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Charles Smiley

We have been looking at places to retire and it has included Texas and Arizona. I have noticed that in places like Kingman, and Bullhead City, AZ that you can sell a So.Cal home and buy a palace for half that amount. AND! The newer homes in many cases are adding not only a 3 car garage (Yay!) But also a separate RV garage that is taller, and 40 feet long! This is really for folks retired with a big Winabago or whatever. I's really smart marketing and what the heck took them so long to figure it out?

The footprint of RV garage gives you a huge and long layout run. Plus, you can still park your cars in the other garage. I measured one the was 800 sq. feet inside.

I put a link to a typical one below. I hope it doesn't break a Forum rule. It's in Bullhead City. No hobby shops there, but UPS can fix that, and maybe an annual "pilgrimage" to cities with lots of shops.



I agree, just keep in mind the dust inherent to putting a layout in a garage space that shares with vehicles. Maybe a partition wall(non load bearing) with door into the regular garage. A friend has his layout in his garage and dust/spider webs are an issue as it still has its normal garage door and its open to the area where his car is parked. Congrats on retirement, enjoy! Mike


Active Member
Chas my apoligies i forgot to add Congrats on Retirement
i am also in the process of moving , got myself a nice place with loft space
so fingres crossed it will be a busy year, i agree with mike on the sharing of the garage , fumes etc etc
im sure you will figure it out , its a lovely looking property , i spent many years in TX before returning to the Emerald Isle
meanwhile grab yourself a coffee and have a look here
plenty of action mostly freight



Once you have gotten the purchase underway and can take the inside dimensions of the RV Garage, then you can start planing and drawing up possible track plans. Doing so before, to me would seem like spinning my wheels.


Stuck in the 1930's
Think about what type of benchwork and such. I'd be designing the layout to be modular and easy to take apart by your survivors. Sorry to be depressing, but as we get older we will come to wonder what will happen to our toys. I have both model RR stuff and Audio stuff and large scale sci-fi models too. I'll be spending lots of time offloading the stuff.

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I don't think modular is going to help anything except in the very rare occasion that someone else would have the same dimensions of a room to rebuild it in.
Just build your layout that you will enjoy. Don't worry about who has to clean up or sell it later. They will figure it out.
I bought my current house with the intent of building my lifetime dream of a full basement layout. My daughter will have to deal with it when I'm gone. I really don't care if she drags it all outside and burns it. I'm enjoying it while I'm still kickin.


Well-Known Member
One thing to consider is air conditioning in the layout section, and a good seal on the garage door to keep out dust. (I know that in the Phoenix area you can really get some nasty habu-type dust storms.) Best of luck on your retirement!

Charles Smiley

Yeh, I thought about modular style, but I like sweeping-vistas and that might make it harder.

Regarding the present 20x20 layout, I told the Mrs. and daughter that when I'm gone they can arrange a sale -- and the rolling stock, signals (all brass), Electronics and the buildings can be harvested. But the track (all ballasted) and main structure can be busted up. Gonna need a big dumpster!

My present layout was a large garage that I totally finished inside with double-wall, separate power drop plus breaker panel, separate AC unit and a drop ceiling tile system.

All the lighting is numerous cool-white LED panels and that worked very well. Not on;y fr photogtrahy abut eliminating all the heat from good light levels.The two entry doors are 36-inch wide, steel core doors with dust seals. I only have to dust things maybe every 2 years. The drop ceiling really helps cut the dust down and it deadens the sound well.

The front garage doors are just an illusion looking from outside. The garage was replaced with a large car port 8x8 posts and heavy roof beams (earthquake zone here :)

The next one will benefit from knowing how to better plan make the wiring (miles of it) better organized.

Charles Smiley

Thanks! Actually I retired, from electronics engineering, some time ago. But since then, I still have a hand in making more new vintage railroad videos and I still have more of those I have material saved up for. If I stop "doing" and making things, it might hasten the demise. I've seen it in other guys.



Active Member
All the best for the retirement, move and the next layout Charles! Do you have any themes in mind? The space you described sounds great.

Charles Smiley

QUOTE: Charles! Do you have any themes in mind? The space you described sounds great.

Sure. All my models are centered on 1956, Alameda and Contra Costa County SP and WP Railroad themes. So I'll keep with that. All the buildings are derived, in part or total, from that area and time. All the rolling stock too.

This will be maybe a year from now once the Mrs. retires too. Yay!!


Active Member
Nice theme! Looking forward to it, I am sure it will be a great layout based on the photos you have previously posted concerning scenes from what i presume is your current layout (as you might understand i really like California based themes layouts with a Californian theme)
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I don't really care where a layout is based as much as how well it is executed. However, one of my favorites is Jack Burgess' Yosemite Valley RR, which most certainly is in California!


Active Member
Maybe i did not phrase it correctly, i meant layouts with a Californian theme, not layouts based in California.


Active Member
Now that I am retired, I have been faced with the choices such as this. Move to a new place where I can have the space for a medium sized layout or stay in my San Francisco Bay Area town house. Being single I would have start over again socially and culturally. And my one and only child with whom I am close would be much further distant. I am by nature a lone wolf modeler who does not do well with clubs. And I am a model builder rather than an operator. A club is by it's very nature a internal political body.

I just had to rip out/dismantle my old sort of layout as a roof leak took out the ceiling in the 3rd bedroom/office/trainroom. See The repair and remodel of the room will enable me to revise the concept and gain a little space for the once side of the room where I can build a layout. This has given me the opportunity to dispose of tons of old books and magazines and some no longer wanted F (20.3) and G scale I once modeled. Still working on thinning down the workbench. But for the time being want to keep and even expand my highly detailed HO freight car collection and British 4 mm Southern Railway (pre-nationalization) collection.

But at 75 I sometimes wonder if it is worth it. And I am thinking about not having to encumber my son with the additional task of having to dismantle and dispose a layout of should anything happen to me.

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