On30 train layout

Bill’s been back in touch with his O/On30 train layout – and my word, it’s a stunner:

“Hello Al and fellow modelers!

Been a while since I sent in an update on how my O/On30 is progressing. I still have scenery and some buildings to make for it but major areas are complete.

In fact it was far enough along that I displayed it at a local model railroad show in Richmond Virginia this January.

This layout I have built for the purpose of talking it to shows and hopefully spark enthusiasm for model railroading in future generations.

I still have a year or more before I retire or at least soft retire (do something I want to do for work lol) so this first show was a test to see if the layout would transport well and more important if I enjoyed doing it.

Thankfully the answer to both is yes.

The layout moved well and worked like a charm at the show and I loved every minute of the show.

I was blessed to see the kids faces light up as they watched the trains run. I had added port holes in some of the facia so I could get my hands in if needed but those turned out to be the perfect height for little ones to peer into the layout and see the trains blast by them lol.

The smiles on their faces made it all worthwhile.

I’ve added some pictures of various scenes on the layout. As noted I still have a ways to go but I’m getting there.

I’ve also added a video that shows what was needed to get it to the show, the show and then some afterthoughts once I hit back home.

You will note in the video I talked about engines that bite the dust while running. Be happy to know I have them resurrected already and have added more to more engine roster.

Happy modeling all!

Bill in Virginia”

On30 train layout track curve tramp

On30 train layout steam train engine shed

O scale bench

O scale hut by track

O scale trees

On30 train layout trestle bridge

O scale horse cart

On30 train layout freight car

O scale On30 trestle bridge

O scale On30 train steam lumber

O scale scenery

O scale scenery ravine

O scale scenery trees

O scale On30 track work

A huge big thanks to Bill for sharing his On30 train layout progress – an absolutely stunning layout.

If you’d like to see his last On30 layout post, it’s here.

I have to say, if this doesn’t inspire the young folk to take up this fine hobby, nothing will.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as me.

Please do leave a comment below, would love to read your thoughts on this one.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get inspired by Bill and make a start on your very own layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

39 Responses to On30 train layout

  1. BOB LANDESS says:

    nice work on this layout … this is art … i know the time and effort to take the hobby to this level … so neat to see all the attention you are getting … a lot of kids will remember it for life … i started into the hobby at age of 6 years … now 77 and still into it … going to train show today in germantown tn

  2. JIMMY HUNTER says:

    for many years we had the largest selection of on30 in indiana………..cannot count how many times i would hear a customer say……..”next time i’m doing on30…………fyi…

  3. Paul says:

    Very nice layout.

  4. David Howarth says:

    Bills layout for thwe show is first class


    Among the better layouts I’ve seen! The closeups are very realistic.

  6. Bob Sherba says:

    Inspire kids!? Bills educational YouTube sessions inspired me to get going again with my layout. I would encourage everyone to subscribe to his YouTube channel. Thanks, Bill. What’s next after this layout is completed?

  7. Ruben Simon says:

    Living in the woods, trees are top on the things that catch my eye – and this model is loaded with trees and shrubs of the highest quality. Just beautiful! The entire model is spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

  8. George Zaky says:

    You are to be commended, big time, for your work, tenacity and contribution both to the train show and to this blog. I have always been a fan of your work and your talents and so appreciate what you do. I think I saw most of your videos-top draw.
    Up here on Long Island my garage is about 15 degrees and in a cold snap and I cant bear to go out and work in it. My poor stuff suffers so with the temp swings.
    Please let us know what happens with the engines, specifically the geared ones since my themes are logging Shays, Climaxes and Heislers.
    Big Al- You da man

  9. Gary Pierce says:

    Man you have talent! The detail is incredible, those trees WOW! I’m sure the kids absolutely loved it!

  10. Robert Brady says:

    Such realism captured my attention Bill .
    The Critic

  11. Rob McCrain says:

    What an inspiring layout. So much to see. So many vignettes packed in and beautifully crafted scenery. The benchwork is even a masterpiece. Thanks for letting us see this. Rob McCrain

  12. Bill Holt says:

    AMAZING !!

  13. Lawrence says:

    I went to the train show and saw the layout in person. It is an inspiration not only for the kids but for the adults also. It was the best lay out there and the wife totally agreed. Her favorite spot was the moonshine still tucked in between the trees.

  14. Raymond Peterson says:

    There are many different types of model railroad layouts but I far prefer the ones that strive for realism and exceptional detail. It is obvious but the ability to master the details has to be easier in O than in HO or N. S seems to have disappeared altogether but it also lends itself to more detail.
    This is an exceptional piece of art.

  15. Ron Kehl says:

    Extreme detail! Wonderful!

  16. Fred Gevalt says:

    Trees and scenery are museum grade! I have some terrain and scenery in my layout, so I ‘ve learned how much work it takes. This is truly visionary. Obviously you were able to develop a vision ahead of time, which is a true gift.

    First class, bill, your various scenes are like an early 20th century genre painting. Wow!

    Fred Gevalt

  17. Brian Olson says:

    Love the small scenes!

  18. Jon Kukla says:

    WOW. I guess l missed this in January – would love to see it next time it’s in public, or dare a neighbor hope for a visit?
    Jon also in Richmond VA

  19. TJK says:

    Wow!!!! Bill, that is a huge undertaking with the dis-assemble, transport and assembly at the show. NICELY DONE…….

  20. Mike Ilkenhons says:

    Bill…your attention to detail shows a keen eye of natures palate. Your rock detail is excellent, museum quality (as is the rest of your work). There are shots 5hat could easily be mistaken for a photo of a hike as you walked. Another takeaway for me was that your layout isn’t a warehouse size, but has top quality work. Easily a layout that takes time to study each scene, find all that you put into each. The tree stands are really authentic. Well done mate.

  21. Rick Hamilton says:

    What a joy and inspiration to see your work. I have a 4×8 HO layout in the basement, but nothing to compare with yours. I live near Dulles Airport – wondered if you ever go to the show in Chantilly. If not, if you plan to participate again, I’ll trek down to Richmond next year to see your masterpiece in person. Like you, I have structures in several different materials from multiple manufacturers. My favorite kits are from ITLA. Very high detail and kits can be assembled in multiple configurations.

  22. Dan Kragnes says:

    Wow great work and thanks for sharing. I love everything you’ve done. Very impressive!

  23. David Jones says:

    Bill, I saw your layout at the Richmond show. Wow doesn’t say enough. I was especially blown away with your forest. I couldn’t help but wonder how many trees you put on you layout, and man was your bridge/tressel work fantastic. Add all that to the fact that it is portable. Again I say “ WOW”

  24. Robert Gevert says:

    Fabulous layout Bill!! Congratulations on a show well done. Good to see so many young ones at the show!! They are our next hope to keep this hobby alive. And thanks to you Al for all your hard work to keep the show on the road!!

  25. Norman "Pete" McGill says:

    For once I see enough trees to fit the scene. They look great. Good work.

  26. Charles J Eyster says:

    Bill, this comment will likely be mixed in with the abundance of well deserved accolades for a truly outstanding layout design. I want to especially comment on the realism in scale of your trees. This is the single most pet peeve that I have about the tree size promoted in the commercial industry and that constructed by the general HO population of modelers. No matter how detailed and well made the trees, they are generally only 4-6 inches in height.
    In a sense, in east coast America, we generally no longer have true growths of mature trees found naturally. Instead, we see purchased farm grown ones that are at best 6-9 years old, planted as an after thought in housing developments. It struck me how that saying goes, “from the mouths of babes………”. I am a retired science teacher and we would take many inner city youths on a fieldtrip to a forest. The single most common comment heard as they disembarked from the buses was always: “Wow! Look at how big the trees were!” as they looked at a mature growth of trees. A rarity in the real world here in NJ and spreading as more open land is developed.
    It was so nice to see a well-thought-out and executed layout with mature tree stands and scale accurate tree girths that matched the logs loaded onto your cars. Many kudos to you and your superior skills in making them! They highlight the single most beautiful, and accurate layout that I have ever seen. Great work that inspires all who see it.

  27. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Fabulous!!! I have mentioned before many times, I have watched Bill’s progress on all of his layouts from the beginning. Everything Bill has done is inspiring. It is a total pleasure to set up publicly and see the wonderment from all ages and of course especially the children.
    Fantastic Bill!!!

  28. HAROLD MATRONI SR. says:

    THE TREES!!! THE TREES!!! The abundance and size of the trees enhance the entire layout. Even if you didn’t have a single structure on it the trees and landscaping would carry it through. BEAUTIFUL WORK!!!

  29. Roger says:

    I am subscribed to Bill’s U Tube channel and have been watching his construction of this layout for many months. His explanation as he goes along is quite educational. His attention to detail is outstanding. Many times I have thought he’d gone far enough, only to watch him take it to another level.

  30. joe novak says:

    yes the trees look great i,m starting over lost all my ho still have o been buying price changed alot now i,m going to buy 100,s of trees thanks great job joe

  31. Bill in Virginia says:

    Bill in Virginia here. A big thank you to all for the wonderful comments! I built this to enjoy the construction of a different layout for me and as I noted in the post, to do my best to light a fire in kids (and adults too) for model railroading. It’s been fun and I learn too as I putter on it in the evenings after work.

    Al always says to start and it was when I happened across Al’s blog that I got out of my armchair modeling mentality and started up again after near 30 years away from the hobby as an active participant. Layouts do not need to huge to be interesting. A small space can be every bit as nice as a basement empire. You just need to start :))

    If anyone is in Richmond you can send me a message on my YouTube channel. I plan to show it more now that I know I can do do successfully so it will be in future shows in this area and maybe in other areas in the future. My HO layout is also portable so that could show up as well.

    Thanks again!
    Bill in Virginia

  32. Gary M from Long Island says:

    bill… WOW is the first thought I had….just really stunning…..I love the bridges and the scenes with the figures……great work.

  33. JoeS-inME says:

    Absolutely fantastic layout.
    One question that I have is what is your source for period vehicles, tractors, etc? Those are not easy to find in O.
    Thanks to Al for his hosting these many years.

  34. Kevin McArdle says:

    True craftsman layout with great attention to detail. Summed up in one word, Awesome!

  35. Brian Rockey says:

    Absolutely stunning layout Bill – the scenery and little cameos very realistic. The trees as someone has said are very true to life. It was fascinating to see how you got the layout to the show and hear the problems encountered with the loco.
    Well done for making the effort to show the layout which I’m sure inspired young and old alike.
    Best to all.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  36. Richard Sappelli says:

    If I did not know this was a model railroad I wo.uld believe I ws in a real woods out west somewhere A super detailed model layout that is a real as real could be Way to go, Bill. and good luck fixing the locos that pooped out. Buy a bunch more and have them run for a period and then switch out with another loco.
    Would also like to see you putting the layout into the truck. Have fun and lets run some trains.

  37. Don Andrews says:

    Where does on 30 fit? G ho ?

  38. Will in NM says:

    Bill. I’ve enjoyed watching all of your videos that Alistair has posted here on his blog. I didn’t know you had built an On30 layout too. It’s beautiful! Your skills are amazing, and the narrative is always pleasant to listen to. Your HO and N scale layouts were impressive, but the On30 is the best! I’ll have to look up your youtube channel to see if you have construction videos for it. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Scott Johnson says:

    Bill, can’t thank you enough for your effort in making such great how-to videos on your YouTube channel. I’m using many of your techniques on my current build. People love the furnace filter trees! Currently building an O gauge 3 rail layout, but already planning my On30 layout after I build our retirement house outside of Salida, Colorado-an area rich in narrow gauge railroading history. Your modeling is an inspiration-thanks again!

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