2015-02.3: Mike Porter's Chicago Great Western

18 Feb 2015

Average: 4.9 (31 votes)
23:45 - February 2015 Act III - Mike Porter's Chicago Great Western (2015)

Mike Porter is a retired railroader, modelling the Iowa-based stretch of railroad that he grew up with - and worked for.  Take a station-by-station tour of his HO-scale layout, including a spectacular 15-foot bridge that was built by his friends.

Act IV: Scratch-building a concrete overpass on The Roadshow ...

Go to Act IV


What a beautiful layout.  I am particularly impressed by how neat and "clean" everything is regarding the benchwork, fascia, room environment, etc.  It also looks like there's something for everyone - local switching, through freights, etc.  But what really sticks with me is how nice the room itself looks - a great environment in which to operate.  Something to strive for on my own under-construction layout...

Tom Jacobs


After knowing Mike for a number of years, it does my heart good that he finally has his railroad up and running.

wiseconnect's picture

AWSOME layout would like to see it in person

Is for when the Open house?lol

very nice layout

Impressive, thanks for sharing.

Like that your goal is to let the operators have fun!

mikemc's picture

While it is nice to see completed fully sceniced layouts, there are more layouts out there like this one, that support operations while still chipping away at scenery and structures. Nice to see layouts like this as they have things to learn and ways to inspire too. Thanks!


It is nice to see such a wonderful layout.  Mike has done a great job with balancing operations and history and memories. That is a layout I would love to visit and be a crew member. Yes, us real railroaders do want fun in the basement. Looking forward to when I can get off the engine and work on my models full time.

Mike, you and those who have helped you have done an excellent job, and your first layout at that!  I love operations and your layout is no doubt a lot of fun to operate.  Maybe some day I will be able to meet you and your crew.   Thank you so much for sharing.

What a WONDERFUL layout! Great concept between reality and modeling. I would love to visit and operate on Mikes layout!

Great job!

Mark Swasey

A very nice layout and a real gentleman!!  Thank you for sharing your railroad with us. 

Best, Andy Keeney

tpmarshall's picture

I find two things very interesting about Mike's layout.

First, he describes many of the peninsulas as "independent operations" - switching-focused operations with very little interaction with the other lines on the layout. It occurs to me that any of these independent operations would make interesting subjects for smaller layouts: Simply add a staging area (or areas) as appropriate. Any of these could be very satisfying.

Second, I love the little prototype influences he's incorporated - like the interlockings at crossings. Rather than make things more complex, these things help make things clearer for Mike's operators.

Thanks for bringing this layout to my attention via TrainMasters TV!

- Trevor (yes, the talcum powder guy at the end of the segment)

Nicely done.....HUGE!!.... especialy the Yard under the porch.. usually the yard is outside in front of the porch,  but I like yours better! (ya thats a goofey joke)  thank you for the video,  I enjoyed learning the history of your years of hard Railroad work and your railroad passion. Best wishes.

What a great video. I appreciate the modeling on some of the other layouts but this one looks like.a blast to operate. What a great approach and attitude Mike has. I am not a much of a modeler, I am a track and op's guy, and this layout (and crew) is an example of what I can aspire to. Thanks!