Sal’s N scale model railroad

Sal’s stunning N scale layout. The pics say it all:

“Hi Alastair

I have been enjoying and appreciating what you do for some time now.

I love seeing other layouts, what people are doing and how they got there.

I retired 2 years ago and have now turned my shop into my train room. It’s small – N scale 14×5 – but with N Scale you can do a lot.

I was out of the hobby for almost 20 years and I am now back. I attached a few photos if you would like to share them.

Again thanks for what you do, you help make Model Railroading “The Greatest Hobby In The World”.

The Lighthouse was scratch built as were the freighter and the tanker ships.

The fishing boat at “Captain Haddock’s Seafood” was also scratch built. Also scratch built was the Bates Motel scene.


n scale bates motel

N scale fishing port

n scale 14x5 passenger train

N scale lighthouse

N scale timber yard

N scale loading platform

N scale harbor

n scale 14x5 town scene

n scale 14x5 town scene

n scale led lights

n scale led lights

A huge, big thanks to Sal. What a stunning N scale 14×5.

And it’s always nice to read that folk are enjoying the blog too.

I’ve been having a tough time of it at the moment. When you get to my age the technical side of running a blog can be a bit mind numbing.

I’ve been having a tough time of it at the moment. When you get to my age the technical side of running a blog can be a bit mind numbing.

But I am encouraged to go on – it’s amazing what a few kind comments can do to spur you on.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming, it really would put a smile on my face.

Oh, and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide, if today is the day you start your railroad adventure.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

46 Responses to Sal’s N scale model railroad

  1. Chuck Holsclaw says:

    Very impressive scenery. Your motel dock, boats all scratchbuilt. You are quite a craftsman. Your layout looks so realistic. Would love to see a operating video next time. Is your layout dc or dcc ? Thanks for sharing

  2. Skip says:

    fantastic level of myriad coherent details. Loved the guy being towed by the shark? and all the rest. As he says, “you can get a lot in a small space with N gauge” . Wonderful work. And Allistair adds an awful lot to our “hobby” Thank you for what you do.

  3. Rod Mackay says:

    Wow! That’s tremendous detail for N, well done.

  4. says:

    Sal, I’m jealous, great achievement. And yes, an operating video would be very appreciated!

  5. Graham Smith says:

    Brilliant! A great layout that looks even better for the great finish and the standard of the modelling. At my first glance I thought it was an HO layout until I paid attention to see it is N gauge. The real winner for me is the shark towing the boat around while being watched by the boat crews – genius!!

  6. James says:


  7. Swav Kojro says:

    Nicely done.

  8. Allan says:

    Wow. Incredible scenery.

  9. FredAnderson says:

    Keep up the good work in running your Blog.I have used lots of information which has appeared here. Will get around before end of this year with photos and a Video of my layout.

  10. Jim says:

    Wonderful, love the A&P and good humor truck

  11. Stephen Hill says:

    Sal, that is magnificent, I’m amazed . I don’t know how you do it . I try to capture the detail and mimic realism but fall dreadfully short . That is truly incredible. Serious stuff . Looks amazing .

  12. Brian Olson says:

    Stunning to say the least, one of the best layouts I’ve ever seen here. Well done!

  13. Rob McCrain says:

    Simply fabulous. What a beautiful and fascinating layout. You demonstrate superior skill in your scratch building. Every image was captivating with so much detail and so many stories to tell. I am very impressed. You have approached this project with great ingenuity. Bravo
    Rob McCrain

  14. George Zaky says:

    Bravo. Big Al was somewhat hesitant to use stunning but stunning it is. You are a very talented and artistic modeler and we’d love to see some videos of trains making noise on this fantastic layout.
    I cant help myself but I have say ” In N scale yet”.

    Big Al- ” Look what you’ve gotten us into Olly!”
    Keep truckin’ bro- we need you.

  15. Bob Sandrus says:

    Excellent work. Lighting up an n scale layout can be difficult but you did an excellent job.

  16. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice. is there a shower in the bates motel? lol.

  17. John W Richmond Jr says:

    If I am correct, the Bates Motel was the motel in the movie Psycho. I still remember the murder scene in the shower with Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins.

  18. Dan Williams says:

    I really enjoy getting your emails. Hope things get better for you.

    Dan in Richmond Virginia.

  19. RCSinPGH says:

    Hands down…the best N scale layouts I’ve seen on this sight. Obtaining that level of detail at that scale is a huge accomplishment. I admire it with a twinge of jealousy wishing I had the skill set and patience to come close to this performance for a diorama. Kudos to you, Sal !

  20. Ronald Kantorak says:

    Wow! I was very impressed with your layout. I wish I had the patience and talent for model building as you obviously do.

  21. Clément Drolet says:

    N scale? Wow! Fantastic! Finest layout I’ve seen.

  22. Brian Rockey says:

    Firstly Alastair, sorry to hear that you have been having a tough time. The work you do for us in running this blog is amazing. I’m sure that I write on behalf of all of us who look forward to opening it every day, for getting new ideas, tips and just pleasure from seeing everyone else’s layouts. Thank you so much for your commitment and dedication to our hobby.
    And Sal, absolutely wonderful layout. You have an amazing sense of humour – I just loved the shark and that poor fishing guy – he’s “going to need a bigger boat!”.
    Your layout is truly inspiring.
    Best to all.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK.

  23. Glenn Dean Holden says:

    Wow- what a layout- congratulations!!!

  24. Jerry Treich says:

    Sal, that is simply incredible! You sure can pack a lot into a layout in N scale! Well done!

  25. stephan brown says:

    Excellent pictures, why can’t we see an “overhead” picture of the layout?

    “All you need is a “selfie” stick for your phone”

  26. Old Ben says:

    Truly Stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Bill Roberts says:

    I believe you have set a new standard for N gage. I am in N gage and these pictures will be on the wall for inspiration for new efforts Everything is inspiring especially the lighting. This will be my new standard to reach for.

  28. Mike Balog says:

    Fantastic N Scale Seacoast Layout! Brings back memories as I grew up by Long Island Sound in CT. The Details are just Great…. the Shark Towing the Fisherman was Hysterical,,, with the Fishing Boat Crews stopping to watch the action. And the Good Humor Truck,,, the A&P Store, Brownstone Tenement Houses, people. I noticed the Switcher on the RR Barge, Usually they used to use a flat car ahead of the switching locomotive to move cars on off the Ferry or a RR Barge. The position and weight of the engine and cars placement is critical. You would need to have a loaded car on the other track to balance the barge load.Where did you find the plans for the fishing boats? Great Details all around. This should be in the Hall of Fame Al… From Across the Pond in N.H. U.S.A. ~ Mike.

  29. John Bullock says:

    Stunning layout and detail… but somebody’s gonna need a bigger boat!

  30. Allen Wagener says:

    Mr. Lee.
    I have been a follower of your websight for many years. Being in my 80’s the changes that the internet throws at us older ones daily is very confusing so I understand what your saying about time consuming. I really enjoy everything you do and the pics and videos that you post. The internet would not be the same without you. Please hang in there.
    Thank you. Al Wagener, Minnesota USA

  31. Dennis in Colorado, not far from Rob says:

    Hello Al, sorry to hear that you are not doing so well! I am sure that just about everyone that you have connected to or helped along the way are pulling for you to get better. You sir are one of a kind and are a huge help to us, most would not do what you do for our community. It is an under paid endeavor and you would most definitely need to love what you do. Take care of yourself sir and do not give up, we need you!

  32. Jeff Daley says:

    This layout is a shoe in for the Great Model Railroad 10 Best yearly magazine!!! Job well done my friend.

  33. David Hewitt says:

    Al I wish you all the success in your blog. I’t puts a smile on my face every day and I’m sure I’m not alone. It doesn’t matter the scale, operation, scenery and everything else I am sure to glean at least one “nugget”. Please keep going even if you have to scale back a bit. And reach out, lots of users of this sight have some fantastic publishing skills.
    As for Sal’s layout, simply stunning, possible one of the best N scale layouts ever. Would love to see more and perhaps running. Well done sir.

  34. Matison says:

    Great job! I especially like the waterline; the wharves and docks, and how they fit right in with the rest of the scenery. It is very realistic and interesting with so may great details.

    The other thing that I’m impressed with is the people. They are not just random characters filling space. Each one has a purpose and a story, and if you look carefully, you can figure out what each person is doing.

    Thank you for sharing.

  35. Kevin McCloskey, Sr. says:

    trefrickin amazin!!!!!

  36. Roger Jenkins says:

    Sal, you are an artist, absolutely wonderful layout. To scratch build all those things is a real talent! To Alistair, I hope you get through your current tough time. I look forward to all your emails as they take me to a world that is a lot more civilized than the graceless age we live in right now. Your blog gives me a smile and I wish you all the best……take care!

  37. John Birch says:


  38. Dienzel Dennis says:

    One of the best ever regardless of scale. I loved the shark pulling the boat up out of the water. All scenes were very realistic. Hope we can see more in the near future, including a Video. Job well done and you have the right to feel proud.

  39. John Holly says:

    Wow, great stuff here. I love that you have Norman Bates mother up in the window of the main house. Very detail oriented all around.
    I usually don’t comment here but felt I needed to this time, well done!

  40. Andrew Aves says:


    Andrew in Oz

  41. Sid says:

    Sal, what an amazing layout. I am not capable of that artistry but I enjoy seeing the results. Keep em coming.
    Al, you are truly the bright spot in my busy life. I love starting my day with reading the recent blog post. You are in our prayers friend.
    Texas USA

  42. Malcolm says:

    Alastair, Thank you for bringing fantastic layouts like Sal’s to us. Truly inspiring! There are some excellent Nn3 gage layouts in the US (run on Z scale 6.5 mm track). I’ll see if I can persuade someone to post.

  43. Eric says:

    Sal. Wow I am impressed, what a wonderful job.
    The buildings are excellent and the Bates Hotel is over the top.
    Very awesome layout.

    Eric the Firefighter
    St Louis Missouri Area
    Retired 3 weeks

  44. Orvan Gene Hatfield says:

    Try putting a flashing/blinking LED in your Lighthouse, it gives a more realistic look to the way real Lighthouses look. The normal rate for most LEDS is 1 second on & 1 second off. I have found that works best. Give it a try.

  45. Yale M Schiffman says:

    Sal: What a marvelous layout. I am into N Scale modeling. Lots of great ideas. Some of which can be adapted into my layout. Appreciate the quality of your work. As they say the devil is in the details.


  46. Richard Toth says:

    you should be very proud of your layout, very impressive.

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