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Gunsite, Colorado

Overview of the layout

“Hello Pint Size” boomed Sergeant Sellers in his stentorian tone “You’re well out of your area up here in Colorado. What brings you here?”
Donald Lam looked up and wondered why Sergeant Sellers was also here. Perhaps he is working on the same case, he thought, and knew that to withhold information concerning the disappearance of his client’s husband would result in the revocation of his licence and subsequent closure of the Cool and Lam Detective Agency.
“I’m up here looking for property” Donald Lam answered.
“And I am looking for fish” roared Sergeant Sellers still chewing his soggy cigar “Just why are you here Lam?”

Earlier in the day Donald Lam arrived at the gas station, hot and dusty after driving from Los Angeles. He was following up a lead regarding the last known sighting of James Carleton Jr., heir to Carleton Mining Inc. Emily Carleton, a petite brunette, had visited Donald Lam in his Los Angeles office a week earlier to ask him to investigate her husband’s disappearance together. During his short stay at Gunsite Lam uncovered evidence of mine salting and located the missing 1947 Chrysler Windsor. A cursory search of the latter indicated a struggle and foul play…

Overview of the layout

Having previously built HO American and European layouts this is my first foray into O scale, albeit On30, after purchasing the Bachmann Spectrum Mogul and later, the Broadway Consolidation.

Layout description

Overview of the layout

In true British fashion I shall begin with the baseboard construction. I used 6mm plywood cut to size on my neighbour’s circular saw. The wood sections were assembled using wood glue and panel pins. Each baseboard measures 1.0 m x 0.55 m and the four boards give an overall dimension of 4.0 m x 0.55 m. Legs are 25mm square timber braced with 6mm ply held together with glue, corrugated nails and panel pins. The finish is walnut wood stain, chosen as this was the darkest I could find.

My preferred method of joining the baseboards together is to use gravity and case catches; together they provide built-in alignment. No dowels here. This method of construction achieves a quick assembly and disassembly at exhibitions.

The points themselves are pretty much scratchbuilt; made on copper clad paxolin sleepers using parts stripped from Peco trackwork.


The track plan was developed from my earlier layout HO American layout Colton Junction which worked very well. The link details it’s conception and later reincarnation as Ontario Street by Chris Marrable.

Peco code 75 rail was soldered onto copper clad sleepers, obviously gapped for isolating the running rails. I also used this approach with the points which are Peco code 75 large radius re-laid to RP25 standards which means narrowing the gap between the check and running rails. All of this was measured using the NMRA standard HO track gauge.

Another feature that I have included are the operational switch stands. These started out as dummy models by Precision Scale and their conversion to make them work proves useful when operating the layout from either end. The points are motorised using Tortoise point motors as I had these in stock when the layout was built.


Overview of the layout

My aim here was to achieve the semi arid landscape of the South Colorado Rockies based on the Espee’s Carson and Colorado Railroad. Materials come from Woodland Scenics, Anita Décor and Noch with rocks from the garden and sand also used.

The tree is hand made from twisted wire, Polyfilla and Woodland Scenic materials, whilst the backscene was painted by myself using artists acrylic watercolours.


Overview of the layout

The two main buildings are scratchbuilt. The station was built from Northeast Scale lumber and based on plans found in Model Railroader magazine. Northeast scale lumber was also used for the goods depot. Unit Models of Keighley produce the track gang shed as a resin kit.

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

At present two locomotives are used; a detailed Bachmann Spectrum Mogul 2-6-0 and a detailed Broadway C16 2-8-0.

Most of the rolling stock is from the Bachmann Spectrum range and is detailed and weathered. The additional details being On3 Kadee couplers, Precision Scale Westinghouse brake parts and homemade uncoupler lift bars. The latter fabricated from brass wire and Alan Gibson O-scale handrail knobs. Before weathering I added additional weight to the vehicles where necessary and increased the friction of the vehicles using brass wire to bear on the axles of the wheels. The one vehicle not provided by Bachmann is a boxcar from the Peach Bottom range.

The caboose was created from two Bachmann Spectrum cabooses using the cut and shut method. Similarly, the coach and combine are standard Bachmann items which I have extended with sections from a third coach. To my eyes this gives a better proportioned coach.


DCC; spotting cars – shunting – slow speed running. That about covers it, really.


Steph Dale for technical assistance and apt comments.
Paul Griffiths for wood cutting and figure painting (the policeman).
Peter Green for his assistance regarding the backscene.
Mike Upton for the Chevrolet pick-up truck.

Origin or real life as it exists / who does what:
This page last updated 19/04/2008. Copyright © Euram Solutions, Steph Dale and David Illingworth 2008. All Rights Reserved.
David Illingworth can be contacted through the contacts page