Ground Cover Blog
       Welcome to Toy Trains on Tracks               ( Home of the Black Diamond Railway)
This page was last updated: September 27, 2014
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Black Diamond Railway

The Black Diamond Railway is 36'x14' O-gauge model railroad featuring spectacular moutain and urban scenery, and a large collection of scale engines and rolling stock.  This website contains hundreds of amazing photographs and videos for your enjoyment as well as information about the layout and how it was built.

We offer one of the most comprehensive and entertaining model railroad videos series ever produced,

Black Diamond Railway Video Series

Click Here To Learn More
Read customer reviews!  ->
This months Featured Engine
MTH Norfolk Southern SD70Ace
Last months Featured Engine
Lionel Legacy PRR E8

Would you like us to produce a new video ?                                
Yes
No


What would you like to see for            "Train action" ?                      (check all that apply)                                    
Steam engines
Postwar diesels
Modern engines
Freight trains
Passenger trains
Elevated subway
Real Trains (old)
Real Trains (new)
Other
All the above


What kind of video would you prefer?                                                    
Train action only
How-to only
Train action and how-to


What would you liike to see for                  " How-to" ?                        (check all that apply)                              
Layout operation
DCS controls
Legacy controls
Engine Modifications
Engine Features
Other

For "How-to" there is not much left that hasn't already been covered in the first three videos.  If you have any new ideas or requests, or feel there is something you would like to see redone in more detail please send me and email using
this link
Layout Facts
  • Layout construction started in 2004 and took 3 years to complete the orginal three level design.  This work was illustrated in Part I DVD.
  • In 2009, an extension was added to the front of the layout and took about 1 year to build.  This was the theme of Part II DVD.
  • Finally, in 2011 the urban area was replaced with a new, larger and more elaborate urban scene including construction of an elevated subway.  This work took 1 year to complete and was captured in Part III.
  • The layout is a scale O-gauge 3-rail or hi-rail layout.
  • Layout dimension is 36'x14'.
  • The main (middle) level is 35" high from the floor.
  • To minimize grades, levels are separated by only 6.5".
  • Maximum grade is 2.5 degrees. 
  • All the track and switches are ScaleTrax by MTH.  This track was chosen because in my opinion it was the most realistic looking 3-rail track available because of the low profile rails and thin center rail.  Click Here to read answers to FAQ about ScaleTrax.
  • There is approximately 700ft of track over four levels.  Thats 33600 scale feet or about 6.4 scale miles!
  • There are 35 switches used on the layout, mostly #4 and #6 switches.
  • The minimum radius curves of the main layout (not the elevated subway) are 36" or O-72.
  • MTH DCS is the main control system which controls the MTH engines, switches, accessories and isolated track power. 
  • One MTH TIU and two MTH AIUs are required to handle all switches. (Note: two switches for a crossover require one AIU control.)
  • Lionel Legacy and TMCC controls all the Lionel and TMCC compatible engines. 
  • The layout is modeled after the Mt. Carmel PA area coal reqion where coal or "Black Diamonds" was king.  Although there are no exact replicated scenes, the buildings, mountains and ground cover reflect the look and feel of the coal region area.  In fact, the ground cover on the layout is real rock collected from old coal roads in the coal region.
  • Only one MTH Z-4000 powers the main three levels.  A separate Z-1000 powers the elevated subway.  Usually I have no problem running as many engines as I want except when I run multiple passenger trains.  The lights from the passenger car consume much more power limiting the number of trains I can run.  Not much of a problem for me because I like to run freight.
  • Almost all the buildings are from MTH.  However, recently have been adding some of the new Woodland scenics buildings.

Ground Cover Blog

Updated Website and new Blog

by Richard Battista on 07/10/10

Hello all,

This website has been updated with new pages and photos.  I plan to keep adding new photo albums of the many engines that have not been photographed yet, mainly my heritage engines.  

Please use this blog to make comments, suggestions or ask questions about our website and videos.  I would be particularly interested to hear your comments and ideas about a potentially new video.  

Thanks, Rich Battista

Click on these links to see photos of the layout and trains