For those of us that run trains, details please, I'm curious.

Do you refer to it as a layout? a pike?, a putz? a trainboard? or? I refer to mine as a layout, my mother always called it a trainboard no matter how big it became.

Does your "layout" have a name? Mine is Warrenville Railroad. It consists of Lisa-Marieville, Karentown, Absolute Yards, Warrenville Docks, Cape Warrenaveral and The Alcove.

Trackage: What gauge and brand of track? The Warrenville RR runs on over 575 feet of O27 height track, O42, 54 and 72 curves mostly, O27 on the lower level of The Alcove. These is also a S gauge loop on the upper level (traditional Gilbert Flyer track) of The Alcove and a N gauge amusement park ride neat the Absolute Yards. The O27 height track is enhanced with over 2,800 balsawood ties and kitty litter ballast. The Flyer track is on Flyer rubber roadbed.

Controls: Conventional? TMCC/Legacy? DCC?  I operate conventionally

Population: Warrenville has approximately 1,000 citizens




Last edited by Lionelski
Original Post

When I was a kid in Baltimore MD back in the 50's, they were called "Christmas Gardens" irregardless of the season or permanence . Nowadays, I call mine a layout. The first time I heard it called a Putz, I nearly fell over: the word has a different meaning in Yiddish.

0 gauge tinplate track: K-Line 042 curves and 36" straights, Williams 031 curves, all for their close ties which remind me of prewar 072, Lionel manual turnouts and RCS & UCS sections. Conventional operation only. 4'x12', and the height of an ordinary table so I can sit in a comfortable chair instead of on a stool.

No name, and just a few people - most of which represent friends and family.

The layout. O gauge tubular, some of which dates back to my original layout in 1955. Conventional, plus early TMCC. I call it Fred.

My Pike is the Plywood Empire Route (name stolen from a very many years ago HO project Pike in one of the magazines, IIRC Railroad Magazine).

The PER is a once-around-the-room (12.5' X 11.5') loop of Fastrack. It is a mostly switching pike which I operate loosely themed on the Oil Creek & Titusville RR. All track switches and curves are O72 except the O36 curve with switch hidden under a mountain.

Motive power is any of several MTH PS3 SW1500s running under DCS enabled by a DCS Remote Commander (the one that looks like a teevee remote).

Scenery is.....largely schematic  at this time and consists in part of 117 B&W enlargements taken by my Dad from the time I was about 4yr old until I graduated High School. Rolling stock is Fallen Flags so between the photos of trains and train trips on the walls and the familiar old liveries the train room is always a trip down memory lane for me.

An operating session starts with the daily switching-job coming from Interchange to Town with the day's consist and ends with the Dinner Train making several loops. It gets tied-down for the night in front of the old Depot and the next operating session starts with it being spotted out of the way before the crew runs yesterday's consist to Interchange.


My railroad (S Scale) was the Kansas Grain Belt.  Also referred to as the Great Plywood Glacier (an unofficial National Park.)  It is currently being torn down in anticipation of a move.  I ran conventional DC and DCC.

Something will rise again from the sawdust, I'm just not sure what form at this point in time.


I call it my layout. I use O Gauge tubular track and O22 switch tracks. 

I sometimes call it The Put because I like to add trains and features to it reminiscent of The Put (Putnam Division of the NY Central).

Mine is conventional with  block wiring so I have independently powered 2 main lines and 8 sidings. I also have 16 O22 switches so it is an interconnected switching layout.

It is about 35 feet long and 3 and one-half to 4 feet wide, so I think that makes it a medium sized layout. It is also an around the walls long and narrow layout with backdrops.

An MTH Z4000 powers the 2 main lines, a ZW and KW power the sidings and accessories, and another ZW powers the 022 switches.


Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

One more thing: my ballast is ground up asphalt I got from the sides of roads during long walks. My son was mortified when he saw his dad (me) fill his pockets with this ground up asphalt.

The RSJ&B "layout" runs on 027 tubular track, 12- 5121, 5122 turnouts and assorted UCS. A small yard is FT with a manual turnout. Overall size is a nominal 4X8. Two trains can run conventionally with block control to park trains and move others around, powered by a KW. Population hovers around 15 at the moment. If the LIRR Greenport Scoot is running then the population jumps exponentially with Summer tourists heading east from NYC.
Motive power ranges from post-war to older modern, steam and diesel. Not modeling a particular time period but I guess late steam to 70's diesel would describe it best. Lot's of ALCO's and EMD GEEPS abound. Mostly fallen flags.

This is my first permanent layout in about 30 years. I had several large HO layouts growing up until we moved after I got out of High School.

Funny that my HO trains were on a train board.



Last edited by RSJB18

No names, just table layout and overhead layout.  I named my first one after my dad.   We built that huge attic layout together, but sold that house years ago.

That's interesting, Arnold.  Never would have thought of it.  I used to use dried coffee grounds on my first three layouts.  Still do, sometimes.  For my relatively new upper levels, they mostly run through or on long bridges and ramps.  I don't want ballast on those.

My layouts use O tubular, about twenty-five 022 switches that go with those tracks.  New stuff is all Gargraves  with Ross switches.  I use left over 027 for my trolley lines.   Run four DCS on the overhead, two DCS on the table, with two favorite conventionals, and three LCP's.


Jerry, here is a photo of my ground up asphalt ballast on my O Gauge tubular track, which is loose in between the rails and affixed with a light coating of spray glue on the sides outside the rails in some places, and loose in other places:



The pebbles are way to big to be scale, but so are the rails so I think it works. It does help stabilize the track for fewer derailments. Arnold


Images (2)
artyoung posted:

When I was a kid in Baltimore MD back in the 50's, they were called "Christmas Gardens" irregardless of the season or permanence . Nowadays, I call mine a layout. The first time I heard it called a Putz, I nearly fell over: the word has a different meaning in Yiddish.


Yeah - that word had a different meaning in my crowd, too. You didn't have to be Jewish (we were largely WASPs) to know it and use it in its less, ah, genteel meaning. Still makes me chuckle when I see it used to refer to a train layout or similar display. 

Thanks for all of the responses so far gang.

jay jay, Fred is a great name for a layout - love it.

Lew, you mentioned motive power, scenery and operating sessions. Items I did not comment on, so here goes: 

WVRR's motive power consists of 70 engines (46 diesel & electric, 24 steam). Of the 24 steamers one is a Marx, one is an American Flyer O gauge, 3 are Gilbert American Flyer S gauge, 4 are LTI steamers and 15 are Postwar Lionel. In the diesel & electric category, one is MTH, One is Gilbert American Flyer, one is Aurora N gauge, 12 are LTI and the remaining 31 are Postwar Lionel.

Scenery consists of lots of operating accessories, Plasticville buildings, homemade and bashed structures, homemade and store bought trees and bushes, homemade tunnels, retaining walls and land formations. Lots of pre and post war bridges too. Many vehicles, citizens and animals.

Operating sessions usually involve one to six sets running for my, and my friend's enjoyment. WVRR is not a switching layout.

Arnold, Mrs 'Ski has been mortified a number of times when I pick up weeds to make trees, doo-dads for roadside scrap, etc.

Rusty and Jerry, you mentioned sawdust and dried coffee grounds. I use both on the WVRR. Dyed sawdust just like my Dad used and raw colors collected from cutting different woods.

artyoung, D500 and Arnold, I tried to take the high ground with the Putz word only because I knew the alternate meaning would come out very quickly, and it did. LOL.

Anybody else want to share info on your own small worlds?

Last edited by Lionelski

Great topic.  From my earliest 4x8 to my current 8x20 my layout has always been just that-my layout. 

I was raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia the Northern Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley so early on I dubbed my layout the Shenandoah Short line and the name has stuck even with some expansion.

My trackage consists of about 200 feet of good old Lionel postwar tubular O Gauge track with O72 curves on the exterior two loops and 031 curves on the interior loop.  All of the loops are interconnected.  All of the track is hard ballasted and weathered  and I used the old "Moondog" black rubber ties to add realism to the track.  I have four Lionel modern era O72 switches  and four modern era O31 switches. 

The Shenandoah Short Line is divided into three distinct railroad districts.  The first district consists of a fairly large rail yard facility which supports the railroad's industries which is made up of numerous post-war and modern era Lionel accessories.  The second district is the urban area which consists of small industries and a few homes while the last district is the the rural area made up of country homes and farms along with a small wooded area and two mountains. 

I currently operate on an alternating basis both TMCC and conventional.   I do have the legacy system which I have yet to install.  Below are a couple of photos of my layout.  It is certainly no modeling extravaganza and actually might be considered rather rudimentary but I have had a great deal of fun with it over the years.IMG_1212IMG_1213IMG_1214IMG_1215IMG_1221


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Last edited by OKHIKER

Great topic and I’m enjoying reading about everyone’s railroad. I have  always called it “the layout”.  Here is a quick resume:

Name: Smithville & Western.  It models a small railroad town in the fall, located in central Indiana.  Besides a town, there is an engine terminal with turntable, roundhouse and locomotive shop.

Trackage: Primarily Lionel FasTrack with a yard area made with Gargraves.  Curves are O-72 as a minimum. I had to give up a second mainline for the wider curves, but I wanted to be able to run scale engines. 

Motive Power: Primarily steam but a few diesels too.  Predominantly Fallen Flags from Indiana- NYC, PRR, Monon, NKP and Wabash.  As a result I try to stick to modeling the 1950’s, but a few modern scenes have crept in.

Controls: DCS, Legacy and conventional- all controlled by an MTH Z-4000


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Last edited by rjsmithindy

Psgeddi Bowl Central (little brother's word), featuring the "Happy Miser, All Mine Line" serving the elevated mine (Daffy Duck). 

Industrial Park South is another (SouthPark-ish construction paper background and simple foam building flats/fronts only. O-21ish

"Real T.V." (O-19ish inside a vintage Admiral mahogany t.v. cabinet, behind the glass screen)

Mars... but it's really the moon 🤔  (Vintage Marx moon lanscape)

But it's actually a black 36" card table

My "Silverfish"( Porky's Railroad) and Flash Gordon inspired God of War Bonnets runs there ... true   It pulls the Lionel operating Looney tunes cars (Marvin's Missle,Porky's Instant Martian) along with some LT bashes with Petunia Pig (McD's space) Bugs Bunny (McD's Super Hero-Bugs) Sylvester (keychain), and Tweety (cut from Sylvester/Twetty basketball figures on a pedestal base, "spins"...awful boring toy 😜)   Marvin endlessly circles our US Navy's ( ) moon base;  waiting.

I have three 0-27 circles on levels stacked from floor to 30" on/within a 30" square table too. The North Pole, the West (under construction, 60%), and the "Down Town" lowest level for now (90% done) or... "Here comes the water"; I need a cool "translation" and some tweaks before I reveal the hidden 10%. Also need to finish "the West" first.

The Old in " West" is a removable plateau, and it'self a horror movie themed option too.. I'm working on a title for some business/dwelling hiding the Myan tomb of Dusk Til Dawn "before" the 1800s saloon of DtD#3 as that translation isn't much "better" than the modern bar's name unless was on a Devil's baby bottle .... another modern business might be a Zots candy factory? (Zots, short for the Myan bat god) or simply Hunapu's Inn for the 1800s....? Better to wallow than hurry though.

The line is RI&P on all ...R.I.P. North Pole runs my Grandmother's trains and "The Down Town" pulls cars my Grandfather had once traded me to own himself.   (The horror theme is VERY likely to move to a dedicated Halloween layout (#2.... There is a Casey/ John Henry layout already...... the "Eerie Line").


Currently I have two operating toy train layouts up in my train tunnel, as my wife call the room.

Both were constructed with 2x4s and 3/8 plywood with no landscaping.

First is my post war Lionel Super O layout. It’s 4x8 with two interdependent and interconnected loops and three sidings and seven 112R switches. It is accessory focused displaying both the circus and horse cars with corrals. Barrel car and loader, operating milk car, operating ice depot along with the operating water that does not leak. Included is the culvert loader and unloaded. In addition there is an operating gantry crane and operating oil derrick. Scattered around are various operating rotary beacon, which never spins, floodlight towers and switchman.

This is the grandkids favorite as they pound the controller push buttons, change position of the on/off switches and pushing to the limits the KW throttles. Therefore this one is named the Punisher.

This layout runs all Lionel post war such as Rio Grande F3, Berkshires, USMC Alco, UP Alco, Lackawanna FM’s, various Switchers and motorized units.

Second is my pre war Lionel layout. It’s all Lionel vintage Standard and O gauge track and switches. The layout is 10x7 with an outside O72 loop, inside is standard loop with operating switches forming a passing loop. Inside that is an O gauge loop that contains four manual switches which allows two smaller prewar sets to operate or 1 O gauge loop.  

The standard loop contains a Hells Gate Bridge and 102 double span bridge. 

The layout hasn’t been formally named. It does contain 114 double station, signal tower, 126 station, several 184 bungalows, whistle station, operating watchmen.

Motive power includes several vintage Lionel electrics 8s, 10E, 408E, 252, 253, Lionel Steam 1835, 249, 250 Hiawatha, 263E Blue Comet, a few 259s. Also Williams 408E and 381 and a MTH 400E Blue Comet. These pull numerous all vintage standard and o gauge freight and passenger cars.

The grandkids, oldest only 5, do not operate this one which is powered by a ZW and and auxiliary transformer which powers all the street lights and station lights. 


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Last edited by Rich Wiemann


I have referred to it as "the train" since 1954 or so.  It is a currently a semi-permanent floor layout.

It has no name.

Trackage: Two concentric interconnected main loops with block isolation plus a four track yard and two other sidings.  There is a reversing loop inside the inner loop.  The outer loop is approximately 5' x 7'.  Average yard track length is approximately 5.5'.  There are two main blocks powered by 2 CW-80.    All Lionel O-27 straight and 27" curve track, with exceptions, as follows:  a few O-27 42" and 54" curve pieces, and a Gargraves TR-213 O-42 transition curve.  Switch tracks:  4 1122(E), 2 5121, 1 5122,  1 5022, 1 Lionel 42" modern era 6-65168, 3 1022, 1 Gargraves O-42 manual.

Controls: All locomotives are conventional only.  TMCC is used to control 6 switches.

Population: 11


14x20     Called the layout or the train

Name:  see above

Trackage:  Lionel Fastrack .  Largest 060. Most is 036 and 048

Controls: Conventional, Legacy/TMCC, and DCS.

Power:  Lionel ZW-L for the trains.   2 old/rebuilt ZW-275 for lights and accessories.

86" X 90" layout. Two standard gauge loops 072 and 042. LGB R1 radius - just under 072. Power: Z-4000 for AC and DC lab grade 3 amp power supply and PIKO 5 amp throttle. Name of railroad: Poolebahn. Multiple tinplate buildings and many figures: LGB, Barclay original and repro, Lionel G, and Aristocraft G. 8 LGB and PIKO locos and 13 cars. Lionel repro std gauge locos: 400E and a 408E, three state cars and four 200 series freight cars. Johnson repro Lionel rubber roadbed under all std gauge track.

Last edited by Tinplate Art

My home 15x19-feet "layout" is shaped to fit an L-shaped room added-on to our house by the former owner for his home office (he  was a draftsman). The four train platforms are hollow-core doors, each widened to 48 inches to accommodate O42 curves and switches; all track pieces are O-gauge tubular track. The platforms rest on SKIL plastic sawhorses with quarter-round wood moulding strips to hold them in position - surprisingly stable. The four platforms are "joined" together with small C-clamps attached to the underside lip of the fascia boards. It could be disassembed if/when necessary; however, the wiring (unfortunately) is not platform-specific. I don't want to think about taking it apart. After my passing (I'm now 80), the next owner of the house can keep it or dumpsterize it.

The two E-W platforms are primarily residental areas (East Suburbia and West Suburbia) with some neighborhood iconic  accessories by MTH: Gas Station, Car Wash, Fire Station, and Mel's Diner, plus some MTH buildings - Country Church with an adjacent cemetery and Pergola with a wedding in progress, and an A&W Root Beer stand. There are several Ameritown and Plasticville houses in a cul-de-sac area, plus Ken's Auto Dealership (with Studebakers), a city park with several Lionel playgound action accessories, four Victorian houses (three by Lionel, one by IHC), several 1950s-era automobiles, and many people figures. I re-purposed a Lionel Municipal Building as the KLIO-FM radio station; a subtle reference my early years as a radio broadcaster. The station plays "Golden Oldies for Golden Agers" -- i.e., me.  A Lionel Bandstand plays Christmas Music by Boston Brass according to arrangements by Stan Kenton via hidden CD player.

The two N-S platforms are primarily industrial areas with some structures by MTH (Brewery, Granary, Watchman Shed), a Menards Diesel-powered Electric Generating Station re-purposed as an Oil Pipeline Terminal, and several Lionel action accessories: Sawmill with an associated Log Dump, Culvert Loader and UnLoader, Switch Tower, Barrel Loader, two Oil Derricks and a LINEX oil stoarge tank, and three small trackside sheds. One corner is a Dinosaur Park -- a nod to my two great-grandsons who are "Dino-kids."

The around-the-perimeter upper level is filled with 35 lighted porcelain DEPT 56 North Pole Village pieces placed along three Christmas-theme trolleys running on 027 tracks. Several of the DEPT 56 pieces are animated; one plays music. 

The two control panels are mounted underneath one of the platforms on slide-out small shelves:  1)  with switch controllers, toggles for ON/OFF track power to four sidings, DC track power for the trolleys on the upper level, and sound buttons; 2) Lionel and MTH "bricks" for track power and separate 14v outputs for lighting, accessories, and switch motors. The layout is wired for TMCC through a Command Base, PowerMaster, and a trackside Direct Lock-on. I can operate in Conventional Mode also; that's available to visiting hobbyists who bring their conventional trains.

The kid-friendly trains on the layout are equipped with LionChief: Thomas, Percy, James, and Diesel with accompanying cars; plus a Lionel Dinosaur Train Set.  A "Lionel Steel" train set has TMCC built-in. An auxiliary small diesel switcher (equipped with LionChief is occasionally used to tow track cleaning cars around the layout 

My "adult trains" on display on the walls of the train room are: Lionel Rock Island "Mikado" steamer with RI boxcars and an EV Caboose, a Lionel RI E6 diesel with matching RI passenger cars, and a Sunset 3rd rail RI TA diesel with matching articulated passenger cars. All are equipped with TMCC. Inasmuch as my layout is equipped with O42 curves and switches, I'll never be able to run those "wide radius required" trains on the tracks. But they look great! I'll soon add another trains to the display: an MTH NASA-decor diesel switcher with a string of accompanying NASA freight cars. However, two of the rocket-body-aboard NASA flat cars can't negotiate my O42 curves.

The only landscaping feature is "green grass" patio carpeting. I confess I'm not a skilled craftsman with scenery, but I admire those with that gift.

Mike Mottler     LCCA 12394





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Last edited by Mike H Mottler

My layout is the Corder & Loki RR. Loki is the cat and manager. Originally, it was designed to fit in a 10’ x 11’ room. It features MTH RealTrax and is powered by a ZW-R. The Legacy controller is connected through two Lionel Track Power Controllers allowing simultaneous Legacy, TMCC, and conventional operations. There are six blocks of track that can be turned on and off with Atlas switches. The outer loop allows for 0-42 rolling stock. The inner loop permits operation of 0-31. All turnouts are remote 0-42. Table construction is 1/2” plywood screwed to 2”x4” studs. It is made to disassemble into four sections. All sections and legs are attached with carriage bolts. 
I prefer operating accessories. They include Lionel’s gantry crane, oil derrick, water tower, transfer depot, and fruit express terminal. The transfer depot was rewired to allow the lights to operate on a separate circuit from the man pushing a dolly. The MTH engine house roof is removed to reveal PRR 1361. Atlas switch tower and passenger depot keep freight and people moving on time. The Woodland Scenic door factory is the largest employer on the table. 
Unfortunately, progress on this layout has come to a standstill. Mismanagement and labor disputes have hampered efforts to finish landscaping. 
I enjoy running trains from different eras. At the time of this posting, operations of diesel motive power was underway, although steam locomotives tend to do most of the work. imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage


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Last edited by CoolHand
Adriatic posted:


Thanks for sharing with your very intriguing post Adriatic.

I quoted you on the one word above because that is exactly how I pronounced spaghetti when I was little.

Small world


Last edited by Lionelski

The layout has no official name  

4x8 plywood. All 027 track, 027, 042, and 054 curves, but I did use O uncoupling sections for future accessories (15 years and still waiting!). There is also an elevated HO loop in the plans from my first set.

ZW and misc power supplies (CW and BW)

Population: 2 dispatchers, 4 engineers, 2 firemen, 1 conductor, 1 milkman, 1 mailman, 1 fireman, and one oversized gateman.



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Last edited by Mike M

I call mine " train layout".  

Layout name:  The Free State Junction Railway( FSJR ).  The FSJR was featured in Run 290 of OGR Magazine.  I chose the name of the Free State Junction Railway because I grew up and live in Maryland.   Maryland is also known as " The Free State".  

Layout dimensions: 16 x 6 ft with a 1 x 4 ft. shelf extention.  Powered by: MTH Z4000 & Lionel ZW.  Widest curve 054, sharpest curve 032.  

Track system: Gargraves with Gargraves and K line switches. 

Features:  1. ) A mountain ( Mt. Randolph ) reaching from the base of the table to approximately eight inches from the the ceiling.  2. ) Bollman iron suspension bridge ... a replica of the fist iron suspension bridge system used by U.S. railroads.  The prototype system being first used on the B&O and now a National Historic Landmark and Civil Engineering Landmark.  Designed by Wendall Bollman ,the only surviving Bollman bridge of this type is located a couple blocks from my home.  3.) A lake ( Lake Christopher ).  4. ) Several local landmark buildings and tributes to members of my family.  5. Elevated trolly line. 

Locomotive fleet:  Approximately 40 locos by Atas O, K line, MTH, Lionel - both postwar and contemporary, Williams, and Williams by Bachman.  2 motorized units, RDC cars by Lionel, MU cars by K line. 

Rolling stock: Atlas O, K line, Kris, MTH, Lionel, Weaver, IMG_0102IMG_0284IMG_0189IMG_0062IMG_0407IMG_0163IMG_9459fullsizeoutput_18bIMG_0091IMG_1345fullsizeoutput_1b5IMG_1979Williams and Williams by Bachman.

Era Modeled: The transition era 1946 - 1960.   Why:  For me this era in railroad history is the most exciting due to the fact that steam, electric, and diesel all co - existed.  Of course in 1960 the last fires of class one railroad's few remaining steam locomotives were dropped.   Five major manufactures ALCO, Baldwin, EMD, Fairbanks Morse, Lima, and GE (  who was manufacturing small industrial diesel switchers at that time) were all coming out with  an array of  very interesting looking locomotives in those early post war years.   Additionally some coal hauling railroads were still trying to "perfect" the efficiency of the steam locomotive, even building them in their own erecting shops.... one example being the N&W J class in 1950.  

During the transition era, one could sit by the tracks in Maryland and, depending on which RR track you were sitting beside,  witness in action the pinnacle of steam locomotive design/technology at the point of a fast freight or passenger train .... then see a set of gleaming Budd RDC cars zip by .... minutes later a GG-1 or could speed by with a 16 car passenger consist ... next an ABA set of EMD F units running lite ... then, a way freight with a steamer built in the 1920s pulling rolling stock dating back to the early 1900s  intermingled with newer freight cars.   Of course, too,  there were passenger cars; the new streamliners and the older heavy weight cars often mixed into the same train. 

Railroads of The Free State Junction Railway:  All railroads, both class one and short lines, of Maryland during the transition era.  Those railroads being: CLASS ONE:  B&O, Pennsylvania, Norfolk and Western, Western Maryland.  SHORT LINES:  Baltimore and Annapolis, Canton, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Patapsco and Back Rivers.  Additionally I model the Reading which had trackage rights over part of the Western Maryland. 


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Last edited by trumptrain

Nice topic.

Based on an editorial from several years back I opted to concentrate on what I remember as a child.  I grew up almost alongside the CNJ 4 track main line and witnessed multiple CNJ commuter trains, coal drags along with some Reading, B&O, C&O and N&W equipment.  I don't have the space to replicate the 4 track main but elected to sell off everything not related to early 1960's CNJ. 

Layout is called the Jersey Central

A stub end 3 track staging yard in an adjoining room serves as the poor mans representation of the terminal in what is now Liberty State Park.  Trains leaving that location travel to an as yet to be named junction that is part of one of the three reverse loops where it passes through Gum Stump mine.  Those of you familiar with this track plan from MR in the 60's will know it.  The single track main is on the lower level, the upper level holds a k line Plymouth that shuttles hoppers back and forth.  The main then passes through a ceiling height mountain that serves as a partial view block from the rest of the layout.  I think it makes the layout seem larger.  Emerging from the tunnel it passes over a river, again a poor mans representation of the Delaware, and enters the town of Easton.  Easton serves as a three track commuter station and junction dividing into the lower level return loop and an upper level loop that circles back and passes over the lower level mountain tunnel.

The town of Easton which is above the three track station has a simple loop of 027 track embedded in the street.  Two MTH pcc's serve this loop, one NJT and one public service.  I went with 027 because when this was constructed Super Streets did not have any turnouts other than Y's.  I use manual 027 switches for care storage off of the loop.  

The main layout is all gargraves with half ross and half GG switches.  The upper loop is super O because I needed the 036 size, had it on hand and did not have the confidence at the time to create my own loop out of gargraves.  I regret that decision but it is in place and seems to work fine.

Control is an MRC 270 watt transformer with walk around for the main and mine shuttle, trolley's are powered with a MTH z-500 brick and a power master. 

TMCC is my preferred method of running but I can easily run conventional.  

Ruling track radius is 042, again a regret but space limitations prevented larger.  I wish I had installed 054 at least.  

Scenery varies from something I might almost share to I am never going to take of picture of this ever.  

There are no locomotive facilities, I felt that would take up too much space with little return.  This layout is based on the concept of a stage, trains appear on stage, traverse the scene, and leave for someplace else.  All yards and engine facilities live only in the imagination.  The 3 track station, the mine scene, the river, and Easton all serve as distinct scenes, you really cannot see the entire layout without following the train.  

Having a single track main with return loops allows a change in direction so there look of a train chasing itself does not happen.  Commuter trains are 3 car max, freight trains are limited to 8 cars due to return loop capacity.  Since I spent endless hours as a kid watching the CNJ commuter trains travel through Bayonne, at least until they took away the trains due to the Aldene plan.  This representation works well.  

Power is mostly Lionel, Atlas, WBB, diesel.  I never saw steam run through town but own 3 steamers, a 4-6-4T by Kline, a 0-6-0 from weaver and a 0-4-0 from ROW.  

If we ever move and this layout is taken down I hope to have the space to create a three track layout based on modular standards that can be adopted to the available space.  For now this is and will be the layout.

'The Great Northeastern Railway (GNR), The standard railroad of the basement', referred to in our house as 'the layout',  is an evolution of what was first an "around the Christmas tree" O gauge layout when my son Chris was 3 years old into a permanent basement layout that monopolizes what used to be our family room.

Current Size: The layout is in 2 contiguous sections. The older section is 12' x 10'. The newer section is 10' x 5'. The older section has four levels which are, as of now, interconnected to allow passage of trains from the top to he bottom levels.

The Name: In that we live in the northeastern United States and model railroads of the northeast, the name Great Northeastern Railway was fitting. It also allowed us to adapt our logo from the Great Northern Railway with the majestic mountain goat posing atop a rock formation. 

Our last cat, Chaz, lived with us for 12 happy, healthy years before his passing in the Spring of 2018.xmas2 2016

Chaz, took a particular interest in the layout from his first discovery when he climbed on the layout, followed tracks to the entrance of our long tunnel and was chased out of the tunnel by an MTH, Proto Sound 2, steam locomotive (his first and last visit to our tunnel) to the many years after when he liked to come to the basement while my son and I operated the trains and watch the trains from his perch on the arm of an overstuffed chair. He also enjoyed walking the tracks around the city scene , known as Christopolis, after the family had retired for the night.

Chaz Walking on Track [3)

He became the Great Northeastern's Chairman of the "Bored" and is the centerpiece of our logo. Below are the logos of the Great Northern and the Great Northeastern Railways. The Great Northeastern Railway, featuring Chaz, was designed by renowned railroad artist, Peter Lerro. We also adapted the C&O Chessie Cat logo for our own purposes to be displayed on future GNR freight cars.

GNER LOGO ART 200 x 199 With Std RR  Chazzie SystemGreat Northeastern

The GNR's Story: Though the GNR is accumulating some of their own motive power and rolling stock, much of the GNR's revenue is from leasing trackage rights to other railroads such as the Pennsylvania, B&O, Central Railroad of New Jersey and New York Central that want access to Christopolis Union Station. The GNR also leases motive power from the Santa Fe and Northern Pacific railroads.

The GNR serves the City of Christopolis, the suburban community of Terryville as well as the North Pole and Disneyland.

GNR Infrastucture: The GNR runs on Gar Graves tinplate track with Lionel O-22 and Gar Graves switches. There is some Lionel O-31 tubular track out of sight under our long tunnels and on our obscured first-to-second level elevation ramp. The layout is powered by a postwar Lionel ZW and an MTH Z-4000 transformer. Trains can be run conventionally as well as by MTH DCS and Lionel TMCC, all controlled through the MTH DCS hand set.

Scenes around the GNR: Below are a video from the window of a passenger coach on a ride around the layout and photos around the GNR.


scrap yard and City019010016026North PoleHPIM0052HPIM0107City StreetThe Federal

Summary: The Great Northeastern Railway has been a great joy for me and my family over the years. It helps fulfill my railroad addiction and has instilled a great love of the railroad and history into my son and me. I hope that you have enjoyed this tour of the GNR.


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Last edited by Randy Harrison

my trains are in the train room not called lay out pike or other just the train room I have  standard gauge and o gauge fast track in the process of putting the automotion cars is service for the roads I have a lot of plasticville building so I have a sign on the side of a mountain that says plasticville   I have a toy train set up not scale



Last edited by kwisor

Mine is called "the layout". Based on Midwest topography where the ATSF ran through Illinois. 

It's 16'X17'.

It has 027 profile track with Ross switches. Outer main has 072 curves, inner 054. It has a passenger terminal, fright yard, and engine terminal with a 30" turntable. Minimum curve in the freight yard is 042, way in the corner. Locomotives besides a switcher never see that curve it.

Power for the trains comes from a Postwar ZW with TVS Diodes and fast blow fuses. Accessories are powered by a Type Z. Trains are controlled by DCS or TMCC.

I run mostly scale sized locomotives and rolling stock. The only non scale sized items are passenger cars. I run 16" cars as I can run a longer passenger train with them in my space than the 18" or 21" cars. All locomotives are scale size. Locomotives and rolling stock are all Santa Fe or Southern Pacific and represent equipment used in the 1948-1951 time frame. 

Last edited by Lou1985

My layout is just called my layout. I have no theme, it is just a collection of different things I enjoy looking at. I have modern buildings right next to a 115 re-issue and a Marx Girard station. Yes, it still whistles. 
 It is flat, and is really two different layouts. The main level is 7’x12’, it is all Fastrack with O36 curves and several remote switches. There are two loops. One is just that, a big loop. The inner line is an oval with a figure 8 and two long spurs. I am tired of the track plan, but I am not in the mood to start that project yet. I power the track with a ZW type with two 135W bricks. I agreed to get two more, but we are in lockdown. The accessories are powered by two CW80’s. 
 The vehicles could be anything. I have a few different Batmobiles, a Mystery Machine, Flintstone mobile and plenty of more realistic cars. Figures are the same way. Most are realistic, but there are some superheroes and cartoon characters floating around. 
 My upper level is all Christmas. It is 40” x 84”. AFDCD67D-645D-4A73-8C95-9AEF034E7D6E4071C319-FE9C-4B48-8A41-59EE74FF6CD3There is a loop of 0-27, which usually has a small pre-war set on it, but may see a trolley now and then. There is also a loop of Bachmann HO EZ Track for my lone On30 set. The buildings are mostly Dept 56, and mostly from the Christmas Story line. Can’t see it too well, but way up in the top corner, on top of Mt. Crumpit, you will find the Grinch and Max wrestling with the sleigh. 


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Last edited by Scrambler81

I don't have a name for my layout but I have fun with it.  Over the years I built several but having moved to a condo my space is limited to this is the smallest layout I have built.  An advantage I discovered is that it also requires the least maintenance of any.  I use TMCC and have mostly Lionel but also two Atlas and 3 K Line locos.  Can't run them all at once but enjoy changing them out from time to time.  My only regret is that the max curve radius is O42 so I can't run my Lionel Pioneer Zephyr.


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