Atlas train track HO scale – Scott’s

Scott’s been in touch with his Atlas train track HO scale:

“Dear Alastair,

My wife and I have been working for about 8 months on a new HO model railroad layout. We love your emails.

The layout is approximately 100 square feet with two layouts connecting from inner to outer. The inner layout is from an old Atlas book with 18 radius turns and the outer was freelanced.

We have about 50 buildings some of which are 50 or 60 years old including an old German butcher shop with a lift off roof showing the meat on the counters and an old Putin’s Chow factory.

A number of the buildings including the castle cane from antique shops or flea markets.

The trees are made from twigs but most of them have not been installed yet.

We also use real rocks for small mountains and loose rock.

For the side of the farm road we used fish tank stones and also used them on large mountain.

The large mountain was partially old school wire screen and light weight plaster and part plaster wrap. The snow on the mountain is plater sanded into dust.

Much still to do including improving the running. We used old atlas track and that may have been a mistake I need to fix. Your site is a great help and much appreciated.


model railroad shop

model railroad butcher shop

HO model railroad mountain

atlas train track ho scale corner view

atlas train track ho scale outer track

HO model railroad farm building

atlas train track ho scale

HO scenery

atlas train track ho scale

HO purina chow

atlas train track ho scale

atlas train track ho scale

HO model railroad mountain

HO model raiload mountain scene

HO model railroad mountains

HO model railroad bridge

atlas train track ho scale bridge

A huge thank you to Scott and his wife for sharing their Atlas train track HO scale – what a layout! Lots going on, and it looks great too.

And I have to say, if my little web site has helped Scott and his wife along the way, then I’m very pleased – it really does make it all worth while.

Speaking of which, it seems my last missive caused some confusion with some of you.

To share your pics, just hit reply to any of my mails, or send them directly to

You can send in as many pics as you like – but please don’t attach more than three pics per mail.

Send as many mails as you need to, to get them all across.

Hope that has cleared it up if there was any confusion.

In fact, it’s getting a bit thin on the ground this end, so if you’ve got something to share, now’s a great time to do so.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming, and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to grab the bull by the horns, just like Scott and his wife have.

What’s more, it’s only $9 at the mo – and that includes the 22 printable buildings. Please don’t miss this offer…



PS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.


54 Responses to Atlas train track HO scale – Scott’s

  1. Ernie Stammers says:

    Hi Al
    The use of fish tank stones is I have found, one of the cheapest “real” materials to be found, I use it as coal ballast in my hopper trucks and as fallen rocks down hill slopes, and are ideal for O gauge and HO/OO gauge alike. Very cheap material for me as my daughter keeps tropical fish so reconstitute the stones every so often, so I get free bags. once washed and cleaned they are easily painted with acrylic paints. Keep up the good work.

  2. Webster Morton says:

    Very neat layout.

  3. dangerous daveErmnie has done a nice jhob says:

    Thats a great layout Scott and his wife have put to gather there , so much detail , with plenty to see …Dangerous Dave

  4. Jim Kolich says:

    Really a neat layout. Has that “retro” look to it. I see a lot of “old school” Revell kits on the layout. Gives me inspiration to get crackin’ on my layout. Still in the planning stages.

  5. Robert Brady says:

    I like the wide open spaces of the layout. Not overly busy.Would have liked to see some trains though.

  6. Would love to see a track plan! Great work!

  7. Don Jennings says:

    Scott How about a track diagram. The track to me seems lost in the amount of good buildings.

  8. Warren Ferguson says:

    Great layout! I like the use of the old buildings. You say using the old Atlas track may have been a mistake. What problems are you having with it? I ask because I plan on using Atlas on a layout, and I don’t want to have to rip it up.

  9. Thomas Murphy says:

    As a viewer, I can see that a lot of hard work and a whole bunch of real love went into Scott’s amazing layout. Thanks for sharing those Wonderful Pictures, Scott and wife.

  10. Kenneth Hundt says:

    Would like to see the track plane from a top view

  11. christine says:

    Lot of work put into it.

  12. Robert Rolfe says:

    Great job!!! You state running problems and Atlas track. I have old Atlas brass track in 15R, !8R and 22R and Atlas switches #4 and #6 on my layout. The only problem I have had was operator error when I put down the road bed the first time. After I did it correctly all works well.
    NV Bob

  13. Hemi says:

    NICE Work! Your Wife is a keeper just for helping!!!! Done Nicely, and looks to have well thought out track-work too!

    Keep up the GREAT work!

  14. Craig Wetherbee says:

    Well, that is certainly a fantastic layout! Scott and Wife have done a terrific job. I would definitely enjoy a video from the trains perspective.

  15. NJ Mark says:

    I love the castle or monastery in the mountains. Wonderful layout and scenery. Cheers! NJ Mark

  16. That is one busy place! I like the air ride above all the rest of the action !
    How do you keep all that track clean with out breaking things ?
    Be well and stay safe !

  17. Ian McDonald says:

    very good layout lots to do and see. thanks for sharing.

  18. Scott Mandelup says:

    Thank you all for your comments. I have photo and video of layout before scenery which I can post. Not sure how to attach it here so I will send to a last’s Yan’s will send current video. Just added a mountain tunnel my friend found in a flea market and we colored and added rocks to blend in. Great stuff at flea markets. Problem I have is trains run differently each time and steam locos do not like my old atlas track even after cleaning. I have not put ballast down yet. Will that make difference?

  19. Pete (Houston) says:

    Great layout. On suggestion, plant some trees on the layout and this would enhance the realism factor. You don’t need a large forest just some trees to break up the “see-trough” effect. Clumps of 3, 5, 7 trees look better to our eyes rather than even numbers of trees clumped together. Even some dead trees will add realism.

  20. Bill Vassar says:

    try cleaning the wheels on your engines you will be suprised how much better they run. use a paper towel and alcohol any strenth will do put some alcohol on the towel and put it on the track with one set of drivers on towel and power up switch ends and look at the gunk that comes off.

  21. Allan G Beasley. says:

    beautiful work Scott.

  22. Robert Brady says:

    I agree add some trees look on ebay cheat sheet they’re cheap i got well over two hundred in my layout.makes the scenery look lived in.Great job and if your like me keep adding.

  23. Robert Brady says:

    great water scenes,suggestion; run an apron along the 2×4 side,makes it look finished.

  24. Bob Holden says:

    Interesting layout…some weathering would enhance the track and structures…brown rust paint on the sides of the rails and some weeds, oil, bits of coal etc. on the sidings would bring more life to your scenes.

  25. John Shull says:

    Great looking layout. Anyone who runs a Trainmaster is all right by me.

  26. robert moore says:

    best one iu’e seen yet very nice good job

  27. absolutely fabulous, lots of love labor goes into building such a layout

  28. Joe R says:

    Very nice layout ….

    Like the realism and the detail

  29. Nice layout. Liked the buildings used, and giving the space needed to look like a real town area. I look at every layout shown , and learn from it towards my own. I hope to show mine one day on here. GOOD work.

  30. I might also throw this in. I would have liked to see MORE train`s running. Maybe having cars being changed out at the different locations, as well as traffic and towns folk working and going about their lives. I was wondering tho. Is everything run via computer as far as switching, or is most switching done by hand ?
    Other than that, NOT a bad layout. I only hope mine looks as good.

  31. Alan says:

    have not been involved with Model RR since my dad butilt a 6 x24″ layout on S gauge track in 1945.. He tried to teach me the wood working tricks he knew.(He WAS A Master Carpenter) , but i regrettably did not appreciate his efforts. Now at 81, I ran accross this web site and have enjoyed all the messages and photos of the accomplishments of other Rail Road Engineers.
    Thanks toal of you that contribute to this great sport, Opps Hobby)

  32. Al says:

    Very nice

  33. Patrick Sparr says:

    I AM just getting starting and the 100 sq ft. lay out sounds just what I would like to do. It seems just big enough for me to start my HO scale rains. Please stay in touch.

    Pat Sparr, 520-867-2388

  34. Ken Heshler says:

    Can you send a PDF of the track plan? Thanks Ken!!!

  35. David Chrest says:

    I am still figuring out what I want. I know it will be an HO scale, and I have already bought and built a few of Al’s buildings. The only two parts I know for sure are my East side Rail Yard and my West Side Rail Yards. I have seen so many diffrant layouts on here and marveled at them That I want to use some their ideas but I don’t want to be stealing ideas from others as well. Scott like Ken I would love a track layout plane if you could? Thank you for sharing that.

  36. John Floud says:

    Your layout is awesome ,,I love the scenery especially the bridges and tunnels, great job, you are Hired!!

  37. Heather & Jason says:

    Love the lay out Scott & his wife have done it will be some time before we get to that stage as Jason is doing ours in stages he told me. Yes stages, those stages are when he can get up here to work on it I think ha ha ha, Love the lay out.

  38. Heather & Jason says:

    Apart from the help email Jason sent in to Al to see if he can get some advice from you all I would like to know something please I saw a display the other day on u-tube & it had trucks & fire engines running around the track as well as the trains it looked great but can anyone tell me please how is that done, I would like to have something like that but it’s way out of my pocket so to speak but would love to know how the trucks run around changing lanes & turning into side roads ect ect I have never seen it before but it looks great can some one help me with it please Heather.

  39. Boyd says:

    Heather, look up Magnorail. I love watching that same YouTube video and hope to add some bicycles to my new layout.

  40. Bud Backus says:

    Beautiful layout. A great use of time and products. I assume you have access panels to clean that track. I can not survive on my layout without them. Someone posted about cleaning locomotive wheels by running them on paper towels with alcohol. Thats the best for the moving parts-make sure to move loco side to side.
    Tenders need cleaning the old fashion way. Alcohol and a que tip. Again, a beautiful layout.

  41. Nice layout Scott. I too run atlas track code 100. At first I used 18″ radius and then found issues with longer rolling stock and longer wheel based locomotives. I occasionally will still have a problem but not as much. Just keep your wheels and track clean. I installed a bus wire below for better running as brass gets dirty quick. Nice buildings and design.

  42. I forgot to mention. I changed my 18″ to 22″ radius minimum . Some of my curves are bigger than that.
    Have fun…

  43. David Erling says:

    I’m doing a layout and I’m a beginner. How do you reach all the spots in the layout to add track, scenery or deal with derailments etc.?

  44. Tom Kennedy says:

    I also would love to see the track layout even if it’s fairly basic. I’m looking for a similar size layout for my grandson who is just getting into ho trains. Thanks.

  45. Jonathan S. says:

    I noticed that you said you regretted using the Atlas; could you explain that? I personally haven’t had an issue with it, and I think it works better than most HO scale rail

  46. Bruce WALTON says:

    Great layout. I have a large Marklin layout but I still love reading on others layouts and problems. I try to use natural products for all my scenery its cheaper and easy to find. Reading a comment on coal I use the real stuff and put it into a coffee grinder my best freind then just shieve to get grade required easy no painting just white glue to layout. Hope to post some photos soon

  47. Dick Olsen says:

    Have you ever done anything with Marklin

  48. Will in NM says:

    Scott, Nice looking layout! Love all the old buildings.

    To David Erling, It appears that most of Scott’s layout can be reached from the aisle that surrounds the layout. Where you have an area more than about 5 feet across, you need to add an access lift-out panel or use one of the commercial reach-over stands that allow for deeper access from above the layout.

  49. Tom Danieli says:

    Is the layout plan available?

  50. Danny Kelley says:

    This is awesome, I am just starting my second ho train set. Thank you for showing it alot of pointers

  51. Frank McDonald says:

    Pretty photos, why cant I see a track layout ???????

  52. Arjun says:

    So who is running “Putins Chow” factory?! His catering manager is off to the crusades! Maybe even locked up in that lovely mountain top castle with the very realistic, snow capped peak towering over it?

  53. Bernie says:

    That is a very nice lay out. Alot of effort and work went into that.

  54. Dr. Jon says:

    My oh My, you must have some long arms to reach the middle sections in the layout…. Great work!

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