Category Archives: an n-scale layout!


The voice in his head says, “DO IT,”

He’s not sure he’ll get through it…

Layout wiring–

His least favorite thing–

This weekend (maybe) he’ll go to it!

More than half the feed wires placed,

And he has willingly faced…

“Plugging” along

(Is a pun so wrong?)…

Then underneath wires are laced.

Power supply–nothing new–

A good power pack will do…

One has a short

Is it an abort-?

Maybe two small ones will do!

–Jonathan Caswell



(Image of a Housatonic Railroad RS-3m  found on Google)

A long-held modelers’ dream,

Doing custom modeling…

Certain railroads

Extended locos,

Lives economically!

RS-3 diesel engines on the main

Were rather hard to maintain…

EMD units

In crashes came though it,

These newer engines to the RS-3 came.

The ALCO RS-3’s “two-forty-four”

Diesel engines were used no more…

They put an EMD

Into the RS-3,

Made a hybrid which lasted years more!

This modeler’s vision is fading,

Tiny N scale’s quite a lading…

Too much for me

Small parts to see,

The project he’s begun evading.

–Jonathan Caswell



The weekend came and went,

He failed in his intent…

To clean up and wire

His layout inspired,

His time just came and went!

–Jonathan Caswell




My model layout wanders it seems

Away from cherished themes…

What for you

Says “New England” too,

Beyond operational schemes?


MOXIE, barns red,

SPAGS and stores

With “colonial” decors,

Monuments to Revolutionary dead?

Dairies and granite quarries

In earlier days held stories…

Ice cream and views

Along the Turnpike count too,

And whaling ship stories!

Broad “a’s” in speech,

A Kennedy’s reach…

Where Plymouth Rock stays

And Sturbridge Village ways

Are preserved to history teach!

So for my small train set,

What industries are best…

Beverages and rock salt

Metals, food stuffs sought,

And historic touristy nests?

Gravel still travels by train,

Lumber and minerals same…

Environmental ire

Has dampened coal fired

Power plants, but garbage still flames!

A water-powered mill

And museum of trains fit the bill…

For small excursions

Of rich incursions into filling the local till!

Do you think I’ll have enough room,

I figure some things will die soon…

New England gives

And takes to live,

But survival cannot be assumed!

–Jonathan Caswell


An N scale “2-6-2”,

The lead set of wheels he blew…

Pictured once

An engine thus,

Converted to an “0-6-2.”

Most steam engines of this type,

In foreign fields are ripe…

In the U.S.

Mostly tank engines are left,

Them with tenders as hard to find as snipe!

Some may have come from Birmingham,

Alabama, a modified plan…

No evidence there—

Or up in the air—

The Internet doesn’t do well with “rare”.

He thinks Indiana coal fields,

Was where a real engine congealed…

Now he cannot find

The photo in mind,

Not finding a prototype, his mind reels!

Worse yet, he’s lost his model,

Was it sold or just took a toddle…

Somewhere below

All the other stuff so,

His research continues in high throttle!

–Jonathan Caswell

Google Image of a live steam model of a European designed 0-6-2 + tender,

produced by ROUNDHOUSE, makers of small scale live steam models.


Wiring my  layout N scale,

Electric efforts fail…

I like dreaming

industry scheming,

But not putting wire to rail!

Tried a professional job,

The timing and wait played hob…

with my funds

My skills poorly done,

It didn’t work out, there Bob!

Now back on my own,

Have to manage alone…

Diorama \’s cleared

Bare layout’s appeared,

I have to get this done!

–Jonathan Caswell

Photo by the author–a portion of his N scale train layout.


Layout planning changes,

History one rearranges…

In the seventies around here

Boats to carry scrap appeared,

In Boston to be filled before market price changes.

When a boat arrived

all area scrap yards came alive…

To fill this boat

all would devote,

A few weeks and then stay alive.

Thus like grain or snow,

Scrapyards have seasonal flow…

Like winter for salt

In autumn would start,

Ship arrival told when to load.

Where was this metal heading,

Japanese car makers  getting…

Ready to sell

More cars that kept well,

Unlike the American vetting!

Rolling stock needed I’ll use,

Body shells from old “choo-choos”…

A yard with two tracks,

‘Though I might take one back,

Lots of switching for short line train crews!

–Jonathan Caswell


–Jonathan Caswell


Modelers, we all try,

To model what meets the eye…

What the eye sees

Has to please,

But is different than the “other guy!”

Some have enough room

To show long trains and cars zoom…

Acres and acres

Of fantasy makers,

Including , in some, Grant’s Tomb!

Others, including myself,

Must fit everything on a shelf…

Loading dock and trains

Not much room remains,

To show a city’s health!

Maybe a cross street,

We’ll squeeze in for a treat…

Splitting the train

So crossings remain,

Open while the puzzle we complete!

–Jonathan Caswell


IF I were modeling the West or South


I could simulate hauling wood chips

For a paper mill bound!


Structural steel any region can use

with buildings to erect…

steel companies oft ship by rail,

The truck to the work site direct!

Fancy the things possible in your dreams

Even while playing trains…

If only I’d finish wiring track,

then could “work” when it rains!

–Jonathan Caswell



Provided he’ll do what he can,

Accepting this simpler plan…

He’ll go back

When he’s more track,

One train at least ran!

Eventually paint it white,

Put snowy features in sight…

Cover with snow

Ensuring trains go,

Portraying Christmas night.

The other side—perhaps Fall–

No room to model it all…

Diagonally down the middle

A wall I can fiddle,

Portraying two seasons in all!

–Jonathan Caswell

(Two images of layouts with a center, double-sided backdrop)

Image result for  model train table with diagonal backdrop