My New Layout - The Big Picture

IMG_2895IMG_2896IMG_2897IMG_2898IMG_2899IMG_2900IMG_2901IMG_2902Hello everyone,

Recently I've been posting images of various layout projects, mainly structures.  In seeing the posts about the new and improved PRR Panhandle Division, I realized I never shared images of my train room and what I've done since I began construction in earnest in late December of last year.  I thought you might like to see some overall views.

The room is underneath a large addition we had done in 2015.  In working with our architect I specified that there were to be no columns or other obstructions, so he included a 15" I-beam to support the load above.  The finished room size is 26' 9" x 29" 1".  Overhead lighting is from four dimmable, 3000K LED troffers.  I may add LED track lighting down the road to highlight various scenes.  Benchwork is by Mianne and measures 20' X 20'.  I display my modest postwar collection on Trainshelves.  I run some of those trains from time to time, but my daily runners are MTH and modern-era Lionel.



Johnstown, PA



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Very Nice Joe looks like it will be great when you get finished(if that ever happens) Just move into a new house in the State College area and have almost a 1000 sq ft of basement for the next layout which I hope to start this winter after I get the basement finished. Open for any ideas anyone has to offer.


PRRT&HS 8473

State College, PA

"Riding that magic carpet made of steel"

   "This train got the disappearing railroad blues




RSJB18, um, yeah, right!  That, and as it turns out, our player piano/nickelodeon.  Now, there's a benefit to having this room that we hadn't counted on.  Before our addition was built we had no room for the piano and when we moved here from Baltimore, MD we had to leave it behind with its creator.  There's plenty of room for it in the train room, though.  Mechanical music and trains -- for me it doesn't get any better.

GIT R DONE15541, you're welcome to stop by.


Looks great! I also have Mianne benchwork and am a big fan of it, very good choice. I agree with RickO above, your balance between track and scenery and accessories it nice. I have way too much track and need to make some changes. Another good thing about Mianne, easy to rearrange things if you change your mind. Good luck and please keep posting pictures of your progress.


Looks great - very well planned and done so far.

I commend you for doing at least two tasks early on: the backdrop, and wiring your buildings for lighting. I is easy to put these tasks off until we get 'round-to-it', and in many cases that happens later in the game, when these tasks are much more difficult to do. I completed most of my backdrop (painted, not as nice as yours) before I even started the bench work. And in my opinion, wiring the buildings (lighting) and accessories is always best done as soon as their locations on the layout are determined.

Thank you for posting, and keep us up to date.


Happy O-Gauge Railroading!

  Alexander Müller

See My Mostly Completed Layout Here

OGR Articles: Runs 256, 263, 267, 292

OGR  forum member since 26 January 2008

I can smell all that fragrant, inviting plywood from here! You are in an exciting and satisfying period of layout ownership, aren't you, when the creative juices flow aplenty, and every time you put your hands and imagination to the task, you see the satisfying results. That is a large part of what becomes this hobby for many of us, isn't it. Congratulations on letting yourself play so much and so well. I am sure we all look forward to seeing the photos of the decisions you make as you go along. Thanks for the treat!

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge has limits.     Dr. W.Dyer


Glad to see the overall photos of your layout thus far!  Thank you for posting!  It is looking great.  I agree with others, you have planned ahead well on backdrops, lighting, etc.  Am I correct in what I am seeing in the 1st and 4th photos that there is a railing on a landing that the room is lower than the entrance door?  Makes for a nice overall photo shooting place if that is what I am seeing.

Yes, I noticed you and Tim "Panther97" don't live very far apart.  I'm about an hour and a half drive away.  

Very nice layout!  I'm currently in the planning stages for my own layout.  While I don't have anywhere near the space you have, I like your overall design.  If I'm looking at it correctly, it looks like you have an outer loop that is totally separate from a more complex inner loop.  I've been thinking about doing something similar, with an outer loop for my high speed passenger train and an inner loop for my freight train.   Conventional engines, and nothing fancy.  I'm not a modeler, I just like to run trains. 

Very nice layout and room. Your layout appears to be at that stage where I actually find them the most appealing, in an odd way. Fully functional (I guess), many structures places, some roads...but no scenery or paint or covering of all that fresh wood. It's not that I want - or have - the Plywood Central, but at this stage it's almost all possibilities and few limitations.

It's a Zen thing, I guess. Or, it's the reason that Christmas Eve was always better than Christmas Morning, in a way. 

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and encouragement.

Paul, no, I didn't support the inclines with plywood under the cork.  To be honest, I wasn't inclined (sorry!) to do that.  Added to that was the thought that if I ever need to re-align that loop, I would have to cut new plywood.  I've found that the Atlas track is rigid enough that if I support it about every 6", it doesn't sag even under the weight of a scale-sized die-cast steamer.  I found out quickly that supporting it only at the rail joiners was not adequate, so just as quickly I added a riser between every two existing ones.

Mark, you're correct that the room is lower than the entrance door.  The original basement's ceiling is under 7 feet.  I specified to our architect that I wanted enough height for a full 8' drop ceiling in the train room.  The landing is 25" above the floor, and yes it's a great observation point.  I took the first and second photos from there.

As an aside, our contractor had to cut through 18" of stone wall to gain me access to the train room from our original basement.  My wife and I took an overnight trip to Pittsburgh the day they did that and a similar opening upstairs.

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