Peter’s update

Peter has kindly sent this update in. His first post received a lot of comments, and rightly so.

Have a look at it before you read on – it’s here.

“Hi Alastair. About a month or so ago, I sent you some photos of my father in-laws O-27 layout, without any trains! They were being repaired or some such thing. This last week end, we went up to visit him and do more work. Here is a YouTube link to the video I did. It’s rather short, only about a minute, but gives an idea of what we’ve done. As soon as I get a bit of time, I’ll upload some more pictures.

Dad has three lines running at once. The “A” track (the outside) is running a replica of the Roaring Camp Railroad in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. It pulls a grade of about 7.3° on the uphill in the trees, and down about the same.

The “B” track runs next to the “A” track and goes through the outside of town and into the farm land on the far side. This represents the area of farming where he grew up as a child and recently moved to (about 20 years ago). Part of it represents his ancestor’s dairy land in the Northern San Francisco Bay area. He can pull 9-10 cars behind the engine and tender.

The “C” track winds its way through the town of Menlo Park/Redwood City where he grew up as a child. Of course, we aren’t nearly completed yet. Still have loads of ballast to do and get the church area landscaped. But he’s just tickled pink and we can see the memories on his face. It’s very gratifying to watch him.”


Okay – so it’s not the best video in the world, but I’m still glad to be able to share it.

Looking for the ebay cheat sheet? Latest one is here..



47 Responses to Peter’s update

  1. James says:

    Wow,such a lot going all. Very impressive.

  2. robert cook says:

    Looks like father-law is happy. Good work.

  3. svyatoslav vykrest says:

    It`s great, Pete. Your layout is fantastic!

  4. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Great concept, workmanship, results and excitement.
    Bravo! BUT, why run those freights so fast? (because we
    can??) Growing up in Burlingame, CA (southern suburb of
    San Francisco) the only “fast trains” were the passenger
    “Daylight” and “Lark”(night-time). The Daylight “roared”
    through town prior to 8:00 AM every day, bound for Los
    Angeles. The “commuter trains” (on the hour) moved much more slowly, stopping in every town twixt Santa
    Clara (I think-it’s been many years) and San Francisco.
    Living now in Greensboro, NC (Amtrack 2X, daily, twixt
    New Orleans and NY) move at a slower pace, and the
    freights barely “crawl” through town. Maybe it’s just me
    (at 71 years), but I enjoy a slower pace, personally and
    as a train watcher. It LASTS LONGER. Keep up the great
    work and ENJOY, at whatever pace pleases you.

  5. Dana says:

    My eyes lit up when I saw you mentioned the Roaring Camp railroad in your post! I’ve had the chance to visit that railroad, quite some time ago, and thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Santa Cruz aboard the train! I noticed their Memorial Day Civil War Reenactments are set for Memorial Day, I may possibly attend again this year!
    Great work on your Father-in-laws’ layout, by the way! I looked at it through different eyes after I’d ridden the train!

  6. Nice layout you have there Pete

  7. Charlie Bolte says:

    Absolutely Amazing! We don’t need to see his face to see the pride and gratitude on it right down to the engineer hat! This is like a song, each verse has a meaning other than what you see. The intense attentiveness Oh no this one’s going a little too fast! I’m 68 and Dad bought a set of Lionels for ME when I was One year old.(They found me under the X-mas tree eating the smoke pellets) Don’t know why but Lionels were always ran fast on tight curves.Great layout Two Toots To You Sir LETS ROLL!

  8. Mike Hooper/Ottawa,Ontario says:

    That’s a great layout.Keep up the great work. MAH.

  9. Timothy Crump says:

    Lover this one!!! I grew up in Felton California, where Roaring Camp is located. My father was planning a replica of the whole “park”, which originally was to be an amusement park. Like many of his projects, it never happened, but neither did the amusement park. Today’s Roaring Camp consists of the little “whistlestop” town, and two trains….the old steam train that takes you through the redwood forest, and the diesel that goes through the redwoods down to the beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz.
    I’m still dreaming, but I hope to recreate it myself….

  10. Colin King says:

    Brilliant, great layout.

  11. Harry Little says:

    Great layout. It is so nicely finished and has a lot of action. Your plan has allowed for both a city and country setting with varying elevations and long runs in a relatively small space. Nice work! I really enjoyed seeing it and watching your trains run. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Arnie Steiner says:

    Hi Pete – Very nice layout and so much incorporated for O-27 into a relatively small space. The historic intent is very interesting and the personal touch amd memories for your dad-in-law makes it priceless!

    Would love to see the completed layout when its done.

    Keep on truckin’!

  13. Jeff Keene Sr says:

    Whatever floats your boat, or in this case, rolls your train, I prefer two-rail gauges over Lionel’s three. Much more realistic. Regardless, I fine job, as long as you enjoy it with your grand-kids. They were my first trains, too!!

  14. Joe Gray says:

    Outstanding video…Keep them coming.

  15. Tom says:

    Pete, your update shows much progress. Thanks for the update. Glad your Father-in-Law is enjoying this wonderful thing you are doing. AWESOME!!

    Looking forward to your next update. The video is great.

    best regards,


  16. good to see trains running your layout is looking good looking forward to the next update it is a very satisfying hobby.

  17. Enrique Recalde says:

    Fantastic lay out

  18. Duncan Galbraith says:

    I like the 3-in- 1 concept. I like to see trains run. I’d like to borrow the idea for a new layout I’m planning in my caravan/train shed. ( That’s a trailer for you colonials!) Would you kindly make another video showing a bit more detail of the scenery, it looks really interesting. Thanks, D/

  19. John Coffey says:

    A real good layout you are getting all made up.

  20. Roland Burch says:

    Real great layout. It brings back my childhood.


  21. John Reynolds says:

    It reminds me of my uncle’s set up…. It was that uncle who got me started in this wonderful hobby a little over 50 years ago… (My current age is 55). Thank you to William Reynolds (aka Uncle Bill) and thank you Pete for bringing back such wonderful memories.

  22. Curtis says:

    Very nice Pete!

  23. David Hannan says:

    Really love the background scenery! Well done!

  24. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    WOW, nice layout can you drop by my place sometime next week?

  25. Job well done…….

    If it makes you HAPPY continue to do it. Thx much for sharing…..Harold Jr. TX of USA

  26. Joe Balint says:

    What greater gift than that of your time and love and a wonderful rendering of his yesteryears. Also, the video is great, nothing to apologize for. I became younger just watching it.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Joe B.

  27. Bob Zimmerman says:

    I really enjoyed watching the video of the trains
    running. Can’t wait to see more. Nice layout. I’m
    sure your father-in -law really appreciate what you
    did for him.

    Bob USA

  28. David says:

    What great timing for me to find your layout. It is timely for me as, at 78, I am setting up my own “Thanks for the Memories” railroad and it is “O” gauge. My parents kept everything packed away from when I left home for the military and college.. Everything started with my dad’s 1941 American Flyer PreW O gauge steamer passenger train and a ton of PostW. Lionels with a bit of Marx accessories thrown in. For years and years, they have simply been “packed away” but now it is time. “God willing and the creek don’t rise” I hope to be able to share with you my “new” layout and you have given me some great ideas. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS WITH THE REST OF US. God Bless .

  29. Jim says:

    Very nice and neatly done.

    Jim AZ

  30. Cary Price says:

    This one made me smile too! Nice seeing someone enjoying running their trains. Thanks for sharing Peter! Cary in KY

  31. Cary B says:

    What you have done with your father in law is awesome. Its great to see those trains running. The video is really nice.

    Cary B, Maryland

  32. Rob Shuman says:

    That’s a great video. Made me smile. That makes it all worth the effort.

  33. Ramsey Arnold says:

    Pete, I have my 60 yr. Old 027 Lionel train., Yours is motivating. Thanks,, Ramsey
    Montose ,CO, USA

  34. Art Bearden says:

    Mr. Pete:
    That looks like your father has a great lay out with the 3 trains running, I remember when I ha a 0-27 ga train up until my daughters got a hold of it one day and left it outside in the dirt and than it rained and I did not find it until I went to cut the grass about a week and a half latter and it was ruined.
    Keep up the help for him and you.
    Art for west central Florida.

  35. Robert Brady says:

    fun layout you look very enthused and entertained and in your own world.
    not a fan of Lionel though. I hate how that middle rail sticks would think over the years Lionel would’ve game up with a conventional system,not to mention they’re over priced.

  36. Victor Koyano says:

    I’m 74 now and probably average age here because layouts cost time and money galore to get there. Nice layout. Trains sure running fast. Almost as fast as live cam at LaPlata,MO! Thanks for video.

  37. Steve Joyce says:

    Loved it. I plan to do something similar. 2 outside loops running thru entire layout and a smaller inner one

  38. Bob Davidson says:

    Must show this to my wife as she grew up.on 7,th St in Redwood City and we left there in 1969 to move to LA. Know she will get a kick out of it, just like your father did. Great job.

  39. ENNIS HACKMAN says:

    I was a part of the real Roaring Camp in its formative years. Worked with Norm Clark the founder of RC a long time ago even have early papers and docs on start up.I loved that rail line.

  40. JACK F MASARIE says:

    Always great to see the work of fellow “high-railers” BRAVO !!!!

  41. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    Pete, Great layout! It would be really cool if you could find a Shay or Heisler for the Roaring Camp run.

  42. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Very nice Lionel layout, Need to send my pictures of my O gauge layout soon!!! Again Very nice!!

  43. Robert D. Bouskill says:

    Now that is a train set !

  44. Rob McCrain says:

    A wonderful layout. Very busy. Rob

  45. Anthony Tesoriere says:

    Very nicely done. I have run a similar Layout that measured 5’x16′ on a fixed table at train shows and it was always a big hit with all. Three trains running at the same time needs all of your attention and is most interesting to the public to watch. Need to see more videos like yours, thanks.

  46. Thomas Meleck says:

    Pete, You are far too modest. Your video perfectly illustrates that above all, “Model Railroading is Fun.” Your layout is proof positive. Thank you for posting–Tom

  47. Ron Nelson says:

    Thats what I started with about 80 years ago an after a stint with Lionel,
    HO and G guage I’m now into n so I,ve about run the whole bunch and have loved every bit of it all. Ron from sunny Florida Al keep up the good work.

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