N scale wiring – Rob’s

Hall of Fame member Rob has been back in touch – have a look at how he does his N scale wiring:

“Hi Al,

I know most people will remember me by my Farland Howe layout which is a British-themed layout.

There are two versions of this layout, but I have also been working on an N scale layout loosely based on the area where I live.

The track through here was originally laid down by the Colorado & Southern (C&S) which then passed to the Chicago Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q). It is now Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). Longmont has an interesting history with the railroad. It was an agricultural town but surrounded by mining towns.

Industries here that were or are served by the railroads are the Kuner Empson Cannery, the Gibson Tractor plant, the Western Sugar beet factory, and the nearby cement plant, Cemex. I did not include the sugar plant on the layout, there just was not room enough. Maybe someday.

I scratch-built the cannery, cement, and tractor plants but bought kits for the rest like stores and houses plus the power plant.

I also wanted this layout to be lightweight, so I used poplar for the framing and extruded insulation foam for the boards on top. I then covered the foam with a layer of 5/16″ cork. The track went directly onto the cork.

I also tried using wireway as is used in industrial control cabinets to contain the bundles of wires needed. That has worked pretty well although nothing is perfect to control the 1,000’s of wires needed for track power, turnout control, and LED lighting on a complex layout like this.

It is made up of three sections 48 inches wide by 40 inches long. The sections are held together by heavy door hinges. I can pull the pins and separate the layout into three sections.

Each section has its own lighting power supply, but control and track power are distributed to the various sections by multi-conductor plugs and sockets.

The turnout control board is also electrically connected to the center section by the same type of multi-conductor connectors.

I mostly run trains pulled by CB&Q locomotives, but I also have an EMD A & B set of Western Pacific power units plus an Alco PA and PB set of Rio Grande Western power units. Besides the foreign power, I have two CB&Q switchers and two GP30s, and naturally a few steam engines as well.

Thank you for all you do Al, we all really appreciate your blog and kits.


N scale tractor factory

N scale diesel locomotive

N scale carriages crossing road

N scale cafe

N scale wiring for layout

N scale wiring for layout

N scale wiring for layout

flat bed tractor factory

engine shed N scale

N scale road crossing night time

N scale electricity sub station

A huge thanks to Rob – he’s done a fantastic job on his N scale.

Seeing the wiring under the tables makes it look like a daunting project, but as we all find out, it doesn’t matter whether it’s N scaling wiring, HO scale wiring, or whatever, it’s just step by step.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as me.

If you’re interested, I have started putting together a page of N scale layouts.

That’s all for today folks – please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

18 Responses to N scale wiring – Rob’s

  1. James Marek says:

    Impressive work with electronics…sound and lights. Scenery detailing definitely needs a lot of work. Enjoyed your video.

  2. Wow!!! Nice job on the layout Rob and thank you for sharing the video loved it !!!

  3. Cary B says:

    Awesome job Rob, your n scale layout has everything that model railroading is all about.
    Very inspiring indeed
    Cary B

  4. Rod Mackay says:

    Brilliant Rob, well done. Lovely to see someone modelling a real place.

  5. george zaky says:

    Bravo! In N scale yet. Modelling masters like yourself deserve tons of credit and appreciation. I marvel at the planning, vision, and how you created this masterpiece. Your craftsmanship is amazing- in N scale yet.
    Many thanks for the narrative & video.
    Be safe & well
    George from LI, NY

  6. Very nice layout Rob! You sure have been busy ! Nice scenery and town !


  7. James Marek says:

    Nice work. Fun layout.

  8. Erick says:

    Pretty neat, Looking good

  9. James J says:

    Very nice job. I didn’t realize size of N scale till you stuck your hand in there. Very nice electrical work looks complicated.

  10. Super job and it gives you a warm and homey feel

  11. roger turner says:

    Love your layout Rob, very impressed with your scratch built buildings. Great craftsmanship and attention to detail.

  12. Louis F. Caputo says:

    As always, Rob turns in another spectacular display of craftmanship! I was especially admiring his benchwork and will try to replicate features of those light weight table components. I have the locos, stock cars, scenery, desire & space — what I DON’T have is the technical knowledge re the necessary wiring that makes everything “GO”! Until I can learn how to do that my trains will never leave the station.

  13. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    My favorite equipment on there Rob. Enjoyed the well done video as always. Your is inspirational as well. Great stuff.
    Hardin Mt USA

  14. nevergiveout says:

    and a joy to behold
    Thank You

  15. Tom Snyder says:

    Super layout. Really liked the various lighting, signals and sound. I had forgotten how good looking Western Pacific F units were and hard to beat Burlington stainless.

  16. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. Appreciate the lighting effects and the town scenes.

    Jim AZ

  17. Larry Patterson says:

    I was born in Longmont in 1947 and have lived there 35 years off and on. Great Western Sugar had their own Great Western Railroad, connecting sugar beet farms, sugar mills, and transportation hubs in northern Colorado. They operated 50 miles of track with 5 locomotives.

  18. Rich Kulik says:

    Designing a control system and successfully implementing is always a result of planning and a neat/organized wiring plan. This is great. Good job.

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