My Layouts

This page shows all the model railroad layouts I have built over the years. Click the photo for a full description and many construction photos.

The PRR Chartiers Branch: Hazel Mine

S-scale (January 1, 2015 - present)

My current project is a set of three movable modules that make up a diorama centered around the Hazel Mine in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania as it was in the summer of 1924.

Last updated on May 8, 2020. (more info...)

The PRR Chartiers Branch

S-scale (July 21, 2008 - October 12, 2015; 7 years, 2 months, 3 weeks)

I switched modeling scales from N (1:160) to S (1:64). Judging by how long this layout lasted, S-scale is a better fit for me. This was an around-the-room switching layout that was very loosely based on the Pennsylvania Railroad's Chartiers Branch, set in the summer of the year 1950. In and of itself, this layout was great and I was enjoying it, but it was still just a freelanced design. I wanted something different. (more info...)

Bear Creek & Eastern

N-scale (February 2006 - July 15, 2008; 2 years, 6 months)

This project was a small point-to-point fictional layout to help polish my modeling skills while I'm "in between" serious layouts. About 1/3 of the layout was finished and about 75% of the track work was done when the project was canceled. I learned how to construct a spline roadbed, how to deal with grades, how to build a turntable from scratch, and how to improve the looks of my trees. Lack of correct lighting was a real problem during layout construction, especially when hand-laying code 40 rail. Also, I was getting tired of dirty track problems. (more info...)

Crystal Creek

N-scale (January 2005 - October 2005; 10 months)

This stand-alone diorama/module was an exercise in hand-laying code 40 rail and building turnouts in-place. The module only had about 30% of the track work in place when it was abandoned. I learned a lot about hand-laying rail. (more info...)

P & C Railroad Version 4

N-scale (February 2003 - February 2004; 1 year)

My biggest ambition so far. I merged two bedrooms into one, remodeled them, and installed lighting and valances. I had finished one room's worth of storage cabinets upon which the layout would be built. The idea being that the area under the layout could be used for additional storage of hobby and household "stuff". It had to be abandoned due to a major change in life. I learned that I really like the linear around-the-walls style of layout. The other lesson I learned was that sometimes life throws a monkey-wrench into your model railroading plans! (more info...)

P & C Railroad Version 3

N-scale (December 2000 - January 2003; 2 years, 2 months)

This layout started off as a simple double mainline loop around the room. It grew to include a helix peninsula that led to a storage yard below the main level. The layout was making good progress with scenery and lots of working track, but it also had two duck-unders. Eventually this got to my back. While recovering from my back injury (a week on the couch), I thought about what I could do to eliminate the number of head injuries, back scrapes, shoulder bumps, and strained back problems - starting over! Ergonomics was the big lesson learned from this layout. (more info...)

P & C Railroad Version 2

N-scale (April 2000 - December 2000; 9 months)

This was my first big layout. It also was my first custom designed one. This layout was operational in under 9 months. I had quite a bit of the basic scenery in place. The layout had a number of big problems. I learned that a grade of 5.5% is a tad too much! The locomotives did OK, but the trains had to be so short that it wasn't much fun. The other lesson learned was that all track that is hidden and/or hard to reach will guarantee you problems! Murphy's Law. (more info...)

P & C Railroad Version 1

N-scale (August 1999 - April 2000; 9 months)
After almost 20 years out of the hobby of model railroading, in August 1999 I started this layout. It was a standard 4' by 8' layout built on top a movable table. The main purpose for this layout was just to see if I liked the hobby. I had a lot of fun building it. I experimented with some of the traditional scenery techniques such as newspaper and plaster cloth over chicken wire, etc. Once I decided to get more serious with the hobby, I realized I wanted more than this table. I tried to integrate this layout into the next one, but it was just too big for the room I was in. I made some video tape recordings of the layout in action, but I have not converted it into digital images yet, so there are no photos (I didn't own a camera at the time).

My First Layout

N-scale (197?-80)

This was a small oval layout I had in the late 1970s in my early teens. It was a Fleischmann starter set with additional track, some kit structures, and a couple of attempts at scratch-building. (more info...)