N scale coal mine – Jeff’s

Jeff’s been in touch with his N scale coal mine:

“Hello from the Bare Mountain Railroad!

This N-Gage railroad is, sadly, no longer in existence.

Took 20 years to build, and less than a day to demolish since we were moving.

Some scenes were saved and taken by a very fine group of people who helped me out, doing an amazing amount of work and not quibbling the least in which scene to save. Amazing!

Basically, the railroad depicts the state of Fremont which is–as everyone knows–a VERY small state located between Kansas and Nebraska.

The entire state is laid out here, from Capital City to Hicksville and Millvillage, where the passenger trains congregate.

The Bare Mountain RR (bare since I was too lazy to make thousands of trees) has one main customer, the JMK Mining Corp. Their coal mine and breaker/ coal cleaning plant is featured prominently.

There are two freight yards (since I knocked the wall down years later and doubled the size of the layout).

Needless to say, that didn’t go over well with the rest of my family since the basement was now all MINE!

Rock Hall, MD”

N scale coal mine

N scale coal factory

N scale coal factory

n scale freight

n scale control panel

N scale bridge and tunnel

N scale freeway construction

N scale coal mine

N scale coal mine freight

A big thanks to Jeff for sharing his N scale coal mine layout.

He wrote one line which really stood out for me:

“Took 20 years to build, and less than a day to demolish since we were moving.”


When it comes to coal mine layouts, I always think of Rich’s coal mine railroad.

And let’s not forget John’s coal mine layout.

Now on to Brian, who has used a mirror to make his layout appear bigger, and show off some of the detail:

“Hi Al

I think we’d all agree that the railway modelling world is, not wishing to be controversial or sexist, largely made up of us men, although there are of course some great lady modellers out there such as Kathy Millatt (those of us in the UK remember her as one of the judges in the TV prog Great Model Railway Challenge.)

Kathy has her own very informative and instructive YouTube channel – well worth regularly dropping into. Getting back to my point, I’ve noticed on many of your posts, that wife’s and partners are often either directly involved in the layout or offer help and suggestions.

My wife falls into the second category and one classic example was when I finished my finely detailed Metcalfe OO mainline station and placed it on the layout.

Wanting to achieve maximum size curves, my two main lines are on the edge of the baseboard resulting in the platform side of the station facing the wall backboard – all that lovely detail, platform rooms, awning and passengers hidden behind the structure of the main building.

Talking it through with ‘she who always has a solution, but keeps a firm handle on the budget!’ a mirror incorporated into the backboard was suggested. Picked one up online very cheaply (ticked that box) – the perfect solution. I think the photos attached show it works great.

Thanks as always Al.

Brian, Wokingham, UK”

model railway mirror

model railway mirror platform

Clever stuff from Brian, now lastly on to John who has a question on his expansion packs:

“Thanks Al for all the info. I am a beginner and have purchased basic train set and ALL the extension packs.

I managed to set it up according to the map, but thought I would do my own layout, managed to get some sort design, and tried to run the train, it went about 1/3 of the track and stopped, no light on the control knob. checked all the connection, can not work out what is wrong.

The 4 little connectors that you use to give power to inner track are very loose, don’t seem to have a good connection, what am I doing wrong?

Are there any design ideas using the expansion packs, please.



Please do leave a comment below if you can help.

That’s all for this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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.

8 Responses to N scale coal mine – Jeff’s

  1. John Birch says:

    I find it difficult to understand from your description, exactly what is causing the problem. If you send me a photograph or diagram of your layout and a photo of the loose connection, I will try and advise. Good luck.

  2. Rod Mackay says:

    If there’s no warning of a short on the controller, and you can’t hear a cutout inside it clicking in and out, it seems unlikely to be a short circuit, however if the loco stops when you change a set of points, just check you haven’t laid out your track in such a way as to create a turnback loop, where the loco can end up going back the way it came – that would create a joint somewhere where a positive rail meets a negative one.
    If the loco stops as soon as it passes a particular joint in the track, it might just be the fishplates that join the rails together are dirty (although that seems unlikely with new track) so you could try bridging round the joint with a short length of wire and see if it restarts.
    If the loco stops on the sharpest bend or a kink, it may be it’s being lifted or that a bogie or pony truck is turned far enough round to short on some other part, so try easing the bend.
    If it stops somewhere different every time it might be dirty wheel treads, they do need a clean every so often.
    Good luck!

  3. Good idea with the mirror ….it enhances the station giving more depth

  4. Brian Olson says:

    Very clever and I especially appreciate the creation of his own “State.” I live in Georgia but my 6×12 N Scale Layout is inspired by the best selling novels by author C.J.Box and is set in Wyoming. (Where we used to live some years ago)

    I’ve also experienced taking down a well established layout, this prior to us moving from Colorado to Georgia to retire. But a great example of the power of imagination in our wonderful hobby.

  5. George Zaky says:

    What an awesome layout, in N scale yet. I hope you resurrect a new one and get back some of those fantastic creations.
    Brian- great idea using a mirror.
    You dont say what scale. You may have to run additional power wires to areas that have been cut off by switches. The only thing loose should be your underwear. Everything electrical should be secure, solid contact, and have electrical continuity or you will have grief and frustration.

  6. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Jeff….. Great layout……scenery and rock formations fantastic….. I look at my layout and wonder how I would dismantle it……. I would love to hear how you did it…….what did you save, what did you throw out…..? Sorry to see it go.

    Brian……terrific idea……nice going.

    John….. I think Rod Mackay covered most of it……if it was a short the controller would give an indication……. if its in same place all the time that would indicate loss of power. Back track all your wiring and connections…. good luck.

  7. The frustration of all the hassle of track power is why I’m going with wireless remote with onboard sound and rechargeable battery power supply. Using a dummy diesel loco as a battery pack and running wires to powered unit. Costly but no power to track is needed.

  8. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!!!!!!!

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