More on Rob’s layout extension


Thanks for posting my drawings of potential layout modifications and video recently about the expansion of my model train layout, Farland Howe.

Although I am modeling (attempting to anyway) Britain in 1967 and 68, I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the US. People frequently ask me why I am modeling Britain when I am clearly from the USA. The answer is, I lived in Britain as a child for a while with my family, and we would travel around the country sightseeing by train. I was fascinated with mechanical things at that age and particularly fascinated with the trains. I clearly remember asking my father to take me up to the locomotive for a close up look. I was only 5 years old at the time. As a result, I will never forget the red buffer beams on the steam locomotives at the time.

I started planning Farland Howe July of 2012. My first expansion began March 2013. My newest video is Part Two of a short series which is all about my second expansion, Expansion 2. I plan to show my progress (and challenges) in a bi-weekly video. The Part One video was about the planning stage. The Part Two video shows construction underway.

I am expanding my layout for a couple of reasons. First and most importantly the inclines proved to be too steep for long trains pulled by steam locomotives.

Secondly, I would like to have another bypass (siding) where I can park longer trains that I am not running at the moment. Running long trains was not such an imperative when I started the layout, but I have found great pleasure seeing the long trains run on the layout. Expansion 2 will bring a change to one of layout’s banks (hills). Eventually I may decide to change my other bank, but I have no plans to do it right now.

I really enjoy your emails with links to what others have been up to and all the tips and pointers regarding model railways. I find it very inspiring and have used many an idea garnered from your readers and contributors.

All the best,


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here (HO added to).

A big thanks to Rob for his second installment!

Don’t forget the ‘Big kahuna’ bundle deal is still running for the moment. It’s here.

That’s all this time. Please keep ’em coming.



15 Responses to More on Rob’s layout extension

  1. Nice job Rob , think your plans will be a big improvement

  2. Steve Marnoch says:

    Great work Rob. I look forward to your next installment!!
    Steve (Exeter. NSW. Australia)

  3. Donald F. Wick says:

    One of the best layouts I have seen coming from the other side of the planet. The scenery was outstanding, including the signage and signals. One of the few layouts that didn’t have that “toy like” look to it. Great variety of trains in the video!
    Don Wick – West Bend, WI USA

  4. Anthony says:

    Got me thinking about inclines and the steepness when running long trains. i have experienced problems with switches on inclines , but MR magazine recommends that switches should never be the point of a grade change, changes should be after the switch. I found out the hard way.
    keep up the good work and model Britain if it feels good.

  5. Colin King says:

    Well done Rob, really nice layout.

  6. Ron from Kentucky says:

    Pls be mindful of passenger car over hang on your turn around loop. Be better to xpand the the surface diameter.

    Using long 80′ passenger cars will greatly expose over hang in turn around loops vs shorter freight cars uner 60′. Think wider as well as longer.

    You migth wish to move the inner track as close to the outer track (avoid side swiping) to maximize radius of inside trains.

  7. caw1 says:

    Very impressive. From what I saw, the detailing is superb.

  8. Cameron Davies says:

    Great layout and a great collection of locos and stock. Looking forward to seeing them on the revised layout.

  9. My comment is on the quality of the video.

    One of the best produced videos I have seen as you can clearly understand everything the narrator is saying first of all. The use of different locos and train configurations made this an interesting video I wish more of the videos were as well thought out and done.

  10. john roat says:

    you should stagger your track, move the flex side about half inch
    or to what works , less track noise , better wear less problems
    of derailment a little more work but better finish product.

  11. THOMAS says:


  12. Rod Mackay says:

    John, are you maybe in the US? Over here our track is normally laid with the joints alongside each other, not staggered like they are Stateside. That’s why British and most European trains in the movies ought to go clicketty-clack (pause) clicketty clack, you can always tell a cheap Hollywood job on a train movie that’s supposed to be set over here, by the soundtrack featuring the constant railjoints and the dopplered ding-dinging of American level crossings! Of course, nowadays we use almost all long-welded rail but there are still large parts of the network with proper clicketty-clack. It also means our trains tend to bounce gently on dipped joints (those little green diesel railcar sets like in the video couold be particularly lively) rather than sway from side to side like Amtrak.

  13. Angelo says:

    It’s the USA… We can model what we want to where we want.. Do your best work and pretend that nobody else matters..
    My two daughters live in the Denver area.. I recently spent the winter there and at Caboose Hobbies.. I have been saving N gauge trains and accessories since the early 70s and have mostly steam engines.. I think I am finally going to build a modular layout.. I have 4 4X4 plywood bases plus buildings and track..

    I’m a regular reader of Alistairs emails .. They contain many good ideas..

  14. Jim Stefanich says:

    Al….thank you for all the good work you have been doing to help us model railroaders.

  15. David Thomas says:

    Rob, great job. I did notice that the trains on the inside track seamed to sloe down and lose traction. I had this problem also. I discovered that when I laid the flex track on a curve the ties were not aligned properly making the distance between the rails narrower creating drag on the car trucks. Using a rail standard gage I was able to realign the ties. After the fix my trains had no problem around the curve.
    Hope this was a help for you and others with this problem.
    Dave Thomas

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