Welcome To The J.M.J. Railroad
First-Time Visitors, Please Read This

The photos below are not current -- please visit my YouTube channel for current visuals.

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It all began about 50 years ago when Santa (with my parents' help) would set up trains at Christmas.
We called it a "Christmas Garden."
The current layout was started in '94 using family items accumulated over the years, with homemade pieces
and new purchases made in anticipation of being blessed with the space for a large layout.
 The purpose of this site is to share the wonderful memories and family fun the layout has brought,
and encourage others to build their own layout to enjoy and share.
Although the layout used to be a smaller, seasonal display, the current set-up is permanent and enjoyed throughout the year.
It is loosely O scale, using 3 rail O gauge track for O27 trains, with an S gauge loop,
and HO rails for approximately O scale vehicles built on HO equipment.
It is not a model railroad, but scale models, as well as toy trains, are part of this family tradition.
(The photos on this page do not reflect recent changes or additions.)

  This is the left side of the "L" shaped layout which represents the warmer
Southwest.  Below is the other side, suggesting the cooler Northeast.

This shot features the Plasticville buildings that are great examples of 1950's suburban homes.   Some
of the buildings are new, and a few date back to the late 1950's and early 1960's, having been a part
of many fine Christmas celebrations!   The building components are permanently glued together, with illuminated interiors
and detailed windows, some with small pieces of lace as curtains.

This is a gold mining area which was inspired by the "Gold Nugget" amusement I
enjoyed as a child in Wildwood, New Jersey.   The Lionel Snoopy and Woodstock handcar travels up
a homemade elevator, then down a figure-eight shaped track, with a length
of track switched off to the side which leads to the opposite end of the layout.
Magnetic reed switches activated by small magnets glued to the handcar, snap action switches
in the elevator, and relays automate the scene.
Click here to view mine video clip.

This is another angle of the mine area, with an animal preserve featuring homemade
animation of elephants, kangaroo, and crocodile, and a pond with flowing water.  Don't worry,
the crocodile is a vegetarian, but on occasion can be found at the diner enjoying the meat loaf platter.

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Click here to view the new elephant bath animation video, 69K MPEG
Click here to view the original elephant animation video clip, 51K MPEG.
Click here to view the crocodile & kangaroo video clip, 67K MPEG.
Click here for a brief explanation of the animation.

Our old family friend, the American Flyer, started it all.  This train was used in an
under-the-tree layout for several years.  The paper houses (upper right of the photo)
were purchased in 1970 when the family went back to doing a small Christmas layout for a few years.
They were made in the style of older paper houses dating back to the mid 1950's that were part
of our earlier Christmas Gardens, but didn't survive the passage of time.  The length of track at the front
is a continuation of the mine trackage, ending in a blind tunnel.

Here is the center of town.  The automobile (SUV) in front of the gas station is a die cast vehicle with an HO
diesel switcher's mechanism inside, which can ride the main road throughout the layout, along with a few other
 homemade vehicles.  The church has an outdoor illuminated nativity scene.

A family of four has just come from church, symbolizing that
the family who prays together, stays together!

This shot captures the action that took a fair amount of effort to achieve.
 As the Lionel Amtrak passenger train approaches the crossing, the vehicles stop
automatically and their headlights stay illuminated by way of high frequency AC power.
 After the train passes and the gate lifts, the vehicles continue through the HO/O27 crossing.
A group of 4 relays, a magnetic reed switch, and insulated
O gauge rails automatically control the action.  Notice Santa and his reindeer overhead.
Click here for details of the crossing.

This section features a purchased ski slope and homemade animated snow scenes.
Dime store lead figures, purchased at Christmastime on the way home from school with mom,
"skate" on a revolving mirror, and Snoopy has his own rink, just for practice.

My YouTube Channel

Click here for a video clip of the old lead skaters, 50K MPG.

Click for the Snoopy skating animation clip, 61K MPEG.

In the center of this photo is another homemade animation
featuring my pals Snoopy and Woodstock on a toboggan.

Click here to view the toboggan animation clip, 59K MPEG.

Here is the old train station. Some pieces of the building and platform didn't survive the early days,
so styrene replacement parts were made and the new platform is all wood and illuminated.  The red roofed structure
to the right is the homemade Amtrak AutoTrain loading dock where Snoopy and his Airstream can take a ride on a flatcar.
Some of the figures are our original people from the late 1950's that remained unpainted until just a few years ago.

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Search this site for specific information.
My Home-built Rudolph & Hermey Handcar
The Hippo Animation Project
Repairing The Lemax Junior Flight School Animation
My Lemax Junior Flight School Amusement Ride Animation
Add A Coupler To A Lionel Handcar
Giraffe Animation Project, in progress
Merry Christmas!!! 2 Little Christmas Set-Ups
Happy Thanksgiving!
Newest Photos
Happy Halloween!
The GarGraves O23.75 Experiment!
Handcar Aficionados Click Here
The 45 Degree Crossover Project
Coffee Table Layout
Power An Old Manual Lionel Switch
eBay Handcar Project
A Few Tips To Improve Handcar Operation & Appearance
Dolphin Animation Project (In Progress)
The Sound Effects Project
New Lion Animation Project
What's On Joe's Mind?
Frequently Asked Questions, Comments
Santa's On Wheels
Boy Flying Plane Animation Project
Jumping Rope Animation Project
Tricycle Animation Project
K-Line's Construction Worker Animation
Happy Easter!
Lawn Mowing Animation
Tips On Painting Figures and Plastics
About Motors
Elephant Bath Animation
My Plea To Lionel
Lionel's Playtime Playground
Bulldozer Animation
Barnyard Animation
Print A House For Your Layout
Homemade Items On HO Mechanisms
Computer Interface
Track Plan
Detail Of O27/HO Crossing
Brief Materials Description And Benchwork Diagrams
Questions Or Comments
Favorite Circuits
Safety First
The Hobby On The Cheap
More Layout Details
Why Animation?
They're Not Just For Christmas Anymore!
About The Video Clips

List Of Published Articles
List Of Handcar Related Pages
Homemade Animation Project Links, Pages with Detailed Instructions
My Videos on YouTube

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Welcome Page With Disclaimer
Check the Welcome Page for the most recent projects!

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