Lumber railroad – Steve’s

Steve’s been in touch with his lumber railroad.

The logging railroads are a very popular theme, and Steve has done an excellent job:


First, THANK YOU for all you do to share everyone’s model railroading!!! It’s great to see what people around the globe are doing – using their experiences for learning and education!

Second, it’s hard to believe it’s been over 3 ½ years since I sent my original email regarding the OWLS (Ohio Western & Lima Short line).

I continue to plug away, focusing on the scenery, landscape & buildings. Alas, age has taken it’s toll and the old hands aren’t as steady as they used to be!!

Here are recent photos of the OWLS Short line, mainly the progress I’ve made with the above mentioned areas.

Again, THANK YOU for all you do!

The layout is from about the late 1950 – 1960 time period and centers around a local logging/ lumber industry.

polystrene mountains for lumber railroad

The sub roadbed made from pink insulation foam.

factories on N scale lumber railroad

A a couple of the local industries.

town center lumber model railroad

The center of town on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

N scale control panel

The switches controlling track power, power to the industry & house LEDs, smoke system for the lumber mill & other buildings as well as sound system. The sound system has one set for daylight (trucks, cars, etc.) and one set for night time (crickets, owls, etc.)

harvesting timber for lumber railroad HO scale

Where the timber is harvested

timber loading platform

Retail outlet for the finished lumber

cutting trees for timber

Where the rough cut trees are converted to lumber

N scale lumber mill

Another look at the lumber mill and the shop for the ever ongoing work to repair/ refurbish trains and other manufacturing equipment

model train track plan diagram

N scale lumber railroad houses in town

A look at some of the house in the little town.


A huge thanks to Steve for sharing his lumber railroad – I do love an update.

If you’re looking for Steve’s first post, it’s here.

And now on to Dave:

“Hi Al,

Thanks for all your blogs.

I started to build my layout about 6 years ago when I retired. It really just evolved, starting on the dining room table, then grew legs. Of course, starting as a novice I made many mistakes as we all do.

The HO layout is 6.5ft x 4.5ft approx and was constructed using Peco code 100 set -track mainly to be able to shunt etc, using #2 curves as the smallest radii.

“Karrawidgee” (a fictitious town} is based on the Mallee type of vegetation found in the Western part of Victoria in Australia and is fairly accurate re Victorian Government Railway infrastructure.

It is all scratchbuilt including the vegetation which is Cedum plants and vitamised foam rubber. The vegetation was planted individually recently as we endure COVID19 lock-down and must admit was over it by the time I finished.

I started the layout with the river taking a lot of space and found I had to make many bridges to fit track in. All trestles are a different height and grade and constructed from the Vic Railway drawings to scale.

As a boy we lived near a railway branch line and the goods yard was my playground, so I guess it’s a bit nostalgic.

I have tried to make it as realistic as possible. Layout #2 will be in the NE of Victoria with new challenges in vegetation with many timber trestle bridges.

Hope it is of some interest.



model railroad with backdrop

model railroad overhead view

model railroad overhead view

model train with backdrop

model railroad tracks scenery

model railroad towns in mountains

model train track sidings

model railroad platform sidings

A huge thanks to David for sharing his stunning layout – I loved it. Please do leave a comment below if you did too.

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.

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

30 Responses to Lumber railroad – Steve’s

  1. James says:

    Excellent small city scene!

  2. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Dave well done the attention to details is very very good. Nothing looks out of scale which is difficult when having so many items, houses, industrial buildings and the usual paraphernalia supporting the infrastructure. The interest with all the differing bridges etc is outstanding. So much to look at.

  3. Jeff says:

    Impressed with both layouts done in such a short time! They both look fantastic. I’m still working on a single module over a year later! Lol

  4. Greg Marples says:

    Steve, I want to add a sawmill like yours to mine! You have such a great “story” to tell with your layout! David, your background panels blend seamlessly as does all your scenery. Absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to get back to “work” on mine.

  5. Excellent job Sr.

  6. Rich B. says:

    Like second layout featured, even track without actual bridges looks good. First layout is really nice but even with real life birds-eye view…rocks, stones not scattered all over everything. Seems a common standard among modelers. Also for the Mill pond if logs were sawed in half lengthwise before placing in water. Huge logs only have the top half’s exposed when floating. Yup, used to run all over the boomed up logs at Princeton, ME sawmill on St. Croix Flowage. Was the Scoodic River (sp.?) a century ago. Too slow these days to “carve” the logs, mill is long gone 🤔

    Regards, Rich

  7. Kent Pool says:

    Impressive work Steve. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Alan Edwards says:

    Top job on your layout Dave I reckon I’ve seen it before. Where did you get the FJ panel van and the gray ute looks like an FC or EK. Hope they were local I live in Elmore Vic

  9. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Both layouts very nice great detail, A job well done!

  10. Jim Landing says:

    Wow, great detail, good job.

  11. George Zaky says:

    Super layout- in N scale yet. In the first blog you told us the very important specs that most miss. Obviously the basics work well on your spectacular scheme and it looks great.
    Superb and artful layout. Great work.
    All be safe & well
    George from LI, NY

  12. Erick says:

    Look pretty Kool. Keep up the good work.

  13. John Labie says:

    Steve: I am struggling to do an “N” scale layout. Time and space is difficult but you have display some great ideas i am printing for a reference to remind me of possibilities. Putting in a RR yard has been my biggest problem with little room but you managed to get enough. I am using styro-foam mostly and struggling.

  14. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    Super layout, I love the theme. I have the same mill. For my mill pond I cut my logs in half and placed them in the pond while it was still liquid. They really look like they are floating.

  15. Orville Sells says:

    I don’t know how you guys do it. You are artists. I just started working on my N Scale trains but I just can’t seem to like the way it turns out, need less to say I have torn it down and put it back up several times now. I do love looking at all the layouts that Al posts on here and look forward to many more. I save each one and keep looking back to get more ideas. Keep up the good work and I know that they are never ending layouts.

  16. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    Steve, great detail, right down to tire marks on the roadway. Never gave that a thought. David, lots of bridges and track. How many run at a time”

  17. Roger Stevenson says:

    I loved the detail of the lumber industry in your layout, Steve. I also have an inclination to have lots of flatbed cars loaded with logs and milled lumber on my own little layout. You even have a teepee burner next to the lumber mill!!!

  18. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. Great scenery and highly detailed by both of you. David’s transition to the backdrop is truly well done and quite realistic. I really like the landscaping details and coloring of the ground and mountains. Steve has some great looking buildings on his layout and scenes with great looking details. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  19. Al Rocheleau says:

    Loved your layout! Thank you for providing the dimensions. It is nice for me to see that not everyone has a “warehouse” sized layout. As an 80 year old just in the planning stages of my layout, I am encouraged to see what can be done in a limited space: my available room for a layout is room space of 8′ x 10′ and I will be working in HO gauge.

  20. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Steve and David…… I love your layouts and especially your track work, detail and weathering.

    Great job. First rate.

  21. Both layouts are very impressive. Excellent details and photography.

  22. Frank says:

    Any kind of layout is better than nothing, but I actually like all the small layouts from the standard 4×8 to some a bit smaller or a foot or two of extra width or length. Like these two layouts they’re full of features and can be scenic like a small town or desert or more “built up and complex”. The space does not seem as great a limitation except of course for wide curves and long straight lengths of track. Imagination and design seem to be more important regardless of size.

    I’ve though of building a shelf railroad that still requires a returning loop plus attachment to the walls. I might just build a module or a micro sized railroad just so I can run my engines and watch them pulling cars. I get so much inspiration from these layouts.

    Frank in Orlando

  23. Andrew Aves says:

    Wonderful layout David, you have captured the atmosphere of the Outback and the track provides great train running options. Superb detail of bridges and buildings and almost dry river bed.
    Andrew QLD

  24. Martin Ciura - Ohio says:

    Hey, one of those passenger cars is derailed!
    I really like the first pic showing the use of foam for the basic ground shapes.
    I saved that pic for reference!
    Lots of neat stuff to see in a small space, showing that you don’t necessarily need a 10′ x 25′ space to have a nice railroad.

  25. Ion Balauca says:

    Excelent job Steve & Dave . Thank you for sharing.
    Thank you all for providing the dimensions of your layouts.
    As an 60 year old just in the planning stages of my layout.
    After long negotiations with my wife, she agreeded to give me a room for a layout of 4m x 1.3m .
    I will be working in TT gauge (1:120) I’m collecting since 1978 (!!!) .
    Also, my plan is to work in DC, not digital.
    I can’t wait for retirement – starting moment is 4-5 years from now on.

  26. Runna Muck says:

    steve and Dave both great layouts . Homy settings.

  27. Rich B. says:

    Didn’t realize I answered here before at sometime before but comments remain positive with both presentations, more-so even this viewing. Noting water in log mill scene looks murky, polluted, perfect. Anything but bright blue.

  28. DELMAR G SERVOSS says:

    very cool

  29. Chris Sylvester says:

    Wow!!! Both layouts are awesome!!!! Great work on them thank you for sharing you ideas and pictures!!!!Chris

  30. val says:

    hi al. the lumber and mining layout looks really great, I’m in the process of building a similar layout, still have a long way to go,but it’ll take time.the current layout posted gives me a few ideas as how to make my layout some better than it is currently laid it.. Steve’s layout looks really great, will look forward for any future pictures. Thanks val in utah.


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