HO Scale Model Railroad Layouts

If you’re searching for insights on how to build HO scale model railroad layouts, then look no further. Building your first model railroad HO scale layout can be a daunting task. Fortunately, here’s list of exceptional model train layouts that can provide ideas for your own layout design.

All of the HO layouts below use different themes, sizing dimensions and track types to help spark your inspiration.

All in One HO Scale Model Train Layout

ho scale model train layout called the all in one layout

It’s called the “all in one” ho scale layout because it basically contains every element of a fantastic layout. From tunnels to bridges and scenic mountains, this layout does have it all. Learn how to build your own model train layout.

Forest Themed HO Scale Model Railroad

dense forest theme ho scale model railroad layout

The overall look of the model train layout is that of a dense forest. The scenery was created using a wide variety of materials and gives a strong feeling of a lush green forest with bridges that connect mountains together, large trees and even a shed. The theme can give a model train beginner excellent ideas on how to lay down terrain materials such as grass and how to realistically place trees and build mountains.

Desert Scenery HO Scale Model Train Layout

desert theme ho scale model railroad

In contrast to the other two ho layouts, this one stands out for being completely different but still just as realistic. The theme of the layout is of a desert that contains a bridge, switch tracks and even different gradient levels for the locomotives. It must be a pleasure watching trains move along this realistic desert landscape.

HO Scale Traveling Layout

cliff based model train layout of ho scale

This HO Scale model train layout is from Clarksburg Area Model Railroad Club. This consists of 3 main tracks with two that are DC controlled and 1 DCC. Some facilitating features of this layout are the scenery, trees and especially the mountain cliff and the three suppurate tracks ballast filled trackwork.

HO Scale Permanent Layout

ho scale permanent layout

In terms of power this model railroad from the Clarksburg Area Club is using an MRC DCC controls for the operation of the cars and contains 4 loops that can have a multitude of trains on at the same time based on the DCC controls.  One of the best features that sticks out is the increase per loop in height of the model train layout.

HO Scale Train with Many Locomotives

ho scale with multiple locomotives

The HO train layout photo looks fun with its numerous locomotives and excellent scenery and mountain display but it’s a bit difficult to tell whether this traffic jam can ever get fixed. Learn how to build your own HO train layout.

“The Northland Route” HO Scale Layout

very large 120 footlong ho scale layout

This enormous HO scale layout can fill an entire 16’x40′ room. It’s a prototype layout based on the western Canadian scenic mountains, primaries and urban areas. The track plan is a 200 feet double-track mainline in the shape of a dog bone and contains 120-foot long point-to-point track type with an electrified section. It also features a turntable and transfer table.

Small HO Scale Model Railroad Layout

Here’s an example of a small scale ho layout that incorporates a looping track plus a siding. It also contains model train buildings and a backdrop for scenery. The loops go under the bridge and then switch back around to go over the bridge. It can also run two trains at the same time using DCC controller.

L Shaped HO Train Layout

The L-shaped HO train layout provides an unobstructed view of the running model trains at all times. It consists of two long-distance tracks for longer train runs. It also contains two figure-8 tracks for the shorter train runs and four DC controllers. While this is a relatively simple layout, its model train scenery is nothing short of charming.

What is HO Scale Narrow Gauge?

Narrow Gauge refers to any railroad that does not comply with the standard four feet and eight half inches. Narrow gauge and standard gauge are the same scale, but use a different gauge. A narrow gauge railroad has the rails closer together. It’s used in areas where passing is difficult due to geographic restrictions such as mountainous areas and forests areas.

HO Model Train Tracks

Plastic road bed tracks, there is a lot of different manufacturers making plastic roadbed track and it’s used mostly on the floor but can also be used on a bench as well.
Some of the plastic roadbed tracks for HO Scale include the following:

Bachman EZ Track


This track comes in code 100 rail and contains a wide curve to it. The Bachman EZ Track also uses huge clips to hold it together, which makes it robust when you first buy it. The main issue is that after taking it a part a couple of times the connectors can break and ruin the track.

Atlas True-track

atlas true track

Using the Atlas True-track, the biggest drawback is the actual thickness of the track, which causes it to not be able to connect to snap track without shimming it down a bit.

Kato Unitrack

kato unitrack

The Kato Unitrack uses a smaller rail joiner that ‘s encased in the plastic connector. This allows you to literally just snap it on together without having to deal with a lack of thickness problems.

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