Like all other layouts, my layout is very unique.  You see, I started with my layout that was 13' x 17' and like any other American male, I found that I needed more space.  I built my layout in my John Deere room that is under one corner of our home.  Our home is strictly a one level home and has no basement. did have a rather large crawl space that had possibilities.  So...for a little over 2 years, I dug the crawl space out, or as my wife Louanna says, I mined it out!  In the Missouri Ozarks we have a lot of limestone and very little dirt.  Yes....I dug our my crawl space and now have an additonal 46' x 29' area for a nice addition to the present layout.

Before I go any farther, I need to let you know that I did consult with an area architect and also several general contractors on the process of converting this crawl space to a workable layout area.  All of these folks were very informative and thought that I was a little crazy!  I told everyone that I was acting like a 12 year old that was digging his way out of jail!!

Wall Construction

I basically used 2"x4" framing for all of my walkways and walls.  At this point let me tell you that I am by no means a carpenter as my primary work was a mechanic.  I did do the carpentry work for the walkways and the sealing of the dirt from the other area.  For the walls I hired a railroad buddy Jim Christensen and his men to come in and install the walls to make them square and straight.  Don't forget, I am NOT a carpenter so if I did the walls there would be no way they would be straight or true to this world.....Jim is the best and he used framing of 2"x4"s for the wall frames.  The walls are 41" high.

Deciding on a backdrop from Backdrop Warehouse (BDW)

Vernon Hart, TCA#97-45602, is a dear friend and has helped me immensely with many of the decisions and physical help in the building of my layout.  He has guided me on many matters including one of the biggest decisions in the purchasing of the BDW backdrops for the layout.  He has several on his layout which I visit on a regular basis.  I love the way these backdrops give a layout so much depth adding to the layout without taking attention away from the trains.

I proceeded to the BDW site at and started to look around.  Yes...I agree with others that the site is a little overwhelming but it is also very informative.  When I had a question, I picked up the phone and called them.  They were very helpful and sent me a 4"x8" sample of their product.  I had requested this sample so that I could see and feel what the product was like.  I asked several questions and all of them were answered very well and in an informative way.  

I wanted to use fall colors so I phoned BDW and talked to Norm.  Norm posted the pictures up on their site from a trip they had just taken back east.  All of the photos had the beautiful fall colors I was looking for so from the photos I chose my backdrops.  You can find the list of backdrops I chose and the rest of this story by going to the top of this page and clicking on the "blog" tab.