Designing the layout

So if you have followed along you read the first post for this blog Starting a New Hobby. In it I documented the genesis of my new railroad, which is purchasing the engine, track, controller and some train cars. When assembled it all looks like this.


It is a tad too one-dimensional for me. I mean if you go on Pinterest you will see tons of fabulous layouts like these:


Yes, I am a beginner to the hobby, but an engineer can dream can’t he? I have given it a lot of thought and decided I definitely want at least one tunnel. As I poked around You Tube I found several How To videos for building tunnels, mountains and hills. I also found some tunnel portal forms that are made to look like stone made portals. I purchased two, one for the entrance and exit.


These come from Woodland Scenics and when you receive them they are simple white ceramic molds. The idea for doing this came from the next photo. What I did not realize was that the retaining wall pieces were another purchase.


So then I got to thinking about making a retaining wall that would extend down one side of my layout where I intend to have some cliffs beside the track. I am looking at an area of about ten feet. The retaining Wall products I saw in the HO Scale are priced around $12.50 +$7.99 Shipping. If I have to try to buy 4 we are talking about $80. Yes this hobby CAN be expensive, but I thought there had to be an alternative.

So I went looking again and found retaining wall molds on sale on the internet. I figured if I could find a mold I could make my own and save some money. I found these to give me a start. I also found a How To video for building your own retaining wall and might just explore that avenue.

As I began to think about how I wanted my tunnel to look I came across this, a pre-built tunnel form.


I like the idea of scenery above, but think I want to make a farm or a neighborhood above mine. So with all of this in mind I got a yard stick and began making measurements and writing ideas on my plywood base.


Coming away from the tunnel on the back side I decided I wanted a cliff going a few feet toward the opposite end.


The middle of the layout is still up for grabs. Since I don’t have any turnouts I cannot get out of the oval right now. That is more planning I will need to consider.

I invite you to come back to check out the progress.



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