Joseph adds power poles to his layout

Joesph has been back in touch – he’s been busy adding power poles and other stuff to his layout:

“Hi Al; It’s been a while and I don’t remember where I left off but here goes. I know I didn’t send these.

I spent most of 2021 finishing up my lighting projects.

Below is the Power Generating plant for the Saw Mill and Planning facility.

electricity plant ho scale

Saw mill

HO scale lumber factory

Overview of “San Juan Creek just past twilight

HO scale town view

Inside detail of the San Juan Creek station.

HO scale interior lights

A lot of action around the saw mill and planning facility.

HO scale saw mill

Another look at the planning facility.

HO scale power facility

Looking westward to United Cold Storage, Ochs tank farm, the local church and Ochs Oil office. (Since this picture, power poles have been installed and the office has a light on the platform).

construction plant HO scale

Another “touch’ was tp extend the background beyond the layout so it doesn’t mess up the photos as much. This is the west end.

town scene model railroad

This is the engine yard with lights installed on the coaling tower and looking at the the background extension to the east. (Power poles have been installed since this picture).

coal hopper model railroad HO scale

Another shot of the background to the east. This shot also shows the interior detail of the fire station.

HO scale fire station

“New” forklift at the Grants, NM passenger and freight terminal.

HO scale fork lift

Downtown at night.

main street ho scale

The San Juan Mountains area of NM has its own short line, the San Juan and Central. I needed to have a mainline pass through the area and the closest is the Santa Fe, hence, the depot at Grants, NM. I “re-branded” this Berkshire to Santa Fe 4113 (making all my own number board decals) as Santa Fe did use Berkshire locos for freight.

I also “re-branded” a Pacific loco to pull the Santa Fe passenger consist.

HO scale main street

Another addition is “Sonny’s Texaco service station. Again, power poles and an additional sub-station have been added.

steam engine ho scale

Twilight at the Grants, NM station.

Power poles serving the San Juan Coal Co. mine.

ho scale embankment

This is how I put the power poles together. Rix cross arms on 7/64” dowels.

power poles

Power poles installed at the engine yard

engine yard

More poles installed.

And more.

church ho scale

The owner of “Ma’s Place” has a new, custom Chevy truck. It is larger than HO Scale but in the background, looks ok. And, yes, it IS out of era.


A huge big thanks to Joseph.

If you’d like to see his first post – the very start of his HO scale, it’s here.

HO scale bench

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get stuck in, the model train Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

32 Responses to Joseph adds power poles to his layout

  1. Gary. Dettl says:

    Bravo, great layout Joseph you should be very proud

  2. Rod Mackay says:

    Wow! That’s tremendous.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Great photog, gives impression of realism. Very nice layout Joe.
    The Critic

  4. Jorge Secada says:


  5. wow that lighting really adds a lot. “The devil is in the details” looks simple here but it is complicated for many to achieve. Looks beyond fantastic. I for one like it,

  6. Looks great.
    Are the power poles mounted on the base by drilling a hole and inserting them, as is done in real life? If so, how deep do you make the hole for stability?
    Is there an alternative way to mount the poles?
    I could not see on the pictures; did you string wires on all the poles?

  7. george zaky says:

    The layout is really coming together and the lighting looks great. Sure would like to see a video of the trains running.
    George from LI, NY

  8. federico sicard says:

    beautiful layouts. Very professionally done a master piece.
    Thanks for sharing this work of art.

  9. Jim Landing says:

    Wow Joseph, what a great use of lighting.

  10. Dewey Reinhard says:

    Wow, terrific lighting. Would like details on bulbs, voltages, connectors, etc.
    Also what you used for insulators on the power poles.
    Terrific detail, I like the way you just keep adding things

  11. Al, Thanks again for all the work you do which causes a lot of positives to happen
    Al, If you will allow me to send a message to one of your fans, I would like to
    address my question to Mr. Robert Brady who likes to be called “The Critic”.
    Dear sir..I have seen many of your posts which seem to have a common theme.
    My question is,….When are you going to show your layout on a track plan and
    control wiring diagram post so we all can share some of your expertise?
    Thanks again Al, .I’m glad you listen as good as you talk…..My Best to you and

  12. Dan Williams says:


    Looks great!! I have two questions. 1 Where did you get all the wonderful ERA vehicles? 2 Are you going to run wires between the power poles?


  13. Everett Nichols says:

    Wonderful Work!!! I echo all the positive comments here!!!

    PS Those poles you modeled are not power poles! The insulators on the cross arms are designed to accommodate telegraph and telephone wires, not power lines!!

  14. Greg Frary says:

    Great layout lighting! Can you share what you used for all the lighting fixtures, and how you did it?

  15. Tony Fryer says:

    what a simply GREAT idea using dowels in creating those power poles . . .

  16. Jim AZ says:

    Nice array of photos and your modeling skills are truly first rate. I really like the street scenes and the lighting effects. The roads and buildings are detailed with realism and scale in mind. Great job.

    Jim AZ

  17. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Outstanding Joe

  18. Erick says:

    Great Layout.!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  19. mike says:

    Awesome, It Looks so real
    THXS for sharing

  20. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Excellent!!!!!! Great pictures!!
    Boy if I can make any of my scenes look like this with lighting. Wowow

  21. Louis Frederick Caputo says:

    The lighting effects are superb and make the scenery simply “pop”! The shadows formed are nearly artistic on impact and absolutely dramatize the surroundings!
    I too would have enjoyed seeing trains running and also gained wisdom viewing the “Critics” layout.

  22. Larry Baucom says:

    Very beautiful layout my 4 year old great grandson found his fathers steam engine in my attic so we sat it up and rest is history we now have a HO lumber company with side track for unloading trees we have hours of fun deciding what else we can build together for our train now it’s on a 4×8 plywood in my small basement but hope to put it in a add on to my garage next spring but it will never look good enough to show but we love it.

  23. Bill Crumrine says:

    My favorite steam locomotive, the Berkshire (2-8-4) and is a classic to the nth degree. This is really a neat layout. Congratulations

  24. john m fox says:

    All I can say is WOW! What a great effect. Thanx for sharing. JF

  25. James says:

    That is tremendous. The skills demonstrated are first class. Would love to see more.

  26. Joe Graffi says:

    To: Peter Hubbard – I drill 7/64″ holes into the ½” plywood tabletop. I drill all the way through. Then I “hand- ream” for a perfect fit so I can adjust the final height. No wires — yet!

  27. Joe Graffi says:

    To: George Zaky – Videos coming.

  28. Joe Graffi says:

    To: Dewey Reinhard: 12v. “white” LEDs from China run off a 12 v. adapter.

  29. Joe Graffi says:

    To: Don Williams; Era vehicles are really hard to find – 4 or 5 sources. I don’t know if I will run wires or not — yet!

  30. William robinson says:

    Incredible detail. I’m afraid I’ll never get there!

  31. David McElwain says:

    Top notch work.
    I am part of a small group working on the lighting on our club’s layout. It is so much fun and very rewarding. You have to be quite proud of your results.

  32. WARREN V WYATT says:

    thanks for the lighting info – it really makes a difference so i have a lot of work to do.

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