13×14 HO scale layout – Part two

Ken’s been back in touch with his 13×14 HO scale layout.

Well, it’s a fair few months ago now, and Ken has been kind enough to post the below update on his layout.

He’s been busy – if you want to get up to speed, his first is here.

“Hi Al,

My 13×14 HO scale layout part 2.

When I last wrote I left off at this point and was preparing to move. The move happened.

First the house hold items, then locating and renting a place for the layout.

Took 2 months and then another 2 weeks of dismantling, moving and reassembling.

HO scale tunnel and track laying

So from here till now I have been hard at work.

Here you see the beginning of the road at the mine, tunnel portals, and the beginning of the turntable.

The red push buttons are for controlling the turnouts.

Also learned another lesson, paint the interior of the tunnels before you finish the out side, or in my case put them together.

Also here is the plastering technique I came up with, drywall compound and clothes dryer sheets, first step.

In the next picture you see the upper level that runs completely around the layout, and the ascending and descending tracks, to and from the main lower level and the upper main line level.

The layout measures 13 feet by 14 feet , the upper tack is 8 inches above the bench, so a good climb both ways. Here still working out the rest of the layout track plan.

raised track 13x14 HO scale

raised track curve

This is the view looking at the other corner, also showing the main 3 levels of track, the uppermost level, 8 inches above the deck, at this point double track, the next level down , 4 inches above the deck, is the track coming from the mine, through a tunnel at the mine then over a trestle and then through another tunnel, then the lower level can be seen, on the deck.


Here you see the mine track as it will cross the main line and enter the yard where the cars will be left for delivery by other crews from the interchange. Also the beginning of laying out the main yard track. The diamond crossing was tricky, especially since it is located directly over a separation line and the layout has yet to be moved to new location.

laying track 13x14 HO scale

Another lesson learned, got the mine train here and then thought, how do I turn the loco around for the return trip, I thought I have all this area under the upper tracks why not do a reversing loop, sure why not. A 13×14 HO scale layout gives you the room you need.

It took many try’s to get this far, including laying it out full size on the floor.

Finally, end result, and works as planned, or thought or something.

laying track 13x14 HO scale

Would have been much easier to have done the loop first, but at least I thought of it before the scenery went in.


A big thanks to Ken! A 13×14 HO scale is quite a size – and it made me think just how long good layouts really take…

Ken’s post reminded me of Lou’s HO scale – another post which highlights the most important part of this hobby: making a start.

Here’s one of Lou’s HO layout pics – which also links to it:

HO scale polystyrene track riser

You can see Lou’s post here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here, if you want to start your own railway adventure.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

28 Responses to 13×14 HO scale layout – Part two

  1. john creasey says:

    nothing much to really except WOW! Puts me to shame

  2. Ralph says:

    Looks great Ken, I am with you on those afterthought reversing loops.

  3. albert hall says:

    I am waiting to move country when I will start my second attempt at building a
    layout. The last and first one was OK but I got into a mess with the turnouts and the wiring so I decided to call it a day as I would be moving anyhow. My efforts I gave to the local modelling club who were delighted. Since then I have been viewing the layouts on this site and others. Have learned a lot; forward planning, simplicity and patience. Start small and grow big.

  4. I’ve been following submitted layouts, tips, photos & videos for a couple of years now. This is my first reply. The talent and skill level I’ve seen gives me goose bumps! you guys are all so creative. Awesomw work. Keep it up. I’m loving it.

  5. THOMAS says:


  6. Dick Frederick says:

    This is. My 2nd request.
    We love your site, but how
    about all us O Gaugers?
    After all,us guys are the big
    Spenders and would love to
    share our layouts with everyone .

    Thanks, your fan

    Dick Frederick

  7. Rob says:

    I really like seeing layouts before all the land forms and scenery goes in. There are lots of ideas contained in the raw track support structures. Thanks for sharing Ken.

  8. Ernie says:

    Great start Ken, I too have just started a new layout trying dcc, hope I get on as quick,it seems to take for ever to get things right sometimes.
    Thanks to all for the great tips and thank you AL for all your great work sending us all these posts.

  9. Jason says:

    Could you show the track plan? I am trying to decide on a track plan and would love to see what yours looks like…

  10. Hi Ken,
    First of all thanks for taking the time to allow us to view your step by step progress in the construction of your layout. As I remember from past experiences that as the layout starts to take form and the track is coming together one becomes very keen to be running the odd train or 2, or 3, ect ect!!! So I wish you all the fun you deserve once your layout is completed, I hope you’ll continue to keep us up to date, please!!!

  11. Albert Weir says:

    this is amasing what youve done i am learning a lot from you well done mate cheers

  12. Darwin Bruce says:

    Good luck with the loop. The wiring is quite tricky, Unless you have taken precautions, the left outside rail becomes the right outside rail which is a dead short, electrically speaking. You will blow a breaker.

  13. Ian says:

    the layout is great love seeing layouts in the raw stage. building the scenery around the track will be a big challenge but you are certainly up to it. looking forward to the next stage.

  14. ken naddeo says:

    Thanks to all for the great comments, it’s nice to have other modelers also think you are doing a good job. I have broken most of the rules for building a layout, I started with the space I had, built the bench-work, figured out where to put the big bridge from my previous layout ( from many years ago) so I could still get into the center. I knew I wanted a mine as I have the cars from TYCO with the operating dump bottoms. So I started with that and as I would think of track I tried to imagine the mechanics of operation and the finished look. I agree this created many moments of talking to yourself, but the conversations are interesting, and the redoes help get the creative juices going. I tried to do a drawing of the track plan, did not look good, will keep working on it. I have had it all working prior to starting the scenery, and a couple times since, after all, the reason to built is to run trains.

  15. Mike says:

    Great job, but I agree with Mr. Frederick; how about us O gaugers. We would love to see some layouts done and completed in this 3 rail gauge. Thanks, Mike

  16. dan owiseman says:

    I am doing a unplanned lay out changing all the time, adding taken away , ect ect building few things , I know not the correct way , but trains run while I work other track , ect where do i send a picture, ? if any one interested thanks dan o you can email me direct any one that would like too see my mess

  17. David Tuson says:

    There is a tunnel on my layout – I lined the inside walls with brick paper before putting the top onto the tunnel. I have a fold down flap for access in case of derailments which is also lined with brick paper. If I forget to put the flap back at least we can see a lined tunnel rather than an untidy construction site.

  18. John says:

    Really appreciate the COMMENTS under each photo. It makes everything make sense – Why I am looking at each photo, and what to look for.

  19. Roy Tibbles says:

    I like looking at all photos done as for ideas for your own, they do take a lot of time building and track laying but end of day it’s worth the trouble doing and working things out. So enjoy it while you can being doing this for 41 yrs now 69. I get pleasure and feel very relaxing doing it Roy

  20. Ernie Stammers says:

    I would like to reiterate some of the other comments, I have been following all of the tips on how to, but there isn’t enough O gauge 3 rail stuff on here, although there are plenty on youtube, but well done all of you guys, my hat goes off to you all, you truly have earned your Blue Peter Badges

  21. Neil says:

    Please the helix plans. I inadvertently trashed articles

  22. Peter BAyley-Bligh says:

    Three levels – takes some doing but looks well on the way. Noted the comment ‘put the track in before the scenery … as modellers we can do this but in the ‘real world’ the track fits the scenery! Should be fantastic when completed.

  23. Will in NM says:

    Ken, Looks like you’re doing a beautiful job with the relocated layout. Can’t wait to see some trains running on all those levels. I’m especially interested to see how your mine with the Tyco dump cars will work.

    To all the O gauge complainers: Al can only post what he receives, so if you want more O gauge posts YOU and your fellow O gaugers have to submit them to Al.

  24. Frank says:

    I remember when Model Railroader Magazine staff built the “Clinchfield Railroad” and I purchased their book called, “The Clinchfield Railroad, the Railroad That Grows”. It seemed as if insulation foam became the “new thing”.

    Now I see many people using foam sheets as a base and then working with plaster and cloth or rubber molds, some even using aluminum foil. Cutting plywood as a sub-roadbed can be vary intimidating and difficult for some, but we still see that. It’s interesting to see the techniques and methods people use, old and new to build their layouts.

    In regards to the O scale requests, I have an old 0-27 Lionel train set, a gift from a Grandmother, but if I use it, I prefer to show it off alone with buildings and scenery, but not adding other rolling stock or Lionel products. I want it to stand alone and be the focal point. I was given some Ho scale stuff, but switched to “N” scale for the sake of a bigger layout in a small space. That being said, the larger trains are impressive.

  25. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!!!!! I hope mine turns out that way.

  26. Rich B. says:

    If I have this right now, this was the RR upstairs in the Condo. Taken apart and reassembled in a rental building? What a metamorphism… guess not the crawl space idea or garage layout even would suffice? May have this all screwed up, too easy mixing them up.

    The dedication here is serious but have to say everything is on a rental basis even if owned lol. Look forward to the evolution with this all the same.

    Regards, R

  27. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome start on your layout Ken, I’m waiting to see the final layout.

  28. robert dale tiemann says:

    if they all turned out this way it would be really nice.

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