More railroad pics and tips

“Hi Alistair.

Farm and Station area now finished here are the pics, still to do the water in the middle, I’ll get around to ti soon I hope



“Hello Al,

Just puttering around waiting on the conversion of my locomotives to battery and Radio Control.

I finished up putting together the Oil Refinery in staging form. I have yet to add detail and some figures but thought I would send it along as a follow-up to my last entry. It was a fun little project and I used up some bottles, empty spray paint cans, PVC couplings and a lot of plastic straws. Although not even close to things Tom has in his layout (can you believe the detail and workmanship) it won a spot in my little railroad.

Bob Miller”

And lastly, Tom has been back in touch after all your comments on his layout:

” Thanks to all the readers that responded with great comments. I will try and send a few more photos soon. I can tell you that this On3 layout has been in Narrow gauge Gazette along with my Gn15 diorama, other bits and pieces of my work can be seen in S scale magazine, MRC and soon in MR.

The bad news if you think of it this was is that I’m tearing down what you saw in the photos, selling it off and going to indoor G scale…..WHY I need to get more detail into things, while I had interiors in most of the foreground buildings I just wanted to do more with the background and O scale is just not big enough.

There was a partial DVD made by Lou Sassai for Model RR magazine a few months ago if you subscribe to it you can watch it on their web site.

I from time to time do a lecture for model RR clubs, called ” Making it look Real”
and sub titled “and doing it cheap”

I will share a few of my basic thought’s but let me describe a bit about why I did some of the things and how it was built.

The room itself is about 24 x 28 feet not a whole lot of room for O scale with in this space I needed a fairly good size work area, storage (lots of storage you understand how we MRR’s collect things)

What to do; well one thing that has always bothered me was going to view a layout and looking down on roofs and being able to view in many cases the entire layout all at one time. Not to mention trying to make electrical repairs on your back on a cold concrete floor.

The very simple solution raise it up to eye level, I’m a little over 6’1″ so my is right about shoulder lever, whats the advantages, one you can work under the layout without breaking you back. This also gives you lots of space for storage and endless work space I found that using Kitchen cabinets raised up on a 2 x 6 makes a perfect height. Second the perspective if so much better you looking into a scene not down on it and let explain that my layout is at the deepest point just a little over 3′ in depth…..surprised, most folks are but at that height you can force perspective to the endth degree. I have in on corner a port scent which looks like it goes on forever by placing building at certain angles you can’t see directly at anything and with in that scene I have gone from O to S to HO and finally down to TT and N scale. I works try it some time.

The actual Narragansett RR ran only 8 1/2 miles and as most RR’s rain point to point not in a circle, perfect for me a turntable at each end.

Here is one other point that I would like to make and its something that most of us for get about, when you work in scale thats less the 1 to 1 which of course the real thing. That you should tone down or subdue your colors I’ve seen in many magazines photo’s of great work only to be spoiled ( in my opinion only) Grass that is of such a color that it belongs in a cartoon on TV. NOTHING IS ONE SOLID COLOR
even if you paint a room in your house the light that comes in the window will change the color from one area to another. Same thing in nature.

Before I really get off on a tangent one last thing keep in mind that around the area that I live in NY, power poles area min. of 44 feet tall, I know there are shorter pole that run along the RR tracks thats fine. But city and rural poles are much taller, same thing go’s for trees those trees have been around for many many years and in most cases we build them maybe 20′ high, take advantage of their height and fullness they can hide a lot of sins.

Thats all for now, please email me if you have an questions. Next time I’ll try and talk about using live, free stuff to make scenery.


Tom Pres. CEO & mostly janitor…Narragansett RR On3, Gn15 and soon to G scale”


I shall post the link to Tom’s ebay listing as soon as he lists them.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to jump back in to this fine hobby.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

11 Responses to More railroad pics and tips

  1. Perry says:

    Thanks to Stuart for his pictures. The farm is exactly what I was looking for, for some inspiration. I have an almost exact duplicate of space and cliff on my N scale, so now I have something to move ahead with. I was toatlly lost with the space, having tried several things that just didn’t work

  2. THOMAS says:


  3. Roberto says:

    Brilliant points Tom: eye-level and tall trees. I’m going there!

  4. Bob Lipstreu says:

    really need help..working with a friend on his German/Alpine railroad.all Marklin 1950 it is time to do scenery and sounds.ican not find sounds like yodeling. a German band, cow bells ect.does anyone have any knowledge of systems or recordings?

  5. Chris says:

    Hi Al. thanks for the photos of stuart’s farm, love the detail. also great photos of the oil refinery, was thinking along those lines for my layout and has now given me some more inspiration, keep ’em coming

  6. paul Otway says:

    Nice layout Tom, how much do you want for it?

  7. Frank Goodman says:

    First, all photos and ideas are good, actually better than good. Thank you to the contributors. Second, one idea I really like is the height of the table/operating RR. At 6’1″ it sounds extreme, BUT I like it. Maybe slightly lower for me, but a great idea. Stools, standing platforms for the grand kids and shorter folks. Why??
    I have scoliosis, spinal stenosis, 2 herniated discs (L4 & L5). Need epidurals. Walking is impaired, and leaning over is rough. NOT LOOKING FOR SYMPATHY!! Just a fact of why I like the height. Use an automotive “creeper” with an added back rest to get under and work on wiring.
    If I can’t quite reach an item/scenery, etc, use one of the platforms created for the spectators. Going to raise my layout up (it’s in very early stages). Thank you to all, Frank G.

  8. Andy says:

    Very nice

  9. David Wiechecki says:

    Great detail…nice job.
    A suggestion (to all who submit photos & story)…
    Please start with stating the scale and overall dimensions of the layout.
    Also please submit a full layout photo (or 2 or 3), even if incomplete, then the small scenes.
    It really helps get a better visualization of the integration, and how things come together.
    I am truly inspired by the many creative submissions.
    I am using many of them to plan my reactivation into a long dormant hobby of my youth.
    Thanks to all & God bless your creativity and inspiration.

  10. Will in NM says:

    Stuart, You did a beautiful job on the farm and station areas. Was the station a kit or did you scratch build it? Regardless, it all looks very nice.

    Bob, Nice job on the oil facilty. Is it O or G scale?

    Tom, Your On3 layout looks fabulous. I like the idea of the extra height for working underneath. I have my small HO layout in an extra bedroom but I’m thinking of moving it to the garage where I could raise it and lower it on pulleys. Seems like that would give the best of both worlds: down when you want to have the bird’s eye view and up when you’re working on the wiring or want the more natural perspective. How much of your 24 x 28 foot train room is used by the On3 layout you want to sell?

  11. William Orton says:

    That’s an awesome layout. Best of luck with new layout.

Leave a Reply

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