Richard’s Mountain View Railroad update

For the first time ever, I don’t really know how to start a post.

I have been bowled over by the kind comments, mails and support, after annoucing my closing down sale.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how much it has meant to me. Thank you.

For me, right now, the best thing to do is carry on as normal, and see what the sale has brought in by tomorrow.

I didn’t sleep well last night, and no doubt I won’t sleep much tonight either.

It would be wonderful to keep the doors open and carry on.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the site and grabbed the Beginner’s Guide and the freebies.

And thank you to everyone who has bought it again – I know many of you have. A wonderful gesture.

I really do hope the closing down sale saves the day. I think it was good advice.

But enough of the doom and gloom for now. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Fingers crossed.

And let’s have a look at Richard’s update. He’s been busy with some fine weathering:

“Hello Al.

I have been tending to some of the minor improvement tasks on my N-scale “Mountain View Railroad” layout since my first post in early August which you so kindly published on your blog.

I have finally received several shipments of trees which were back ordered for what seemed like an eternity and this has kept me somewhat busy planting them. I now have over 6oo trees on my tiny 4 by 7 foot layout.

I have also been a bit busy weathering some of my rolling stock. See pics below.

In addition I have been placing additional N-scale persons and vehicles around the layout. I still need lots more people around “Merchant’s Row” and the train station.

My layout is broken down into 4 basic areas:

The “FARM” area

With my limited space of a small bedroom in my apartment, my work space as well as my storage space for my railroad “stuff” and tools was getting to be a bit of a mess. This necessitated purchasing some fabric with a steam locomotive motif print to hide the mess when I am not operating my trains.

My sisterI fabricated a “skirt” for the two sides of the layout that are not up against walls. There are two fabric panels which provide access to the stored “train stuff” and the engineer’s control panel which is mounted on a set of ball bearing slides designed for a computer keyboard allowing me to slide it beneath the layout platform when not in use.

Here’s a couple of pics showing the skirt and the layout in its current state.

n scale model railway

n scale mountain view model railroad

Some stats of the layout are as follows:

Approximately 64 feet of Bachmann E-Z track with integrated ballast
6 each right hand #6 Bachmann remote E-Z track turn-outs
5 each left hand #6 Bachmann remote E-Z track turn-outs
7 each Bachmann E-Z track siding bumpers
67 Buildings and other structures
32 Steam and Diesel locomotives
170 Freight and passenger cars
106 automobiles and trucks
30 Street lights

Here’s a few of the weathered rolling stock (there are over 150 more to be weathered) *LOL*

model train

n scale model train

weathered train truck

weathered coal truck

weathered coal truck

weathered brake car

Now that winter is on our doorstep I hope to get a bit more accomplished on my layout………Still lots to do, but it is getting down to the tedious chores that sometimes really tax my patience requiring me to take occasional breaks to maintain my sanity. *LOL*

Thanks for all your hints and tips. Without them I’d be lost. You certainly have done more than your share to support this great hobby. Keep riding the rails.

By the way, do you know of any firms that sell an N-scale powered hand car?



A big thanks to Richard – his pics and narrative were a very welcome distraction from my predicament.

That’s all for today folks.

Please don’t forget the closing down sale. It’s the only thing that might keep my head above water and keep the blog going.

If you want to support the site, it really is a case of now or never.

Tomorrow’s going to be a day I won’t forget for a while.



35 Responses to Richard’s Mountain View Railroad update

  1. Terry Plunkett says:

    You have provided me with years of good advice and entertainment. I have enjoyed your daily posts, and every post you have sent out. I have learnt many things about trains and modelling. Best of all, I have recently revived an N Scale layout which I started in my late 20s, some 40plus years ago. If you continue, and I hope you will, I will send you some pics of my layout and some new tricks I picked up along the way.
    I have renewed my beginners subscription as a gesture of my appreciation, and would be happy to make an annual subscription to keep the blog alive, if you are up to it. However, if you cannot continue for other reasons, then the loss to the model rail community will be great, and the best solution would be to find someone who can carry on the great job that you do. I’d like to see you continue, but understand the heavy workload it must create. Hope you choose wisely, old mate, but your wellbeing is most important. In either choice, I wish you every success. Thanks for everything you’ve done – hope to see more “train porn” (as my wife calls it,) on your blog next week!

  2. bob linnell says:

    Please keep going, I think I’ve bought everything except the houses and have looked forward to your missives every day!
    If not then all the best and thank you for the years of enjoyment

  3. RalphBerry says:

    Hi Al
    Sorry to see you needing to close off but it must be a struggle keeping this going week after week. My own layout has developed and improved thanks to the many hints and ideas you have published on this site. I am presently involved with a group trying to save what they can of a full size railway that is facing destruction. I have already bough your excellent beginners guide and paid a n access subscription. If you find you need to charge for the newsletter to keep it going I would be more than pleased to pay. All the best to you however it turns out. Cheers Ralph

  4. Bob Shipley says:

    Al- your blog has been a great resource for me over the years. It would be a shame to see it go but I completely understand the spot you’re in. I’m sure this has been suggested but have you considered taking ads? An O gauge forum I’m on here in the States does quite well with support from many of the manufacturers and independent hobby shops and the like.

    In the end you do what’s best for you and be well.

    Bob in NY

  5. Frank Anello says:

    My disability and lack of space prevents me from setting up a layout. But your daily blog and photos of model train enthusiasts makes me feel like I am sitting in front of the layouts I built as a much younger man. I hope you can continue but I also realize how difficult things can be from day to day. Much luck and of course good health.
    Thank you

  6. Brian Lee says:

    Why don’t we all throw £10 or $15 into Alastairs can and see where that takes him. By the way I am not related to Alastair and have never met him.



  7. Chuck P says:

    I don;t know how I can face the day without one or two of your emails. It’s what I wake up to every morning…..a tip, or layout, or time saving trick. Please don’t leave us hanging. I think there are enough of us that never send tips, or pictures, ideas to let you know how much your blog means to us. I have only been on the sending end once and that was to buy a bunch of houses for my layout. Mine is a work in progress and I will send a picture when it is finished. Hopefully it will be to a blog that is up and running with renewed confidence and total influence on some of us that are just starting (84 years old). Thank you for your many years of making it easy for us to start from scratch and bring our layout to fruition. If there must be a subscription cost involved, have at it. None of us are leaving because of that. Keep up the great work….PLEASE!!

  8. Robert Cunningham says:

    I don’t have a layout. But, I enjoy your mail. I have a friend that is into trains. I have made him familiar with your blog. I hope that you can continue. But as the saying goes all good things most come to an end, sooner of later. Best wishes to you and your all your fans

  9. Robert Brady says:

    If you close I’ll mis my weekly diet of Dangerous Dave.Al we worked together a little in REF to my email finally got it sorted out now this.If you choose to have a members fee with in reason I will truly consider joining.Please try to push for the continuation of the series.
    Became a frienf;
    Robert Brady,usa

  10. Al
    I have enjoyed your bloq for some years now. I have purchased your beginners guide several times! I would gladly pay a yearly fee for your service. The stories and tips are worth that. Every email encourages me to strive on with my layout..
    Thank you from Ontario Canada in N scale. .Please try to keep it going.
    Cheers Bruce Thompson

  11. Ian Rogers says:

    I have appreciated all your postings and missives.
    If circumstances dictate that you need to ‘hang up your controller’, then do so with your head held high – you have brought joy, happiness and knowledge to many.

  12. JON SARVER USA says:


  13. Charles Bartunek says:

    Not much more to say it’s just about all been said I’ll miss the presentations by others which are very entertaining and informative , I can only hope that you reconsider leaving, what would it take.

  14. Al, thank you for everything. After reading and subscribing to your blog, I drug my old 50’s and 60’s Lionel’s out. My grandkids helped me put two 4×8 sheets of plywood up for a base and we are once again “playing with trains”.

  15. Steve Joyce says:

    Gee. I will be very saddened if this site cannot continue. I have gotten so many interesting helps. Yes I bought the beginners guide pack a couple years ago. I am finally getting started on mine. Ordered up the Mianne benchwork which should arrive in a couple weeks. Had looked forward to start my posting pix on this site and getting advice to assist my project. Sure hope others help you.

  16. ANDREW SCHYHOL says:

    Hi AL, Ads sound like a good idea since brand names are mentioned on your blog. Also can you do a Go Fund Me as a stop gap measure? All this of course depending on your health and sanity! Anyway thanks for the only blog that I always pay attention to !!! ANDY FL USA

  17. Chris Warr says:

    Thanks Al for all your commitment and hard work in keeping this site running week in and out,
    wishing you all the best in the future and thanks for reinspireing me with my layout

  18. Valerie Robbins-Rice says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. We share through another friend and have greatly appreciated seeing so many creative ideas. We play with the big ones 1:1 scale currently and are not working on our models very much for some years, although we still have them on our layout…just vicariously through you and your cohorts. We wish you good luck in finding a way to continue your endeavors. Warmest Regards.

  19. Mike RICHARDSON says:

    Hey Al, I have enjoyed your site for several years now. So enjoyable and all the great information you supply to us. Here’s hoping you will be able to continue on with the site. I look forward to it everyday.
    Mike from Alabama USA

  20. Paul Wienold says:

    Al, I have been an avid reader, and occasional contributor for many years. Should you cease publishing, it will be to the whole hobby’s loss. Any of the options, or the decision to close, of course, is yours alone. I hope you continue, but understand and support your decision. Please keep us informed. Paul Wienold, USA

  21. SFC Tomaso A. Santomauro USA/Ret says:

    Please don’t close because if not you then who?

  22. Larry T Haberstick says:

    Thank you for your help on the Model Railroads for Complete Beginners book.
    I just downloaded everything.
    I haven’t started anything yet because I will be moving. I do have a 4′ x 4′ board set
    up with “N” track on it. But that’s put away right now. I hope you stay with us Al. I love reading all the post.

  23. Joe Vinciguerea says:

    I bought your beginner kit just to keep you alive. I’m 74 with 9 grandchildren, with only the youngest interested in trains. You’ve given me the incentive to once again be a modeler. I recently come across a plethora of vintage O gauge Lionel, which as a child I coveted, but my parents couldn’t afford. Time to fulfill a lifetime dream of an O gauge layout although the N gauge space efficiency is tantalizing. For the under 10 yr old, I think the O gauge will be more manageable for them for now.

    Hope you stay active.

    Joe from NJ

  24. Jim MacLean says:

    Thank you oh so very much Al for your many hours in keeping this hobby fresh & informative. You have done more than you will ever know in sparking renewed interest & encouragement for the many viewers, both active or hoping to be, who frequent your model railway site. I wish you all the best in your next endeavor, whatever that might be. Thanks again pal. Jim from CB.

  25. Thank you Al for the valued information. My grandson has grown up reading your blogs and is now an avid train enthusiast. He is building with my help a 12 x 6 ho railway using valuable information from your blog. I hope you can see a way forward with your blog. Maybe once a week may reduce the load.
    Us modellers from Tasmania, Australia wish you all the best and hope we can stay with you.

  26. Bob Rolfe says:

    Al, I bought the guide in the past and have no space for other items on your sale. However I would be more than happy to pay a fee for you to keep the site up, I think a lot of us would. Any way, the Best to you and yours
    NV Bob

  27. Like the other readers I too look forward to the emails Alstair send out daily.

    I really appreciate it.

  28. Bruce Buchanan says:

    Al: I hope you get same sleep tonight. I await your decision. I have been reading your daily emails for several years. I started my N gauge layout in 2013, and finished it last year – of course it is never really finished. Please just do what you feel you have to do. We will all understand. Bruce from Indiana USA.

  29. Keith Pittman says:

    Dear Al,
    I am retiired and an N scale railroader.
    I offer my full time comitment to you to take over and carry on your good work by any arrangement you prefer.

  30. Peter Farrington says:

    Hello Al,
    I have followed your newsletters with amazement at some of the layouts published and I also have learnt quite a lot of useful information from the various posts.
    I have found quite a lot of useful info. in the beginners guide I bought from you, it’s a must for all skill levels.
    I hope something can be done to help you through your crisis, unfortunately my layout being outside in the garden does not lend itself to wanting much in the scenery department, the info I have gleaned from your contributors has helped me work out scratch-building projects such as IK Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge as a removable access point for my 10foot turning loop at the bottom of my garden.
    I still have another 50yards of track to lay but I am hoping to get this finished over the winter.
    My best wishes for whatever the future brings you.

  31. Howard Schultz says:

    I will miss you, a very thoughtful and exiting blog. My gauge is S (old American Flyer) and i’m building a 5 foot by 8 foot table that is 40 inches high ( to keep my cat from jumping on it) My village has the old Plasticville which in been collecting as to some that are from the the early 1950’s’
    i use the new MTH track which is quite beautiful and mates with old Flyer track.
    I have not done any paper buildings, but I plan to do when my new color printing come along. I will miss your blog and what the future holds for the you and your legions of friends that you have develop. Best wishes to you

  32. Mike Doble says:

    Hi Al, I hope that you get sufficient numbers/Members to keep you going. I already have the book and just bought another. I also pay a monthly subscription and have a Golden Key, and I have also bought all your printout of buildings etc.
    I still haven’t retired at 78, however I’m selling my businesses and hoping to retire at the end of the year or end of January, then I can make a start on my planned layout.
    I hope you don’t, but If you still have to pack up at the end of the sale, like everyone else I will miss your blog and I send my Best Wishes to you and your family.

  33. Al,

    i only discovered your blog about a month ago, but I’ve enjoyed receiving your daily emails showing other guy’s model railroading efforts. It has revived my 60 year interest in model railroading and may even prompt me to finally get to work on my own Christmas train layout that I started to build 20 years ago. I will miss your emails but completely understand that you put a lot of work into producing your blog and it can become overwhelming. Best of luck whichever way you decide to go in the future.


  34. Ian McDonald says:

    HI Al,
    I really enjoy your emails. it is amazing some of the layouts I have seen of your site. I have got lots of ideas and hints and how tos to keep my layout alive. thankyou. I hope you have some plans that may help in the future if for some reason you cannot continue. wishing you all the best for the future.
    Ian McDonald Qld Australia. I might have no need to turn on my computer.

  35. Dane Schupbach says:

    I just want to say thanks for all of your work supporting this site. Like many I had stepped away from the hobby when I clicked a link that brought me to your site. Poor vision had made it impossible to build the dream layout for my N scale trains I had spent the last 35 years collecting. Reading all of the stories and seeing how other people had overcome bigger obstacles made me decide to continue in the hobby by changing to HO scale. At that time two things happened that made this possible. The first is that I found a large HO scale layout and collection that I was able to buy and I also found a new eye Doctor who was able to vastly improve my vision.
    Your blog satisfied my needs to stay involved in the hobby and all of the layouts featured inspired me to start building a new HO scale layout in my two car garage. I hope that you will get enough support to continue the blog so that it will still be around when I get my layout far enough along to share with the group. If you do have to close the blog I wish you the best and thank you for all of the support and inspiration you have provided.

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