Phil’s layout

“Hi Al.

I contacted you some time ago telling you that I am building a large layout for my grandchildren Finley and Evelyn.

Both boy and girl love model trains and the overall layout with the small shops houses and factories cars trucks etc , I guess they can relate because of the size.

Just a short note on where I am with it all at the moment: –

This is the first layout I have ever attempted, I didn’t’ want to start a small project as that is not my way.

I have an engineering back ground so I have taken this project on and given myself a limited time to finish it in, that I must say passed some months ago LOL.

I am at the stage of getting live to all tracks, I have had trains running and I am just designing a control board that is “child friendly”.

My grandchildren are 3 and 5 years young and when they visit (which is getting more and more since the build) the first thing asked it IS IT READY YET.

Well I hope you think it is worthy of a post on your emails.

I must add I have taken a lot away as knowledge from others who have shown their work.

Please take a look at the pics and comment either way.

Kind regards


2016-07-24 16.15.03

2016-07-25 18.36.28

2016-07-25 19.16.18

2016-07-31 15.52.23

2016-07-31 15.52.46

And from the archives, here’s another one from Dangerous Dave:

“Hi Al

Just uploaded this video, new Pannier Loco again, the 64xx which I tried to get earlier, but all sold out but found this one in my local shop (unbelievable).

Also a couple of tips re using coal for the tenders on Loco`s, and coal trucks.

Also changing plastic wheels on old stock for metal wheels which run far more smoothly, then the Pannier Loco 57xx which I had sound added to has now been rectified on the amount of Chuffs per wheel resolution, so now sounds a lot better.

Then also as requested a few more steam Loco`s with sounds …bit longer than normal running time.

I tried to show as much as I could.



Latest ebay cheat sheet here.

A big thanks to Dave and Phil.

Phil’s comments made me smile: a layout for the grandchildren. Isn’t that how they all start out?

Anyhow, if you’ve sent me a mail recently and I’ve not replied, please don’t worry. I’ve been away and now I’m trawling through everything, so please bear with me.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if Phil’s inspired you – grab it here.



34 Responses to Phil’s layout

  1. donj1044 says:

    To Phil about his layout.
    The green station shed looks out of scale. To me it looks like an O scale train shed only because of the walk way for the passengers. TOO BIG in my opinion.
    Otherwise a nice layout. Keep up the good work.

  2. Hap Cummings says:

    Nice layout and I love the sound effects.

  3. Cary B says:

    Very nice first layout Phil.
    Dave, Thanks to folks like you the sights and sounds of steam will never be lost or forgotten
    I am staring a point to point layout soon also for the grand and great grand kids to enjoy. I am getting back into the hobby after a 30 year absence. It will be diesel era 1980’s. if I keep it small and get it done I would like to do a small steam era point to point later.
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Rob Honnor says:

    Please make it a priority to put an edge board round the layout to preclude against derailments taking a nose dive to the floor. Looking good otherwise.

  5. James Kreamer says:

    Simply phenomenal!!

  6. Rod Mackay says:

    Phil, I built my lad a layout when he was about 6 and did too much of it myself, although I had done a bit of “customer opinion research” as you might say and incorporated things he said he liked, he’d probably have preferred to do more of the stuff on it together, in hindsight. The question may not be so much “is it nearly ready yet?” but “what can we do on it/with it?”

    Dave, the 57xx and 64xx were horses for courses. The 64s were designed as passenger locos, being fewer, later and lighter by 5 tons, pressed 35lbs less and with inch smaller cylinders, and auto-fitted for push-pull trains, 57s were capable of much heavier freight duties, their tractive effort being 22500 versus only 16500 for the 64. 57s saw plenty of use on passenger and empty stock work as well, of course, but were mainly for freight and shunting.

  7. mark st john says:

    wow nice layout for the grandkiddos…
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  8. Shlack says:

    Great, Phil. Start em young and make it fun. Whether or not they continue
    their interest into adulthood, it’s a great learning experience (hard work,
    attention to detail, etc. ( and, did I mention fun?).
    Best of luck.

  9. Darrel says:

    Great Job on the layout. Now just a special note for you. You can use aquarium charcoal for your coal loads. Purchase a diet scale from a dollar store and contact Model Railroader magazine for the proper weights for each train car for car pulling a train. Then buy some self sticking magnets at a craft store pull the paper off the back and use make the train car the right weight for the length. you can use 1/4 ounce weights, Put your coal on a piece of cardboard stock cut to fit your tender and glue the coal onto easily clean up of dust and stuff. then if you want to make your tender look like it ran out of coal or it was emptied for repair or to sit in the round house for repairs no one will notice. Don’t use a board around the front of the layout like the one person said – it looks tacky – put up Plexiglas it might be a little more expensive but it will save your engines from a disaster. I had been running my HO scale trains for years even my 4 new ones E-8 A and B Units and they went through all switches for years and then one day I had a disaster and the $185.00 each loco fell to the floor and I no longer had a ABBA set I had a AB set. limited run. They just sit on the layout outside of Diesel Service or the round house waiting for he Crew to repair them hasn’t happen yet as the Crew moved out of the house and he is to busy (son) with his family now. If you have a business that makes sign for business contact them – the may have some small pieces that they are throwing out in garbage it you want to you can save money that way. My layout is a triple mainline. I built mine on a small fixed budget little at a time. Remember to tell your grand kids that the layout is really never finished it needs their work also with helping to put down the grass, to plant trees; scenery etc.. ok . My 2 children were that age of your grand kids when I had them to help with the scenery. They enjoyed it very much. My wife and 4 children and I all had our own road names and we all had fun together. My oldest son his friend got into model railroading as well. It kept the kids out of trouble and off the streets and like my oldest sons friend mom said when she saw the layout that then she wasn’t worried when her boy came home cause she know where he was at and not getting into trouble. Darrel

  10. mark Allen says:

    beautiful work Phil, and I’m sure ut was for the “kids”, hah!

  11. Mel says:

    Wonderful layout, I wish I could finish my layout (12×25) O gage, but I am phyiscally able do it. Keep up the good work!

  12. Helmut Eppich says:

    Excellent layout, Phil! Keep on chuggin’! Dave’s videos are always a pleasure to look at! Great detail on both layouts.

  13. Great job. I’m building mine for my great grandchildren.

  14. paul Otway says:

    Excellent work so far.


  15. gary says:

    Always enjoy Dave’s video…just wish he would speak English:-)

  16. Bob Miller says:

    A wonderful layout for your first try. As a matter of fact,it is hard to believe this is your first one. Absolutely wonderful and remember,it’s a hobby not a job. Whatever makes you and the grandchildren happy is O.K.

  17. Ralph Berry says:

    Looks great Phil, they are two lucky children.

  18. Phil says:

    A BIG thanks to all the guys who have taken the time to look at my project, I can assure everyone this is my first try and to be honest it is something I have thought about in the past so I had a good idea on how I would approach the project. I am enjoying the building as I believe imagination is one of the most powerful sense’s we have.

  19. David Howarth says:

    Thank you Rod for the info re the Pannier Loco`s , and thanks all for comments …nice job phil I am sure the grandchildren will enjoy very much …Dangerous Dave …who does speak English ( Yorkshire English )

  20. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great layout and great video.

  21. Carl Halgren says:

    One really hates to have engines or cars fall off of the layout. I have created small berms or low hills along the very edge, so as to keep derailed trains on the table while maintaining a realistic looking layout. Another trick would be to add a sturdy fence along the edge, keeping the fence in scale. While these tricks are not as secure as a Plexiglas wall, it is a bit better than nothing, and it maintains the image of realism.

    Still in Training,
    Carl in Kansas

  22. Terry Plunkett says:

    Ee by gum, that Gary’s a cheeky monkey, callin Dave for his Yorky accent!
    Ey up Dave! How’s tha Bin? Take no notice of this tosser. I’m proper chuffed to see your excellent work and videos at any time! Love it all!
    Next they’ll be sayin the Yanks can’t speak proper, with their turnouts and strange accents.
    As for me mate, well I’m a bloody Aussie, so what hope do I have???
    Happy modelling all!

  23. Al Luppo says:


  24. Steve, Lincs, UK says:

    In response to donj1044’s comment, first of all I think that the overall roof has been made by the manufacturer so it can sit on the baseboard instead of on a platform, if that’s how you want to use it,and still give ample clearance for stock and overhead wires. Some overhead roof structures, in the UK at least, are very high. Brighton, York and Glasgow are good examples.

    Given that model railway platforms are typically much shorter in length than they would be if modelled to true scale, there is a foreshortening effect when you look at a roof that high, which will make it look out of proportion. If it bothers Phil he could always take a razor saw to the legs!

    I doubt the grandkids will mind…well done Phil!

  25. Nice one Terry , tha will make a Yorkshire man yet ,,Dave

  26. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Phil……great job……..doesn’t look like a first-timer to me. Keep it going. It looks like it will be a fabulous layout layout. And you have many opportunities for tinkering, changing and improving to keep you going for quite awhile.

  27. John Hauser says:

    Dave’s videos are so well done and informative. I very much appreciate each one. These videos inspire me to expand and improve my layout. Dave’s advice and the techniques he shares are invaluable. So much of what we attempt to do is inspired by something we experienced and Dave’s work is definitely part of our experience.
    He is an international treasure! Go Yorkshire!

    John H, LI, NY

  28. Rob Schweitzer says:

    Anyone who has trouble with Daves accent just needs to watch more British TV. BBC or Britbox in the USA. After a few months you with understand him perfectly. You might need to turn on the close captions function of you TV at first to match the words to your specific brand of “English.” Again, thanks so much Dave for posting your videos. You are indeed a treasure!
    Rob Schweitzer, currently speaking Midwest American English, but who can do a good American Southern accent. Still working on my Yorkshire accent, it is not yet ready for public consumption.

  29. Will in NM says:


    That looks like a great start for your first effort at building a layout. I would echo some others’ advice to let the grandkids have a hand in the building process to whatever level they are capable of for their ages. They should also have input into what goes into the eventual scenery and buildings so they can connect with it better.

    I really enjoyed this latest video of yours. Getting to see and hear all of your steam locos was a real treat. They sound so much more interesting than the diesel electrics that all seem to sound about the same. I have some of both and have found that I prefer the Broadway Limited Paragon 2/3/4 locos sound that works with their “Rolling Thunder” bass booster system. It’ll blow your socks off when cranked up to full volume and running the Big Boy

  30. Mike Balog says:

    Hi Phil:
    Great Job for just getting into building a Layout.. Only Comments for some improvement… The Radius of the Curves,,, the photo showing the full size
    passenger car… The car Hangs Way too much over the tracks.,, Full size
    Cars like that need a Min. of 22 Radius or better so the passenger cars do
    Not Hang over the Track like that. ALSO…you could ballast the Track as you
    go along so, it would look better.. The Angles of the Roads, especially at the bridges are too straight at angles.. where the road in real life would curve as
    it changes direction. Would give you a smoother appearance. Many others suggested having a buffer zone or a couple of inch high edge to prevent the locomotives and rest of the train falling off the layout. Which could lead to a Costly Repair ~ if you can find someone these days who could repair the locomotive or cars that hit the floor. Also, putting an Edge on the Layout, would tend to discourage “pets” from climbing onto the layout and knocking things off.. something CATS are Famous for doing. Years ago, a Neighbors Cat got into the basement apartment where I lived and knocked an Atlas Modern Church Off a bookcase and it ended up on the floor, Smashed the front window area. Never could find “parts” to repair it as it once was. For Dave,, Fantastic Layout and Tour Always… Took me a while watching your videos to understand your accent.

  31. Erick says:

    Well Done looks great.!!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  32. TJK says:

    Nice job Phil.
    Can’t believe the naysayers still pick on an item out of scale.

  33. TJK says:

    Nice job Phil. The out of scale comment doesn’t count.

  34. Mr. Ron from South Mississippi says:

    Great looking and sounding Panniers. What was the coal capacity on the Panniers?

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