Model train yard design

Gary’s been in touch with a fab update on his model train yard design:

“It’s been about seven months since I last sent an update on my HO layout of the PRR Sunnyside Yards.

I had completed about 95% of the Engine Yard and have been working on the Commissary Yard.

I have added a road coming into the yard, a South End Yard Master Tower, the Commissary building with a small US mail service, Coal Bins for the electro Power Plant, a small electrical station, a road construction scene, the North End Yard Master Tower, a Hobo camp, the north end shanty, a lunch wagon and a maintenance crew repairing a broken guard rail along the road coming into the yard.

It is by no means completed but the major structures for the yard are in. I still have some open areas that I need to fill in and I have to decide what type of ground cover for the commissary yard to put down so that the ground does not look like a painted plywood board like you will see in some of the pictures.

I also have to add some detail to the Con Edison shack by the power plant. But like the engine yard, to which will be adding the train washing machine, I will be tweaking and changing and adding to the commissary yard.

I don’t think you are ever really finished; there are always changes and improvements.

I know I have to work on the ground cover and even out some of the edges of some of the scenes.

Some of the scenes, I did off the layout and then laid them into the layout; but the edges are too obvious.

One thing about taking pictures of your layout, looking at the pictures can highlight some of the flaws and things that you would change or improve on.

But at least finally I am going to get to work on my engines and assembling passenger trains for the passenger yard.

There are six tracks in the passenger yard and tracks 2 thru 6 will be upgraded to have magnetic uncoupling so that I can change engines on the trains.

Since I am running this layout with DC, I will also add blocks on the beginning of each track so I can control the power to the track the way I have done to each of the engine yard tracks. And of course there will be some scenery and trackside details in the passenger yard.

Future work that I have is to finish the ballast of the tracks, replace some switches with under table switch machines, upgrading the two main line tracks with blocks and signals so that I can run multiple trains and bring trains off the main line into the yard.

I also plan to build outside the yard a White Castle Hamburger restaurant. This will be from scratch because I cannot find a kit for it anywhere.

I have taken pictures of the Whit Castle near my home and will build the model from those pictures.

When our crew worked at night we would go to the White Castle on Queens Boulevard on our breaks. I think it is still there.

I am also going to add a road north of the yard that will have a gas station and a Harley Davidson motorcycle shop. Both of these businesses were close to Sunnyside Yards.

Last but not least, deciding on a backdrop. I have pictures of the factories that were along the north side of the yard and I am going to see if I can get them enlarged and mount them behind the layout.

If you go on-line and google pictures of Sunnyside Yards, you will see the buildings and factories.

Now, on to the pictures I have sent along with an explanation of each one.

I must tell you that I found doing the buildings and scenery and the details took me a long time.

It was a very slow process because I tried to get it to look as realistic as possible.

I have seen the work that your Hall of Famers and other modelers have done and always been amazed at how realistic they can create their scenes.

model train yard design

Overview of Commissary Yard looking south

model train yard design

Overview of the Commissary yard looking north with the engine yard on the left

model train yard design

South End Yard Master Tower

model train yard design

Delivering supplies to the Commissary

model train yard design

Staging yard for supplies

model train yard design

Preparing supplies along Track 1

Busy work at the Commissary

Overlooking the Commissary Building

Crew repairing broken guardrail

Lunch Wagon

Loading mail for front end of the passenger trains

Handling the coal for the power plant

Construction on the driveway

Pigeons on roof of power plant

Hobo Camp

North End Shanty

model train yard design

Lunch at the shanty

model train yard design

Feeding the pigeons at the shanty

North End Yard Master Tower

North End Yard Master Tower

model train yard design

I had to add a picture of the Engine Yard

As always, thanks to Al for posting our work and keeping this site so important and enjoyable. Thank you Al. Keep up the great work. I look forward each morning to see your nest post.


Gary M from Long Island”

A massive thanks to Gary for putting this together – I hope you enjoyed his model train yard design as much as I did.

And if you want to see how important making a start is, here’s Gary’s first ever post.

Once you’ve made a start, well, things just roll along then:

Gary’s second post.

Gary’s third post – he needs a little help.

Gary’s fourth post.

Gary’s fith post.

Gary’s sixth post. This one’s a humdinger.

Gary’s seventh post – an electrical problem!

Gary’s eigth post.

Gary’s ninth post.

Gary’s tenth post.

Gary’s eleventh post.

What a journey, eh?

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if Gary has inspired you, I suspect you’ll love the Beginner’s Guide.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

19 Responses to Model train yard design

  1. Malcolm hodgson says:

    Wow Gary!

    What an amazing amount of detail you have in your layout. I lost count of all the cameo scenes you have created. So many excellent ideas. I am going to have to borrow some to add some more human interest on my own layout.

    Keep up the good work.

    North Wales

  2. Robert Brady says:

    Gary, You da man ,busy, action almost a story behind your rail road.not over crowded just a lively town. Bravo sir
    The Critic

  3. james says:

    Gary, Walthers has a White Tower Restaurant kit. It’s number 933-3030. Maybe it could be modified to be a White Castle?

  4. Cary E Price says:

    Hi Gary, wonderful scenes, love all the activity, it really brings it to life! It must have taken some time collect all those accessories and vehicles. Thanks for sharing. Cary in KY

  5. Mike in NC says:

    Great work, Gary…love the details – they make the layout interesting! Enjoy the White Castle project as much as a bag of those suckers… spent a lot of time in the one you referenced growing up in Queens!

  6. george zaky says:

    Memories of commuting on the LIRR looking at the steam leaking from turnouts, the circus, AMTRAK trains, and the ever changing scenarios.
    Now you have to dirty the place up big time. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing.
    Be well & safe
    George from LI,NY

  7. Bruce says:

    Flat white lego bricks in various sizes could be used for white castle

  8. Bob Amling says:

    Great work Gary, I see that you like all the detail scenes, they are great! I only saw the yard twice in person; once from above and once from the rear cab of an Amtrak engine on the way to Boston.
    Bob in Colts Neck NJ

  9. Greg Schaefer says:

    I was going to suggest the White Tower kit, but James must get up earlier than me. If you get rid of the Tower on the corner of the building and flatten it out a bit, it should be very close to accurate.
    The commissary area looks very realistic. I would like a little more trash on the ground. Truckers get their coffee from those old vending machines and throw the empties on the ground. Cardboard boxes tear. Nobody ever sweeps outside the building. Pallets break. (At least in Chicago, that’s how it was on Randolph Street).

    Another idea that could help give the impression of activity, would be background noise. (If you haven’t already done it). Parked trucks idling, air brakes being released, pigeons fighting over a free lunch. That could be pretty easy to do if the volume wasn’t too high. So even though your trucks aren’t moving, it would seem like trucks are moving somewhere in the area.

    Overall, you are doing a great job. I enjoy seeing your work..

  10. Erick says:

    Pretty neat. Mine is going look something that. Keep up the good work.

  11. Fantastic work…
    I love the kitbash you did using the DPM “Cuttings Scissors” for the Commissary.

  12. Johnny says:

    That is really attention to detail. Great Job

  13. Bob From Towson says:

    Gary, Gary, Gary, The cameos are great !!! Fun isn’t it????

  14. John Floyd says:

    Very well done Gary, I love the scenery!!

  15. john thorogood says:

    The GG-1 repair yard was in Edgemoor Delaware. Most people just said Wilmington but to us Delawareans it was Edgemoor. Use to sit on the bridge and watch the GG-1’s go in and out until the local fuzz chased us away. But we always came back. Those things could sneak up on you they were so quiet that’s why they had such a unique horn. The sound it traveled far. If you were close enough as the horn was blasting you could feel the vibration in your cavity chest.

  16. Mike Ormsby says:

    Although you have got buildings up and the layout has details and added vehicles and the like, it’s time for you to ballast the tracks and dirty up the layout.

    It’s a start!.

  17. Rich says:

    Wow Gary – beautiful work. Thanks for bringing back some memories for me. I’ve been out of Queens for 25 years but your project and descriptions made it seem like yesterday. Such wonderful realistic detail. Can’t wait to see the next set of pics when you get the ground cover figured out. Again WOW

  18. Brian Rockey says:

    Great job Gary, lots of detail.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  19. Chester Karlewicz says:

    Walked over Queens Blvd Sunnyside yard everyday when I worked in Long Island City at the old Pan Am building. Your yard looks just like I remembered in the 90s with the yard master tower at track 1. Great job

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