Main HO Scale Layout

Back in the late 1990’s when the club moved to its current location at the Railway Museum, a significant portion of the membership where devoted to running very long trains — the kind you typically see in regional and outback Australia. As a result the design of the club’s main HO layout at the time reflected this interest.

Some 20+ years later, the membership of the club has changed quite a bit and so have the modelling interests. The original layout was starting to look a bit tired, was not operating well and did not lend itself to operating sessions. That coupled with the desire to free up some space in the club rooms to build some additional small, portable exhibition layouts meant the existing layout had to go. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see more details of the old layout.)

Plans were drawn up and a two-level, U‑shaped design was proposed to free up space in the middle of the room for two portable exhibition layouts (probably an N‑Scale American layout and an OO-Scale British layout). This was presented to the club as a whole in September 2021 (see New HO Layout Justification) and work commenced.

New club HO layout plan: main (top) level. Jan-2022
New club HO layout plan: storage (bottom) level. Two helixes allow transition between levels. Jan-2022
Layout outlines showing two exhibition layouts in the centre. Feb-2022

This page will be updated regularly to track progress of the construction of the new HO layout (newest photos at the top).

Storage tracks complete — 23/04/2022
Storage tracks complete — 23/04/2022
Laying storage tracks — cans of soft drink make useful weights while the glue dries! 6 April 2022
Demolition of the old HO layout now complete! Just the last clean-up remaining. 6 April 2022
Demolishing the frame of the last module. 6 April 2022
John (l) & Roger ® dismantling the last module framework. 6 April 2022
Storage yard track work progressing. Too many coke cans are barely enough! 6 April 2022
View down the back leg of the ‘U‑shaped’ layout. The second helix will be located where the stack of milk crates can be seen in the background. 6 April 2022
Keith surveying progress. 6 April 2022
Remnants of the last module of the old HO layout. 6 April 2022
John (l), past member Mark Butler (visiting), Roger all watching Ross ® cleaning up the mess!
6 April 2022

Demolition of the last remnants of the old HO layout are progressing. 31 March 2022
Construction progress on the ‘back leg’ of the U‑shaped layout. A drawer to hold the DCC boosters has now been installed. 31 March 2022
The last remaining module of the old HO layout. 31 March 2022
Trackwork on the storage layer progressing around the curve. 31 March 2022
Storage yards beginning to take shape. Track work and point motors are being energised and tested progressively during construction — including test running locos and rolling stock. 31 March 2022
Double track helix construction progressing. 31 March 2022
Another view of the double track helix. 31 March 2022
31 March 2022
31 March 2022

Storage layer baseboard being installed on the rear end of the new layout. 9‑Mar-2022
Looking the other direction. N‑Scale layout mountain against the wall in the distance — last remaining leg of the old HO layout being progressively demolished back left. 9‑Mar-2022
Progress on the left leg of the ‘U’. 9‑Mar-2022
Helix construction progress. 9‑Mar-2022
Helix construction and track laying progressing, 6‑Mar-2022
Track being laid on the storage track level and onto the helix. 6‑Mar-2022
View of all the track lifted from Zanthus yard at the back of the layout prior to demolition. 16-Feb-2022
4 hours later makes a big difference! 16-Feb-2022
President John Kinson working on demolition on the left, Pete Wright on construction on the right. 16-Feb-2022
Helix starting to take shape in the background. Old layout undergoing progressive demolition in the foreground. 16-Feb-2022
Looking the other way showing some of the curves for a helix to get from the lower level storage tracks (where the blue foam is) to the main level of the layout. 9‑Feb-2022
First modules of the new HO layout placed into position. The steel frames have been re-used from the original layout. 9‑Feb-2022
One middle finger gone completely. The steel module frames have been stripped back and stacked for re-use. Dec-2021
Looking between the two modules that will become both ends of the ‘U’ of the new layout — steel mill on the left, rolling mill on the right. Dec-2021
Loading up for a tip run! Nov-2021
Club president John Kinson (l) and Pete Wright commence layout demolition after gaining approval from the membership. Sep-2021
Initially a shortcut was created so that the 2 centre fingers could be demolished whilst the outer section of the layout was still usable. Sep-2021

Then demolition of the centre two fingers began in earnest. Oct-2021
All track was carefully lifted, cleaned and stored for potential re-use on the new layout. Oct-2021
This module (lower left) is being retained for re-use in the new layout as it is the oldest module on the layout dating back to the club’s days at Claremont showgrounds.
This ‘middle finger’ part of the layout has had many different sceneries applied to it over the 20 years it has existed.
This photo illustrates well the kind of construction used in the old layout. Retro fitting tortoise point motors, trying to modify track plans or just any kind of upgrade to the layout was made very difficult by very restricted access underneath! This was one of the major reasons for deciding to demolish this layout.
The two Rogers (Mawson (f) and Winfield ®) working on demolishing the end of one of the middle fingers of the old layout.

Original HO Layout (now demolished — see above)

Situated behind the public layout and occupying about 80% of the available floor space, the main HO Scale layout is the club’s primary indoor layout. It consists of a single main line about 70m in length — at scale speeds it takes around 20 minutes to drive once around the layout! The main line is cleverly serpentined around the layout twice to make it appear that there are multiple main lines.

WAMRC Main HO Layout

Radio operated DCC (Digital Command Control) is used to allow drivers to control their trains without having to worry about the mechanics of switching electrical blocks over. This system is fantastic for a layout of this size as it allows the driver to walk around with their train and maintain control over it at all times. We use the NCE DCC system.

The layout shape is like a “four-fingered hand”. A train has to go up and back each finger twice in order to complete a full circuit of the layout. Numerous passing loops, sidings and stations create interest by providing sources and destinations of freight and passengers.

Although designed primarily as an end-to-end layout for operational purposes, the two main yards at the end termini are actually adjacent to each other. Some tracks interconnect them allowing continuous running around and around if you are feeling lazy.

In addition to the main line, a branch line extends from the (approximate) middle of the main line run to a major passenger terminus situated on a slightly elevated dog-leg off the end of one of the fingers.

The main line is fully operational (on most nights) and most yards are working. Scenic detail is probably about 70% complete and is being worked on actively.

The club has many HO locos and rolling stock, or some members choose to run their own.