4×8 model railroad layouts – Steve’s

Steve’s been busy with his 4×8 model railroad layouts – this one has a wild west theme.

“This is my first layout(4×8) and with only limited space I created a western town from the late 1800’s.

With over 150 trees (75% hand made) and (25% gifts from family) two oval tracks.


rock face with back drop

4x8 model railroad layouts

model railroad folds away

4x8 model railroad layouts scenery

4x8 model railroad layouts

4x8 model railroad layouts table

4x8 model railroad layouts train

Now on to Dean, with the next part in his series:

(If you missed his last post, it’s here.)

“Hi, Al, I’m digressing a little from my Scenic Ridge construction with this short video on a cheap and reliable power supply I use to drive switches (turnouts).

This video describes a capacitive-discharge power supply that I use to power my Atlas switches on my Scenic Ridge Railroad under construction.

It can also be used with other twin-coil or snap switches such as those manufactured by Bachmann or Peko.

It is easy to build and uses an inexpensive Wall-Wart (wall plug-in) power supply, which you might have on hand. Anything you have rated at 12-18 volts, ½ Amp or greater, should work.

Generally, the positive lead on the Wal-Wart is the internal wire. Or it might be the wire that is painted white. Check before you use it since it must be connected to the correct lead on the capacitor or the capacitor will self-destruct.

Here’s a list of parts. Unfortunately, you have to buy several of the smaller pieces at a time. Shop around to get better prices or find some friends to share the cost with.

• PLUSPOE 12V1A AC DC Switching Power Supply Adapter 12W Wall Wart Transformer (on Amazon $6.98).

• 10 Pcs 5x7cm (2x3in) DIY PCB Prototyping Perf Circuit Boards Breadboards US (on eBay, 10 for $4.95

• 100 ohm 1- watt resistor (on eBay, 10 for $2.99)

• 5pcs 35v 4700uf 35volt 4700mfd 105c aluminum capacitor 16×30mm (on eBay, 5 for $5.49)


A big thanks to Steve and Dean.

Steve looks like he’s having fun on his 4×8 model railroad layouts.

That’s all for today folks – please do keep ’em coming.

Please just email me if you’d like to share anything.

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

32 Responses to 4×8 model railroad layouts – Steve’s

  1. I have begun a layout based on the western life of the1860s. Most of the western layouts that I have seen crowd so many things into a small space that it looks unreal. Thank you Steve for allowing space like would be found in the 1860s. I’m hoping to show not only the trains of that time, but also stage coaches and a covered wagon train crossing a desert as well as a small town. I just hope that I can follow Steve’s example of leaving open spaces.

  2. Quacker says:

    Steve, I am very impressed with your layout. Good detail and it folds!!!! Also impressed with the polished garage floor!.

    Dean, simple and effective. Thanks.

    Ms Jackie

  3. Colin edinburgh says:

    Steve. Nice layout. Particularly like the way you have integrated the lake backdrop into the layout. It looks very realistic. Well done

  4. James Malins says:

    Steve’s layout is very impressive, quality work. Well done.

  5. Robert Brady says:

    Great layout Steve! But I’m concerned with the spring melt and run off. Wouldn’t it flood the town ? Just say’n 🙂

  6. Jeff says:

    Extremely impressed with the simplicity and ingenuity of he small layout. Great looking garage floor too!

  7. Greg Marples says:

    Very impressed with your landscape work! The way the greenery looks so natural on the rocky terrain and it all blends with the open spaces and the backdrop. Great sense of western “space” on such a small layout!

  8. Charlie says:

    Very nicely cone. I love you snow work.

  9. Paul says:

    Your detail is impeccable…. Nice going.

  10. Art Romano says:

    Super job. I like the fold up against the wall. Shows you a layout can go just about anywhere. Thanks.

  11. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!!

  12. George Zaky says:

    Great job, awesome table.
    great info. I dont care for those switches so I use DPDT & momentary type so I also can have red & green lights for each turnout. The capacitor is just a safe & good idea.
    George from LI,NY

  13. David Wiechecki says:

    Awesome layout. I love the fold up design. I am working on a fold up in my rec room/office. I would appreciate any tips on design, the detachable legs, and how you fixed structures to with stand being stored folded up.

  14. David Hutto says:

    I really like the setting and time period. I’m working on a layout of the turn of century,western theme and I need to know where the saddled horses came from. I have saloons and a hotel and blacksmith but they need horses tied up out front!

  15. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. The layout is simple, well detailed and features some unique figures and buildings. The lift up design is an engineering feat and obviously you don’t have a basement. Same here. Just shows one only needs foresight, planning, time and patience. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  16. Steve, clever to use a RC combination to power the switches. But now 99% of the power burns up in the resistor since you have a continuous current drain of the power supply when the switch in On. With a 12VDC power supply, the resistor burns up 1.38W! That is too much for a 1 watt resistor. I recommend using a higher value R like 150 Ohm or more.

  17. Andrew Aves says:

    Great layout Steve, I should like to see more photos
    Andrew in Oz

  18. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Steve….beautiful piece of work…….well done……

  19. Bill Robinson says:

    I love the foldable capability of Steve’s layout. I would recommend the part attached to the wall have its own leg’s as well. This would add both expandability and increased stability.
    Nice job overall and I love the theme having grown up near the Sierras and remembering the remnants of the Yosemite Valley Railroad. I think it shut down just around the time I was born. Some of the roadbed still exists and a small section serves as a temporary detour since a major rockslide cut off a portion of CA highway 140 near El Portal, CA

  20. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Nice looking western layout!!

  21. Charlie says:

    Steve, nice layout, and really love the way you have it fold up and the legs unscrew and fit in place on the bed. Great idea. I grew up in North Bergen, NJ and use to go down to Tonnelie Avenue, because there was Round House there and we would go and see the trains. We got to know some of the workers there and there was an old passenger car that they let us hang out in (it was on an old siding which was disconnected from the other rails).

  22. David says:

    Steve, as one who is interested in modeling the mid to late 1800’s, I am interested in seeing your track plan. I am having a difficult time with a design, especially with different levels in a 4 x 8 space. Also, are you using DC or DCC? Thank you, Dave in Maryland

  23. The snow sean makes you want to put on your winter jacket very nicely done

  24. Stephen Hill says:

    Most impressive . You stuck to your theme , that’s hard to do , you did a very good job with the scenes and detail , it truly looks like an old west town . Great idea with the folding table , guess you really have to be sure everything is secured before you stow it. That’s an awesome idea , I believe you could patent that and market it , would sell like hotcakes .

  25. Don says:

    the waterfall & mountain backdrop is awesome & love the ability to fold the table up when cleaning under it. great set up

  26. Steve Ruple says:

    Steve, very impressive and awesome build making a fold-up table. Like you ,I have very limited space also and this gives me some ideas for some of my layouts .Thank you for sharing.

  27. Rich B. says:

    Layout is great… true Murphy Bed style.

    Quick question’s for Dean’s Capacitive Is 470uF cap required, that’s a kicker. Volts good for low voltage DC.

    1) Is 470uF cap required, that’s a kicker?
    2) Noted polarized, can non-polarized cap be used?
    3) What if resistor was eliminated and cap put in series with both switch coils in series with each other and then negative connection?
    4) Believe even A/C 12 volts could work if isolated from DC?

    Only reason I ask is that I’m completing a Power Factor Correction panel with CT’s and metering for each phase (120/240VAC) electrical service. Goal of coarse is anything close to “1” and no higher. Done by adding capacitors in parallel and perhaps a series connection for fine-tune. My max-out will be only 70uF and around 1KVAR input.

    Not really recommended for home correction, bunch of reasons there. Meaning actually finishing wiring now, panel and breakers done. Yes, bleed off resistance and Current Transformer shunt switches inc… nothing better to do in ME between snow squalls.

    Regards Here, Rich

  28. Jim Saccento says:

    Hi Steve,
    We recently moved into a condo with a one car garage situation similar to yours. Sadly, I had to give op my 1200 sf basement back east where my railroad used to live. One solution is to build a fold up 4×8 similar to your design in our 12 x 24′ garage.
    Where does all of your rolling stock go when in fold-up mode?

  29. Frank Pumillo says:

    Fantastic layout and the backdrop scene is beautifully incorporated!

  30. Dave S says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing your garage fold-up layout. It brought back fond memories of the first layout I built in my garage with the help of my two sons when they were young. The only thing I don’t miss is being very diligent in glueing everything down.

  31. robert dale tiemann says:

    i ahve always liked the stowaway layouts, had one myself. i also have had one for wargaming as well.

  32. Stephen White says:

    Hi Dean. An excellent and detailed description of a very cheap and functional ‘CD Unit’. I am very curious about how the Atlas switch uses a single throw (not momentary) switch, as this is what I want to do. I searched for, and found a circuit. which I will test and send to Al as a follow up, if successful. Thank You.
    Steve White (Sydney)

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