Mark sells his O scale layout

“Thanks for all the great info you provide, I Am looking to sell my entire layout, I have provided a few pics, It is very highly detailed, with Gargraves O Scale Phantohm Rail Track and Ross Switches, It is around 90% complete, But is approx. 14′ X 10′ in 1 section, could be moved with carefull planning, It is in a temperature controlled garage, I have tons of Extras to, Let me know what you think, Or if you need more pics to see if you want to show it,

Thanks so much


“I found a new source for plaster cloth. Walmart sells a 4″x180” roll for
$6.49 It is called “Rigid Wrap Plaster Cloth” and can be found in the kids section. If your local store doesn’t stock it you can get it shipped to your local store for “free”. Scenic Express product sells for about same price but shipping and handling is $8.00.


“The only tip i have at the moment is i have found station platforms seem to be very expensive. so what i use now a days is plasterboard. naturally depending on how big you want your station but they are easy to cut, manipulate and paint. i then use balsa wood on one edge and carve out the station side and brickwork on the outer side.


That’s all for today folks – please do keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet is here.



48 Responses to Mark sells his O scale layout

  1. Phil says:

    It would be lovely to see a track plan for this stunning layout!

  2. Mike Luhouse says:


    Hope I spelled your name correctly. I am one-hand typing due to very recent shoulder surery. Your site is the best for model railroading tips. I am also in a fixed income & just eliminated some other cost to purchase your golden key offer. I look forward to each future edition of your tips. I wish that all could some way to afford your site. Please keep them coming.

    Thank you for all your efforts,

    Mike Luhouse
    The Outer Banks of North Carolina

  3. Ron Schultz says:

    sorry to read of all the RR guys that are in dire straights . it part of getting older and being on limited income . Stuff we need keeps getting more expensie Milk this week went to $3.49 a gallon and a loaf of bread is $2.00 Thank God I have a pert time job cutting grass on a golf course . but it takes away from the RR . I have HO and O in the basement and a 7 1/2 inch track and train around the hose . Its starting to need a lot of ties replaced . enjoy this site and will miss it when gone Thanks for the memories .

  4. Lou Santello says:

    You can also go to They have plaster cloth 8″ x 180″ for 36.00 for 10 rolls. The stuff works better than Woodland scenics.

  5. Bob says:

    I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to provide inspiration and assistance to all that have been fortunate enough to receive your emails. Model Railroading has benefited from your efforts along with the tens of thousands (young and old alike) as a result. The harsh economic realities cited above represent the decline in many countries of disposable income. I am sure I speak for many when I say I understand and thank you very much for what you have done for this tremendous multi-generational hobby!
    My grandson and I personally benefited and I will continue to keep a link to your site on my website as long as possible.

  6. Bob says:

    Snapshots In Time: The S&G Railroad was written while we were building our layout. It can be seen here:
    This is the true story about my journey through time with my grandson. I am sure that everyone who has receives your emails will identify with our story.
    Best of everything life has to offer.
    Samy & Grandpa

  7. Hi Al, thought I had paid to stay alive, my memory is slipping, I want the Key,but obviously dont want to pay twice. If I have not paid please please ask , and I will send it by return. sorry for being a nuisance, best regards Roy

  8. Tom Schenck says:

    Very sorry to see comments like Tators about being a business. I for one know that hobbies do cost money many time must be handled as a business. I see no problem in supporting you for the excellent material and work you have provided. I really don’t see the need for all of the negative comments. I am sure that many of the readers who are complaining about the $20 or $1.49 / month membership spend at least that much or more on junk food, beer, soft drinks, or even a small item for their layout per month. I am not saying that everyone could afford it, but I feel that most of the complainers are looking for a free ride and don’t appreciate what it takes to do what you do.. I for one will be joining under a different email account, and as I am sure that many others who enjoy this hobby would be more than happy to help someone else join, but only if we can be convinced that they really can not afford to join. This would be very hard to determine who really needs and enjoys this hobby but can’t afforded it. I see it so often where people take advantage of a good thing and runes it for others. Keep up the excellent work.

  9. Brad says:

    I was able to purchase your key. I have a thought – to all of you who purchased the key, maybe some of us can sponsor one other person. I think I can. We could help you and some of our friends in the hobby. I don’t know how hard it would be to organize such a thing, but if it is possible, let me know. If any others out there who could sponsor one other member could let Alastair know, maybe he can figure out how to do it. Alastair, I know that this idea will put another burden on you in the short term but would be beneficial in the long run. I have a small Lionel layout I am working on in my hometown of Hastings, Michigan, USA. I am promoting a train show, the first in my small hometown. I would like to hear from those of you who purchased the key if you think you could help one other person do the same. Take care all and God Bless.

  10. Tom says:

    Fantastic layout Mark

    Thanks guys for the tips

    Al, No guilt trips. No regrets. I surely appreciate all that you have given and all that have shared.
    What I have received from this site … I would not like to say how much it would have cost me to seek this information on my own. So thanks again Al for everything you have done to help me in the model railroading industry. I will still have fun with my railroad and many tips have been incorporated into what I am doing. This site has been a welcome surprise. Again, thanks Al, thanks for everything.

    Best wishes, best regards,


  11. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Thanks, Mark, for the pics. It’s great to see someone
    else doing “O”. Great trestles/scenery!!

  12. Ronald says:

    Could you please tell me how much is the “golden key”,

    Thank You ,

  13. Navy J says:

    Al… thanks for all the posts. Was fun while it lasted but understand. Will miss seeing all the exceptional layouts. Always looked forward to seeing your name in my inbox.

    Best to you, and keep on chugging!

  14. Michael Rice says:

    I purchased the Golden Key and I do enjoy the emails and tips. I recently retired from the military and have just built a 16′ x 30′ building to begin my lif long dream of starting my layout. I have been collecting for 40 years and now I have the space to do it. As for thos who truly can’t afford the $20 Golden Key, I would be very willing to sponsor several people if they truly can’t afford $20 dollars.


    Mike (Rio Rabcho New Mexico)

  15. "Bill" William Londell says:

    Keep in mind when you are asked what you want for Christmas or Birthday I use these as samples and it makes the giver happy to know they made you happy without breaking the bank.

    How do I subscribe to the $1.49 subscription to the best, informative, site ever?


  16. John Hiatt says:

    Love the layout! What is the asking price? And what else do you have for sale?

  17. Paul Wilson says:

    Hi Al,
    I am with Tom on this, and thank you so much for your hard work and effort you deserve the dosh, however I don’t have any at this minute to hand out, As like so many others.
    If I win the lottery I will be back tail between my legs with my cash in hand and top you up
    until then Thank you for all your hard work and hope to see you on the flip side
    Paul Wilson
    p.s. god luck with your ventures in model railways

  18. Craig A says:

    Al, I’m sorry to hear about all the woes connected to your news letter. I think everybody must realize how costly it can be to put out such a news letter. It looks as if you might be loosing some of the contributors in the process. I will miss their input. I have learned a lot from them and their posts. I’m not sure if this will work, but some folks might try to go to the PAYPAL site. They have a bill me later feature that allows you to buy now and pay over six months, interest free, if you pay off the loan in six months. Seems like a lot of rigamarow for $20.00 but what the heck, it’s an option.I too am a pensioner and on a fixed income but would be willing to sponsor another rail fan to your site as suggested by Brad. Best of luck in the future and God Bless.

  19. Rod Mackay says:

    Let’s look on the bright side – if we aren’t all sitting here at our computers reading this, we’re all going to get SO much more modelling done, aren’t we?

    Thanks for all the interest Al, best of luck for the future.


  20. Pete Blake says:

    Hi Al,

    My Rand is not worth a lot against the dollar and the pound, my pension is stretched enough already, so I can’t afford to keep up.

    However, thanks for everything so far, you and your contributers have been a big help.


  21. Joe says:

    Mark please email me more pics of the layout for sale.
    Where are you located?
    Thanks Joe

  22. Craig Folkes says:

    When I reread that the Golden Key was only 20 bucks I reconsidered. Being disabled and on a fixed income I figured I actually could afford the purchase. It’s worth well more than that. Anyone can afford the $20 dollars. Especially now that you have the PayPal account set up. I say give up a pack of cigarettes or that daily fix of Starbuck’s until you pay. It’s a small price for a large enjoyment.

    Sacramento, California

  23. Gordon in Scotsburn, Nova Scotia says:

    I’m not going to start this off as formally as “Tator,” who sounds to me has allowed himself to become a bitter, selfish person. We all have our problems. Deal with it the best way you can and stop laying a guilt trip on Al. I feel blessed and privileged to have been able to benefit from Al’s kindness and generosity. In my book, he’s got all of us beat to have been able and willing to keep giving and sharing all these years. I have managed to purchase the Golden Key and look forward to continuing to enjoy the site. So far, I have focused on building kits and some scratch stuff – and I have neither the money nor the space to set up an actual train layout. But if I ever do, it’s going to be a beaut by the look of all the buildings, scenery, people and vehicle I have amassed in a few short years! It’s unfortunate that everyone who’s enjoyed these posts all this time can’t continue doing so. But that’s not Al’s fault. Grow up! Al deserve’s better than some of the rude comments and sarcastic jabs he’s been handed. Don’t let them get to you, Al. You rock!! Gordon.

  24. Kenny Anderson says:

    Al, I think most of your readers just like myself are either retired or disabled or both and on a fixed low income from the government and cannot afford an added monthly expense. Some are worse off than others. I too will miss this very much as I just actually started building my HO layout after watching Dave’s videos and reading all of the tips in each issue for the past few years and now I’m on my own. Hopefully you can find a cheaper or a free way to keep it going later on and bring us all back but if not, It’s been a real slice, very informative and fun to watch and read. Good luck in your future endeavors. Kenny.

  25. Bud says:

    I am with Brad….. I have enjoyed your emails, hints, tips,photos & videos. I have been more fortunate than some of the guys in the comments above and would like to do something to help. I would like to send you a gift for you to use as you see fit. A contact from you, Al, is all I need.

  26. Willis H. Rehn says:

    Thank you Al for all your kindness, effort and sleepless nights (and personal cost) for making this web site. Please know that your hard work has helped many people enjoy this hobby even much more. Please never feel guilty for having to end this site. I am sure you held on much longer than you really should have and have endured much cost. You have given a part of your soul to many. You Al are a good man. Now go out and enjoy life. Spend time with the children, grandchildren (if any yet) and take your wife out to eat. May God Bless… W.H. Rehn, Wapakoneta, Ohio USA.

  27. Al, If you will send me 5 to 9 email addresses with the post, I will forward them so they can keep getting the posts. I would prefer US people. I wish I could do more.

    Edwin, A.

  28. Doug C says:

    Thank you most are right you do good work do keep it going we all knead all the help we can get as for payment bank to bank ? open account just for payment of gold key no pay pal cost better for all ? or credit card ? yes ? no ? I will pay you when I have the money for 1 or 2 as you wish and others may have the ability to do so and cheaper as well good fun for all and good luck Doug

  29. thanks again AL for all that you have done it has been a great site to get into. thanks to everyone who has put in with tips and photos they where great. hope to catch you again soon. Ian from Australia.

  30. Ronald says:

    Dear Sir,
    Could you please send me a e-mail, to tell me how much the G/key is in English money and how to pay for it.
    Thank You,

  31. THOMAS says:


  32. Joe says:

    Mark contact me about selling your layout.
    Thanks Joe

  33. Tim Conley says:

    You have to do what you have to do. We all know that NOTHING is free in this world. Someone is paying for it. Obamacare is an example. Thanks for everything and I would be willing to pay the buck and a half. Tim

  34. Wayne Wallace says:

    Thank You!

  35. John Gerben says:

    Im in o guage also please show more, im just beginning we just moved here and new layout being planed…thanks

  36. berniie sherman says:

    i get your e-mail every night but don’t know about the golden key is or does. i too am on disability and facing going into a nursing home at the age of 57, but wouldn’t want to miss these emails. they help giving me a reason to live. so if you could explain to me what is entaailed i for one will try to pay in october when i get paid again

  37. Ash says:

    Hi Al,
    Can you put the Golden Key link too in your last mail (tomorrow). I would like to do that instead a month thing.

  38. Brent Polson says:

    Hello Al… Love your site, tips, tricks, layouts, etc. I understand how a hobby can turn into an on-going financial burden. As I see it you are providing a top-notch service that takes time, effort, discipline, and your own money to keep the hobby railway community alive and kicking.

    I am a graphic designer and use mailing list software quite often and a number of varieties.

    I want to see if I can find you a solution to your electronic mailing conundrum.

    How many people are on your email list?


  39. litacats says:

    Hi Al I will be sorry to see you go your emails have been the first emails I look at each morning. I have enjoyed each and everyone, a huge thank you to you and everyone that sent in pictures of their railroads and tips. I am another on a aged pension and hubby id on a disability pension.b so I to cannot afford the $20.00

  40. Meirion Jones says:

    Thanks Al
    I have been inspired by all of your posts on here and the tips are great, thanks for all the hard work you have put into this site you have been an inspiration to a lot of people and I will miss these e mails, my own layout is shortly going to be started on but since we have moved into this house the loft conversion has been an expensive and ongoing project once completed then the layout will be started and some of your hints and tips will be brought into use
    Once again thanks and I will miss these e mails

  41. John Parker Clayton, CA says:

    Wow Al, Never knew so many folks were that hard up…I would be able to sponsor some of these members if they shared their email addresses with us… Just forward them to my email address if that is possible…no strings, just a gesture from my good luck over the years… My O scale layout is near completion and I will share in the coming months… How do they afford an internet connection and a computer..??
    Best Wishes,
    John P Clayton, CA

  42. Dave Riggs says:

    Hi AL,
    I have been on your list for at least a year saving each post. model railroading is/was on my bucket list. Your site, with everyone’s contributions, is very entertaining and informative, seems like I know Dave in the UK very well and I never met the man. It seems to me a site this good and with the number of followers you have you could sell advertising and/or get a sponsor or sponsors. I look at other nonrelated sites and the ads are as interesting as the site. I hate to see such devout followers have to be left out of a really good thing.

    Dave Riggs, Morris, Alabama USA

  43. Howard Weiss says:

    I am not going to be able to afford the golden Key I also am on a fixed income and this site gave me much pleasure, sorry to see you go

  44. Walter McGrath says:

    Hi Al. I’m retired too. Military and for real. Model trains has always been considered an expensive hobby, but – good grief! I can’ believe all these hard luck stories. $20 is out of reach? Sorry, that doesn’t wash.

    You have the right not to lose money providing these invaluable tips, and I for one consider the one time cost a bargain.

    One request. Put in a link to the search engine again so I can save it. Thanks, and I’m happy to be with you on this.


  45. Al I just paid for the Golden Key. A buck fifty a month comes out of my account, big deal. One less beer is worth giving up for a fun and useful sight like yours. I love reading about how you guys on the other side of the pond do it.
    Come on guys and girls dig in, lets help out. We will all miss the sight when its gone its the high light of my day. And I will have nothing but trash mail to read. Paul

  46. steven stclair says:

    Another fantastic layout. Great thanks Steve

  47. Chris says:

    Hi Al,
    I do thank you for the constant work you have put in to your blog site.
    I have been following for about 2 years now and have bought things from your cheat sheet site.
    If your site dissappears for those who can’t afford it, you might want to think about getting sponsorship from modelling shops etc. to be able to afford to run a free to subscriber site.
    Being in Australia (little old Adelaide) we are quite restricted for ideas and at the mersey of hobby shops for consumer products unless we go online to purchase items.
    Your posting clients give handy hints as to soursing products which will be missed.
    As I know this activity costs money and time to run, I apprciate why the move, however please give some concideration to the sponsorship idea, might get you some free trade and boost your income to run it.
    Thanks again for all your efforts and I know, as you are a modeller at hart, that you will be back on the free airwaves if you can.

  48. John Eby says:

    I would like to be placed on the list for future postings.
    Thanks much!

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