Paul’s 4×8 HO layout

“​Hi Al,

I thought I would send you a movie clip of my 4×8 layout.

It has two separate rail systems running. The lower rail is DC while the upper rail is NCE DCC. I have a MTH Dash 9 running at the same time as a Mantua 2-6-6-2 Steamer.

I started building this setup on Dec 1, and finished as shown by April.

My wife is an artist and she helped with the colors, textures, and ideas. She also did the painting at the rear of the lower layout section. Currently I am setting up my basement for a larger layout.

I can’t believe that at 75 I would be starting on this endeavor, but I have been encouraged by your daily blog and seeing all that others have accomplished.

Thanks for all your help.

Sincerely, Paul, Northport, NY”

And Brian’s been in touch again to answer a few questions on his layout (his post is here):

“Hi Alastair

Thanks to all those who posted encouraging comments on my layout, very much appreciated.

Someone wanted a track plan, so I have attached that.

The video footage of the layout was taken on a Panasonic DMC-FZ38 camera (tripod mounted) and the videos downloaded to my AppleMac and imported to iMovie for editing and compiling. For the sounds I searched on YouTube for videos of the actual locomotives (or close to) and converted the video to an mp3 file using a free YouTube to mp3 converter (there are several on the Internet).

After converting the mp3 files they were downloaded to the AppleMac and dragged into iTunes. These files were then imported into the iMovie project from iTunes and edited as required. Job done. It was great fun having a go at this and I was quite pleased with the resulting video although the actual video is a little burnt out – it was a very sunny day when I filmed the videos.

Jim wanted information on where to get N gauge helicopters. There are no 1/148 helicopters to my knowledge and I did search the Internet for some time. However, 1/144 seems to be a readily available scale with aircraft manufacturers. The helicopter in the photo is a Royal Navy Sea King HAR ‘Ace of Clubs’ from a 1/144 kit by Sweet purchased from Hobbylink Japan. The Chinook that I have just finished is again 1/144 by ACE Corporation and also available from Hobbylink Japan. Reveal did manufacture a UK Chinook in 1/144 but you may have trouble sourcing it now.

Eric (Leeds) wanted to know my next project – Have started a two level OO layout in the loft. The top level is a simple single loop DC circuit with fiddle yard, and the bottom level is a double loop DCC circuit with various sidings yet to be laid out. I liked the idea of having sound actually in the locos (too many locos on my N gauge layout to convert to DCC) so I have bought a few Hornby/Bachmann DCC Sound locos which are excellent. I have also bought a Faller Car System starter set which on initial trials is pretty impressive. However, the loft is too hot to work in during the summer months (particularly in this heat wave we’re having) so work has been put on hold. I’ll send some pictures and a video soon of my progress.

Here’s a few of pictures of the Chinook over my N gauge layout.

Thanks again Alastair for a brilliant newsletter.

Kind Regards


HO track plan

And now on to Dave:

“Hi Alistair, just downloaded part 2 of the rebuild.

Shows the incline now added but this time just 1” high and now with track work completed, it shows far smoother running, still lots to do, ballasting, painting, adding static grass etc, but least now the track work is looking and running good, not made my mind up fully yet re position of shops and housing as I say in the video, and do ask if any have any suggestions that would help.



That’s all for today folks.

A big thanks to Dave, Paul and Brian.

If you want to leave a suggestion for Dave, please do so below!

Please do keep ’em coming – and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide, if you want to get going on your own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

24 Responses to Paul’s 4×8 HO layout

  1. Paul Wilkes says:

    I love the cotton wool steam great idea .

  2. Brad says:

    Sweet layout especially knowing its only a 4 x 8.Awesome job with getting alot into a small space but not over-culttering

  3. Brad says:

    WOW excellent use of space for a 4 x 8 .Lots of action without being to cluttered,great job.I am 62 and plan on a huge layout once I move to NC.Nice to see us old folks still playing with “toys” HAHA

  4. Minnesota Dan says:

    As a 72-year-old, mine is still a work in progress, and always enjoy the ideas that come from Al and his fellowship of railroad gentlemen. This layout from Paul has some neat ideas, spinning weathervane, nice lights and of course, a first that I have seen, the cotton wool steam. My Pacific will get a dose of that to be sure.

    MN Dan

  5. Paul Case says:

    Thanks for the nice comments. I just want to point out the fact that my wife made the little elephant that appears looking out from the last car on the steam train. Since it was a Barnum & Bailey elephant car we thought we should add Dumbo. Another thing has anyone spotted the dinosaurs that my grandsons surprised me with one day when I wasn’t home?

  6. Mal says:

    Great job Paul!!!!!



  7. mike richardson says:

    Paul, I really like your layout. Such a great idea of your upper and lower levels,
    By the way, I am 76 and still enjoy working on my layout.

  8. John Wright says:

    Hi, I’m just 70, have an old dude ranch but little time for research so I’m looking for for a 4×8 or 4×10 I can set up without to much research on wiring, etc. Your plans for the 4×8 could be very useful. I’m just not sure where your plans attachment is. I have plenty of rolling stock including conventional and DCC locos.


  9. What an awesome layout. I love many things about it. Especially the houses high above overlooking the area below. Well done , especially at 75.

  10. TONY ROYLE says:

    hi . love the layout i am new to model railways and would love to see a side view to be able to see the levels

  11. Robert Brady says:

    To Paul: Love the era you chose ,great job. That house on the curve, My aunt lived that close to the rail road tracks in Ossining NY. When a passenger train went by wasn’t too bad (noise wise) but when those CSX mile longs came by Hold on to your hats .Great Job.
    The Critic

  12. I’m 65 , i have both HO & N Scale & i love my layouts they keep me young . i have been a Model Railroder for a long time.

  13. Terry Miller says:

    Paul–liked the video although it seem to concentrate on the top level. Would have liked to see some close-ups etc of the bottom route.
    TERRY/Idaho USA

  14. Paul Case says:

    Wow Al that brings back memories. That layout was over 2 years ago. I have a large layout now in the basement and it is growing. I will be sending some updates soon. Got learn to move the camera much slower.

  15. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice N gauge layout great scenery, well done!! And for that CH-47, Took many rides on those while in the US Army.. Look Good!

  16. David ryder says:

    Great job! I would enjoy seeing a track plan for your wonderful layout.

  17. Lester Wayne Larrew says:

    If this is “old folks day” I probably qualify. I’m 86, still play with trains. My current layout is 13′ 3″ by 27′ 3″. Will send pix later

  18. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi Dave As usual you always make worthwhile changes and improvements to your layout. I did notice when you ran a train along the new inclined section that the track actual drops after it come round the bend and continues to do so until in front of the fire station when it starts to rise up again for the bridge. If you watch your video back you should see what i’m on about. I wonder if you meant this as i think the transition to the flat track before the bridge could be more natural than with the way it is just now. You have worked hard to remove all these undulations and change of levels problems from you layout. Just thought I’d point it out.

  19. Mike Mozdean says:

    I’m 75 and use to live in Northport, ny also. Now I’m in Vegas. Keep up the good work!

  20. Matt Schulze says:

    Thanks for sharing. I really like the realistic speed of the trains in the video. Besides, the ‘stars’ get more screen time that way.

    Thanks for sharing the layout diagram. Those really help understand the full scope of the project.

  21. James Hansen says:

    Hi Dave.
    Have to give you a big A+ for your set-up looks real good to me but when you get my age 89 will I have time to build my first lay out. You did good planning this set-up.

  22. Hi All ., thnks re comments , and Colin to answer the 1″ riser starts just about by the engine shed then runs through to the Suspension bridge , it is all 1″ so wondering if its a bit of optical illusion , the rise from the fire station ? …anyway , it is running smooth now , and I did try to go a bit higher for that tunnel , but it did cause a problem so leveled it out and took the tunnel up to go underneath the suspension bridge , ..I have now built a hill in the corner which gets rid of that fat look as you will see in next video … gor a few mentioning age , I am 77 and still keep demolishing and building , so we are never too old to start ….more you do the younger you feel ??? or older ..LOL …Dangerous Dave

  23. Mike says:

    Being only 63, i feel like the new kid on the block. I guess i an. Nothin ever slowed me or stopped me from doing as i pleased when i want. Then a dandy little disease slowed me. I just rearranged my schedule. Now when its hot out, i stay in, sit in my recliner and build a kit. It works out well!

  24. Gary Mitchell says:

    Great layout Paul
    Regards Gary New Zealand

Leave a Reply

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