Large Scale Wall Layout

Models of American Locomotives and Cars

Click a photo to see a larger view

Steaming along on the Wall Layout. An Outside Frame Consolidation is on the left-most track. On the next track, heading away from us, is a Mogul. Emerging from the tunnel is a Mikado on the third track, and a 2-8-8-4 Compound Mallet on the right-most track.

Outside Frame Consolidation. In 1867, the first loco with a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Company for the Lehigh Valley RR. It was named "Consolidation" in honor of the merger of several railroads to form the Lehigh Valley. An outside frame design was used on many early locos. Video

Two-Truck Shay. The prototype of this loco was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1913. Number 11 was a 36 ton, 3 cylinder, two-truck, 3 foot gauge Shay. It served the Pardee & Curtin Lumber Company in West Virginia until rail operations ceased in 1943. She was scrapped in 1950. The engine shed is scratch-built. Video

More than a thousand 2-8-8-2 compound Mallet locomotives were built beginning in 1909, and they were amoung the last locomotives in service at the end of the steam era in the late 1950s. In a compound Mallet, high pressure steam was delivered to the rear set of cylinders, and the exhaust from these cylinders was supplied to the front cylinders. Thus the same steam produced almost twice as much power. Video

In the 1930s, the Uintah Railway in Utah and Colorado bought two 2-6-6-2 Mallet locomotives from Baldwin. They were the largest narrow gauge locomotives in the US. They were "simple" Mallets, meaning that live steam was delivered to both sets of cylinders at the same time. This scheme provided higher power and speed than compound Mallets, but with lower fuel economy. When the Uintah shut down, the Mallets were sold to the Sumpter Valley RR in Oregon. Video

The Mogul, seen emerging from a tunnel, is an American classic. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, more than 10,000 of these versatile locos were built for freight and passenger service throughout North America. The term "Mogul" refers to the 2-6-0 wheel configuration. The water tower is scratch-built.

Passenger train with its Mogul locomotive at the station. Video

Santa Fe F7-A and F7-B Locomotives. In the late 1940s, General Motors EMD introduced these classic Diesel-electric locos. The 1,500 horsepower F7-A has a distinctive "Bulldog" nose. The equally-powered F7-B can be coupled to one or more F7-A locos and controlled from the "A" unit. The sounds radiating from these models are wonderfully realistic. Video

See-Through F7-A and F7-B Locomotives. LGB had a close-out sale on these locomotives, and the price was so inviting that I couldn't resist getting them. They are nearly transparent so that you can see the inner workings. The F7-A has a string of flashing red and green lights above the windshield, and both units have flashing lights inside. I'm not surprised that a close-out sale was required, but the grandkids will love them! They operate identically to the Santa Fe locomotives above, including sound effects. Video

Speeder. From 1911 to 1991, nearly 73,000 of these motor cars were manufactured. They provided fast and inexpensive transportation for maintenance personnel. Only a few are in use by railroads today. However as a fast-growing hobby, there are over 1,300 people who own their own Speeders. In the Train Room, the Speeder resides on a small siding and can be safely stored in its shed. It has been equipped with a DCC decoder. Video

The Doodlebug is a model of a gasoline-powered railbus that was common in the early part of the 20th century. These vehicles provided passenger service on lightly traveled lines. This unit is a combo coach which could accommodate a small amount of freight as well as passengers. Our Doodlebug has been equipped with a DCC decoder, and runs on the upper level of the Wall Layout. Video

LGB modeled several U.S. trolleys, and I selected the New York City trolley because it has a great sound system. Motor and bell sounds are quite realistic, as is the "click-clack" of the rails. The trolley is supplied with the motorman and two seated figures, and I added eight more seated figures. Video

Because of space limitations, this lovely 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler normally rests on a display shelf. However, once a year or so she's taken down and allowed to stretch her legs. Video

As it makes its way around the room, the wall layout passes by the flat-screen TV

Inside the loco shed, a welder's torch can be seen through a window, and the sounds of men working can be clearly heard. The workers enjoy a comfortably illuminated interior.

Sammamish General Store. This is a scratch-built model which presented some interesting challenges because of its corner location. It was originally on the Overhead Layout, but moved to the Wall Layout along with the US locomotives. It has interior lighting and a few furnishings.

Sammamish Station. This structure, a facade about two inches deep, was built from a kit. The orange crates are also from a kit.

Dallas Saloon. This building is a facade a little less than two inches deep. It was built from a kit. Thanks to a sound module and small speaker just beneath the building, the sounds of a honky-tonk piano and laughter can be heard emanating from the saloon. Click to listen.

Dallas Hotel. This is another facade built from a kit.

Barber Shop. A kit-built facade.

A trackside scene. There's not a lot of room for buildings on the layout, but there are several small structures, some scratch-built, some built from kits and some purchased. This small shack was dissected from another structure.

A staging yard for the Wall Layout is in the closet. A small camera transmits the location of the yard equipment to a television monitor on the Engineer's Desk. Including the staging yard in the closet, there is about 150 feet of track and nine electrically-operated switches on the Wall Layout.

All four of the tunnels are covered so that they don't appear simply as holes-in-the-wall when seen from the room. The inside walls of the tunnel covers are mahogony-stained to match the trackwork. This one covers the access bridge in the closet.

The access bridge with tunnel cover removed. The wooden tie effect continues into the tunnels. The interiors of the tunnels are lighted.

The bridge can be lowered for easy access to the storage closet. The bridge is hinged on the right side and secured in place on the left side with a large gate bolt. The two hinges are purposely slightly misaligned so that there is no play in the structure.

This closeup of the left side shows the bridge rail clamps which help align the rails when raised. The black objects at the top are magnetic proximity switches which indicate to the control panel if the bridge is not in its raised and locked position.

One siding in the closet is out of reach of the camera. To let me know when the train is nearing the end of the siding, a reed switch has been mounted alongside the track inside the closet. When activated by a magnet on the train, it lights an LED on the tunnel portal - easily seen from the control panel - to let me know that it's time to stop the train!

A small magnet is glued to the steps at the rear of the tender. It activates the reed switch mounted by the side the track. Even though it's unobtrusive, the magnet cannot be seen by observers as it is on the far side of the tender when the train operates.