Clark’s N scale city layout

Clark’s been in touch with his N scale city layout:

“Hey Al!

As everyone else has mentioned, thx for all the continued stream of layouts, literally from around the world! I have greatly enjoyed them, and thought it was about time for an update on my own efforts.

I sent in my first post to you a little over a year ago, and thought it was about time to let everyone see where I’m at.

I designed in N scale a simple, constant running, 3′ x 5′ layout to learn all I could about the hobby. I’ve been an avid fan of this hobby for as far back as I can remember. But I retired at the end of 2019 so decided to build my own.

I always had it in my mind that if I were to build a small layout like this, I’d just make it all city, since there was nowhere to run to & from.

I’d have a freight train and a passenger train that could run simultaneously. I also wanted a trolley in the setup, as I remember seeing one as a kid at our local museum layout at a very young age.

I’ve reached sort of a landmark, in that I’ve finished all of the structures, lit them, and added street lights as well.

I plan on making a video of “night time” running that I’ll send under separate cover.

LOT’S more to complete . . .


N scale city layout

N scale city layout

N scale corner shop

N scale tram

Model train tram

model train store

N scale gas station

N scale store

N scale bridge

N scale house

N scale factory

N scale wharf

N scale water

N scale bridge

N scale track

N scale city layout

A huge big thanks to Clark for sharing his N scale city layout update.

If you want to see his last post to see how much he’s done, it’s right here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming, it’s jolly quiet this end.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

model train answers

29 Responses to Clark’s N scale city layout

  1. Ruben Simon says:

    Very realistic, except that all the lights on in nearly every building in a city just wouldn’t be happening. I know that factories that run at night, which are mostly one huge room, would all be lit, but most of the non-factories at night would have many of the windows darkened…unless this was from 5-10pm. But even then thrifty people wouldn’t have all the lights on in every room. Maybe go through each building and see if blocking off some of the windows would make the layout truer to life.

  2. Brian Messenger says:

    Clark, I think that you have done exceptionally well for ‘n’ scale.
    I love the lighted buildings and some of them showing an interior.
    Well done.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna RSA 🇿🇦

  3. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice layout like the way you did the buildings, like the ballast job also. Great Job!

  4. Raymond Clark says:

    Looks good.
    Whoever makes street lamps doesn’t seem to understand scale 🙁 I use N scale lights on my HO trolley platform. I’m not sure what you could have done differently

  5. Erick says:

    Nice workmanship But to small for me. I hope mine comes out that good.

  6. Marklin ed. says:

    I like the lighthouse, clever the way you put the coastline there. Very good and interesting layout.
    Thanks again Al for the site.

  7. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Clark- Nice work- and a great concept! Keep the updates coming!

  8. Jim AZ says:

    Nice. I like the city concept and the detailing is really good. I can appreciate a modeler who would sacrifice garage space as that is where my layout is. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  9. James says:

    Really nostalgic, you don’t see gas stations like that anymore !

  10. Dave Anders says:

    Beautiful layout. Great detail. The layout needs people, however, to avoid looking like a ghost town.

  11. Jim Robinson says:

    Some of the best weathering I’ve seen on the buildings.

  12. Joseph Mamourian says:

    Great layout! I think you did a fantastic job with limited space. No doubt it can hold someone’s interest for hours. I would love a few tips on how you laid your trolley track. what did you use under the cobblestone sheets to keep the street and track level? Well done.

  13. Frank says:

    Very interesting. I was wondering if you plan to add more vehicles and people.

    You really got a lot within such a small space.

    Frank in Florida

  14. david howarth says:

    All looks great Clark

  15. Clark says:

    To Joseph Mamourian:
    I used standard Kato track, straight & 6″ radius curves. So what I did was “build up” the city blocks around it, with typical presentation foam board (I used two layers, but it has to be exactly 1/4″). Then I used DAS air dry clay (could have used plaster I think) and a cobblestone impresser I found online to form the streets.

  16. Allen from the US left coast says:

    Beautiful layout in any size space and wonderfully done in a small space. Can post a clear track plan?

  17. Brian Rockey says:

    Wonderful modelling.
    Wokingham, UK

  18. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi Clark. All looks great. Very difficult to get good quality finish and fine details in N gauge. In reality the degree of difficulty goes up in proportion to the reduction in scale. Please continue to post and keep us all up to date

  19. Rich B. says:

    This is ultimate for the size. Not a RR with city and ocean scenics but the building of a decaying city/world with a train sneaking through. Never gave a thought to go in reverse. Is this Elizabeth, NJ? See an awful lot of things that are Deja Vu (sp?) and Broad St….

    Could see much more on this anytime at all. Very easy on the eyes and well thought out.

    Regards, R

  20. Kenneth R Fox says:

    Nice detail on the rocks, bridges, buildings, and ledges, but trying to cram a 3 tier layout in such a small space is not very realistic. It’s not meant to be as realistic as it is to be fun I guess. At least you mentioned the overall size of the layout, which I appreciate.

  21. Kenneth R Fox says:

    Pardon me….4 tier.

  22. Ken Holbrook says:

    Hey Clark, you did a great job putting this together. Please disregard the peoples comments who criticize and say your layout is not realistic. If it were theirs and in their garage then they spout off all day long about it. I love the adage “my layout, my rules”. I agree with the person asking about people. It doesn’t take many people to create scenes within your city or around your layout. I don’t know if this is too late or not, but the first thing I do when I’m adding a building is to black out a couple windows with black tape. Not so much with large factories but with smaller retail shops or offices. But it’s your choice. You’ve done a great job!

  23. Brian Olson says:

    Structures and water features are impressive and proof, again, of just what you can do with whatever space you have available.

    It’s all about imagination and creativity.

  24. Kenneth R Fox says:

    I agree about Mr. Holbrook’s comment when he says that realism does not necessarily play an important part of a layout. Of course, the main objective is to build something, no matter how big, tall, or small, that one can have fun with. It’s Clark’s layout, detailed as it may be, and that’s all that matters. So enjoy Clark and may you always have fun with what you have created. I was not meaning to be critical, but just expressing my opinion. N scale is not my my cup of tea, but everyone has their own particular idea of what works for them. It’s not how big or detailed something is, it’s the fun that one derives from what he has created.

  25. Red says:

    What an amazing layout!
    Wish I could switch to “N” gauge, but I don’t have the money or the tedious skills for that small a scale!

  26. Steve Ruple says:

    A very nice layout you have with a lot of scenery, great job !!!!

  27. robert dale tiemann says:

    li like it.nice terrain.

  28. James says:

    Looks good man!

  29. Glenn Dean Holden says:

    The buildings are fantastic- by the way, you can buy cheap voltage converters, to lower some of the light output.

Leave a Reply

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