So, this may come a bit late, but so as not to be left out of the fun...
- The modeled portion of the layout will be 2'X10' with design considerations for an adequate staging area off layout.
- The layout must be built in sections with construction techniques that allow the layout to be moved to another home with little difficulty.
- The layout must be designed with operations in mind. Layout height, wiring, coupler, turnout, and locomotive control should all be designed for both ease of use and enjoyment
- Operations should be simple, yet elegant. The emphasis will be on fewer industries and longer sidings as opposed to a lot of industries, short sidings and overly complicated track work.
- Operational design should allow for a typical ops session lasting about an hour.
- The design must include a large industrial complex as a showcase for intricate design and kit bashing and to serve as a focal point for operations on the layout.
- The design must also incude a scenic river scene to showcase a faithful interpretation of the box canyon dam and bridge.
- The overall theme of the model railroad is one of a small shortline struggling to earn it's keep with few customers and difficult economic conditions. All artistic design considerations, (from choosing which season to model, to detailing the level of distress on mainline track) should be made with the layout's theme in mind.
That should about do it. I've found that by distilling all of my wants and needs down to a few small bullet points, I end up with a plan that feels very focused and purposeful. I feel that focus and purpose is key to the success of any model railroad, but when you are limited by space and money, (as I am) this list of "Givens and Druthers" becomes all the more important.