O / On30 layout update – Bill’s

Bill’s been back in touch with is O / On30 layout update.

I know I use the word ‘stunning’ too much, but it’s hard not to when pics like these land in your inbox:

“Hello Al

I’ve been plugging away on the construction of my O/On30 portable layout.

The 4.5’ X 14’ layout is in three sections and I’ve been working on scenery in section one at a time.

I’ve added in a number of pictures showing the layout as it sits today.

I have been spending time after work in the garage doing a little each day.

The construction techniques for scenery are the same as in the videos I sent in some weeks ago.

On one side of the layout with the O Scale trestle to the top of the trees where the On30 tracks run is a vertical separation of nearly 42 inches.

I wanted to make dramatic cliffs with vertical rock strata in that area.

I’m hoping that at some point this year I’ll be able to take the layout to a show somewhere nearby.

I love our hobby and I want to excite the next generations of modelers to have a lasting impression and make a start.

Take care and happy modeling!!

Bill in Virginia”

on30 scale model railroad forest

on30 scale steam train oil freight

on30 scale layout bench mountains

on30 scale mountain forest

on30 scale trestle bridge forest scenery

on30 scale trestle bridge tunnel mountains

On30 scale painted backdrop

on30 scale steam train freight shed

A huge thanks to Bill for his On30 layout update.

Stunning pics – if his layout doesn’t inspire a few people to pick up this hobby, I don’t know what will.

What’s more, everything Bill does looks fun too.

Here’s his last post – the video really does show he’s going at his own pace and enjoying himself.

And here’s Bill talking us through a different layout.

It’s no surprise Bill’s in the Hall of Fame, where you can see more of his stuff too.

As one of you wisely commented:

“If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right.”

That’s all for today folks. Do leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Bill’s progress.

(Perhaps you are like me, I seem to spend more and more of time reading the comments.)

Please do keep ’em coming – I’ve never known it so quiet. I really would have liked to do a longer post.

And if today is the day you hit the fun buttion and get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

28 Responses to O / On30 layout update – Bill’s

  1. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Outstanding layout today. It shows what a good design and planning can bring to a layout. Loads of interest and if this doesn’t insure new blood to the hobby I’m not sure anything would. Well done.

  2. James says:

    Dramatic scenery…wow!

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Totally outstanding , picturesque . It takes you on a journey.
    The Critic

  4. Brian Rockey says:

    Incredible scenery Bill, the whole thing looks so real.
    Regards to all.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  5. As Al says Stunning

  6. John says:


  7. Robert Kent says:

    Stunning is an understatement 👍

  8. Rob McCrain says:

    Wow, the trees.
    Rob McCrain

  9. John says:

    Very nice! Thank you Bill. And thank you Al, for delivering such wonderful inspiration to us every day from around the globe. I look forward to these invaluable posts, and we learn something every time!
    John, Phila. USA

  10. Kevin McArdle says:

    Amazing layout, and an example of a lot of railroad in a small space by going open grid and vertical. Wonderful example of craftsman modeling, thank you for sharing.

  11. George Zaky says:

    I have been watching your progress with this layout with anticipation and awe. You inspired me to create a plan to include a mountain scene with ON30 & below it in S scale.
    Your genius and talent is very much on display here and, without getting too political, brings such joy and light in a time when all the news is is bad. I look at your work and marvel at how you came up with that design and then make it so professionally.
    Big Al
    I hope you interpret the ” big” as how important you are to us. You are the first thing I wake up to with my coffee and when I see something from the greats like Bill it just makes my day. Everyone’s contribution is special and the best are the informative ones to show us the way and your work to display it all does not go unappreciated.
    Thanks to all

  12. Brian Olson says:

    Stunning pretty much says it all. Perhaps Spectacular!

  13. Brilliant, gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking all come to mind when I saw Bill’s post!!!! So Al ,
    keep using stunning when you get e-mails like this!

  14. Marklin ed. says:

    Wonderful layout the bridge and mountains are spectacular. Please show us more soon.
    Now a thanks to Al for all the emails, and all who add their Knowledge to this website.

  15. Jim Robinson says:

    I’ll add my accolades to the many already tendered. I especially appreciate the “long shot” that shows a good part of the overall layout. Too many contributors focus almost entirely on close-ups. Your presentation is a good example of a balanced display. So, Kudos, not only to your excellent work, but also on the way your present it to us.

  16. Erick says:

    Look good.!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  17. Ruben Simon says:

    It’s nice to see the house in some of the photos as a reminder (and proof) that these are all part of a model railroad and not snapshots of the real world, they look so incredibly real. Just exquisite!

  18. Frank Fleury says:

    THANK YOU for all the work YOU do in keeping this blog alive and, of course, WOW!!!!! to what I see others doing. As a result of visiting a friends home/layout a year ago, I hav once again jumped into building a layout which I hope will actually come to fruition. have just moved into a space that allows me to actually build the layout and as I start its construction, I promise to send in regular updates.
    Thank you again.
    Frank Fleury
    Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

  19. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Stunning is it! Great photography too!

  20. Bob Carlson says:

    The trestle reminds me of the Goat Canyon trestle in Eastern San Diego County. Check out the trestle in Wikipedia. It is the worlds largest wooden trestle. As I understand it wood was chosen because of its low coefficient of thermal expansion and the wide range of temperatures it must withstand in the extremes of desert heat. This trestle is built on a curve as well.

  21. David says:

    WOW! SUPER JOB, Outstanding use of space and dimension.
    . I have voted you into my R.R.X. Hall of Fame.

  22. Harold says:

    The photo of your benchwork framing was very informative. I have often wondered how different scenes were formed before covering with all the ground works.

  23. Phill from Milton Keynes england says:

    Well done I’m still trying to build mine started of as a Christmas present 5years ago still buying

  24. tim says:

    Very nice work on both layouts!
    I am having trouble. My layout has a reverse loop that is elevated. Am in O guage. The rise is 3.5 percent on a 112 inch run. My table is only 5 x 10 feet. The “choke” point is where the elevated track crosses over the beginning of rise and needs approx 4.5 inches clearance between the two . My question to “O” scalers is can a 1954 magnatraction loco with 4..6..2 wheels pull more than a couple cars up that steep a slope? Anyone with any experience regarding pulling up steep slopes? Thanks in advance. Tim

  25. Greg says:


  26. John Tumolo says:

    Another example of why we all find On30 to be so much fun-seems that just about anywhere you can lay HO track you can have an O scale narrow gauge layout-the only caveat is watch your radius if you want to run longer equipment. Great job!

  27. Tony says:

    Great work I really like the rock and cliff work r they carved styrofoam and plaster also great trees thanks tony

  28. Stephen Dean says:

    What an absolutely fantastic, detailed layout. It is very inspiring indeed. It is wonderful to see such detail. It makes the layout so life like.

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