Mid 1800's Layout

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New Member
I am thinking of building an N gauge layout for Grandson. His parents live in a two-bedroom apartment and I was thinking of 2x4 layout that can slide under his bed. Few years back I built a 4x4 HO layout for another Grandson but this was on a table.
So here is the issue: My son and Grandson wants an old Western theme. My guess would be mid 1800’s, (maybe Civil War Era?). Any ideas were can get Locomotives and cars? The rest of the buildings and layout I can build from scratch.


Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
How old is this G-son?
Seems like HO would be better for a young-en?
Like a 3x4 or a 3.5x4.5
BTW - Welcome to the forum.


Well-Known Member
When my nephew was 4 or 5 years old, he absolutely loved trains. So his father and grandpa built a 3x5 N-scale layout for him. Long story, short: The trains were simply too small for the little guy. Most importantly, he really wanted to get "hands on" with the trains but could not get them onto the tracks by himself. He occasionally played with the freight cars on the floor but mostly it was a frustrating experience for him. In retrospect, he was at least 2 or 3 years too young for N-scale and maybe even for HO.

The desire to be "hands on" is something to consider, depending on your Grandson's age!

- Jeff


Well-Known Member
Mid-1800's is a bad idea. The transcontinental railroad wasn't completed until 1869, AFTER the Civil War. A lot of the "wild west" stuff is a creation of the movies and didn't exist. Most of the "train robbers" were operating in Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. Plus the early rail stuff is the smallest and least reliable models (because of their size), especially in N scale.

HO or O is better for small hands.

Here's a different track (no pun intended), look at Lego trains. They are battery operated, wifi or IR controlled and actually pretty cool. It can be set up on the floor and taken apart when not used.

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