N scale railway – Tim’s

Tim’s been in touch with his N scale railway:

“Hello Al and greetings from Northern California.

I started my N scale layout, based on an English countryside village, in March, during lockdown.

I named my mythical village Covidshire.

Almost everything used in the layout was acquired from the U.K. I want to send a special thanks to the various shops, and people that I had the pleasure of dealing with.

Most of the structures are Metcalf kits and all of the landscape/trees, and stone walls were hand made.

Although I still have some finishing touches remaining, I wanted to share.


Tim in California”

n scale railway

n scale railway

n scale railway

n scale railway

n scale railway

n scale railway

n scale model railway

n scale model railway

n scale model railway

n scale model railway

n scale model railway

Now on to Gary. He’s been kind enough to answer some of your questions on his last post, which is here.

“Hi Alastair…. thanks for posting……I wanted to send some thanks you to some of the modelers who responded.

To James: Thank you for the info on Walther’s White Tower Restaurant kit #933-3030. I am going to order one and see how to modify it. It would at least give me the foundation for the structure.

To George from LI, NY: Yes, I have to dirty it up a bit. Railroad yards are very dirty places. I have to figure out the best way to do that; I am going to use charcoal to dirty up the pavements and parking lots and vehicles. I am going to also use scraps to create garbage piles and liter. Thank you.

To Greg Schaefer: Thanks for the info and thoughts. You are right about the trash…..I have to dirty up the yard. I am going to add some pigeons and gulls aroun the lunch wagon. I have to figure out how to make paper trash on the ground. Also, that is a great idea with the sound of the trucks. I have an old cassette recorder that might work. Thanks again.

To John Reynolds: Thank you. I had to find a building that was two levels and those kits I thought were perfect.

To John Thorogood: Thanks, you are right about the maintenance in Delaware for the GG1s but I took some liberties with the engine yard because I love the GG1 engines; I think they are the best looking locomotive ever built.


Now on to Mike.

You’ll remember him from this post. Well, now he has a question. Who can help?

“Hello Al:

As you’ve seen from my previous photos, I have a track layout (HO scale, Bachmann track) on several 4×8 tables and a 4×5.

I have created a satisfactory town resembling the Universal Studios backlot and the Western town from Old Tucson as you’ve seen. I have drilled holes and dropped all the remote switch track wires ready to hook up for the command center.

However, now that I have a great start, my layout is still primarily flat table top (except for one mountain with tunnel).

My question to the experts is: what is the best way to create realistic landscape and ground cover? That is, how do I create slight variations in elevation for the scenery in the areas surrounded by the tracks?

I have been attentively watching all your postings and have seen some great landscapes. I still haven’t concluded what are the best materials to give the landscape some vertical depth.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

You’ve been an inspiration to get me going. All the best.

Michigan, USA”

That’s all for today folks.

A big thanks to Tim for sharing his N scale railway, and to Gary and Mike too.

Please do leave a comment below if you can help Mike.

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.

model train answers

25 Responses to N scale railway – Tim’s

  1. Looking very good Tim , takes a good eye to model in N scale , you did well with this layout ..Dangerous Dave

  2. John Birch says:

    An excellent layout, Tim. I like the way you have given a sense of space and countryside. I know that the hobby is a very personal thing and that everyone builds what they like but I, personally, don’t like some of the layouts that cram as much track as possible into the space available. A great achievement in a short time.

  3. Fred says:

    Nice layout

  4. Brian Rockey says:

    Well done Tim that’s a nice job on the N gauge layout. Not often you see a bus and cars with lights. Did you buy them or fit them yourself – a fiddly business only with fibre optics I believe.
    Best regards from leafy Wokingham, Berkshire, UK

  5. Really nice layout!!

  6. Bob Brandt says:

    Hi Al, can you tell me what is DDC? I have some Lionel trains which I use a transformer to run the trains and another for my lighting of stores and houses. I read your emails daily and not sure what the difference is between the two. Thanks, Bob Brandt

  7. george zaky says:

    Great job, love the layout, very artistic and in N scale yet!! Hats off to you.
    Gary- cant wait to see the White Castle
    Mike from Michigan
    Everything you will need is at Home Depot or Lowes. Varying thicknesses of hard board insulation, starting at 1/4″ pink foam, that you can sculpt any way you want to make height variations. The 1/4″ looks nice against the all too pristine Bachmann track and you can funky up the roadside with weeds and whatever. Roadways can nicely cross the track and I like putting the buildings on a foam base with wiring under the foam or lying on the flat base, the foam board with buildings and streets, and wiring going below or not all to the controls. You can build sections at a time, and finely detail as you wish at your bench and not across the layout while smashing what you finished yesterday. Typically 1/4″ foam base, tar paper for roads, then another 1/4″ foam base or lesser height board for the buildings & sidewalks all sitting on the flat board. This wont work for N scale but is barely acceptable for HO. Perfect for S scale. Ta Da
    George from LI, NY

  8. Eric says:

    Corona Castle overlooking the village, waiting on train 19, but hoping it never arrives.

  9. Bill Kennedy says:

    Tim in California: if you cut a small piece of cotton and glue it to the smoke stack of the locomotive and then fluff it up to resemble smoke it might look nice.
    Bill from Illinois

  10. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Tim in California…… great layout….you said you started in March of the lockdown with Corona Virus…. that would be that it took you one year to build that layout. It looks like a 4×8 layout. I am in my 4th year of building my 9×7 HO layout and I am only about 1/2 way through. granted, I don’t work on the layout every day.
    How did you do that so fast.

    Mike in Michigan…. I saw your original post and those buildings are terrific. You have the makings of a great looking layout. Stick with it.

  11. mike.crew says:

    Brilliant work Tim. A real inspiration.

  12. Erick says:

    Pretty Neat!!!!

  13. Rocco Maley from northern New Jersey says:

    Tim, Thats a great looking layout you have created. I notice the the signals with the green light glowing. It looks like you took one of those inexpensive signal kits that you buy in the hobby store and installed led’s or grain of rice bulbs in them. I have done that with my signals. They worked out well. Good job on that layout though.

  14. David V. Corbin says:

    William For slight variations in ground I find it depends on if I want rolling, sloped, rocks… In most cases I put some type of material down, then use pre-plastered cloth. Once hardened, Color and usin the appropriate (I prefer custom mixes) of ground/dir and turf…

    Bob – There is much information on DCC. This is over simplified. With DC or AC, the more voltage, the more current the faster you go. With DCC there is a little computer in each loco (or other device such as switches, lights, detection); each one has an address. The control station (often the throttle) sens commanded “Loco #1: Go at speed 57”; “Loco #6: Sound Horn”, “Switch 32: THrow”…

  15. Just discovered this site, and in the planning stages for an HO scale (Finger Lakes, New York Autumn mid 1950s) – and was wondering how one copes with the inevitable dust accumulation problems…will be forwarding your site address to some fellow model train ‘conductors’

  16. Mike Balog says:

    Great Work on such a Small Area.. for N Scale.. Still Laughing about the NAME.. COVIDSHIRE… Like the Town in the Movie Blazing Saddles.. called Rock Ridge.. with a Howard Johnson’s that Had One Flavor of Ice Cream… Thought of a good name for a Fictional Town… “Woostershire”… Named After the Sauce…

    ~ Mike ~
    In N.H. USA.

  17. Harry Palmer says:

    Tim, you did a fantastic job on your layout and thank you for sharing it with us. I do have a question though, where did you grow up as a friend of mine named Tim grew up in Southern California sooo many years ago.

  18. Alabama Mike says:

    Tim, great job on your layout. It is really beautiful looking. I like the layout and it does look very realistic.

  19. james says:

    Gary, to make scraps of old newspaper, you can take a used coffee filter, dry it out, and dust off any remaining coffee grounds, then cut tiny scraps to place randomly along the tracks, in the yard, or in gutters along a street. Just about anywhere you would find litter that the wind has blown around.

  20. Louis F. Caputo says:

    I see Tim’s layout as a well constructed visage of English countryside — would be a great ad for a tourism agency! Weathered track would further enhance the over all experience. Nice to see first the static scene and then be treated
    to the “locos running”!!

  21. Stephen Hill says:

    Looks English to me , great job , great theme , even the cars and buses are properly positioned to reflect the English way .. too cool . Great layout ! Long live the Queen, oops too late , long live the King.

  22. Ken Holbrook says:

    Tim. Loved your English countryside. Although I’m in the states and have never travelled to the UK, you could almost hear the British accents from the people on your layout. Great ivy on the side of the row house.

    Mike from Michigan (Go Blue) – one of the techniques I used quite successfully to create undulations in my landscaping was to use some small cut up pieces of packing peanuts (the kind for shipping stuff) and sheets of batting material that is used to make quilts thick. Then paint and apply either static grass or ground foam depending on what terrain you need. Here are the steps: determine how hilly you want your terrain to be and glue down the packing peanuts. It doesn’t have to be exact. Then apply a generous amount of PVA glue to the peanuts and lay a precut piece of batting over the peanuts. When dried, paint the batting material with either a dark green or brown base color (depending on what type of ground you’re making). It will require a lot of paint because the batting soaks it up. When the paint is still wet sprinkle fine ground foam on it to start to give you variations of color and texture. The ground foam will adhere to the wet paint. Once it’s dry you can add foam clumps to make bushes and add trees. It will redefine your layout and add a multi-layered landscape similar to what you see outdoors. Very rarely do you see a landscape that is totally flat. Even on the prairie’s you’ll find some hills.

  23. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice job. good layout.

  24. Terry Miller says:

    I agree with Rocco’s comments, the trackside signals are too bright…perhaps lowering the voltage will solve the problem and get rid of the green glob. Otherwise a great layout. Congratulations

    Terry/Idaho USA

  25. Andrew Aves says:

    Hi Mike,
    To create undulating landscapes I use expanded polystyrene from packaging stuck to the base board and carved to the shape and depth I want. Costs nothing. Coat with plaster for a smooth finish if required then paint or cover with PVA glue and coloured sawdust.
    Andrew in Oz

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