Vintage model railroad

Bill’s been in touch with some vintage model railroad pics.

Well, perhaps not too vintage but it’s amazing how black and white pics add to a theme:

“Hi Al

Hope this finds you well. I had a friend make a comment about scenes on my O Scale layout wondering how scenes would look if captured in black and white.

His question was if in black and white, could you tell they are models?

I thought it an interesting question so I took a number of photographs on my iPhone and went into the photo edit function and change them to black and white.

Certainly some look like models still but there are some that really look like a scene from long ago.

It was fun and I thought I’d share the end results.



vintage model railroad steam loco

vintage model railroad wooden trestle bridge

model railroad work gang

model train horse and cart

model train work gang

model train work gang

vintage model railroad flatbeds and crane

vintage model railroad wood horse

vintage model railroad bulldozer

model railroad logging train

model railroad crane work gang

A huge big thanks to Bill – it’s amazing how much a black and white pic adds to the nostalgia.

But in the same light, black and white pics also mask the amazing detail of Bill’s layout.

So let’s grab some pics and from a few of his previous posts so you can see them in all their glory.

In this one – On30 layout – Bill wanted to create a vertical cliff – I think he can put a tick in that box. Amazing work:

on30 scale trestle bridge tunnel mountains

Bill has just as much fun with N scale too – you can see it here.

N scale turntable

He’s a dab hand with HO scale. too:

HO scale switching layout overhead view

But perhaps, best of all, like so many of us, he does all he can to encourage others to start a layout – he has an excellent youtube channel.

Have a look at this post and see for yourself: How to make a cliff face.

rock formation model railroad

A huge big thanks to Hall of fame member, Bill for sharing his vintage model railroad.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming because it’s soooooooooooo quiet, I really do think I’ll be putting me feet up very soon.

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.

25 Responses to Vintage model railroad

  1. James says:

    As soon as I saw those black and white pictures I knew instantly whose layout that was Bill from Virginia yeah I saw you on Caboose stop buying more goodies the other day LOL


    A masterpiece!

  3. Will in NM says:

    Great work Bill! The only suggestion I have regarding the black & white photos is that they don’t look staged enough. I’ve just been reading a book about the construction of the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway that is full of old photos from the late 19th century.

    In the old days when photographers had to set up a heavy box camera on a tripod and fiddle with glass plates to take a picture, the pictures were usually staged with everybody crowding onto the train or whatever was the photo subject in their Sunday best clothes. As faster photographic methods developed, the photos could be more spontaneous.

    Anyway,it was a grand experiment and I salute your creativity.

  4. John Frye says:

    What a great idea! I thought of Black and White, but never did it, I’m going to try it today! Maybe sepia?
    A great railroad and great pictures. Thanks again for your work and input to the site.

    John from Baltimore

  5. Brian Olson says:

    Well done, the “small scenes” really bring the layout to life. Great work on the trestle as well. Inspiring!

  6. K Kralik says:

    About as good as it gets

  7. Bob Cairo says:

    B&W photo’s are much more realistic.

  8. Roger Turner says:

    Absolutely awesome approach to add another dimension to a top notch model railroad.
    going to try the black and white
    .thanks for sharing

  9. george zaky says:

    Your contributions to this site cannot be appreciated enough. You have been a major inspiration to me, an old coot with gorilla hands, McGoo eyes, bent back and a freezing garage, and others.
    The black & white photos are awesome because of the super work you do.
    So ” welcome back” to you and I hope this finds you well. As Dangerous Dave keeps us entertained with videos we’d sure appreciate some showing your ON30 roaring thru the woods.
    Big Al
    The world’s in turmoil and guys like me on pension are being hammered by butt heads in control. I fear for this industry when you can no longer afford the Hobby. So please hang in there, crank out some new buildings, and wake up bonkers John.

  10. Bob From Towson says:

    MAN O MAN!!! Was a pro photographer 42 yrs. and I have to compliment you on your use of B&W . Absolutely stunning!!

  11. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Bill…… amazing work…..great pictures

  12. Dave, in the Algonquin Highlands says:

    Totally awesome B&W photos. It makes them so ‘real’ for those of us who had only seen B&W photography ‘back in the days’.
    The matching clothing, hats, suspenders, etc. are sooooo! appropriate to the era portrayed.

  13. Larry Schweitzer says:

    Great layout & photos! How about some Tintypes?

  14. Craige Keen says:

    Wow, that is alot of roll around background scenery to store and move around. Thats why I have so much of all scales of model railroad accumulated in my world. From Z to G, it all takes alot of space. I even have an outdoor railroad (over 500′ over a gorge with 12′ long timber trestle) on my 3 lots in Waterford that run on an 11″ gauge steel track with a turntable and numerous switches and crossovers.

  15. Jon Blake says:

    This is an awesome layout and presentation. I tip my hat to you Sir!

  16. Jim Robinson says:

    While I like to see panoramic views of entire layouts (I like to see the forest as well as the trees!), closeups reveal the realism produced by quality skill and workmanship. A+!

  17. Marc Plucinski says:

    I like the black and white pictures, adds to the ” old” feelings of the 1930 ‘s 1940’s nicely done.

  18. JHR says:

    I really like the black and whites. they so real. Great job!

  19. James Malins says:

    Great work. So impressive the level of detail and at first glance the photographs look like full scale actuality. Should be very proud of this work

  20. Don says:

    love the black & white photo’s awesome & a throw back to a lost format. the layout was wonderful. the train & tuck yards were well done.

  21. Steve Ruple says:

    Bill, those black and white photos are stunning. I really like all of your layouts, you are so talented, I could look at your layouts all day and never be bored. What amazing scenes you come up with, awesome job !!!!!!

  22. robert dale tiemann says:

    really nice vintage setup

  23. Randy Hoeft says:

    Loved the black & white photos. Maybe I’m just getting old but the nostalgia was great. My grandparents lived right alongside a RR track. No barriers and across the tracks were a feed mill. On the other side of the street was a small equipment repair yard. The trains were mostly steam powered. This was in small town USA in the 1950’s. What a great time to be a kid.

  24. ron davis says:


    As a previous gentlemen so accurately posted, as soon as I saw the B & W photos, I instantly knew they were your’s. My hat is literally and figuratively off to you! What a GREAT way to accurately depict the era that you’re portraying! Couldn’t be more appropriate!

    On a more personal level, I would LOVE to see a movie (think Youtube) of your entire layout in action. (if you have previously posted it, forgive me). Your layout has given me SO many GREAT ideas that I’d like to incorporate into my layout. Yes, imitation is the best form of flattery!

    Please allow us to see and admire your layout in action.

    Thanks in advance!

  25. Chris Sylveste says:

    Wow! Love the black and white pics it really changes your perspective on the layout that’s a Great idea!! Thank you for sharing that Chris – Michigan

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