Who can help Steve?

Steve has asked for a little help and some comments with his layout.

Have a look at all the suggestions at the bottom of the page.


I’ve attached some “progress pictures” and would appreciate any feedback or comments anyone might care to provide. This is my 1st real non-Christmas layout.

It’s O gauge, bench is three 4’x8’s making an ___—–___ shape. I have some passenger trains and Intermodals that need 54″ turns, but 80% only need 31″…so my plan was all 54″ with an inner loop(s) with 31″.

The 31″ loop(s) concept was also to have an isolated loop that was very “kid, friend & cocktail safe” before letting them out on the “big” track where the larger more expensive trains play ( Platinum Ghost, Southern Daylight, GG1s, etc)

I used the Troy & Mohawk Valley Plan from 101 Track Plans as a basis and tried to modify it for my bench space. I also used software from AnyRail initially.

I have thick skin and would appreciate any guidance…


“Hi Alastair,

You can use a lot of bought in or found items as scenery, such as cars, animals or figures, but these plastic items always look “cheap and plasticky”. Just give them a light coat of matt varnish, avoiding any ‘glassed’ areas. It tones down colours and evens the finish – it works great on rolling stock too.



Who can help Steve? I think it has the makings of a wonderful layout.

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 for a time payment of just $9… but not for long.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

20 Responses to Who can help Steve?

  1. Rob says:

    3 x 8’x4′ doesn’t seem much room for O gauge but those 3 boards would almost fill out a standard UK garage (16′ x 8′) which amount of space many people would love to have for a model railway.
    A garage that size is obviously of no use to store a modern car so UK garages tend be become junk rooms, that could be much better used as home gyms or hobby rooms.

  2. Ron Schultz says:

    looks like a great start. I have a MTH -Lionel “O” Shay that takes the 54 inch track and an O layout needs a lot of space Remember its your Railroad and you run it to satisfy your self , Building is half the fun .do some “test” running before you get to far along as it will show up problems that can be corrected before all the rest is added . building clearances, track alignment ect. remember inside tunnel access is important. enjoy it

  3. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Looks like a good concept and a good start, just don’t try to fill every inch with buildings a action accessories, open spaces with trees ground cover etc will make your layout look better , just an opinion.
    Above all have fun and enjoy the building.

  4. bob says:

    hi, it look’s like when i started out. if you can come out another 2 ft. like i did and make it 6×16 you can really add more track and therefore more trains, i’am running 8 sets now and i think i ran out of room, i use o72 for my outside then o54, then 027. then i put 4 hoist on it and raise it up when i need more room in my rec, room. i would show you some pix. but don’t know how to attache them to this post.

  5. Yves says:

    Nice layout.
    Maybe you could add some sidings. When you will come to operations, you may like it. Test-run you track before doing too much scenery. Make sure you train runs perfectly.
    Have fun!

  6. John Hiatt says:

    Looks like it will be fun to operate. I just have one concern, which is that the elevated line around the outside will make access to the inside loop difficult in the event of “issues.” Consider a removable access hatch, maybe where the future river is shown. Best of luck with it!

  7. Tom says:

    Hello Steve,Things covered in other comments. So I am going to say enjoy what you are doing … and keep on doing it. You have a fine start to a wonderful layout. Keep in touch.

    best regards,


    PS Thanks Al, you are the best!

  8. Doug Mahrer says:

    Good start!

    Have you provided access to every part of the track to handle maintenance?

  9. Roy Forbes says:

    Well it looks to me like a lot of thought and pre-planning have gone into this one so well done Steve. I’m not into 3 rail or 0 gauge myself but I can appreciate what others who are into that can do. I think you just need to do what you think is right and if it works then great. Keep it up.

  10. kimo says:

    take your time.It’s looking great so far

  11. Brian Jacobs says:

    I’m not familiar with AnyRail software but if it has something similar to a 3D perspective use it to visualize the concept of how you want it to look. Don’t be afraid to experiment, put some buildings on, move them around and don’t worry about ‘scale’ and ‘O-Gauge’ differences. You can make it look right by adjusting where you place the type of structure (it’s all a depth perspective – smaller (non-scale buildings) father away from the edge). I wish you all the best with your endeavor and happy building!

  12. Bill Antonette says:

    Don’t be in a rush to put the screws in. You’ve got a nice looking layout. run it for a couple uf weeks and see if there aren’t some tweaks you want to make. Then run those changes until your sure you like it. Then change it again or screw it down. I did 12 versions with Autocad and 3 or 4 more on my 4×16 layout. It’s not so easy to make changes after put down scenery and carve mountains.

    I’m jealous of you, I wish I had room for that 3rd sheet.

  13. Neal Marrison says:

    Looking good, Steve.I agree with everyone saying HAVE FUN!!

  14. jim c says:

    Looks good i always wanted to go hat scale, insted went to ho. I see this, it makes me think about selling and get into o or o27. I would have had the room but had to kids and my 2 year old grandson move in. Had a 14×13 room and 10×12 room back to back. One day it will be a nice layout in the two room. Good luck on your build looking sharp

  15. great layout when my nieces and nephews and grandchildren come around they love stopping at all my stations (6) and they also love the drop off and pickup concept for example pickup the logs from the forest drop off at the lumber mill pick up the timber and drop of at the drying kilms so on and so on. i have 2 lines one is steam the other diesel

  16. Ralph Berry says:

    Nice going Steve.
    About as small as you would want to go with O gauge. Just watch out for the climbs on those corners, the trains struggle on corners so to add a climb as well really limits the size of train you can run. I suggest reducing the climb on the corners and have the maximum grade on the straights. Don’t forget that it is your layout so build it to your dream.

  17. Byron Lusher says:

    I still have 3 big “Christmas tree” layouts in my attic, so this looks like pure fun. You have a definite Gomez Adams vibe going (google it if you’re too young to remember it) The only thing you need with trains that expensive is some safety net or guard to keep a sudden bump from putting one of your treasures on the floor. You don’t need to go all out on scenery right now, play with each stage of track development and that will let you grow your action areas and cityscapes in a natural way that can change and improve over time. Good luck

  18. terry powers says:

    love the glass of wine! every layout construction job needs one.

  19. THOMAS says:


  20. Keith Carey says:

    Hi Steve…what about doing a separate layout for the children? Those tight curves are not appealing watching the “jerking” riders must have on realistic speeds. Maybe do the basic turns on the kids layout. As for your other 31” and 54” curves, I am happy that O-gags provides for this.
    Two things to consider. Make the lake a fourth of the seize to add some building sidings. The Menards Morton Salt. And, the Menards Barrel factory.
    Other, is to cut out a gorge with a boxed in 2×2 and a waterfall for the train to bridge over. I should have done this for depth in the diorama.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *