Tips & Layouts

“The no-nonsense way to model realistic looking and detailed model train layouts without breaking the bank.

These tips – all from modellers – will save you going mad with frustration and no doubt save a few dollars too.

What’s more your layouts will never suffer with de-railments, erratic stops or starts. Join the newsletter today and get ‘em all.”

“I cant begin to tell you how much I enjoy your messages and all the info.  Please keep up the good work.  You have a new and very loyal fan.”

“Alastair, love the stuff you send, thank you.”

“Boy! you are really prolific with the modeling info.  Nice job and thank you.”

“Neat idea! Thanks for the plans.”

“I really enjoy the tid-bits you are sending us”

“Hi Alastair, Thanks for all the good ideas that you have been sending.”

“Hi Al, thanks for all the info you have been sending of late”

“Thanks for all the modelling tips. I especially enjoy the photos of well done layouts. Your time and effort is appreciated very much.  ”

“Hi Alastair, Thanks again for all the wonderful tips and Info”

“I’ve been receiving all your emails.  Thanks.  They are great and have very interesting links.”

“Thanks for the latest tips.  Appreciate them.”

“Al, Thank you from a beginner”

“Wonderful tips Al, thanks for them and the beautiful; train pictures.”

“I enjoyed that read, thank you for sending it. :-)

“I just want to thank you for the e-mails that you’ve sent me concerning trains”

“Cool tips!”

“Hi Al ….. I  really enjoy your emails and articles.”

“Thank you!!! These are some nice layouts I look forward to attempting them in ‘O’ gauge…”

“Al, thanks so much!  The layouts are very cool.”

“Hi Alastair, the tips are appreciated,thank you. ”

“Thanks for the great tips”

“Thanks again Al for the tips.  Like them I did and do”

“I just wanted to thank you for your efforts on this endeavor. I do enjoy reading these offerings.”

“First let me say thanks for all the information you send and for those incredible layouts.”

“Nice pictures Al, thanks for posting them to me.”

“I do enjoy your emails, the suggestions, the working layouts etc.”

“Much to my Mrs.’ consternation you’ve got me getting excited about creating a model train layout again.”

“thanks for the tips Al. very helpfull. Please keep sending them”


“Hi Al, your tips are right on time.  Thanks so much.”

“Thanks … some good tips in there.”

“Appreciating and enjoying your information. Cheers!”

“Thanks for all your E.mails  very good reading.”  

“Thanks.  Good Ideas.”

“The layouts were great, thanks.”

“Thanks again Al, more great tips are really helpful.”

“Just wanted to let you know we really enjoy your emails.  My husband & I are working on an O guage layout.”


“Great shots, I enjoy your emails.”

“I find these very refreshing and informative on a subject that always interested me – and now comes to my front door. [ computer screen.]”

“Thanks for the tips! ” Dan  

“hi,many tnx 4 ur PDF. The scenery tips were great – will use on g/sons layout i,m building. regards, robin hall.” Robin  

“By the way, I really enjoy your tips.”

“I have been checking it out . very good job.”


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  1. gregorystgermain

    do you’r plans work for “HO” scale trains too? :?:

  2. I just built an addition on my home. I have designated an area about 15 feet long, and a depth of 3 feet, with three sections coming out 5-6 feet. Basically, the train area will be shaped like the letter E. This will be a totally new train setup to me. I am a real beginner, and probably bit off more than I expected…but this has been a dream of mine to create. I know I want “water” and bridges, tunnels and higher and lower height tracks, so two trains can pass each other. I have bought books for beginners, layout books and more. At this point I am a little overwhelmed! ANY suggestions, tips or ideas will be appreciated. Also if there is a book out there that will help…let me know. One other thing…I bought three train kits, all included transformers. Is there a guide on how I should wire them together? Or do I designate three separate tracks for each train?
    Thank in advance for any help. Kathy

    • Hi Kathy–
      I would have to know more, to give specific advice,i.e. Scale? Type of power, DC,AC Digital Conventional,etc..
      However, in general. Keep it simple. Finish a task completely before moving on. Don’t jury rig. Set up a test area to work on ideas before putting them on the layout. Make sure your track is perfect to avoid derailments. Have a method to test your equipment and track. Get all the guide books you can afford.
      Thanks CJB

  3. Would appreciate any layout ideas. Now my RR is a U shape, with entry into the open end. We’ve built a swinging gate to close the U so I have an oval for continuous running. Layout is in a shed about 8′x14′. Track along 3 walls, 2 mts. a lake, a river, 2 mines, 2 towns and a lakeside resort, a sawmill, a turntable. Center aisle is 3 feet wide. Work bench is 3′wide 2′ deep at one end of layout. There’s a 3′long straight track on the bench to test locos.The prototype is the layout.(grin) Shelves above on both sides have track and spare rolling stock on display. There’s a tv for entertainment while I play with the trains. It’s called the “Training Room”, I’m 74, in my 2nd
    childhood with the trains. Layout is 2 yrs. old.
    All locos are steam, time is 1900. No autos/trucks
    so don’t have paved roads. I’m a happy novice.

    • gregorystgermain

      can you use real water around track but yet water proof the train

  4. ryan beebie

    :shock: :grin: hey nnice ideas i just might look intoo these G thanks!!!

    • gregorystgermain

      do you know how to make track look like its a tram rail ?

  5. Johnnie D

    I look at that spaggettie bowl of track and ask WHY . I model Rock Island 1972-74 on a modest 12×46 space on two and a half levels with just over 400 feet of mainline .

  6. gregorystgermain


  7. gregorystgermain

    :razz: :razz: :razz: :razz:

  8. gregorystgermain

    the train handrails on my santafa train broke and need advice on where to fix it ive already used glue but it wont stay on :?: can any one help :!: :!: :?:

  9. builder kim

    gregorystgermain try using crazy glue.but becareful it will melt or stain the part if tomuch dab with a tissue paper to soak up any extra before it dries.

  10. alstair, love your web iste. thanks for all the tips. I changed my email, new one is above. add me to your updates. thanks. Br. John

  11. Hi I just wanted to say you did a great job on your layout and its a great thing to share it looks like it’s o gauge . I run o gauge Ac Voltage well please keep up the good work .

    • TheDesertRailRoader

      Does anybody Know what I should use for ballast? I have a desert themed layout with EZ track and a $50 scenery budget. I dont want to buy wodland scenics ballast because the layout is huge, and I want to make my own.

  12. Ron Stokes

    I love ‘N’ Gauge… can do more with less room. One trick I do is take the LARGE garden wood chips and spray paint them either flat gray or flat black. Piece them together as rock cliffs, add greenery in crevices.. Voila !

  13. Dave Spence

    I do enjoy your emails! Thanks and keep up the wonderful service.

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