OO scale model train layouts – Paul’s

Paul’s been in touch again, you may remember him from the OO scale model train layouts on the blog. Have a look at what he’s done now:

His last post is here, by the way.

Do have a read of his last post – his steam engine is over 50 years old and like so many of you, he couldn’t bear to get rid of it and it’s been languishing in a cupboard… until he had an idea for a retirement project:


Here is a bit of an update to my original submission.

Here are a few pictures and a short running session video after another Winters worth of work on my layout.

I still have a lot of detail work to do, including a scene on the hill with the farmhouse and some fine tuning on my track to try and reduce derailments.



oo scale model train layouts

model train steam freight

oo scale model train layouts

model train signal box

oo scale model train layouts

oo scale model train layouts

OO scale model train layouts:

track plan

model train sidings

oo scale model train layouts

model train layout overhead view

A huge thanks to Paul for adding to the OO scale model train layouts on the blog – a wonderful layout, with lots to keep him busy.

But that’s the thing with layouts – they’re never finished…

I’ve lost count of the layouts that are retirement projects, and the same goes for folks who couldn’t bear to throw out old loved trains that carry so many fond memories – so Paul’s ticked both boxes which really bought a smile to my face.

I also like the way he just made that all important start – here’s a few lines from his first post:

“I bought a 4×8’ sheet of plywood set on some portable legs and put down a simple oval with a small siding and yard. That lasted a couple of weeks, then I decided I wanted to do something larger and more permanent.”

It just goes to show (again!) it’s all about making that start.

Please do keep ’em coming folks.

And don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet – it’s here.

If you’d like to share what you’ve been up to, please do mail me. It’s getting a little quiet in my inbox.



PS Looking for the Beginner’s Guide? It’s a great first step for your model train journey.

model train answers

41 Responses to OO scale model train layouts – Paul’s

  1. jim morris says:

    Beautiful, great work. Enjoyed the view.

  2. Chris says:

    Ah yes derailments. Where would our hobby be without derailments to test our engineering skills & keep us all occupied long into the night. Sometimes those trains seem to have a mind of their own. Keep up the good work Paul.

  3. LÉO says:

    Simply amazing

  4. vince longo says:

    Love your layout and all the detail.
    I compliment you also on your backgrounds with the sky and rolling hills in the distance on your walls. It really completes your whole layout.

  5. Roger says:

    Paul, Great work. I’m working on my “Retirement Plan as well.
    Have found that renewing my Hobby, has brought a helpful “fill” to
    handling staying both busy & Relaxing at the same time. You are an
    inspiration to us all. Thanks – Rog 🙂

  6. Rod Mackay says:

    Wheel and flange and back-to-back dimensions have changed a lot since that old Tri-ang type track was made, if you’re running modern rolling stock instead of the old “steamroller-wheeled” stuff you may need to adapt things a bit – I found for instance that I needed to add thin brass shims to the running face of some checkrails to keep the wheels from straying the wrong way at frogs, and that was just with some old Peco code 100.

  7. Tom says:

    Paul your retirement plans have been successful. What a beautiful work in progress! DERAILMENTS stumbling blocks to stepping stones. That is the reward!
    best regards.

  8. Paul Simpson says:

    Thanks for your kind comments and suggestions. FYI, I do have access inside the hill via the sliding door behind it and through a hole cut through the bottom of the table under the Rocky Mountain. I also have two cutouts in the central ends of the table where I just built modular scenes on the cut out pieces so they can be removed. (Pond, walled farmyard, access road by the turntable and the plowed field) the majority of my locomotives and rolling stock are pre 1970’s and all Triang Super 4 track.
    Regards, Paul

  9. Chris says:

    Paul’s layout is beautiful – and so complex!

  10. Steve Roberts says:

    Very nice, thanks for submitting, it reminds me to get back to mine! Good work with lots of interest.
    Steve R UK

  11. builder Kim says:

    Paul that is so cool. That mountain in the back ground sort of look’s like the mountain in the movie close incounter’s of the third kind. Very cool.I gather you are in the UK those tree’s are they scratch built. If they are those are very realistic. Could you elaborate on some of those pieces. Such as the tree’s. That mountain is it Styrofoam or plaster? Thank’s for sending in a great layout.

  12. Bob Kirby says:


  13. Alan roberts says:

    Well done Paul. A great effort. Have you noticed that most of the time everything works wonderfully well. BUT point a camcorder at it and all hell lets loose! The same thing happens when you have a visitor come to see your masterpiece.

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Very,very nice. I thought the pictures were great and these show off your layout very well. Some items have given me some ideas I will use on my layout. Now if I could only get my 4-4-0 to stay on track all the time! I am sure I will find the problem soon….


    nice layout…great detail
    I especially like the 30deg crossover setup
    keep it runnin fellas

  16. paul Otway says:


    Just check your track where the trains come off .

  17. Chris says:

    Hey Rod
    Any chance of sending in some photos of what you have done regarding adding brass shims to the running face of your frogs. Would be interested to see what you have done.

  18. Kenton says:

    Amazing layout!

  19. Paul Simpson says:

    Just to answer a few more questions; I don’t live in the UK, I’m in Canada, the trees are made from the “super trees” that many have bought and fairly widely available (apparently some weed/bush from Sweden) then I apply a sprayable glue, (I find this more sticky and longer lasting than hairspray) I then apply Woodland Scenics leaf material in dark and light but have also used just the standard blended turf material. The mountain and hill were made in a similar fashion, I cut some 2×2″ wood to different heights and screwed them in from below the table. Then I used a fairly sturdy chicken wire and glued and stapled that to the top of the wood. I cut the chicken wire larger so I had extra to bend and form to get the shape I wanted. I used plaster cloth over that, in areas where I simulated a more rough rock face I used a 90 minute setting dry wall compound and mixed it to
    trowel it on quite thinly. In a few areas I used strips of cardboard, followed by plaster cloth. I then just used watered down black, followed by grey paint to get the colouring, once that was dried, I did some dry brushing with some white to give it some highlights. The lower part of the hill that hides the helix, I used hydro cal in one purchased rubber mold and also used crumpled up tin foil to form the rocky sections. And yes although it wasn’t intended the Rocky Mountain does look like the one in Close Encounters of the Third Kind! LOL
    Regards, Paul

  20. Rod Mackay says:

    Hi, regarding the shims, they’re just scrap bits from round the edges of brass kit etching sheets, couple of mil deep and a tad longer than the checkrail, ends bent round to hold them in place and a little dab of superglue at the ends to stop them getting kicked up when I clean the track. Stops stuff with finer profile wheels trying to nip off up the gap where the frog diverges. Only needed them so far on the Peco Code 100 three-ways, of which I have two that I regret using, as they complicate the operating and the electrics, as well as needing this adjustment.
    I’ll see if I can get one to show up in a photo, but that’s the beauty of them, near invisible.

  21. Robert says:

    Hey Rod, I think you have done a great job

  22. Jim Aspin says:

    Paul, you’ve done a ton of great work!
    Is your turntable a purchased on or did you scratch build it.
    Either way looks wonderful. Could you share how you installed it and decorated it? And any closeup pics available? 😃

  23. Royce Taylor says:

    Paul, I really enjoyed looking at the photos of you layout. Your detail work is inspiring, makes me want to work on my layout. Could you tell us the size and configuration of the project? Track configuration?

  24. Roger Coleman says:

    I learnt this off Dave Angel who is a used string Hornby dealer here in England. Over the years the big old wheels on axles wear so you can get derailments. That is there is an axle with a pair of wheels made up of a wheel part and a tube section the two take up half the axle each. If you remove the axle you can then clean the wheels more easily and then when you reassemble insert a piece of brass plate or a skinny washer between the two wheels this will then force out the wheels from each other slightly regauging them to want to hug the inside of the track. I’m running a lot of 50’s and 60’s Triangle stuff and it works well.
    I bought a set off a man with too many trains – that’s most of us ! Anyway lovely coaches nearly all fell off the track after a long session realised he used to keep them in the polystyrene set box they came in these boxes are a tight fit and after lots of ins and outs the wheels had been pushed in on the axles and the derailment was when they fell between the lines particularly on some older 1970’s track. I bought a gauging tool and now they are ok.
    Regards Roger

  25. ted perotka says:

    even full scale derails

  26. Am more of a “runner” than a “modeler”, but sure do admire your trees! They so well capture the lightness and grace of real hardwoods such as birch. For most of us, it is too easy to build trees that just look too darn heavy. Thank yo for the tips on how to do your version. Fair Winds. Garry

  27. Gary Manganiello says:

    Wow….great looking layout. After watching many of your layouts and pictures and videos, I thought I was the only one with derailments. My engines run fine I guess because of the weight but as soon as I add a passenger car or light freight car, I get derailments mainly at the switches. If my track and joins are not 125% perfect, I get a derailment. I spend and waste a lot of time and money on derailments and fixes. Anyway, Paul, your layout and scenery detail are top notch.
    Enjoy retirement.

    Gary M from Long Island

  28. Paul Case says:

    From one Paul to another Paul I am relieved to hear that more people than I thought are having derailment problems. Reconstructing tracks and cleaning ballast from points has been driving me nuts. I thought, what am I doing wrong. But alas it seems that I belong to an elite group of derailment fixing experts. I recently removed some superelevation from a section of curved rail that my steam engines didn’t like. I flattened the curve staying with the current lingo. Apparently the 1:87 ratio in HO doesn’t apply to the weight of the engines. Being that a 1 1/2 lb model engine would scale up to 130 lbs as compared to a real engine weighing many hundreds of thousand pounds.
    Gary M where are you on LI???

  29. Robert Brady says:

    Looks like the Devil’s tower there in the background Like we have in ‎Crook County, Wyoming,USA. Look it up.
    The Critic

  30. Carl Eilbeck says:

    Hello Paul from Australia,
    Can you please supply a plan for your layout – it looks good and just about fits my available space

  31. Brian Messenger says:

    Great layout there Paul. Keep it up.

  32. Will in NM says:

    Paul, You’re obviously having way too much fun in your retirement. 🙂 I Really like your farm with the duck pond. Also, your super trees look very realistic. If I ever get my layout to the point of adding scenery I will definitelyhave to try some of them.

    Derailments seem to happen even with the best of trackwork. I have a loop of Kato 730mm (28-3.4″) radius track where I was test running an MTH passenger train. When I ran it in reverse for a few seconds one of the middle coaches derailed and uncoupled from the other four coaches and fell off the train table. The weird thing was, this was the middle coach in the five coach train and the other two coaches at the end of the train had recoupled to the front two coaches before I could turn the power off.

  33. Erick says:

    Nice Layout.!!!!

  34. Kelvin Bland says:

    Paul, love the layout and used to love Super 4 but had to give it up as it rusted on my loft layout. Authentic weathering but took ages to clean before running a train. For those who spoke of derailments please note our mentor Al sent out “Mal shows how to stop derailments” which is really good.

  35. William A. Kennedy says:

    GreT work and backdrop. As good as it gets
    Bill K

  36. Rich B. says:

    Nothing wrong here. The mountain just works and blue water duck pond. Only time I ever tried SCUBA diving was in duck pond but water was silti brown lmao ☠️. Can see that even a bit of horizon distance makes huge upgrade. Now this is “really” the perfect retirement occupation.


  37. Jim Mulligan, Winter Springs, Florida says:

    Hi guys. Add me to the list. First time writing on the blog. Been reading it for over a year and a half and learned a lot. Thanks. I was getting frustrated with the derailments at 2 of my switches. (Running O gauge). By slowing things down I realized that one was not getting enough power. I pulled the track apart and sure enough my center pin was pushed all the way in and not making good contact. After a few times around when the engine hit a section with good power it would act as a magnet and pull the switch, derailing the end cars. Fixed the pin and it works fine. My other problem was caused by the switch not coming back fast enough automatically when on my inside loop. Used a jumper from the incoming switch to outgoing switch and it works great.
    I just started on my set last January. It brings back all my memories as a kid. Most of my trains go back to the fifty’s and sixty’s with a few newer pieces. Thanks everyone for your contributions to this site. I really enjoy reading it. It’s the first thing I do when I get up in the morning.

  38. Alfredo Lavadenz says:

    It would be very helpful to know what the size of layout is.

  39. Don says:

    the walk over bridge is awesome & the mountain is impressive

  40. Steve Ruple says:

    Nice layout

  41. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice. i like the scenery. good layout

Leave a Reply

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