Time to Spare?

A Layout by Bob Skinner

What do you do with a couple of spare sheets of polystyrene insulation board and a sheet of 6mm plywood? My solution was to attempt a simple “timesaver” in HO – especially taking into account the reasonable cost of Bachmann locomotives complete with sound.

The modules are constructed by gluing 4” sides of ply to the 2” thick insulation board, additional strength is provided by 2” lengths of 1” square timber in the corners, glued & screwed. Peco code 83 track was used throughout and after outlining the track bed with 1mm cork sheet the track was glued in place and then lightly ballasted with Woodland Scenics fine cinder. The remaining ground cover is also a mixture of various products from the same manufacturer, attempting to recreate a typical run down mid-West shortline atmosphere.


All of the buildings were scratch built from styrene sheet, some of which was profiled sheet and extrusions from Evergreen. I cannot claim either authenticity or super detailing, working on the principle of “if it looks ok then it is!” Included industries are: a fertilizer plant; team track; ballast bins and a small engineering unit. In addition there is a modern yard office, tool shed and old “bunk house”. The freight cars are an eclectic collection of other folks cast-offs, which are switched by an ex-UP S4 containing a stripped down “Sound Traxx” decoder. Whilst this was designed as a one-off stand alone exercise it would take very little effort to extend the track alongside the engineering workshop and to construct an intermediate module to club standards for it to provide an alternative destination for the EBL.

In the meantime a lonesome whistle can be heard to the East of the county line where it provides hours of fun (and frustration) for visiting grandchildren.

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