S scale model train layout

George has been in touch with his S scale model train layout – he’s found out a few things about his double loops:

“Hi Al

Hope this finds you well.

This message is a little different. It’s about what I built, was unhappy with, and then I dismantled it for bigger plans.

First this was an S scale layout on a 9×12 base. The scheme was an over under outer loop and turn-outs to an inner loop.

I was so excited about watching the trains run the big long loop and I was happy about that. When it came time to add scenery the high outer loop prevented me access and I quickly became discouraged.

I also saw that the passenger trains did not do well on the inner loop and that was to be the station location. I became very unhappy with those awful Lionel turnouts- too tight and soon defective- and the track with cast ballast grew boring.

What I learned was the inclines were just too much, the valley in the middle was inaccessible, and there are such better ideas than this one. I still like the loops that “keep em rollin”. I treasure that Polar Express but it flew off the Christmas layout and is in for major surgery.

This is very far from the wonders you bring to light but I need to share some things that just might be useful to others.

Hope you “ keep em rollin”.


And now on to Bill:


What I have included today are a variety of pictures from both the HO switching layout and my N Scale layout as well. The past month or so I am enjoying running both layouts and also adding in new details.

I have picked up numerous automobile kits in both scales as well as different road construction equipment.

Another area of focus for me has been building and detailing the city of Alta on my N Scale layout. Basics are completed and soon I will turn my attention to completing the building that remain.

I have also started to repaint N Scale people I have. I am close to populating the N Scald layout but I wanted to give a more realistic paint job to many of the lower cost people I have. It’s actually easy to do just takes a little while. More in that maybe in my next submission.

One picture shows three F7a’s – different versions but all Pennsylvania Railroad.

I am close to starting a two rail O Scale & ON30 layout in the garage to join the HO and N Scale layouts.

A car will never see the inside of my garage again I think and I’m ok with that. Someone else is begrudgingly ok with that. At least she always knows where I am when she can’t find me.

Layouts are never finished. There is always fun little things we can do to bring our worlds to life.

To all modelers Keep Having Fun on Your layout’s!


Bill in Virginia”

HO scale and N scale

HO scale freight yard

HO scale industrial scene

HO scale oil freight

HO scale switching layout road scene

HO scale switching yard scene

HO scale switching switching yard trestly bridge

HO scale switching yard

HO scale warehouse

HO switching layout ballast yard

HO switching layout level crossing

model train industrial yard

model train industrial yard

N scale perspective scene

A huge big thank you to Bill and to George for sharing his S scale model train layout.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming because it’s ghostly quiet this end.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

13 Responses to S scale model train layout

  1. John Duryea says:

    George I have the S polar express I noticed the front passanger car doesn’t light up I had the same issue you will find the wire on the electrical pick up off the axial is broken at the solder point. In fact I had the problem with all the cars I did do the fix. I also changed my track to code .148 from American Models with turnouts from A/M . Looks more realistic. But truly enjoy S scale it bigger but not too big. Have fun running!

  2. Stephen Hill says:

    George, I really like your train , you have a great start , look forward to seeing your progress … keep posting .

    Bill, that sir is amazing , incredible detail in all your modeling , very impressive . Would like to see overall view or video of trains running throughout . How many displays does it take to acquire those skills ? Truly amazing.

  3. Dustyk UK says:

    My thanks to Dangerous Dave for replying to my query regarding the length of the Hornby magnetic couplings (yesterday). I have found three different sizes – 11mm, 17mm and 20mm. I tried the 17mm vacuum couplings a couple of weeks ago, but they were much too short for coaches. I will do as Dave suggests – try the 20mm ones…

  4. JOHN BULLOCK says:

    George… your comments on the “reality” of model railroading – inclines, curve radius, accessibility to all sections of the layout, etc. – cannot be overstated. These are the killers. The school of hard knocks may be tough, but lessons learned will make for an almost perfect 2nd layout!

    Bill… wow, what great detail you have going on there. Each photo tells a story. This is ideal to maintain interest and bring joy to those who are invited to see your layout personally. Good going!

  5. Dave in AZ says:

    Amazing detail.

  6. Hugo Budzien says:

    George: My solution would be to get everything that is not train relate out of the garage, split the layout in two, and spread it out to the side walls. This would get your high interference of the elevated track at the back of the layout, even longer runs, and a way to widen the curves on the inner loop.

  7. Timothy R Smith says:

    George and gang,
    I am an S gauge railroader and getting back into it since my retirement. I am in a 5 – 10 year project in our new place in Murfreesboro, TN. Can’t seem to find any railroaders here as compared to Michigan. I would love to connect with some S Gaugers to bounce off solutions to problems etc.

  8. Dave H from Washington... the other Washington. says:

    Bill’s level of detail is just simply amazing. Every photo shows so much artistic work in it. It’s really phenomenal. I know I’ll never be able to come close.

    I especially like Bill’s ‘weathering’ work with rust. It made the equipment and locomotives look amazing realistic.

    Thanks Bill for sharing.

  9. C.H, Specht says:

    Love your layout, buildings and cars are realisticly placed and show some real skill.
    I moved from New Mexico to Florida and am still in the “cardboard box in the garage” phase of moving. In starting the unpack I have found several boxes of my father’s 1920/30 Lionel standard gauge trains. So far i’ve seen a half dozen passenger cars, a disassembled engine, power pack and a pile of track. Is anyone still playing with this stuff? I’m dedicated to HO and don’t know what to do with it, other than trying to get the engine running.

  10. Roger K says:

    George, I’ve had American Flyer S Gauge since I was a kid. I also bought the AF Polar Express and have had problems with it as well. In my case, the electrical pickup on the front truck shorts out constantly. The FastTrack that came with the P/E is also more trouble than it’s worth. It doesn’t fit together well, causing shorts and derailments. It looks good, but the old steel Flyer track actually works much better. If you’re new to “S” Gauge, don’t let the bad experiences with the modern stuff ruin your opinion of it. Vintage Flyer, made by AC Gilbert is terrific. My engines that are 60+ years old run better than new stuff made by Lionel overseas. Go to some train shows and pick up some operator grade items that will give you a lot of performance for much less than new ones. Also, make sure you install guard rails to keep the trains from ending up on the floor.

  11. william j plmer says:


  12. John Hauser says:

    The layout lokos great and the S gauge Polar Express is so neat.
    Keep up the good work!

  13. Will in NM says:

    George, despite all the problems you’ve had with your layout, the video shows you overcame them quite well. I especially liked your innovative cantilevered track supports for the upper-level track where it crosses the lower-level track.

    Bill, your work always amazes me. I also have three different layouts under construction, but none of them come close to your level of completeness. I like all the action implied by the mini scenes of various figures and details.

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