N scale 14×5: Sal’s layout

Sal’s been busy on his stunning N scale 14×5:

“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.

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.

PPS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

59 Responses to N scale 14×5: Sal’s layout

  1. Brian Messenger says:

    Wow Sal, for an ‘n’ scale layout you have done an excellent job on it. I like the shark pulling the fisherman along in his boat. Well done on the waterfront scene as well.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna RSA

  2. Bob Vernon says:

    That is the best n gauge layout I have ever seen,
    The scenery is as Al says, Stunning
    I am restoring an old n gauge layout, and if I can make it look half as good as that I will be over the moon
    Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  3. jack masarie says:

    Love the waterfront scenes, and, of course, “Bates Motel” and
    the shark-powered boat.
    Shlack in NC

  4. Robert Brady says:

    FANTABULOUS ! One would never know it’s N scale
    The Critic

  5. Jeff Kehrer says:

    Fantastic layout. Love the Shay engine!!!

  6. That whole layout is incrediificent and in N scale. I have never seen anything so detailed in such a small scale in my 50 plus years of model railroading. Magnificent craftsmanship!

  7. Paul Stocks says:

    Only word I can think of is WOW !! I love the water front . I am now going to rip mine out which looks feeble in comparison . Well done.

  8. Bill says:

    Well done, Sal — you’re a master craftsman and an inspiration.

  9. Dennis Todic says:

    Never have I seen better N scale layout and I do appreciate you sharing pictures so we could all enjoy them.

  10. George Zaky says:

    Awesome layout. Would love to see a video of the entire layout. It stands right up there with the best with artistry, imagination and craftsmanship.
    George from LI, NY

  11. Patrick Hanlon says:


  12. Sergio Alvarez says:

    Just incredible. Excellent detail.
    It would be nice if those experts could load a spread sheet with info about vehicles, figures, lights…and so on.
    That could help many of us when trying to add them on our layouts.

  13. Jim K. says:

    Incredible detail. Looks like a lot of scratch building. The lighting is fantastic, as are the water scenes. The only thing I would change is the era of the vehicles.

  14. Robert Zimmerman says:

    I can’t believe that is a ‘N’ scale layout.
    Good job. Like the water scene.

  15. Erick says:

    Looks Great.!!!!! I hope mines turns that good.

  16. Paul Fixx says:

    Nice 2-truck Shay. Can you share where it came from?

  17. Kent Pool says:


  18. Wayne R. says:

    What a marvelous job you have done. Its hard to focus on anyone thing because you have a lot going on. But I really like to know how you weathered your streets? Did you use chalk or paint? Anyway nice job.

  19. Mike Balog says:

    To Sal and AL: This is one for the Record Books.. This layout Deserves to be included in your HALL OF FAME of Model RR Layouts.. The Craftsmenship is totally Astounding.. Especially when you consider this is N SCALE !!! Unbelieveable Attention to Such Detail.. The Harbor Scene is Fantastic.. Still Laughing at the Fisherman Dragged Along by the Shark in the Harbor.. Still more Amazing is the Reaction to the Sailors on board all those ships at the dock, Running to that side to Watch in Shock the Shark pulling that Boat! The Small Details bring the Harbor and the Layout to Life. The Lighting is Great,,, even one of the buildings along the street, appears to have a basement light On! The Figures look like they are actually doing something “Human”. Like the scenes are a Snap Shot ~ a Pause in Time. Really Liked the vendors with the unloaded supplies about to enter the A&P Store.. The Apartment Row Buildings remind me of that era… though, the railings on the front stoop, stairs going down to the sidewalk are really too wide for N Scale. You did an exceptional job on the ships and boats in the Harbor Scene.. I grew up in a large industrial city in CT., along the Coast, You captured all the nuances of what you would find in a Harbor.. The Lighthouse and the long walk around leading up to it. gives plenty of space for local anglers to set up for the day. The Steam Locomotice, I thought it was a Heisler and not a shay, though I could be wrong. I have two small shay’s that I had planned to used for a small harbor when I get the chance of building additional 2 ft x 4 ft modules to add to my Christmas 4 ft x 4 ft layout I have now.. Again.. This Deserves to be Added to the Hall of Fame… ~ Mike in N.H., U.S.A.

  20. John says:

    They say the Devil is in the details… I’m revising that axiom to “God is in the details”… and you sir are in Heaven!

  21. David says:

    Nice that took some time to do I”ll bet. I will be starting my Rail Road lay out when I move into my new house that I am having built. I own S Guage American Flyer.

  22. David says:


  23. Joe Kincaid says:

    I have been dreaming about a waterfront scene.. This goes way beyond my wildest dreams. Not sure I could even dream this one up. I have purchased the beginnings of a waterfront scene with the Norm’s Landing kit by Craftsman. Cancer stepped in in 2016, and I have battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and then multiple myeloma. It sure messes up the modeling time.
    Thanks to my great friends at Pricom, and their incredible animation products in animation utilizing lighting and sound, and Jim Wells with his incredible library of sounds that are nothing short of awesome; I actually have continued building my HOn3 dual gauge Virginia and Truckee RR in the High Sierras and Northern Nevada. The cancer may cut me short of finishing, but I will keep dreaming of my miniature world until I can’t dream anymore.
    It is people like Al with his buildings that you print, cut, paste and create more scenarios for a fraction of the cost of ‘kits.’ Bob Scheffler band his family team of great kids that are giving us an awesome choice of products in lighting and sound; have a look at them at Pricom.com, and don’t miss my friend Jim Wells with the most unbelievable library of sound, that is actually engineered….yes engineered to be so realistic as to transport you right into the sounds you might expect at a waterfront, a prairie day or night, the mountains day or or night, or….look jump over to Fantasonics.com, and see for yourself.
    God bless all you guys with your fertile minds, creating and sharing with the rest of us, so that Al can open a world of dreams from all over the world!

  24. mike tate says:

    NICE work, I’m working on my N scale and that is a beautiful job!!!!!! KUDOS!!!!

  25. Jim says:

    Why don’t people submit overall photos of their layouts???

  26. Rick Vermillion says:

    Unbelievably realistic. Such detail in a small world. I love N scale because you can cover a lot of ground in smaller areas. All I can say is fantastic.

  27. Graham Smith says:

    Ditto all of the above Sal – BUT a special mention for the humour you’ve built in, I just love it. When I ‘built’ mine, I bought it ready made on Ebay and then put some mods into it and re-wired it and then built the scenery and stuff from scratch. By the end I was getting a bit fed up with all the fixing I had to do on the 20year old layout I only found time for a minute bit of humour in it. Even then it isn’t very funny and only I know where and what it is 😉
    Great work Sal, I feel motivated to go back to mine and finish all the lighting that was installed but not wired up – probably tomorrow, or the day after……

  28. Frank says:

    Amazing scenes and models. I liked the amount of detail and the Bates Motel is awesome. And I also like the boats and the shark stunt.

    Your layout is very detailed and immersive adn obviously everyone has noticed.

    Frank in Orlando

  29. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great looking layout!!

  30. Mike Bifulco says:

    Sal, these pictures are both amazing and inspiring. You have mastered the ability to add night lighting, something I will never be able to do. Presently I’m working on my n-scale recreation of Hill Valley from “Back to the Future” as once seen on the backlot of Universal Studios, however, I had to take the decision to build solid structures for a daylight display because lighting the miniature work is more than I have time left in life to complete. But I’m having fun and I can see from your amazing work that you are having fun, too, and that is what the hobby is all about. Cheers, and all the best!

  31. Dany Henderson says:

    WOW ! – What a wonderful layout. – Gives me ideas for future expansion of my own N Scale layout. – Thanks for sharing.

  32. Brian Rockey says:

    Wonderful craftsmanship Sal. Particularly impressed with the harbour scene and scratch built boats and ships. Loved the ‘jaws’ scene – LOL. Absolutely fantastic.
    Brian, Wokingham.

  33. Bill Gressley says:

    Much has been said prior to my comments and I agree with all of them. I am also an N-scale enthusiast working on a layout and I’ve tried to come up with ideas on how to make things move. Aside from adding any motors you have captured that sense with all your components. Every view feels like it has movement and you are commended for accomplishing that with non moving figures. Very appealing to the eye. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Veddy, veddy nice, Sal!! Wonderful detail . . . just goes to show what N scale can be. The Shay loco is really cool pulling a passenger train. LOVE the harbor scene!

  35. John Birch says:

    Absolutely stunning detail – and in N scale! Congratulations on a superb layout.

  36. Ken Scheler says:

    Your layout is awesome! I’m sure many of us would like for you to share your layout plan. I am planning to start a new N scale layout in the near future and have been looking for layout plans that also fit into a small space. I will be limited to a 36 inch x 80 inch hollow core door for my layout size.

  37. Rich says:

    This is probably one of the finest N scale layouts I have seen in quite a while. Was going to say “keep up the good work” but don’t know how you can improve on what you have.

  38. William Orton says:

    The detail iin your layout s unparalleled. Great work.

  39. Dave stoudt says:

    Please, I wish every railroad, you showcase, would have the track plan of each layout. Sometimes you can take guesses, but to see the layout would be great for all, I think

  40. Chris O'Neil says:

    Down to the “When It Rains It Pours” detail. Love it. Love it. Love it.

    Recalls the old MR Gorre & Daphetid photo shoots (which I think were doe on sheet film with accordion bellows cameras. Could be misremembering, though.)

  41. The detail in Sal’s layout would be excellent in O scale.
    In HO it would be beyond excellent!
    In N scale? — There is magic afoot I tell you, pure sorcery.
    The humor is remarkable — Most have mentioned the harbor details
    I caught the “Bates Motel” am I that old?

    Al — I got worried when I did not see any posts for about a week… Not even any reruns. — I was worried about your health and then I considered the possibility that you were on holiday. Glad to see you are back on track so to speak. My health be your friend.

  42. Ernst ter Brugge says:

    Stunning it is indeed. Great job.
    Ernst ( The Netherlands)

  43. Ron Swolley says:

    I agree with Jack (above). The Bates Motel was really a clever touch and seems to have captured the movie impression of the motel and house overlooking it.

    The entire layout is extremely well done.

  44. Michaël Dzamba says:

    Scenery is awesome, a beautiful dockside activity. II was truly fascinated with th scenery and how it all blended in.
    keep up he good work Sal

  45. Tony says:

    Stunning is an understatement for this masterpiece!

  46. James Malins says:

    So good in every respect.

  47. Ken Holbrook says:

    Just a tremendous work of art Sal. I love all of the little nuances that turn your layout from just another train layout to a full size train diarama. Obviously the Gates Motel is a classic with an unsuspecting person checking into room 1 next to the office. And of course the unlucky fishermen being gawked at by on-lookers. But I noticed SpongeBob made a cameo appearance. Hard to find in N-scale. And of course Hoof’s Glue Factory, and of course the moonlighting mistress hanging around the lamppost at night. Nice touch. You did a great job on the wharf scene. As another writer commented, try to find time era vehicles to top it off. Awesome job Sal.

  48. Eric Kiehl says:

    Sal, very impressive, you can tell by the amount of comments. The layout is wonderful and something to be very proud of. I loved the Bates Motel the most due to the original move when I was little. The lighting on the layout is above and beyond. You have done an over the top N project and I would consider you a craftsman.

    Eric Kiehl
    St. Louis Area Retired Firefighter

  49. Jeff says:


  50. Frank Pumillo says:

    Details of this layout are outstanding. The harbor and the realistic roads are amazing! Great job

  51. Al Otis says:

    WOW!!! That word doesn’t do your layout justice but I have no word other than WOW to describe this layout. Definitely hall of fame material!

  52. GaryT says:

    I think there was a bolt missing on one of the posts in the harbor – other than that I did not see any details missing on the entire layout!!! LOL. Unbelievable rendition.

  53. Patrick Andrew Talley says:

    Like all the other responses, I am in awe of your talent and effort. PLEASE Send a video with some trains running, because that’s the only thing that could make this layout better.

  54. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice. i liked the touch of the a & p.

  55. David Lindsey says:

    Sal, this is a master-class level of a layout you present us !
    Wish you were my neighbor. Fantastic touches of humor with the shark and Bates Motel Can you tell us what materials you use for the boat hulls and the lighthouse. I think your construction, even at a general level, of these would be a fantastic write up for submission to Al’s web site
    David. L

  56. welder Dave says:

    Always like a layout with a harbor ! not a lot of them out there The fisherman with the shark is great I liked the one that was HO too with the boat repair shop .

  57. Joseph M Evans says:

    Thank you, Alastair. Your blog has reignited my interest in model railroading. I’m currently making plans for an N-Scale setup.

  58. John Birch says:

    Fantastic detail, Sal.
    Alastair, I am amazed by how much time you give to this blog – and you seem to start early in the morning! Your efforts are greatly appreciated by many, many people.
    Please join me, everyone in expressing our appreciation by giving Al a hearty round of applause!
    You talk about finding things difficult. I have said this before but after over three and a half since my wife died, and we were in the hobby together, I just can’t seem to get motivated to do much to the layout. One day!

  59. Tom Sallee says:

    The detail and the lighting is beyond impressive. I chuckled at the shark pulling the fisherman, who had hooked him, through the water.
    Thanks Al for the work you do in bringing these layouts to our attention. Tom Sallee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *