Peter’s layout

“I’ve been sitting on the side lines and watching and I thought it was about time I contributed something.

10 years ago, my mother in-law passed away. Dad decided he needed a hobby, so out came all the 3 rail Post War Lionel stuff. Boxes and boxes.

He asked if we could help him put together something so he could run his trains around a table to help pass the time. He was thinking perhaps an 4 X 8 sheet of plywood.

As we got into it, we decided it might be a good idea to build something from his childhood memory.

He’s 85 now, so there are a lot of memories! He grew up in California in the small towns of Menlo Park and Redwood City.

As he prodded stuff from the cobwebs of youth, we started building. Neither my wife nor I had any idea of what we were doing, so we read a lot, watched a lot of YouTube videos and of course subscribed to many sites.

What we ended up with (so far) is a layout that measures 19 feet X 3.5 feet on one section and 16 feet by 3.5 feet on the other. There is a 24 inch walkway between the sections (in case of derailments) that allows dad to wander the layout.

You can see where we started and were we are so far. And there is SO much more to do. Add more do-dads, more lighting, ballasting, landscaping etc.

Hope you enjoy and of course feedback would be greatly appreciated. There is so much I don’t yet know how to do.


I particularly liked the back story behind Peter’s layout. Judging by the comments, so do most of you.

Big thanks to Peter for sharing.

And if it has inspired you, this will help you make it happen.



162 Responses to Peter’s layout

  1. Tom In Shrewsbury PA says:

    What a nice layout. I look forward to see more pictures of the layout

  2. John says:

    If Peter wants to ‘Adopt at Dad’ let me know and e can come ’round and build a layout for me!

  3. David says:

    Wow what an opportunity. All that gear and layout space, without having to spend much money. It makes me feel jellous of you. Good luck and enjoy the layout. I also look forward to seeing mor pictures in the future.

  4. Paco Gayon says:

    Its remarkable and beautiful. Seems to be the product of experts. Congratulations.

  5. Dave DeCarlo says:

    I’m really happy to see you are there for him, and yourself.

  6. claus says:

    simply amazing – just shows you what you can do with “old stuff”

  7. John says:

    Peter! That is a great story! What a way to connect more deeply with your dad! You made him happy and all of us who enjoyed seeing the good work you and your wife have been able to accomplish! Well done!

  8. Ron Hill says:

    Peter, what a wonderful thing to do for your dad! He will have many hours of running trains and remembering the days of steam engines when he was young. My dad is 85 also and he has a mind full of those days when he was young and things that they did long ago when time was simpler.

  9. Mike Street says:

    Great story, great looking buildings, only one complaint, where are the trains? Only ones to be seen are in the overall ‘in progress’ view in the distance. More pics with trains please!
    Keep up the good work,
    Cheers Mike S

  10. Great looking layout , hope it brings a few more year’s of enjoyment

  11. Jim Aspin says:

    Time w your Dad doing this will create memories that are unbeatable! Enjoy every precious moment!!!

  12. MIKE,Seattle WA says:

    Don’t look bad at all.About the only bad part I saw was The cork ballast was wrinkled in the one picture.The wires on power polls,The little lake,The little farm ALL LOOKS GREAT. Keep up good work.It looks like DAD likes it very much

  13. Ken Leal says:

    Can we see some engines and wagons

  14. Tom Pica says:

    A great job with the space and track design. I have not seen too many O gauge layouts with buildings and landscape work like this.
    Cannot wait to see more.

  15. chuck strunc says:

    Keep the progress coming. I’m 87 and restarting my HO pre=war Rock Island era.

  16. WoW Peter,

    Well first it’s great to see that both you and your wife are willing to assist your Dad, as so many people in today’s society don’t bother. As for your layout it’s looking great as long as you think it’s okay,then it’s just like bringing up kids, it’s all trial and error so just kep going the way you both are and enjoy the time with your Dad while you can.

    Steve (Downunder)

  17. Colin King says:

    Brilliant, keep up the good work.

  18. a r murrell says:

    A truly delightful layout,smashing!
    Looking forward to seeing it’s progress.

  19. Duane Hampton says:


  20. Ray from Telford says:

    Your layout has put mine to shame, please give us all some more

  21. Don George says:

    Really like the layout. Great way to utilize the space you had. Would also like to see the trains running on it. Do you have video capability?

  22. Duncan says:

    Great layout. Love the back history/story as my Mother also grew up in Redwood City California and I have many great memories of visiting my relatives there as I grew up. My Grandmother lived for all that time on the corner of Katherine and Grand. Did you happen to pattern the layout after any of the old railroads in that area that he might have remembered?

  23. John Bos says:

    Wonderful! I especially liked the gas price sign that announced 27 9/10 cents a gallon! Talk about the good old days!! And what a great family bonding experience. Kudos all around! Wish I had the room to do with my old standard guage collection when my dad gave me my first Lionel train set for Christmas in 1941! I have hundreds of feet of standard guage track collected over the years but no space in which to set up a proper layout! Ah well…the locomotives and cars look great in my display case.

  24. Lloyd Coon says:

    I love the close up photos. Makes me want to drag our my old Lionel stuff. I would like to see another or two photos showing the track plan. I got lost trying to follow it in the far corner.
    Thanks, Lloyd

  25. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    Great job Peter! My Dad would have been 97 yesterday. I still have the American Flyer trains he gave me for Christmas 1953. I’m thinking now maybe it’s time to get them running again.

  26. Thomas Meleck says:

    Great layout. The scenery rivals that of some scale layouts.

  27. Ed Dunaway says:

    Great job on the layout so far.
    Time with your Dad is the most important part
    and a railroad layout is the perfect way to remember days of past.
    More pictures soon hope you and Dad have a lot of fun together!

  28. Gene Turner says:

    Great Job Peter! You and your wife have done excellent on the layout… what a layout. This is not about trains and railways, but rather about Love. Your Dad will have great times remembering his memories of the past, but more importantly, you and your wife and he will have a very strong bond in the layout that you have put together. This is one of those rare occasions where there really is a ‘WIN – WIN’. Congratulations!

  29. Bob Price says:

    What a lovely thing to do for your dad Peter, I hope he has many hours of pleasure with his layout and look forward to see it grow. My father started my brother and I on Model Railways back in 1955 when we were about 7 – 8 years of age, seems such a long time ago now. Sadly our father passed away in he late 70’s but what he had passed on to us both was this ‘bug’ for trains and scenic modeling. I retired in 2012 and needed something to occupy my mind so, having cleared the loft of lots of unwanted boxes I am about to embark on a new layout. My brother and I now live some 200 miles apart but he to has been constructing buildings etc. while his children have been growing up ready for his move into the loft to begin building his layout.

  30. Jeff Hudson says:

    I live in Vacaville, Menlo Park and Redwood City aren’t so small anymore!
    Nice layout. I have an abundance of Lionel stuff from my dads childhood. I don’t have the room!


  31. Dennis says:


  32. Ron Mahon says:

    I would like to see more Lionel layouts. This is awsome thanks Pete

  33. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    I loved all of it especially the cemetery and the garden. Does the Dad have grandchildren to enjoy this with?

  34. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Wonderful!!! In my own large high-rail layout, I am
    trying to maintain “handicap access”. I’m 71 yrs. old,
    and who knows what king of mobility I’ll have in a year
    or two or ??? All to best to you and “dad”.

  35. Ross says:

    Really interesting to look at. At a width opf 3.5 feet is the radius ok for the locos to go turn around on? I really like the waterfall scene. Like others i would like to see more photos in the future. Great job!

  36. Peter Jones says:

    Very good well put together layout Peter but can we see some rolling stock please

  37. Glenn Roach says:

    What an awesome looking layout so far. Some of those LIONEL pieces are most likely worth their weight in gold.

  38. Eugene says:

    Al, I have saved every e-mail you sent and placed them in a different file.

    I wish to thank you so ever kindley and hope to receive more.

    by the way, I’ll turn 85 March 7 this year, it took me

    a lotta years to get this old.

    Capt. Geno

  39. great story i should of done something like this for my dad. the pictures are great, layout nice and simple. I gather each picture has a story from your Dad. keep it going will be nice to see some follow up pictures.

  40. marty says:

    Looking Good Gents keep up the good work and the Pic’s coming

  41. jack says:

    Keep up the good work.God gave you a gift and that gift is to do more with your life than just set around. I find this one project is a way to help others to do more in their live to bring joy and new challenges and who knows, this may be a great way to start a new relation ship with younger people who may be looking for a way to express their creativity.

    Thank You
    God Bless

  42. paul Otway says:

    Amazing what can be done with tinplate trains

  43. Head Wig says:

    I would just like to say thank you to all for sharing your amazing hobby, pics ‘n’ tips! Truly is great to see a railway collectors community sharing so warmly. Was wondering what those that pick fault with other peoples imagination and creativity levels get out of saying stuff such as the “tractor is too big” “the cork is wrinkled” etc
    How about just a big pat on the back for having a go, those less creative know their strengths and their weaknesses in such an intricate hobby.
    Thanks for all who share their amazing pics and stories. I am still in the contemplation stage and probably rather talent starved in this area. I’ll let you know how it goes with pics. Take it easy on me!

  44. Pete says:

    Great job. I to am 70 and playing with the idea of starting a layout. It would be so much more fun to have a son to enjoy it with me. Your father is a very lucky man so keep itup

  45. Tom says:

    Peter and wife,
    Menlo Park, California Thomas A. Edison lived there and invented there. He was called ” The Wizard of Menlo Park.” Your Dad at 85 would have been born in 1929.
    Southern Pacific Railroad was a large railway operating at the time.

    The model railroad you are building for your Dad is wonderful … you both have taken the time to give back
    to your Dad what a beautiful thing it is. That kind of love always and only comes from the heart. Good luck in your endeavor and may all that you wish for be the least that you receive.

    My favorite picture is that of your Dad sitting watching the train running around the track. Remembering old memories … combined with new memories will give him and you a peace and joy that will be comforting to you all.

    Can’t wait for the next installment looking forward to it.

    Special regards for special people,


  46. Tom says:

    Eugene (Capt. Gino)

    You said you would be 85 on March 7:
    That is wonderful Congratulations!!!
    An early … Happy Birthday!!!

    My wife Chris and I will celebrate our 44th Wedding Anniversary on March 7,
    Married March 7, 1970

    best regards,


  47. Chris says:

    Bloody good !!

  48. Tom says:

    To Al and all,

    My Dad is gone now, but what he left me is a lifetime of model railroading and or course other memories. They fill my heart with joy … and they are my comfort. He was always there for me and I for him.

    Started with American Flyer … then to HO … then to G … now N … have done 2 small layouts last couple years but took them down and now getting reading to
    build a railroad that will be 2′ X 6′ X 2″ foam board
    bench work is done, and the foam board is down. Just starting to lay track.

    My Father-in-Law is 85 years young, he is in assisted living has severe dementia. He likes to come to our house and to watch the train. We bring him hear when he is up to it. So he can enjoy watching the train. Dad
    had a train he bought for Chris when she was very young. American Flyer he gave it to me and I put it up around the tree at Christmas time.

    My Granddaughter watching me from time to time working on my railroads … has developed a keen interest in model railroading. She wants to help me build it. I am going to mentor and coach her and try and keep her interest and I hope I can. She is very talented and I hope to tap those resources and have them grow.
    As I have tapped the resources on this site.

    Caring for and helping people is a most gratifying and wonderful experience one can feel good about.

    Good luck to each of you in all your endeavors

    Best regards,


  49. Great job on your lay out. Bless for what you and your wife are doing, for you father. He really looks happy.Please send more pictures.

  50. Cool Peter! I am originally from just up the Peninsula in San Mateo, so I know these places well!

  51. Brian Clauser says:

    Keep up the good work!

  52. Arnie Steiner says:

    Kudos to you Peter and your wife! I think the previous responses have touched on all aspects of this touching story and honorable endeavor. You took on a monumental project and have clearly done a bang-up job! The scenes are well thought out and clearly done with an eye for detail and a loving heart. You may be newcomers to the hobby but you have certainly learned a lot along the way. Keep up the great work and worry not about how it will turn out. Your dad can only be proud and grateful for the heartfelt effort you and your wife are making to enrich his life at this time.

    Arnie Steiner

  53. Chris says:

    Had a similar experience myself. Retired at 60, what can I do to amuse myself. Never had a train set as a kid. Always wanted to build a model railway buy never had the time. Started the project 12 months ago from scratch & have used you tube, Ebay & the internet to “learn the trade”. Must say like these guys I’m hooked & really enjoying all the different aspects of the hobby.

  54. Ed Anderson says:

    What great thoughts, efforts, and heart. And Al, I have been looking at every email you have sent me for well over a year. I have just begun being able to use my hands and my legs as a result of a bad accident. I hope to send some pictures of my layout….will be a while. Thank you so much for giving me insight about a great hobby.


  55. Colin Pryce says:

    Hi Peter, your wife and Dad, great job done! I like layouts with interesting/amusing corners. my only negative comment, other than the lack of running trains, is your great waterfall, it is missing its splash and ripples when it hits the pond! The night seen at the fuel station is very realistic. Have fun!

  56. Marcus Doling says:

    Nice work Peter! I still have very fond memories of building my first layout together with my dad.

    I really like the waterfall and the lighting of the buildings.
    I am assuming the last picture is before any of the scenery was added? Also, I was wondering what vintage the track and rolling stock and buildings are. Maybe 1950’s/60’s?

    keep up the great work.



  57. Douglas of Cornwall says:

    Very modest Peter & Spouse. If this is what you are capable of as beginners, I can’t wait to see what you manage to do in the future. Well done to both of you and I hope that Dad is a happt bunny! Cheers, Douglas

  58. chris says:

    very nice layout & what a lovely idea

  59. John Coffey says:

    This is a great story ,realy enjoyed it realy good work for your dad.
    John Junction City .Ks.

  60. C.J. May says:

    I am continually impressed by the beautiful layouts and stories behind them!
    This one makes me recall the Lionel O27, we had when I was growing up.
    What great memories! I’ll spare you all the details but you can imagine
    My chagrin when I found out the set had been sold in a garage sale …

  61. THOMAS says:


  62. Andy in Yakima,Wa. USA says:

    Nice layout, I too am running Lionel O gauge, and yes, locos can run fine on 027 track [thats a 27 inch radius] so life is good. Not to nit pick, but I think you meant Menlo Park, N.J. For Thomas Edison’s lab. Still California is nice, too. Thank all of you for your contributions, and to you, Peter for being a great son in law!

  63. Mark says:

    very nice o gauge pictures, very nice work!

  64. Theunis says:

    Good morning pieter its very nice this layout i think u better come to south africa and build me a layout no one want to help me build one anyway i use only peco code 102 ooscale nickel silver i am sitting with 50 lenghts and 30 turnouts and lot of rusted steel lima tracks kindly theunis

  65. Bill says:

    Wonderful story and great layout. Minor nitpick– vehicles and buildings suggest 50s era. Police car has 911 on its side and 911 service was inaugurated in 1968.

  66. Peter:

    You have done a GREAT job! Keep up the good work.


  67. John Ripberger says:

    Layout is great, what type of wood did you use?

  68. Gwyn Lewis says:


    It looks pretty impressive for someone with “so much I don’t yet know how to do”. Keep it up

  69. norman Bricklebank says:

    Wow !!!!!!! i do not think that mine will be as grand Peter are you planning to come to Bournemouth England in the near Future if yes please fetch your moddeling tools cheers to you both i hope your dad has many happy days playing trains Norm B

  70. jim crowell says:

    In today’s world it’s nice to see you doing something like this with your dad. We’re not promised tomorrow so something like this beinv done for him is a blessing being bestowed on both of you through the hands of god. Enjoy each day with him and never leave him witbout saying tbat you love him. Keep up the good work and it’s never to late to be a kid again. Bless you and your family.


  71. Roy LoPresti says:

    Peter ,I’m trying my luck at an O gauge layout.I have not built a thing yet ,working on the room picking out room colors .The room is limited to 12 x 11. I have to plan it all out before starting.I have plenty of trains and track and 1930’s accessories,maybe more stuff then I will need .I hope my layout is as nice as yours after 1 year… I need to figure out the electrical connections as I have not a clue what I need or if any of it even works . Keep us updated on your progress…Great job to you and your family !

  72. kenneth alan bazylewski says:

    this is a little weird to be telling you this but both the wife and mother-in-law asked me what a i wanted for Christmas one year I said I always wanted a train set just asked the wife how old I was way I answered that question I was 39well to my surspice under the tree that year was 2 train sets i build one with a turntable bought most of the locomotives that I wanted on a table 5 x11 feet as the home is small no space and I( ain’t got my health anymore do to a paper-mill the at did not care who they poisoned I’m on wsib [workers safety insurance board ] cant afford the air I breath as on oxygen24/7 thank too some idiots that a cant mention do to a possible law sue and this so called harm happened in 2003but my main set I would love to build one that going between the house coup [which aint one now just a storage shed and garage and back to house in plexi- glass with 4 tracks oiun the tube I checked on the plexi-glass and at 8 k for 4 feet I might be a spoiled brat but I ain’t rich it would be totally outside in the 24 inch plex-glass with heat blowing in at each building nice scenary as there are apple /cherry and plum trees the glass would be covered in the heat and heated in the winter months power pack in each building I would like to know about them dcc units as I want this run by a pc I figured 4 tracks with say a cross over for the train route every 12-16 feet2 trains running both ways 1 for the passenger the passenger on one side than on other side coming back to house I think not sure I got 300 box cars /50-60 loco got the cross over just got no cash plus I have that 19 inch plat car got cn/cp/bnsf and union pacific


  73. yes it goes between levels the top level I had it for my passenger train will the other 2 tracks I used for my coal run which I used some 44ton switchers on the coal cars the very first thing I did to my locomotives was change all the plastic handrails too metal handrails which to me looks much more real and to life too never painted them either left them natural steel if I know I was not going to get that “p” word again I’d go get my camera and take some pictures

  74. Danny says:

    What a Great Layout – What a Great Son this man has – Not many grown children ever think about their parents the way this son did – Now-a-days 99% of todays children think only of themselves and almost exactly nothing about their parents ( let alone what they can possibly do for their parents ) who brought them into this world and spent all their time and money raising their children just so their children could dessert them when they were grown

  75. Viraf Phiroze Mulla says:

    Lovely layout. The story warmed my heart. You are a lovely human being. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  76. Curtis D Withers says:

    Your great layout has given me the motivation to go forward with my own. Retired at age 75, abundant supply of G, O, (subway trains) On30 and HO I have started to build a layout around O Scale because the size is perfect for high detail and with careful placement I can combine it with the On30. You have no idea of how much you have accomplished by helping your father in law set up this layout. Retirement can be a very lonely life, reliving some of your happy youth through trains of your childhood can be a great and enjoyable pass time. Again a Great Layout.

  77. Richard McGregor says:

    I love this layout… I have recently retired and I am starting my layout after many years. Thanks for being a wonderful family.

  78. Tim says:

    I like your work. This looks like it would be fun to run some model trains. I hope you will be posting some videos of trains running on your layout in the future.

  79. Steve Bee says:

    The family that plays together stays together! You’ll have many happy memories of playing trains together. A really nice example of thinking of someone other than yourself; a role model for inter-generational caring.
    May all your trains run to schedule in the future, and may the journey be fulfilling!
    Steve B

  80. Mike M says:

    What a great story and fun layout! I particularly like the cemetery with the piper playing beside the tomb! Nice touch!

  81. Leroy Willis says:

    What I see here, besides the skillful display of excellent workmanship, is love defined by action and not by words.

  82. Reinhardt Shier says:

    Nice work. I’m going thru this myself, only in HO. I’m 77 and alittle shakey. Good luck!!

  83. radar2609 says:

    GREAT WORK! I REALLY LIKE the farm, gas station and lights…but your bridge and waterfall sre fantastic! Not only do you get points for creativity, you’re a great son in law too! Thanks gor sharing!

    Larry K

  84. Barry Pearlman says:

    Brings me back to my childhood; I am now 71 (but I never really grew up). I had American Flyer on a 4′ x 8′ table with a mountain, of course. Back in the day, Lionel far outsold American Flyer, but Dad started me off with AF as he did not like the look of the center rail.

    Time marched on. The trains and track etc. went into cardboard boxes on the shelf. I got married and moved here to Missouri (from New Jersey)and my parents gave the trains away.

    What a pity; I would be rich by now. I am getting closer to building a layout (N gage) and can’t wait. I’ve been planning for about 3 years.

    Two points:
    Thomas Edison had his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey in Woodbridge Township. I too lived in Woodbridge Township only in a different town. In High School, we went on a tour of the facility and saw the first light bulb (or a darn good replica and the “movie set” he build to test the first motion picture camera.

    I attended and graduated from the college he helped found, Newark College of Engineering (now NJ Institute of Technology) before coming out here.

    Second point. I have a Corvette and people often tell me that they wish they had one too, but can’t afford one. I tell them that “Owning a Corvette and affording one are two different concepts! After being an avid reader of this site, I am beginning to think that applies to model trains also!


  85. Anne says:

    Wow, great layout. Very nice family.

  86. John Andrew says:

    what a great railway one prob. I will just have to start again and rebuild.

  87. John Cordell says:

    HI Peter, I Iive on the other side of the pond,great layout wish I had that much room to have a layout of my own, I am only a young beginner (70) but you have given me some great ideas hope the grand kids like. kind regards John Jenny Swindon England

  88. chester says:

    welcome to a great addiction, very well done! you may be interested in the gauge 0 guild which is based in England but has a large overseas membership. Great people and great advice etc. Good luck!

  89. david says:

    Flippin’ excellent lad……..superb in fact. I love all the old Lionel stuff……onwards and upward with the doo dads……? All the very best. David. UK

  90. Ernie Stammers says:

    What a great way to spend the twilight years I have given my children my christmas list and hopefully one day I might have something slightly to akin to the layout, slowly spending my pension on Lionel products, but as I live in the UK transformers are not as cheap as the cost of locomotives etc.
    But Hey ENJOY and GOOD LUCK a little tip use LED lighting as it doesnt draw so much current from the supply.
    Ernie UK ESSEX

  91. sundaram says:

    That was a very good gesture on your part to build the Model railway for your father. A good Samaritan and a wonderful layout. Neat and well laid out. I hope he is using and is a good sounding board.

  92. JC says:

    I think it looks like a lot of fun. EnJoy your selves. I think it’s awesome that you can do that with your dad. Great Jobs so far. (All though I would have liked to see the Train)


  93. Charlie Wray says:

    Great job thanks for sharing ,I grew up in Maspeth NY a place surrounded by cemeteries did you buy that section ?,or build from scratch,even had a Scotish piper.Amazing I am 70 buiding a layout ,and that would bring a hometown touch for sure.Thanks for sharing

  94. JD says:

    What a heartwarming story. Your Dad is blessed with a marvelous son and daughter-in-law. Thanks so much for sharing!

  95. John Reynolds says:

    Made me think of my own father now 20 years gone….
    What a wonderful gift. Well done!

  96. John racknell says:

    Fantastic layout mine might fit in 24inch gap

  97. Peter Warren from West Australia says:

    WOW, what great landscape scenes everywhere and a greater story of family all in one… I bet your Dad-in-law loves you more now then ever before.. Keep up the good work, it looks fantastic

  98. Raty1959 says:

    Great layout some good ideas keep up the good work

  99. Dave Yemm says:

    FANTASTIC inspiration , send lots more any time

  100. John says:

    Even though i’m not into three rails in joyed the lay out very much

  101. John Ortis says:

    Liked the lay out very much

  102. Mike Warman says:

    great scenery. looks like you had fun with this.

  103. Mike Warman says:

    great scenery. keep up the good work.

  104. GOPAL DAGA says:

    Hello Peter,
    Incrediable ! Absolutely fantastic. Water fall, pond, very well manicured flower bed, cemetery, Gas station, country houses and bus stop, street lamp, hand cart, bridge and what not. Even your photography is excellent. Even people around are live! I am dying to see it live! If I can travell from India to your place. In fact, in India, there are very few model train enthusiasts. Hence you may not get many comments from my country. My very best wishes to you all

  105. Larry Haberstick says:

    Awesome layout! You are doing a good job helping your dad Peter. I am thinking about bring my N-gage out to do the same thing you did.

  106. Earl Mattas says:

    That’s is great and so nice to see that family still matters.

  107. Dean Miller, Sr. says:

    Is there any way to get a closer look at the layout that’s up in the title block of this site. It looks like a 4 X 8 but I can’t really see clearly. Looks like a lot of track packed into a small space…ideal for my situation…small space! I like the story of the older gentleman and his late life hobby, though I’ve never been much of a fan of Lionel trains and accessories. He seems to have built quite a layout. Evidently, space wasn’t an issue for him! Nice!!!!

  108. Rod Mackay says:

    Do they make any pointwork for that scale? Nobody seems to bother much, which seems a shame as routing trains, crossing them on single lines and shunting, are half the fun.

  109. Ian Carruthers says:

    Excellent Peter! Hope your Dad is enjoying it greatly! I’m impressed with that waterfall! How did you do that?



  110. Brad says:

    It has been a long time since I have done anything on model Railroading. I have been told that I need to get a hobby, I used to spend many hours when I was a young man. My father, My Grandfather along with two uncles got me interested, They all had HO scale. I don’t know where all the trains and track etc. are at. They have all passed away. They maybe gone but not the memories.

  111. Ken Hecker says:

    A lot of wonderful work makes up for the coarseness of 027 track. Mind the 3rd rail (and the gap).

  112. Stan says:

    Well Peter, you went and done it. Got me thinking about all those boxes of HO train stuff I have stashed away. Called my son to see if he could help in the design and ect… Im 70 yrs old and he is 40. Thanks for the idea.

  113. Elihu Wygant says:

    What an outstanding train layout! I really like the way you have divided it, with the walkway down the center. How in the world did he make that ‘mountain’?

    I only wish I had the space, since I have so many trains, buildings, track, etc. stored away since I don’t have room…It’s a real shame.

    Thanks for sharing your workmanship!

  114. Jim says:


    Your layout is outstanding and I am so thankful to see someone else honor their Dad. I to have done the same thing except my layout isn’t finished yet, however; on the two complete loops I have I run two old steam engines that I had wrote his name on and the year he was born and the year he passed and every year I run them around the table one time for each year he has been gone. It is something he enjoyed and got me interested at a very young age. My railroad is HO scale and this past Dec.31 I ran both engines at a scale of 95 mph and it took 38 minutes. I hope there are several other train enthusiast that are doing the same for their Dad or Mom or both. Keep up the great work and once I can get mine finished I am going to have a friend put them on the computer.
    God bless you sir always.


  115. Jan Matyscak says:

    Thank you , very much, Peter.
    I appreciate what you did you manage.
    I wish you good health and much succesful work.
    Best regards
    Dr. Jan Matyscak

  116. John McCall says:

    And I thought at 65 and ret. I was to old to start my new layout this year. I see I have a lot of years left to get it right now. LOL

  117. Rick Smith says:

    Hey Peter; Great layout. I’m only 59 my dad is 82 and we both share the love of trains no matter what scale it is. He models in 027 and I model in HO, and N gauge.
    For our dad’s it’s like having Father’s day every day of the week.
    God bless you, your wife and your dad, and keep up the great work can hardly wait to see more. Rick Smith

  118. Ken St. Amour says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this. I am a newbee to model railroading but I am so excited about setting up a realistic layout. My grandson and I will work like the devil to make it happen. Thank you Peter.

  119. Kevin D says:

    What a nice story
    Please make sure you document all the places Dad has described
    Nothing worse than being asked what is that to be answered by I don’t know
    I am doing the same on my layout past memories and must remember to note what they are to the people who weren’t there

  120. Richard Sappelli says:

    It’s nice to see an 0-27 layout for a change. He has done a very nce job and I wish him well. I would like to see some trains on the tracks.


  121. Norton Williams says:

    Nostalgia time! I too grew up in Redwood City. I lived on Charter Street just off Middlefield Road and I could watch the SP Daylights from my front yard as they made their way down the Peninsula, I used to shop at the Loco-Boose on Middlefield Road either in or near Menlo Park. .

    I will continue the accolades for you and your wife in doing this for your Dad. If my Dad hadn’t moved to Arizona when he started doing his N Scale, I would have helped him. Then he passed away before I could get down there to do that. You are building additional memories for all of yourselves and you will keep them fondly later on. Good for you.

  122. Ron Schultz says:

    nice and still “running the railroad ” at 85 I’m 81 and have the lionel set my dad bought when I was 2. he put it around the christmas tree every year . it wasnt a get out the train, play with it until he was gone to war in 1943. I now have an HO lay out to operate and an 8′ X 8′ portable 3 rail table to take to local train shows . also run 1 1/2 in Live steam. So all you older kids ,” keep your hand on the throttle and your eye on the rail” . This is a line is from an old country hymn.

  123. paul Otway says:


  124. Mark StJohn-jones says:

    what a nice O scale layout
    lotsa work and play for the old gent
    hope he keeps em runnin fellas!!
    stjohn in long beach calif

  125. Herb Harnish says:

    A great down to earth display

  126. Bruce says:

    Just a note on the cork bedding that is wrinkled. This bedding is usually about 36″ long and rectangular in cross section and has a 45 degree slice longitudinally for separation and laid so beveled edges appear outside track. This feature is visual in the pic where the tight radius Lionel track is used. To remedy, slice the half bed at several locations lay down along track center line, then slice off the portion laying under the overlap. If the cork used on the outside curve breaks or separates, use left over pieces from the altered inside curve piece.
    Just commenting. Happy Woo Wooing.
    Bruce in SC USA

  127. Bill Bernard says:

    Fantastic Layout! A very heartwarming story behind it too! Thank you so much for sharing this. God bless you and your family.

  128. MICHAEL GLASS says:

    LOOOOOOOOOVE Your layout

  129. P Dvorsky says:

    You have done a great job supporting your dad. I love seeing the Lionel layout – not many shown anymore.

  130. Jim says:

    A wonderful story and inspirational tribute to you and your family. Some great scenes and I loved the cut rock mountain. The color tones are right on. Wonder what the medium and technique was?

    Jim AZ

  131. Gerry says:

    Great job Pete! What impresses me the most is how clean and new looking the track is after being stored away for so many years. All the track I seem to get is all rusty looking…

  132. chuck henry says:

    Looks good! Some one has a fast learning curve there. Great to mix old & new with family projects. Bet dad’s got a big smile.

  133. Larry says:

    What an inspiration! I turned 65 this year and I decided it was time to gt out my HO scale trains from the 60’s. Don’t have much, just four medium sized boxes. Now I’m trying to decide what to build. I am not leaning towards the standard 4×8 style. I want something different. When I decide something I will send in pictures.

  134. Cary B says:

    What a wonderful thing you have done. the layout looks great, I’m sure you get enjoyment from your work and seeing Dad enjoy wander around the layout. God bless your efforts.

    Cary B

  135. Bruce says:

    What a wonderful loving enterprise. Especially for dear loved one.
    Post more on the progress. And include some of those “operating relic” engines and cars.

    For Lionel track in O gauge, O27 meant a circle of track is 27 inches in diameter. A straight section is less than 9 inches. This would allow a half circle with 2 straights in the middle to fit within a 4 feet width.

    O gauge has rails slightly higher and a circle diameter of 31 inches and straights perhaps 10 inches.
    Thus the old Lionel trackage is very adaquate for nice easy to build layouts. Especially for ussen old f**ts. I’m 76 and beginning my 9th or 10th layout.
    Lionel of course.

  136. Brilliant effort. Lots of invaluable time spent. The sentiment behind it is also heart touching. I applaud you.

  137. Antony says:

    Lovely stuff. Keep going and please keep us all updated on progress. Good luck, Ant.

  138. Brad says:

    One of the beauties of this marvelous hobby,passing things down,or refreshing old memories such as this.It will also be something you can remember him by,and I am sure he is grateful. You are great people doing a fine updates when you can

  139. Bill from WV says:

    The layout looks terrific and I like the detail shown in the photos. Most of what I have seen has been in HO or N scale, so it is nice to see a layout in a larger gauge. I really like the two long sections with the walkway in the middle – something I had not thought of. I, too, would like to see more photos showing the track plan. I have American Flyer sets given to me when I was 4 and 8 years old. I am almost 72 now. I finally have some space in the house to develop a layout. I really love what you did for your dad.

  140. Laurent says:

    Finally! High resolution pictures!!

  141. Gary B says:

    I was born and raised in Redwood City, 1955-1972. Graduated high school in ‘73 in Northern California. One of my fondest memories is when my grandmother and I took the train from Redwood City to have lunch at the downtown Macy’s in San Francisco when I was about 10. I still remember looking out and enjoying the scenery from the upper floor of a double decker rail car. But what I remember most was the giant hot fudge sundae they served for dessert!

  142. george zaky says:

    Great job and admirable mission you undertook. Since you now have a following and belong to the Big Al group we expect to see some videos and further developments like running trains, new stuff, etc. I am always blown away with great O layouts.
    Big thanks for sharing, ignore irrelevant comments, and hope this finds you & your family well.
    George from NY
    support Big Al- we need him

  143. Graeme Coleman says:

    Nicely done layout, I love the pumpkin patch.

  144. John Birch says:

    What amazing response from SO MANY readers to a very special story. It is testament to what a tremendous hobby we are all involved in – a hobby that knows no boundaries.
    To all railway modellers out there, keep up the good work and enjoy!

  145. Bob Beckstrom says:

    I live in Menlo Park so it was nice to see the train station, shops and even the cemetery up on Santa Cruz Avenue. Never too old to enjoy trains…….

  146. Wonderful layout! I never thought a Lionel layout could look so good. I especially liked the “Lost Sole Shoe Repair” shop. We have a beauty shop in Alamogordo named “Curl Up and Dye” that would be great for a model railroad layout. You and your wife have done an amazing job having started with no model railroading experience. Kudos to both of you for being such caring folks!

  147. JACK F MASARIE says:

    Ditto on all the previous comments. Always great to see the work of another
    “high-railer”. Reading the comments is as much fun as seeing the layout.

  148. Mike Matejka says:

    Well done! And the most important thing, you are having fun!

  149. Robert Bone says:

    WOW that is a beautiful layout you have helped your dad build. I bet he is very happy with all the memories that have come back from seeing all of his trains running again.

  150. Larry M. says:

    Great Job! Beautiful layout. Consider consulting?

  151. Man you guys learn fast. Wonderful. Love it.

  152. Bernie says:

    Great layout. I had a 57 chevy, got gas for 27 cents a gallon but jealous the new ford gets that gas.

  153. Berniedoc says:

    Al it was so cool that dangerous dave played the dreidel song at the end of his layout video the other day.I have been watching his videos for several years.

  154. Chris says:

    Please move the 57 chevy up a few feet to fill the tank. The filler is behind the left rear tail light

  155. leo goreki says:

    where can I get beginers h.o layouts

  156. Peter
    What a great layout enjoy your time with your dad it go’s by so fast
    bob from florida

  157. Walt says:

    Wow, talk about memories!!!!
    My dad built one for my older brother for Christmas one year. It was a fantastic layout now that I think back.
    I inherited it a few years later when my brother left for college.
    I never cared for the “unrealistic” third rail although I fully understood why it had to be there.
    Eventually, I converted it all to HO and even incorporated a slot car track (which was the thing back in those days) quite a feat I thought.
    I was into platic modeling at the time and built WWII American aircraft! So I used fishing line and suspended them from the ceiling in various positions so that they would not collide!
    Anyway, I went to college and the only thing left is some of the rolling stock that I collected over the years.
    BUT, I am back into it now after 50+ yeaars!

  158. Tony foster says:

    What an amazing story! The layout is super nice, but the best part is what you have done for your Dad and the memories that you brought back. Enjoy your precious times together.


  159. James Corradini says:

    Wow I think that’s the most common I’ve ever seen I wasn’t even going to comment there was so many but I thought I would anyway what a great layout what a great story dad looks like he’s having fun and that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes I go to Menlo Park and Redwood City and the whole area on my job I wish it still look like your layout much simpler better times thanks for sharing

  160. Gene Shaffer says:

    Hay, tell your dad he has me beat by 5 years. I too am starting a new project with Lionel and MTH trains. My layout is 8′ x 24′ and takes up one space in the garage. Just getting started so no pictures yet. I will probably make a Youtube video of the progress at some point. I hope you and your wife enjoy your part in the hobby and carry it forward. As it happens I live near Redding, Calif. so I know the country. Anyway I like your bridge and waterfall, just one question. Where does the water go? I hope you are taking the advise of some of those videos you’ve been watching and lubricate your running gear. I have a Diesel from 1954 that has had a battery in it since about the 70’s. I took it out but now I have a real mess to clean up. I hope the horn will survive.

  161. Dave A Bellian says:

    Now that’s the kind of story we all need. Great job bringing a dream come true.


  162. Stephen Gispanski says:

    That is great layout. Beautiful work and pictures, “Very clear “. Like everyone else, would love to see more.

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