I’ll run the track plans PDF offer and membership until Sunday, then I’ll draw a line in the sand and decide what’s best.

Thank you so much for all your support, I really, really appreciate it.



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11 Responses to Model HO scale coal processing plant

  1. santafedan says:

    Joe, nice layout. I like the backdrop.
    Also, Grants station. Kit? Scratch?

  2. robert dale tiemann says:

    really nice set up. the back drop is very good too.

  3. william james palmer says:


  4. Rob McCrain says:

    Great southwest layout, Joe. You captured the feel of the Santa Fe well. There is lots of detail and little vignettes to tickle the eye. Well done, Rob

  5. Todd R Schroeder says:

    Awesome these pics give me more fuel ⛽️ to add more to my layout appreciate it 👍.

  6. Jim AZ says:

    Nice. Everyone likes your backdrops and I do as well. Great scenes and very well detailed.

    Jim AZ

  7. Nancy Schweitzer says:

    Joe, your work is terrific! Never had been to Santa Fe until you took me there. You also shot me back to my childhood home, Mile High City, Butte, MT! The similarities are overwhelming. Decayed granite, tree line, sparse landscape, dominance of train life and happy working people. So exciting to travel with all our modeler friends around the world. Thank you and Al!
    Nancy now of Gig Harbor

  8. Kevin McArdle says:

    All I can say is “Wow”. Beautiful craftsman layout, and great attention to detail.

  9. Harold says:

    Really nice work. I like the detail

  10. Joe Graffi says:

    santafedan: the depot was just a regular kit i had for years. the Santa Fe sign is a decal that I made.
    Other than the white and gold Santa Fe lettering on the locos and passenger cars, all decals are my creations.
    I spent hours researching designs and more hours watching “how-to” videos on the internet. Somewhere along the way, I wound up with a DVD on background painting.
    I used about every technique ‘in-the-book’ to weather everything. I even created some of my own techniques.
    It has been quite a learning experience and I have had my share of tear-outs, reworking areas, landscaping, and track work.
    I had a track buckle under the coal tipple area and had to move the entire layout away from the wall 18″ and cut in from the back to repair it.
    Right now I am installing signal lights for all the turnouts. 10 ‘dwarf’ signals and 22 for the mainline turnouts as trains approach from both directions.
    I will send photos to Al when I finish the remains 5.
    Thanks for all the positive feedback!

  11. Will in NM says:

    Nice work Joe! You’ve captured the colors and essence of the southwest in your layout. Although the southwest is the “big lonesome” country, I think a few of your scenes might benefit from a few more human figures to add some life to them. Your weathering of everything looks appropriate to the locale and period depicted. Thanks for sharing!

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