Vince’s layout


Enclosed is my son’s HO layout which he completed a few months ago.

When my sons were 6 and 9 years old we would put together layouts every Christmas Holiday season.

Themes each year would be Wild West, Modern Military. Calvary and Indians and modern city layouts circa 50s and 60s.

As they grew and became adults their hobby was put on hold and all was put away . Since I am a graphic artist and painter were all hand painted and the boys early on would build, paint and produce their own layouts.

Jump now to today, and the boys haven’t done any train layouts since they were very young.

The three of us we reminiscing about the great times we had in years past working together building our “train platforms”.

So my youngest son decided to start a new HO layout.

Work begun and was completed a few months later. We all contributed and my oldest son researched and purchased people and vehicles from all over the world while my youngest planned and built the 3.5′ x 8′.

I surprised the boys by telling them I kept all the buildings, houses, people, track & etc. ( I can’t believe how expensive today compared to many years ago).

A lot of new track, foliage, people and vehicles along with some hand built buildings, docks, billboards, etc.

Please take a look and let me know if you would like to see more photos (and video) as well as track design and details of the design.

Best regards


(images are clickable)

model train track plan

“Hi Al,

just uploaded this video , it is with the Deltic now with the bass reflex speaker fitted and of course re-blown, also have added a good few more sound Loco`s just to give viewers an insight as to how they can sound , which can be a bit off putting sometimes hearing them through a computer , but does give some idea of the sounds .



See what’s been added to the latest ebay cheat sheet here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep sharing and keep us all smiling.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if feeling left out.



67 Responses to Vince’s layout

  1. Nice job you all have done there Vince , looks very well detailed

  2. Gordon Stacey says:

    DAVE!. Have been meaning to ask you for some time, what is the size of your layout?, it seems as though it is fitted into your roof space.

  3. Geoff Izod says:

    Great photo’s Vincent. I enjoyed them and they have given me some ideas. A great looking layout. A lot of carefully planned detail, but not over the top.
    Alastair, how do we send you some of our own layout photo’s? Keep up the great work. I am always excited to get your emails. Cheers!

  4. Geoff Izod says:

    Dave, your layout never ceases to amaze me. Your an inspiration to all of us in this fantastic hobby. Cheers mate!

  5. Al says:

    Just hit reply to any of my mails!

  6. Mike says:

    I would like to see an overall shot or track plan for Vince’s awesome HO layout.

  7. Michael Ankerson says:

    Greater Job!!!

  8. Michael Ankerson says:

    Great Job!!!


  9. Barry Palmer says:

    I’m always impressed with all the layouts that have engines with sound, they seem so much more realistic. Someday maybe my budget will allow me to have them but for now I have to use my unattached MRC sound generators. Vince and sons your layout is well done in a very small space.
    Thank you Al for putting me back on your mailing list as I enjoy seeing other peoples’ layouts as it gets me inspired to continue on mine again. With the weather being nice here in Minnesota it’s hard to motivate myself to staying indoors and working on my train but winter will soon be here and then I’ll start up again. My helixes work very well even though a few of the readers were very skeptical. If anybody desires to know the details please let me know and I’ll be happy to explain as they are so much easier to build than what’s commercially available.


  10. Stanley says:

    Vince. Great layout.
    I have been pondering how I could build an HO scale layout in my limited space but your 3.5′ x 8′ beauty gives me hope. Could you respond regarding the maximum radius curves ?
    Thanks for sharing a wonderful journey.

  11. Dave Fairfull says:

    Thanks Vincent, family time is the best of times. Dave you always put a smile on my face. Thanks both of you.

  12. Rog says:

    Dave, nice work!! Makes me know I can be better.. Thanks – Rog

  13. Ron from Kentucky says:

    I appreciate the detail, sound and overall layout of multiple trains. Wish I could have it in my living room. BUT – BUT I do nt have an appreciation of the run away train speeds. They are not to scale. Im use to seeing three rail Lionel racing around the track. Just dont get the warm fuzzy with yours doing the same.

    Slow them down please

  14. Tony Cooper says:

    Like you say buddy, better than the telly any day!!! As usual Dave you entertain and make me envious simultaneously. Love your outfit and one we can all aspire to. Keep up the good work.

  15. James m Whitehead says:


  16. Rob says:

    Very compact and interesting layout. Lots of very cool stuff. Nice layout Vince. Good you can still do something together you and your son.

  17. Father and sons…BEAUTIFUL JOB. I also think back to the days when times seem so much easier. As you stated, prices are not as they were. Father has passed and Im left with the pleasent memories. THANK YOU for taking me back.

  18. Woody Woodgate says:

    Vince, loved the story and the layout is really nice. I have a space problem and would love to see the layout plan if you have one. a video would be super too. Keep up the good work.

  19. Tony says:


  20. vince says:

    I do have pre-construction photos of Christophers 3.5 x8″ layout. He used acoustical tile for the mountains which we saw on line during our research as well as plaster cloth. We used foam for the track bed and sprayed it with black and white speckled paint. It is a little less messy than actual ballast glued on the bed.
    We not only bought trees and shrubs but also made a lot ourselves. As far as the track levels he put his flex track down to see if the trains would make some tight curves. He discovered that with a 3.5″ width you can’t run long wheel based locomotives, but almost any other size will work great. We have both very old trains as well as some new ones. I will try to send more construction pics and videos if I can. Thanks for all the great feedback. I look forward to seeing all the layouts that Al sends. It is so great knowing there are so many talented people all over are into the hobby and it’s a pleasure viewing all the beautiful layouts.

  21. Andrew says:

    Yes please, we would like to see more photos (and video) as well as track design and details of the design

  22. 'nother grandpa says:

    Dave– once again I marvel at what you have accomplished. I just have one minor criticism, and I am not sure if this is easily correctable or not. It is very hard for me (and maybe others) to hear your words and instructions when you are trying to talk over the train noise. This is somewhat disappointing because the info you relay is always so instructive, it is a shame to miss any of it. Maybe my ears are just going to ‘ell. Anyone else have this problem? Would a directional microphone attached to video camera help or even be possible? Thanks again Dave– love your work!

  23. Chuck Strunc says:

    Great accomplishment for layout size but how did you gain the higher elevation right of way?

  24. Larry says:

    I am soon planning to build my first layout. It will be HO 4’x8′. Your layout is almost exactly what I’m looking for. It has lots of buildings, water, tunnels, bridges and different levels. I would really like to see more info, be it track plans, more photos, or a how-to PDF.

  25. dave says:


    would love to see a track plan of your layout

    also more photo to show haw the plan looks now completed


  26. Nice Job, Enjoy!!!

  27. Tom says:

    Vince, Family time is precious and special how sweet it is … what a great railroad!
    I remember my Father: Brothers: I, had doing much the same thing each year at Christmas. I treasure those memories … they have a very special place in my heart.

    Dave thanks for all the sounds …

  28. Gene davis says:

    Great layout! PLEASE, ids there a track plan for that?
    gene in Troy!

  29. In answer to Gordon , my layout is approx 8 ft x 30 ft. now and yes it is in my roof space ..thanks for commenting

  30. THOMAS says:


  31. Toni Olivar says:

    By all means, I for one and I am sure that others would be very interested in seeing detailed pictures of that beautiful and packed, ‘HO’ layout that you and your son did.

    Please send more pictures. If you can, please send close-up pictures of the home-built / home-made structures. I would be interested to see them.


  32. paul Otway says:

    looks real neat

  33. Dennis says:

    Vince, those photos are great. Fantastic layout. How was the water done? Looks great.

  34. Ian says:

    what a great job would love to see more photos and trains

  35. Joe Kincaid says:

    Great job to you and your boys. Every father’s dream is to see them come back to the hobby, after the growing and being responsible hiatus. My grandson and I would love to see more of your layout. Perhaps a video….
    thanks for sharing.

  36. Gsvh30 says:

    Hi Dave
    Dave it’s something you’ve said about sound volumes in the video and the speakers in bachmann trains. Well do you relies that you could adjust the sound volume using the cvs in the decoder programming and any bachmann trains that I’ve got have got spaces inside the trains for a speaker usually in the vent space in the roof.
    As for your layout I’d love to be anyway near your skill level you are an inspiration to us all.
    I can remember once from me memory that you were talking about lighting in your layout and I can see that your lights are very bright. Have you tried useing a dimmer for the lights as a whole ring or even useing capacitors if the lights are led?
    Anyway I can only thank you for your time and sharing your layout with us all.

  37. Fred says:

    Terrific layout. Would love to see the track plans.

  38. John Reynolds says:

    Very nice small layout. A lot has been done in an extremely compact space.

  39. Karl Bruederle says:

    just starting to build my layout in HO.I would love to see your track plans .because of size restrictions mine will also be 4’x8′ with expansion room of another 4’x8′. I have a manual turntable which will be incorporated. great layout thanks. Karl in Dunnville Ontario Canada

  40. BILL says:

    how can one get sound on their layout without dcc

  41. KK, Miami says:

    Interesting layout, Vince. I like all the action going on. I am working on y first HO layout after collecting trains for 40 years. All the tips and comments are very informative. One of the uses I have made of old water filters is to cut them open, remove the charcoal, dry it, and then apply to the flat roofs of the buildings so that has a “tar and gravel” look. All the tips being shared I find invaluable. Thanks to all your followers Al, and to you.

  42. david says:

    Hi Dave,

    Your layout is brilliant, wish I had one like that though I’ve got to clear my loft out soon to make way for my new model railway, well that’s the plan anyway, so once again well done with your layout as that has given me inspiration.


  43. Jim says:

    Nice work Vince and sons. Rare to find generation to generation interested in model railroading. Nice to see the use ceiling tile for rock faces. My favorite and used on my layout. Please do a video and a track plan would be good to see.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  44. Jim says:

    Dave. Your vids always impress me. Great sound and great layout.

    Jim AZ

  45. Gary P. Dettl says:

    Vince, that is a lot of R.R in a 3.5X8 table. Great job.

    Dangerous Dave is at it again. Holy Smokes

  46. Neil says:

    As many responded, great layout. U left me wanting more details, i.e., the layout of the track and the roadways for vehicle traffic. I got several good ideas I hadn’t seen before. The road rally racing, the valley on the back side of the display. , the smoke traces on the tunnel entrances and exits. The display is compact but not jammed up! Great ideas! Thanks neil

  47. David Hannan says:

    Vince, please forward a video to Al. Would love to see the whole layout working.


    Dirty Dave

  48. Tracy says:

    Vince – I would be very interested in seeing your track plan.

  49. Matt says:

    Vince… nice pics of your layout. Can we see a track plan?

  50. Rob Shuman says:

    Excellent use of space. And nice detail.

  51. Robert Brady says:

    Dangerous; Your town is busy,busy,busy! Love watching your town come alive.Seems there ‘s always a story to be told.Love it Dave!

  52. Antony says:

    Hi Dave,

    It’s always a joy to watch your layout in operation. Don’t apologize for it going on too long, I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like to see more. The class 20 has always been a favourite of mine but running in multiple they coupled them nose to nose so the drivers had an unobstructed view of the road ahead. More importantly there was only one D8138 so PLEASE change one of their numbers. The range is 8128 – 8177, locos’ prior to this had disc train describers and D8178 onward were delivered in blue.

    I look forward to the next instalment.


    p.s. I also have a pair of Bachmann 20’s in green, hence the research. Yes, one is currently D8138. Happy modelling.

  53. Franco says:

    I noticed some tight turns on your layout, what are the radius’ of your turns?

    What rolling stock lengths do you use that can make every turn on your layout?

    Outstanding graphics and modelling work.

  54. allan says:

    hi vince can you tell me the size of your turns as i’m trying to build a similar layout for my boys too but not sure on turn radius

  55. Jimsulkosky says:

    Very nice layout Vince.

  56. Wm althaus says:

    Looks great Vince! Beautifully detailed.

    Great video Dave. Always love to see trains running on your layout!

    Bill from Virginia

  57. george zaky says:

    Awesome job and narrative. I hope you and your boys continue to develop more layouts because your team talents must be made known to us. Please send more with videos and some” techy” stuff- like wiring, controls etc

    You are one of a kind and a joy to watch

    George from NY

  58. Norman Rosen says:

    Nicely done, Vince. Not sure who is responsible, but I deeply appreciate clickable photos; it is the only way to appreciate the detail on the layouts.

  59. Will in NM says:

    Vince, It’s obvious your sons are very creative like their father. You’ve managed to cram a lot of action and details into a 3.5 x 8 foot layout. I would love to see more of the layout details, track plan, video and back story of the traffic jam. You should be proud and happy that your sons are enjoying the hobby with you. I built a train and slot car layout for my two sons many years ago, but all they were interested in was how fast they could crash the slot cars together. 🙂

    Dave, Thanks for trying to demonstrate your sound-equipped locomotives for us. I especially liked the Bachmann steamer with the smoke generator. I realize that computer recordings of the engine sounds are not an accurate reproduction of the in person experience, but the British diesels all sound kind of rickety to me compared to American diesels. Never the less, I always enjoy your videos so thank you once again for sharing with us.

  60. James Allen says:

    Vince & Family,


    Jim VA

  61. Maurice says:

    Nice job, Vince – I too would be very interested in seeing your track plan.

  62. Ernesto Reyes Vizzuett says:

    Me gustaría colaborar con fotos de mi maqueta

  63. Frank says:

    Vince and his sons made a beautiful layout with the track design and the impressive scenery and terrain all around it.

    Frank in Orlando

  64. Jerry J Jarzombek says:

    I never miss an email from Al, and an opportunity to find a layout that is close to what I envision building with my grandson. Vince’s has so many of the features that I plan to have – and I wish I could have a ‘bird’s eye view’ to see how it all comes together. My grandson is only a year and a half old, but I have pulled out all of the buildings, track, cars, scenery, lighting — things that I bought at closeout sales when I was in law school some 34 years ago. Back then we needed cheap entertainment, so wife and I put buildings together, painted and weathered them, to spend time together (and not spend money going out). I think we assembled about 50, and have more than that left in their original boxes. I think it is time to get back to work on this!

  65. Ron Stephens says:

    Beautiful layout pictures but it would be easier to grasp the whole effect to be able to see the full layout in one photo. Still, beautiful work.

  66. william james palmer says:


  67. Phil Bradley says:

    Hi Vince, I would to see more of your layout. The track plan and all of those electrics you have set up. It’s an inspiration to watch as it all comes to life.
    Keep up the good work and please share more of the layout details.
    I’m rebuilding my layout and not having much success, but I’ll keep at it and maybe 1 day I’ll get around to sending Al some photo’s.
    Phil in Durham, England.

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