It's hard for me to believe, but it's been about 10 years now since I made the first version of this site.   I was attending College for business management, but spending most nights teaching myself how to make web graphics and design websites.  I was away from home, which is where my first layout was, so I would travel back to work on the layout on weekends and then work on this site during the week.  I got a lot of inspiration from James Powell, who at the time had a great site himself.  Couple that inspiration with the sheer awe I had (and still have) for George Sellios' work and you get this site. 

Many things have changed in my life and this site has changed right along with me.  For a while I posted as many F&SM pictures as I could; so I could share George's amazing work with everyone. Then I started to post some of my own projects.  Now, I have my hands full most of the time with other responsibilities and don't have time to do as much modeling - or posting- but I do get to travel more.  I've been taking a lot more prototype pictures and trying to visit as many great layouts as I can.  I'm looking forward to being able to share pictures of those adventures as well!  As busy as I seem to get, I love to meet new people, so email and say "Hi!"



I managed to move from shoe box buildings to a 4X8 layout before I moved to Iowa.  The 4X8 was a simple layout, but I was proud of it.  The move to Iowa gave me space above a three car garage to start a layout. What you see at right is the original track plan and pictures of this layout can be seen in the construction gallery. I plan to cut up most of this layout and move pieces to the new layout I am working on. 

The new house/church has given me a large area to plan a new railroad and that's where I sit right now.  Lots of planning...  It is going to be a giant "O" or U shaped layout and will be set in the mid 1990's.  The inside of the layout will be city/industrial and the outside will be a rough model of SP's Donner crossing.  I'd like to try writing an article or two for a magazine, so I'll try to tie that in with building the new layout.  


My name is Matt Gidley and I live in Waverly, Iowa.  I am not Matt Gidley the famous Australian soccer player - he stole my name.   As of March 2009, I am 30 years young and in case you were wondering - Yes, I am looking forward to retirement already! My wife Angela and I live out of town in an old church that seems to take more time and money than I could have ever imagined.  Both Angela and I love to travel and I usually can talk her into hitting a few train hot-spots on any given trip (as long as a trip to the local mall is also on the schedule.) 

Like so many, my modeling started with a train set for Christmas long long ago...  and I have been active in the hobby ever since.  I spent the first 14 years of my life in San Jose, California- which is where I developed my love for the Southern Pacific.  I have always modeled in HO scale, and probably always will - although the realism of large scale is really enticing!  When I am not modeling or working on this site, I am usually working at home, playing guitar, or working at home.  This is an excellent hobby and I've met so many great modelers and have many more to meet! 

<< Angela in the shop at Jamestown, CA. 


Angela hanging out on the UP Centennial at Portola, CA. >>

<< Me posing on a Cadillac that needs some TLC.

Ang and I on the 2873 (GP9E) after operating it for an hour at Portola. >>

<< Angela is a great pianist, so she had to pose with the musical UP sign.

Me, She, and the SP >>

  :: All Contents Copyright Matt Gidley 2009::