Model railroad christmas layouts

John’s been in touch to add to the collection of model railroad Christmas layouts:

“I have some pictures of my temporary Christmas Village/Train layout.

We set this up starting after Halloween and try to get it done by Thanksgiving. We then enjoy it until late January when we take it all down, box it up and get it back into storage.

We have been doing this in some form or another since 1986. It started back in California where we had a bay window shelf that needed a bit more Christmas spirit.

There was a shop in El Toro that sold plaster of paris buildings depicting Santa’s North Pole buildings, trees, and characters. These came as bare white castings that needed to be painted. My wife, mother-in-law and I decided to each buy a building and give it a go.

We started with Santa’s workshop, a Mr. and Mrs Claus home, a barn and several characters, trees, and assorted accessories.

Over the next couple of Christmases we had completed a nice little village scene that worked well on the bay window shelf.

I do not have any digital pictures of this display but probably have some slides or other pics up in the attic. After moving to Texas in 1991, my wife discovered the Department 56 Dickens village series and we started the new collection.

After a few years we had enough of the Dickens village pieces where I was able to set up a board layout on the floor with a cut out spot for a tree with removable pieces that allowed us to slide a decorated Christmas tree into the right side of the display, then put the board pieces back in place.

We had purchased a Dickens Village Railroad set that used HO gauge track and railroad cars that were scaled to fit better with the Dickens Village.

This was a limited edition set By Fleischmann’s Magic Train series and I set up a layout that would wind through the new Dickens Village and then around the tree to Santa’s North Pole village where we had set up all of our hand painted items that we had brought with us from California.

We eventually gave the hand painted items to my wife’s daughter, her husband and our three grandchildren. It has been about fifteen years since then and I don’t think the original set has survived.

I did however, keep one small item from the original North Pole village we had created that I proudly have put to use in our current display.

A small sitting elf character has been put to use as the engineer in the CCVR engine of our original train.

Best regards,


model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

model railroad Christmas layouts

A huge thanks to John for sharing his model railroad Christmas layouts, and it seemed right to save it for today.

That’s all for this time folks, except for one last thing – I’ve had a few messages that the ebay cheat sheet hasn’t been firing on all cylinders over the last day or so.

I’ve updated the code and it should all be fine now. Please do have a look and let me know.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if your Christmas presents won’t keep you entertained today, there’s always the Beginner’s Guide.



41 Responses to Model railroad christmas layouts

  1. Kevin McArdle says:

    Merry Christmas to all.

  2. Ron says:

    Very special and very nice. Thanks and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  3. A great layout and story with which to celebrate Christmas. Indeed all the ones that have been shared are great. Al – don’t apologize for getting into the Christmas spirit, we all need a bit of cheer these days, and these have provided it. Happy Christmas to all, and a special thanks (again) to Al for keeping the world turning.

  4. Lovely Christmas railway.

  5. Very seasonal …Christmas joy on a layout …🎄..Dangerous Dave

  6. dan robinson says:

    Love it Merry Christmas, and all best to you all.

  7. Emyr Jones says:


    Hope the snow does not melt and cause electrical shorts!

    Merry Christmas all.

  8. Roger Campbell says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone and hopefully a better New Year

  9. Cary B says:

    That’s a very awesome holiday themed layout John. I had a 48” circle HO with our tree set in the middle. Thru out a couple moves, cats in the tree and little ones tinkering village maintenance ran out of budget for repairs. The layout was discarded 20 years ago.
    I decided this year to do a O scale on a 42” round dining table ( with my wife’s blessing of course ) it’s simple to start with a newly purchased Lionel 0-4-0 B&O switcher. along with some Christmas themed cars from the 4ft X 8ft family room layout.
    Just got set up and running last night. The Great grand kids are coming over today and I can’t wait to see them run the train. Cary from New Market Maryland

  10. Bob Amling says:

    John you’ve created a wonderful Christmas layout! I’m going to put this up on the TV later and share it with my wife..
    A Happy Blessed Christmas to all.
    Bob in Colts Neck Crossing NJ

  11. NJ Mark says:

    What a wonderful family, Christmas tradition. That was a great gift. Cheers! NJ Mark and Merry Christmas to all!

  12. Lloyd Andruschek says:

    Love reading about the layouts and the great pictures

  13. Lloyd Andruschek says:

    Love the layouts and the great pictures

  14. Wonderful pages weekly and your efforts are much appreciated. A merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year.

    Best wishes


  15. Bill in Virginia says:

    A wonderful Christmas layout!! Merry Christmas to all

  16. george zaky says:

    Great story & layout. Merry Christmas to ALL and a Healthy & safe New Year.
    George from LI, NY

  17. John Hauser says:

    Just a wonderful Christmas layout. I love the detail of the village, much love and work went into creating this . THANK YOU for sharing your labor of love. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  18. Mike in NC says:

    Fantastic! After much scouring, I finally found Jolly Old. Really made me smile! Well Dome.

  19. Tom says:

    That’s really great.

  20. Bob Muhme says:

    John, that’s a great story and a beautiful winter scene Christmas layout you had!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!

  21. Jonathan says:

    Al, Merry Christmas to you and all my friends in England, Scotland and N. Ireland. With all the difficulties we are all dealing with, you have thousands of us from countries all over the world enjoying something in common. The politicians could learn something from your approach. That is, find the items that your constituents agree on and use that as the foundation for building a strong and lasting community. I know things are tough over there now. Please stay safe and healthy. As we say, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Jonathan from Pennsylvania

  22. Bill Holt says:


  23. First let me say “What an amazing and wonderful Christmas layout! The elf in the cab of the Magic Train engine is truly an extra special element.
    Merry Christmas to all and to all a very happy New Year.
    May 2021 be a year of blessings to one and all.
    I will close with this, it is what I grew up with…
    “Feliz Navidad Y Prospero Ano Nuevo.”

  24. Robert Kent says:

    Brings back many fond memories Thank you for sharing. And a Merry Christmas to all and a healthier 2021 to all

  25. WILLIAM W Smith says:

    merry xmas to all nice lay out

  26. Jim AZ says:

    Very nice. You have some great looking scenes there. My brother-in law does the same thing for Christmas. I’ll ask him to post. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all.

    Jim AZ

  27. Al.

    I get a great deal of pleasure with Dave’s vids, not only for his meticulous layout and his incomprehensibly wonderful Scottish accent. but for your punch line, that you think “he’s on the sherry.”

    My thanks to all who have shared their layouts with us.

    Let’s hope 2021 is kinder to us than the currently unmentionable one.


  28. Benjamin Wright says:

    Really nice! Merry Christmas to all my fellow model railroaders! God bless you all! Thanks for this website Al!

  29. Dave and Gloria says:

    What a beautiful layout and story! Merry Christmas to each of you and stay safe. We are having Covid Christmas. Last night we met in our daughters front yard, all masked and distance. We exchanged boxes of wrapped gifts and bags of ingredients to all make the same Christmas dinner, which we will eat together on Zoom and open our presents.
    Seeing all of your beautiful trains every day has been one activity that hasn’t changed. Thank you, Al, and all who shared.
    Dave and Gloria

  30. Ron Nelson says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all. From Sunny Florida Ron

  31. John says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

  32. Robert Bone says:

    Very pretty layout. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas to all.

  33. Robert N says:

    John: A beautiful set up. I love your Dickens village pieces and the way you have distributed them. I have about 90 pieces, but have reached the age where it is too much work to set them all up with the trains. Still have two large curios with some of them on full time display. Your display energizes the joy of Christmas.

  34. Buddy Gerard says:

    This is the most thought out display of trains ever. The detail and planned houses as well as the buildings placed close to each other leads to a wonderful thought process put into the planning. Great job, really enjoyed watching.

  35. Robert Zimmerman says:

    Nice layout. Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy.
    Wishing you all the greatest blessings of this holy season.

  36. Joseph Boyle says:

    Very nice brought back a lot of memories. Thanks

  37. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Merry Christmas All!!! And a round of BEER GOES TO Alastair Lee for making this all Happen!!!!! God Speed All!!

  38. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Merry Christmas to all and wishing you all a better and successful New Year.

    Love all the Christmas layouts…..

  39. RICH FATH says:

    Absolutely FANTASTIC, I REALLY ENJOYED the photos, those buildings are so alive!!!!

    Rich in Warminster Pa.

  40. Daniel Wood III says:

    What a beautiful display!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  41. Patrick Ross says:

    Each of these layouts are, in essence, works of “art.” The passion put into each work, and the joy derived from doing so, can be clearly seen and felt. As a 6 year old in 1949, I received my all-time favorite toy, an American Flyer set. This was a very modest set. My family didn’t have the means for more, we didn’t even have a Christmas tree. As an adult I added some engines, cars, buildings, buildings, track. Still, very very modest. All of this has been in storage for almost 25 years. Long, retired, our home simply doesn’t have the space, and that’s okay. For 15+ years, I have assembled a display under our holiday tree, which consists of a 6 piece (including engine and tender) battery-operated and remote-controlled train (Home Depot – $25.), which revolves around an oblong loop of 20 pieces of track. The “scenery” of this layout consists of nine lit buildings and several smaller structures … my nostalgic, small-town, All-American village. Back in the 1950’s I envied the massive Lionel layouts of my friends, that possessed all the moving life-like accessories. In setting up this display each year, as modest as it is, I still feel the passion and joy in doing so. A rich imagination allows me to appreciate and enjoy many memories of long ago. My father was a Conductor for the NY Central Railroad. As a young boy I road the trains with him on a few occasions. At about age 8 or 9, myself and another boy of like age got to ride for about 5 miles in the engine cab of a Canadian National RR train, in northern Ontario, Canada. Memories … happy to have them. I appreciate having them stirred by this forum, where the passion and joy of our like interest remains alive. Thank you to all. Happy Holidays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *