HO Model Railroad at the Regal Inn

A few years ago I had a guest at the Inn who suggested I get into model railroading, which he had been doing for years. After some prodding and doing some research it seemed like a great idea. I built a small layout in my office at the Inn. It had become very popular with guests. Space opened up at the Inn and after some prodding (again) by friends and guests I decided to turn that space into a new layout. The new layout has been under construction for a while now and you can follow the progress in the photos and text below.

HO Model Railroad – Photo Gallery (Click on photos for captions & slideshow view)

One of the busiest places on the layout.  Rail cars loaded with goods get moved into vehicles for local delivery
Office & rest area for the train crews.
This ski resort was part of my first layout.  It was saved and will be the focal point on the end of one peninsula,
A couple of flat cars that have been detailed into work cars.  Another fun part of the hobby
future home of the Milwaukee train depot.  The train shed is in place, but the depot needs to be built .
Turn Table is all DCC controlled.  Round house has an interior and lights.  The tunnel goes through the wall into the yard in the hobby room.
Cleaning the Steam Loco Ash Pit
Double track Passenger car wash station
A very busy and prosperous farm.  A main House with a farm hand home.  A large swine operation just across the tracks from a green house operation.
Heading into the tunnel entrance to the helix for the trip down to the main level.  About 80 feet of track in each of the two tracks that make up the 5 levels down with a run time of a little over 2 minutes
Entrance to the helix from the shelf portion of the layout.  Forest ranger station on watch for fires.
behind the scenes look at the inside of the helix
Exiting the helix on the mail level under the large concrete overpass.  In the right corner is the tunnel entance that takes the train on a run around the helix
Businesses that deal with the large stock yard & meat plant that will be installed soon.
Coming into the train room and the view of the outside of the helix.
This shot shows more of the behind scenes of building the layout.  The beach work and structures involved to put the visitors scenery on.
A mini scene on the edge of the helix.  A stile operation with someone taking a nap, possible from testing too much of the product.
Another shot showing more of the outer edge of the helix.  Men cutting up trees to get wood to fuel the fire under the stile to the right.
Deer grazing in the open meadow above the tracks
Passengers & some freight waiting the arrival of the train in the town of Fullman

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I sketched out a layout, prepped the room and got ready to start.

The Plan was to build bench work, a helix, lay roadbed & track, wire for the new DCC technology, build terrain & landscape, build structures, train cars, paint, weather and tons more things involved with the hobby.

The first thing I did was to remodel one of the Inn rooms and create what I called the Hobby room. It was the adjacent room to what would become the layout room. Another plan and many hours of fun, the hobby room grew to a 7 track storage yard with a double track going through the wall into the proposed train layout room. Work areas were created and shelves installed to hold things that were starting to accumulate.

The next step was to start building bench work in the layout room. The track plan was going to be fairly large in a 26 x 36 room with bench work on 3 walls, two peninsulas extending into the room, a shelf layout on two of the walls and a helix for the elevation change on one end. As this was only my second layout, I did many months of research which lead me to build a section of the layout at a time.

I started where the two tracks came through the wall from the hobby room. This section plan was in a corner of the room and along a 36 foot wall with 3 large windows. The corner was to house a turn table and round house and then extend down the wall with multiple tracks to a passenger station and associated service buildings.

1/8th inch hard board was placed over the lower parts of the windows and painted a sky blue. Large backgrounds were purchased and installed along the wall. Then bench work building begins. Open grid structures were built as a base and then another 30 inch by 4 foot structure was built and laid on top of it. This concept was chosen, just in case the Inn was sold and I needed to move the layout. ½ inch plywood covered the entire bench work and the multi track plan was laid out on it. The first change occurred when I realized that there would not be enough width at 30 inches to have a multi track passenger train shed and a depot with a road & parking lot. Had to add a short 10 inch wide section of bench work to the area by the station.

Over the coming months the roadbed, track and switches were laid. Wiring was done and I had a point to point section of layout to run a train on. The turn table was done and I had built the roundhouse and installed it. A tunnel was build to help hide the hole in the wall into the hobby room.

As plans were put in place to start on the next section of bench work, the inevitable happened. I got an offer to purchase the Inn. Without detailing you to tears, I spent a year working with the person, tore done most of the 36 feet of layout, and packed a lot of items in preparation to possible move. The entire deal fell though and I was back to square one.

The bench work plan was a blessing and it did not take long to reinstall that section of the layout. The next step was to build the shelf layout that was to be on 2 walls of the room 18 inches above the basic bench work. Building the shelf before the base bench work made it a lot easier. Metal Shelf brackets were installed and ½ inch plywood laid on top to form the bench work.

The next two lower wall section of bench work were built using the same process as before. The background was installed and track laid and wired. The stage was now set to build the helix. A helix is like a large screw that is used to change the track elevation. To get the proper elevation and about a 2% grade the helix had to be 72 inches in diameter, make almost 5 revolutions to gain the 18 inches need to connect the base layout to the shelf layout More research and study went into this project. The design I settled on had two layers of 1/8 luan plywood cut into ¼ circle arcs. Each section would overlap the other by 50%, so that no joints matched up.

A pattern was made and all the sections were cut. Next came making all the raisers with 8 needed for each level. The first level had to be done special to get the first level grade exact. After that the rest of the raisers were the same size. Two sections of raisers and roadbed were laid to start the process. A second layer of the luan was then glut to these two sections over lapping them by 50%. A short section was then applied to the beginning end to finish that off. The first revolution of roadbed was laid down and the double track was mounted to the roadbed. Number 4 screws and a number 8 washer were used between the rails to hold the track in place. Each layer had to be tested for accuracy because there is not much room between levels to make corrections. This system was used to allow any fine tuning of the radius that might be needed. Each level of track also had to be wired as they were built. The process continued of gluing the roadbed sections down, adding track and wiring a level at a time until all 5 levels were completed.

With the helix built and tested a 24 inch high hardboard was installed around the outside of the helix to allow a background to be installed to give the helix a better look. A main level run around track was installed and then the entire helix was moved to its permanent location connecting it to the rest of the layout.

The final step was to build the two peninsulas. They were built on the level and as the track roadbed was put in place raisers were used to create an elevation change of 18 inches taking the roadbed from the base level to the shelf level. Half way through the raise a switch was installed that allowed another track to go back down the main level.

The end result is that the layout has 2 main tracks that can be used as continuous running. It also offers many operation options for both freight and passenger service with a number of sidings.

At the present time I am in the process of doing the scenery and terrain. There are a number of structures that need to be built and running additional power for all the LED Lighting.

Another future project will be to change out the old double pole double throw switches for the track turnouts and replace them with the new touch toggle switches. Someday I hope to add DCC controllers to the turnouts and a computer interface.

Come spend a day or a week and join the fun. Work on the layout, do projects in the hobby room, learn a new skill, share one of yours, leave it on the layout or take it home with you.

As the layout grows we will move into operation session with both freight & passenger service.

Follow us on Facebook to see our progress or contact us if you just want to get together and play. As the layout grows we will start having operation sessions featuring both freight and passenger service. We plan to eventually open the layout to the public to see and enjoy.

HO Model Railroad at the Regal Inn

Ever wanted to get away and just work on a model railroad?
Ever wanted to build a model railroad and didn’t have the space?
Ever wanted to learn more about model railroads?
Maybe spend a few hours building & weathering a train car or structure?

That, plus more is available in the new hobby room & layout room here at the Inn.
I have redone a couple rooms to pursue my dream of building a bigger & better HO model railroad layout and have a place to do the detail work associated with it.
Even better is to share in the process with others who enjoy the hobby, but have been limited by a place to do these things. You can come learn at our seminars, share your knowledge, and build on my layout or build to take back with you, all while enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the Inn.

Follow us on Facebook to see our progress or contact us if you just want to get together and play. As the layout grows we will start having operation sessions featuring both freight and passenger service. We plan to eventually open the layout to the public to see and enjoy.

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