S scale trains

John’s been in touch with his S scale trains:

“Dear Al,

I am writing to you from Pearland, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Ten to twelve years ago my son Michael and I became interested in model railroads during our annual family Christmas visit to Northampton, Massachusetts to visit my mother in law for the holidays.

Look Park always has a very nice S scale model train display operating, and my son, then about 9 years old, was given a nice customized Christmas train car as a present from his grandmother that would be running on the layout when we visited each year. Our fascination with model train layouts thus began.

Having never done anything like this before, we were fortunate to have met Steve Allen when attending the Look Park display.

He was one of the main S scale trains railroaders in that area, setting up and operating the layouts each year.

He became a great mentor and advisor for us in starting a layout back in Pearland in 2012.

Steve was invaluable in helping me to learn about S scale, and guiding us on what to look for with S Helper Service items to get us started.

My son had fun “designing” the basic layout structure and paths for the tracks, including some small rock hill formations, and a big mountain to put a tunnel through.

A lake was designed also, fed from a long waterfall from the top of the mountain.

Due to space, we were working with approximately a 4ft by 6ft benchwork structure with plywood base, and several layers of form core.

Over the next 6 months or so, we built the layout, laying track, roadways, buildings and streets and lighting.

There was not really a particular geographic area or era that we designed from, but just what seemed to be fun and fit nicely in how the layout was put together. It did end up being a slightly older time frame, and certainly not today’s modern style.

We added cars and trucks, and of course people in the small town. Over the following years a few things were added and slightly changed, but because of space, it has stayed pretty much the same.

I have included a few photos from the beginning, and some showing the layout as it is now.

Hope you enjoy seeing our rather compact S scale layout!


Pearland, Texas”

s scale trains overhead view

start s scale train layout

tunnels for s scale train layout

model train adding scenery

s scale mountains

s scale trains overhead view

model train signal box town

model train town

s scale overhead view

scale freight train

model train railroad lake

model railroad store

s scale boat lake

s scale freight train

model train town

model train farm

model train curve

A big thanks to John for sharing his S scale trains. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing your layouts.

You can see more S scale layouts here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

14 Responses to S scale trains

  1. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Great details in a small space! I especially like the store interiors. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gary M from Long Island says:

    John….Nice looking layout. You have a lot going on in a small area.
    Great detail. Nice interior on some of the buildings. You guys it a lot of work into it.

  3. Brian Olson says:

    Nice details on a wonderful layout. Most important it looks like you and your son are having a great time.

  4. Rob McCrain says:

    So much fine detail in such a small space. Well done!
    Rob McCrain

  5. Terry Patti says:

    Very nice with a lot of intricate detail in a small space.

  6. Bill in Virginia says:

    I love to see compact layouts with loads of details! Well done

  7. George Zaky says:

    You have no idea how excited I was to see your magnificent S scale layout and what you packed in a 4×6 space. Your modelling skills are right up there with the big boys and much thanks for a great narrative. Your town scenes are outstanding.
    I sure hope that you and son do some expanding or something more to show off your talents.
    Big Al ( I call you this because NO one is higher in esteem)
    Cant thank you enough for what you do.

  8. Nice interiors they draw you into the building

  9. Ripper says:

    “Small is Beautiful”, is what comes to mind when viewing this layout. Wow! Lots of details!

  10. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. Really like and appreciate your buildings and the great details. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Kevin in NC says:

    I like the S Scale and your town. I am working in O scale, and as I lay out my city I find myself constrained by my Civil Engineer mindset – which tells me I need to have parking, proper curb radii etc. I like the idea of “cheating” on some of those standard design elements I would have in a proper city if my table space was no object.

  12. Dominic Joseph Radanovich says:

    Goodness! As small as this layout is and as compact and crowded it appears to be, it has some very fine features of interest, and it looks like a cozy little town I would enjoy living in.
    Joseph in Milwaukee.

  13. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great looking layout! Great job on the scenery. For a small layout it does look large. Good luck in the Hobby.

  14. John Hesse says:

    Thank you to everyone for the kind words. It has been a lot of fun, and interesting to discover skills that I didn’t know I had!

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