N scale Canadian layout

Fred’s been in touch with his N scale Canadian layout:

“Hi Al,

These picture have been a long time in coming and my friends and I are nowhere close to being finished.

We are in the process of an N gauge layout on a very large scale probably not to be finished in the near future but to be done with a lot of love and a sense of accomplishment.

The layout is under a two car garage with lots of room. This is a Canadian layout “Canadian Union Rail Road—CURR the Dog Line” located just north of Port Perry Ontario Canada.

We are not rivet counters nor are we using any fancy power systems. There are three separate lines and a yard with transformers for each. We just like to watch the train go round especially when they tend to pass each other.

Although tracks are powered they tend to be set up as static scenes (our choice). My friends, who deserve a lot of credit are John and Joe. We get together once a week when possible and “play trains”.

John has done most of the work on Johnstown and Joe has spent valuable hours on the prison called “Joeville Arrest Haven” I have been responsible for the ravine, the park, the campsite, the nursery, the storage area and the parts of the farm that have been completed.

The city will be called Frederickton and every one will be making a contribution.

The hills you see are made from cans of insulating foam covered with plaster cloth and paint and of course scenic materials. We are trying to use as little bought material as possible. That is why your web site has been a gold mine. At the end of the pictures I have included a set of Christmas led “white” lights; cheap and easy to setup and work on batteries that will last quite a long time if you were only using then for sometime night effects (I will supply more information if any wants it).


N scale model train prison

N scale canadian layout

N scale canadian layout sidings

N scale canadian layout factory

N scale canadian layout tunnel

model railroad houses

model train houses

model train track

N scale farm

N scale track

N scale farm barn

N scale bridges

N scale canadian layout

N scale canadian layout

N scale canadian layout

N scale canadian layout scenery

N scale steam locomotive

N scale platform

A big thanks to Fred for sharing his N scale Canadian layout.

Now on to Joseph, who has a question:

“Hi Al,

A question for you and / or the subscriber community. I’m going to have an almost 20′ by 20′ space to set up my first big HO layout.

I have a track plan idea for a 12′ x 14′ layout. I’m thinking of semi modular table construction using 1×4 perimeter framing with cross braces on 2 foot centers, a sheet of 1/4″ ply to keep everything square (and level hopefully) and 1″ foam board on top of that for a working base.

My question is will that give sufficient strength and rigidity for the layout?

I’m planning on putting the 2×4 legs 2 feet in from the ends as the plan is for 4 such tables joined in an open semi circle which would give fairly even spacing to the legs rather than having pairs of them next to each other.

Attached drawing shows the table arrangement – the small rectangles on drawing are 2×4 legs with casters so the entire layout can be pulled away from wall for layout construction access, then pushed back against the corner of the room for operation (the 1′ x 2′ foot section in the upper left is to accommodate a 2′ x 3′ HVAC duct in the corner of the room). The four tables will be bolted together.

My big question is this construction strong enough or do I need heavier lumber or go 16 inch on center for the cross bracing?

Any suggestions or comments are welcome.


model railroad bench work

Lastly on to Dave:

“Hi Al, just had a day up at NYMRailway, and managed to capture some good footage with A 4 Sir Nigel Gresley back on there.

And of course a few more pictures and footage of this Steam Gala



A big thanks to Dave and to Fred for sharing his N scale Canadian layout.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – and who can help Joseph? Please leave a comment below if you can.

And if today is the day you get going on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

12 Responses to N scale Canadian layout

  1. Colin edinburgh says:

    Dave. Thanks for the video of Sir Nigel Gresley out for a run. Interesting to see the condition as she reverses under the foot bridge. Looks like she had been working hard for some time and could do with a good wash and polish. Thanks again great to see the magnificent locos in action

  2. Keith says:

    Hi all, I have just dismantled my current N gauge railway 6′ x 3′. I am now starting to design another one at 8′ x 3′. I want to incorporate at one end, part of a small UK airport (around 1970’s era) including a terminal building.
    My question is, has anyone out there built one from a kit or designed and scratch built any buildings? Any suggestions, plans most welcome.
    Many thanks for all the great layouts and modelling tips.

  3. Greg Marples says:

    Joseph, I am a retired carpenter and may tend to overbuild things, but here is my opinion: Your 1 x 4 structure should be fine at 2’ centers, you may want to add another leg along the 8’ side to lessen the flex if you have to put any weight on the table, also brace the legs. 1/4” plywood plus 1 “ styrofoam concerns me. At least go 1 1/2” foam and glue it to the plywood with styrofoam rated adhesive, or use 1/2” plywood (probably best anyway). This will save you problems with flexing later on. Have fun!

  4. George Zaky says:

    The only comments I have is I would use 3/8″ or 1/2″ Ply and cross brace the legs
    You are the best. How is the leg coming?
    Big Al

  5. GaryM from Long Island says:

    Fred….. wonderful layout. Great looking bridges. You and your friends have put a lot of work into it. Send some trains running pictures.

  6. Erick says:

    Pretty kool? I hope mine comes out that good.

  7. Rob says:

    I would certainly concur that minimum 3/8 plywood is needed. It’s probably cheaper to buy 1/2″ CDX anyway. You might want to consider hollow-core doors. Not easy to reach the center of a 4′ width…

  8. Bob Muhme says:

    Fred, with John and Joe, your Canadian RR is quite nice with great landscaping! Please send photos of your trains or a video!
    Joe with the table question… go with the suggestions of a thicker top. Or I might suggest Homasote if you can find it, it’s what I use successfully. If you’re doing any quantity of hills and/or mountains, I suggest the newer lighter materials…I used old fashioned plaster and the table (32”x 96”) has gotten Quite heavy. Also use cadres and adjustable legs to ensure tables can all be leveled.
    Dave, great photos and videos of a beautiful day with the steamers!

  9. Bob Muhme says:

    Correction…in my email replace ‘cadres‘ with ‘casters’…gotta love Spellcheck!

  10. Al Otis says:

    Joeseph, I’ve had great luck with the 1×4 on 24” centers but agree with the others use 1/2” plywood. I would also suggest 2 layers of foam for more rigidity and it gives you great scenery options

  11. steve gotwals says:

    Joseph, My frame is similer to yours, the two foot spacing has been fine, I have
    1 inch foam but 1/2″ plywood. My problem came when moving my L shaped
    platform on adjustable caster wheels, not easy to roll on carpeting. I had angle braces on the legs, but needed to add some horizontal ones for better support.

    enjoy, hope this is helpful,
    Steve in Ohio

  12. James says:

    Really nice layout. I was excited to see the farm layout. I have the same red barn, chicken house and white farm house on my layot, too. Keep us updated as you and your friends make more progress on this nice layout. Really enjoy the pics.

Leave a Reply

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