“Alastair: I love your site.
Over a year ago, I posted some pics of the DCC HO layout my wife and i have been working on since December 2017 and wanted to send you an update.
Many years ago I had an HO DC layout in a spare bedroom with mountains built into the walls and very difficult under table access to the parts of the layout where the train always derailed.
That layout came down due to a ceiling leak and i put the track, table and buildings (many of which i have had since I was a child in the 50s and 60s) into the attic in my garage.
In December, when our grandson was almost one, my wife and i started work on the present HO DCC layout in the basement.
My wife insisted on not putting the layout against the walls so access wold be easy and people could walk around and see the table from all angles. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as i no longer had to worry about placing every building so you could see the font of it and no longer had to crawl under the table to fix problems.
The table is designed to be seen from a height of three feet and the top is 5/8″ plywood squares screwed into 3/4′ x 34′ planks with 36′ x 1 3.4′ wood legs (unfortunately i did not install screw in spacers and has to use shims to level the table on the tiled basement floor.
The table surface measures 13 3/4′ x 5′ plus 7′ x 5′ for total area of 104 sq. ft.
The track is old Atlas brass code 100.
The trains are DCC with NE Powercab controller.
We have 15 turnout switches and dc light bulbs in most of the buildings powered by an old Sound and Power & Light 9001 transformer. The bridge lights are X-Mas lights.
The setting is small town and rural 50s and early 60s. I run Broadway limited diesel and steam engines and many of my cars are from the 50s and 60s including the nuclear waste and chicken cars that light up and the nuclear missile and helicoptor carriers.
We have about 85 buildings, some of which are older than me (67) including a cardboard Purina Chow factory, old plasticville buildings, and a wooden butcher shop made from a German (possibly pre-war) kit where the roof lifts off so you can see the slabs of meat and the meat grinder on the counter.
We have more than 200 people and animals and hundreds of trees. We try to use natural substances where possible. Actual sand, rocks, flowers or twigs or grape vines for trees.
Mountains are mostly old school wire mesh covered in plaster cloth. Snow is dried out plaster sanded into flakes.
My wife finds ways to use household items or items you would normally throw away: the tear off seals on eggbeater boxes become radar dishes for the air control tower; paper clips and screening become wire mesh fences, the metal at the bottom of small glass candle holders become bases for the runway lights and interior building lights, the raft in our lake was modeled after one we saw in Antigua and is made from the plastic covers on office phones that are labelled line 1 and line 2 with paper clips for the rails, the windmills are made from discarded electric tooth brush stems with bristles pulled out, the farm silo is a toilet paper role with a rubber cap from some household item, the green rope swng in the school playground is a clip from something, the air unit on the roof of Kentucky Fried Chicken was moisture absorbant from a package we received.
The layout consists of two lines. The inner was based on Atlas HO No. 16 6 x 10 and the outer as freelanced with an elevation to 3”.
My wife designs the towns, does the streets and sidewalks, makes all of the signs, and is in charge of placement of people because everyone has a story and placement of each person must fit their story.
The two main towns are named for our grandchildren.
The industrial park is named for a friend who helped procure a number of the buildings. The houses are named for family and friends. When one couple told us they were moving, my wife had a for sale sign on their property the next day.
Here is the Atlas design for interior run and a pic of the layout in early days which was changed slightly to make the bridge cross water before turning.
Track plan for inner loop.
Hope you enjoy.
What a layout – there’s a lot going on, but doesn’t look crowded. I loved it.
I’m sure some will wonder where the trains are. All in good time. Remember, a layout can be whatever you want it to be.
A huge thanks to Scott.
That’s all for today folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And don’t forget The Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to grab the bull by the horns and get going on your very own layout.