This might be one of the most complex model train layouts I’ve ever built! It features eight independent loops of track, and each loop has its own G scale train running on it. I used four different power supplies to make it work. It took me a full day to build it and get it working flawlessly, a half day to shoot the video, and then at the end of that day I put all the track and trains away again! That’s right… this train layout existed for less than three days over the Labor Day holiday weekend of 2021.
I am often asked why I don’t just build a permanent layout in my back yard. For me, the fun part is creating a different layout each time I run my trains. A permanent layout would bore me because it would never change. It’s fun for me to run the trains on a whole new layout each time I get them out, and I like that they’re put away neatly in my garage when I’m not running them.
I have 21 G-scale model trains in my collection, and the eight I used in this video were:
Bachmann BNSF locomotive pulling freight cars
LGB Santa Fe Super Chief passenger train
LGB Coca Cola steam train
LGB Porter steam engine
Piko White Pass & Yukon Route steam train
Thomas The Tank Engine (by Bachmann)
Percy from Thomas & Friends (by Bachmann)
Toby from Thomas & Friends (by Bachmann)
Three different cameras were used to make this video:
A GoPro Hero 8 Black
A Canon EOS 80D DSLR
A DJI Mini 2 Drone for the aerial shots
One trick I used to get a few of the shots is to use the drone in handheld mode. In other words, I sometimes leave the propellers off but the drone powered on… in which case the drone becomes a very stable camera with its own gimbal. I just carry the drone in my hand. You can see this technique in use in the segment where I show the White Pass steam train going in and out of my garage. Also, when you’re watching that segment of the video, notice the train door I had custom built in to the wall of the garage. That’s not a doggie door… it was made especially for these trains!
Music credit for the Santa Fe Super Chief segment:
“Arkansas Traveler” by Nat Keefe & Hot Buttered Rum
(Custom edit by Jim Zim)
If you’re looking to purchase G-scale model trains like these, the best place I’ve found is www.trainworld.com
Just be aware that model trains like this are insanely expensive! What you see in this video is approximately $15,000 worth of model trains. For example, the track costs $7 per foot. Keep that in mind before getting too excited about the thought of trying to acquire this kind of setup!