Winter wonderland

“Merry Christmas, or if you are the politically correct type, Happy Holidays, from Florida in the US of A.

Each year my girlfriend and I put a miniature village on a 32 inch square glass end table in our living room. Using Winnie the Pooh and Disney cottages, figurines, trees, bushes, and of course snow. This year she said she would like a small train to run around the park and ice skating pond area.

Barbara then searched the internet for a small Christmas Holiday train and came up with one made by Bachmann. We checked the size, N Gauge, at a local model train show and it looked as though that size train would work with some modification of the layout size.

After expending a lot of brain power, I haven’t built any sort of layout since I was in my “teens”, I’m now 76. After touring the local big box store, Lowes, I decided on 1/2 inch foam insulation material reinforced with 1X 2 pvc trim. Some adhesive caulking and X-acto knife kit and I was ready to make a stab at it.

We increased the size from 32 inches square to a 32 X 48 inch rectangle with a rounded corner to prevent snags when someone walked by.

The materials were easy to work with and after setting the locations of the cottages and the track, started construction. I found it was easy to cut the insulation board with a long X-acto blade kept at an angle to form the hills and the pond.

I found that putting the track directly on the insulation material and running the train was quite noisy, so I used 1/4 inch thick sponge type weather stripping in between the board and the track to quiet it down.

The hill top is removable for access just in case the inevitable derailment occurs.

After assembling the pieces using the adhesive, I sprayed it with a white primer and then an orange peel coating used on interior walls for a texture similar to snow. Then the buildings, landscape, etc. were added. The foil side of the insulation board is aluminum and looks a lot like ice. This was glued under the cutout for the pond after painting was completed. The edge of the pond is lit up by a string of battery operated LED lamps pushed thru the foam insulation board.

We have attached photos taken as the build progressed.

We are pleased with the results and hope you agree.

Ron and Barbara

PS We look at all your emails an find them informative and educational.”

Hi Alistair,

Ref scale speeds:-

For OO gauge, 4mm = 1 ft
60 mph = 88 ft per second
Scale 60 = 88 X 4 = 352 mm per second
= 21.12 metres per minute.
30 mph = 10.56 metres per minute
And so on.

Suggest you use a set length of track say 2 metres.
So from above, times for 2 metres are:

60 mph 6 seconds (to nearest second)
30 mph. 12 seconds (“)

Trial and error with controller will allow you to mark speeds on the controller and scale other speeds between and above 30 & 60!

BUT You will need do this for each loco!!! Because of different gear ratios!


“Have now just done a short one showing the incline in use with the track now doing a circuit , its not part of the As it Was and As it is now , but after a lot where interested in the incline and I completed the circuit to-day I thought I would post it on youtube , up to you if you want to use it…now or later



And bag a Christmas bargain – the latest ebay cheat sheet is here. have a look and bag a bargain.

And do please keep ’em coming, folks!



15 Responses to Winter wonderland

  1. Donald Kinscherf says:

    Great work !!!! Hope Santa brings you seasonal theme RR for every time…summer beach….fall with many leafy colored trees etc

  2. David says:

    Very nice Christmas layout, Ron & Barbara! Model trains always seem to add a very special effect to any Christmas display. For years I would take my 2×4 ft N gauge train layout to our annual Sunday School Christmas party and ALL of the children (both young and old) would delight in watching the trains run.

  3. Monique Welten says:

    Nice layout! I agree with Donald: a seasonal theme RR layout will be so cool!

  4. Roy F says:

    Great pictures. Little train big car as they say. The scale speeds info is very useful saves me working it out all the time. Keep up the good work.

  5. i have finanlly got my dcc runing, and i am very delighted, the controller is the NCE power cab, my layout is 4×8 and i am going to extend the south end to 4ft. and then later extend the north to 4ft.
    so have a great holiday. your fan charles

    by the way my layout is called the IOWA SHORT LINE, OR ISL R. R.

  6. Joe says:

    Maybe it’s time to bulld a layout you would be good at it.

  7. Great job on your lay out dave. Can’t wait for the next showing. Hope santa does you well. toot toot.

  8. Roland Burch says:

    Nice layout. Great idea for Christmas.

  9. robin biles says:

    Thanks Dave, I love the work of a genius!

  10. Monty Perth Australia says:

    Hi Dave and alistair and all
    thank you for all the video’s and tips you have given to us all, I only hope Dave that I am able to do half the job that you have done with my layout, with any luck I will be starting my layout after christmas.

    from Monty and family in Armadale West Australia

  11. Ron Ernst says:

    Good idea for a seasonal winter theme…
    Winter is minimal here…I live in Sunny Southern California.
    I’ve spent most of my live living and working out of Germany. I’ve had enough of winter with snow to last me a lifetime. Just retired, also in my 70’s and just returned to model railroading…HO. No room in the house so I built an outdoor shed. I think I’m getting in over my head with planning and implementing a layout. Oh well. Lots of time.

  12. THOMAS says:


  13. Ralph Berry says:

    What a splendid idea for a Christmas layout, I hope it gives you hours of pleasure.

  14. Ray Appenzeller says:

    Thank you both for many fine layouts and tons of ideas!

  15. Rod Mackay says:

    Glad I haven’t got to try and steer one of those 72′ narrowboats round the bends in that canal Dave, “she canna take it cap’n” as Scotty used to say!

Leave a Reply

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