N scale Canada layout

William’s been in touch with his N scale Canada layout.

I love the way he picked his theme, era and scale:

“Hi Al,

Thank you so much for persisting with these posts. It has helped me to see what others are doing, how they are doing it but mostly you have encouraged me to carry on (albeit very slowly).

I just turned 80 in a few weeks ago and looking at the pix on this machine I got your book and started on my layout over seven years ago! Sigh!

As your book highlights planning is important; but before you plan you need to know what you want to do, and for a first layout, that is hard (or was for me anyway).

What I decided I wanted was a cross section of Canada in my younger years and to convey a sense of space.

I just measured my total layout (not all shown here) and it comes to 137.5 square feet which I work out to be 81 acres.

So I knew at the start O or HO scale would not work for me. I looked at Z scale and decided it was (a) expensive and (b) hard to find CP and CNR running stock in Z. So N scale it had to be.

I also decided my time period, which maxes out before the formation of VIA rail which was in 1977.

But I am not much of a purist, so if you notice that some car looks like a 1978 Monte Carlo, please forgive me.

So the next step was to grab space. There was a room we used as a store room at the foot of the basement stairs. I built shelves along the back wall for some stuff. The rest went (in many trips) to the Goodwill or the Sally Ann.

The door opened inwards, taking up valuable space. I replaced the door with a sliding door, but that involved moving the doorway about 8 inches. Then I tiled the floor ( but I still haven’ grouted it).

The layout sits on blue construction foam or white foam scrap which in turn sits on 1/2 inch ply.

The right hand edge of the layout folds down to allow access to the closet and one set of shelves is reserved for panels (mostly old floor tiles) which hold shopping centres, car dealers etc. when the folding part is in the down position.

Electrically the layout is a bit different. For the track power there is no common ground. The layout is powered by multiple little plug-in transformers which drive 3 Bachman controllers and 4 DC controllers I got off ebay for a couple of bucks each.

The layout is blocked into multiple sections and no adjacent sections share a controller so there is no possibility of a short. (This is a bit like the old electric shaver outlets in bathrooms.)

It was my early intent to automate the running of the layout. To this end I bought two banks of DC DPDT relays. They are still sitting in their packaging.

Surprisingly my 81 acres supports four towns – Knocnarea in the tourist area by Lake Notalotawata, HillTop Village, the town of Yester and Smogton City(to be constructed). 

Each town has its own railway station. As well as Knocnarea, Union, Yester and HillTop stations, the area is served by Yester-Smogton Regional airport (YSR) which has barely a one thousand foot runway (the planes are 1:200 SCALE).

Night landings are prohibited – I am still in the process of installing the runway lights and caution must be exercised departing YSR on runway 19 as an immediate right turn is required to avoid entering the closet.


starting model train layout

N scale Canada waterfall

N scale farm orchard

N scale dinosaurs

N scale carpark

N scale dinosaur bones

N scale Canada steam train rock face

N scale Canada curves before station

N scale station

N scale airport

model train village

model train farm orchard

N scale Canada horse field farm

N scale Canada farm

N scale train room

N scale dinosaur

N scale boating lake

N scale car park

N scale downtown

N scale module

A huge big thanks to William for sharing his N scale Canada layout.

I love the way he bought the Beginner’s Guide 7 years ago, and just made that start.

One of the many wonderful things about this hobby is that you go at your own pace, and that’s where a lot of the enjoyment is I think.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if William has inspired you to get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Got a model train question? Ask it here: Model train answers.com.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

21 Responses to N scale Canada layout

  1. Michael Glass says:

    I’m 68 ,i have been a Model Railroader a long time, your pictures are beautiful, i collect both HO and N Scale of Amtrak, cars, & they are beautiful.

  2. David howarth says:

    Veery nice ;layout you have built there William , love it with plenty of scenics ..Dangerous Dave

  3. Ellis James English says:

    Beautiful you have captured Canada as I remember it. Can I ask, the scene with the orchard. Possible to put a wagon there loaded with hay ready to unload into the barn?? Thats how I remember our farm and my 22 apple trees, I miss the days of pressing cider. great job.

  4. Brian Rockey says:

    Nice job William. Some original touches such as the dinosaur dig and the crashed plane.
    Best to all.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  5. Stephen Hill says:

    Most incredible display sir . Everything looks so detailed and thought over , you really have done a superb job indeed . Absolutely fascinating! Thank you .

  6. Bill in Virginia says:

    What a wonderful layout you have there. Looks like you are really having fun as you build it out. Great job!

  7. Rob McCrain says:

    Great layout. Your scenes are very realistic and at times whimsical. The archeology dig is really clever. A very nice layout indeed.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  8. Gary says:

    Very inspirational

  9. Tony, Kitty Hawk, NC says:

    William- excellent work! I love the airport!

  10. Bill Butler says:

    “caution must be exercised departing YSR on runway 19 as an immediate right turn is required to avoid entering the closet”

    I just ’bout fell out of my chair! Great comment. I can hear ATC saying that.

  11. Gary M from Long Island says:

    William….. wonderful looking layout…….very colorful

  12. Will in NM says:

    What a fantastic layout you’ve built in just 7 years. You give me hope that I might yet finish one of the three layouts I’ve started. I’m 75 and began to wonder if I’d live long enough to “finish” one of my layouts.

    I love the dinosaur dig site and the crashed plane scenes. How did the plane manage to land there without clipping off that tree next to it? The details in your layout are amazing for N scale. I had some N scale equipment but decided it was too small for these old eyes and clumsy hands.

  13. Mr. Ron from South Mississippi says:

    I like the names, like “lake Notalotawata.”

  14. Dave Karper says:

    Great name: Notalotawata. Am I seeing a Spitfire crashed in the farm?

  15. William Kelly says:

    Thanks to all of you for the kind comments. I was a bit reluctant to post as much of the work on Al’s site (that you folks do) is so amazing. To answer some questions: Ellis, yes there is a plan to put haybales on the hay wagon. As to the plane Dave, it is a Wings of War Cammo Spitfire. I have three of the 1:200 scale planes. One is a Zero which I am trying to convert to a Harvard.

  16. Yale M Schiffman says:

    William: Lots of great ideas. Loved your layout and all the subthemes you have. I I’ve been working on my third layout. This is my final layout and it has been 8 years in the making. Also N scale and I am 84. Still hope for us old guys. I’ve shared some pics. Guess it is time to do an update.

  17. william janmes palmer says:

    outstanding work

  18. Rich B. says:

    Nothing wrong here either, water hues and mountains are absolutely right and also think dino dig sight is perfect addition. Now both featured layouts this A.M. are good size RR’s also and some thought out comments and ideas.

    Sure, more as these good to see out there also. The modeling results in itself show the talent and not some thrown together “joker” theme from just the photos.

    Regarding, Rich

  19. Steve Ruple says:

    Very nice layout, wonderful pictures. Great job !!!

  20. robert dale tiemann says:

    dinosaur, nice touch. very nice layout.

  21. Arthur Joseph Romano says:

    I like the track plan. Very creative with lots of points and crossings.

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