And so, seeing as how I'm starting all over again from scratch, I think it's a perfect time to review and update my requirements and goals for the layout.
- The model railroad will be a (mostly) around-the-wall style cantilever (suspended) layout with considerations for a hidden yet easily accessible staging area.
- The layout must be designed with comfort for operators in mind. Layout height, wiring, coupler, turnout, and locomotive control should all be designed for both ease of use and enjoyment.
- Though operations is the main focus, the design must allow for continuous running giving the operators an opportunity to just sit back and watch trains run.
- The layout must be built to a level of quality that approaches that of "art" in that entering the layout room is akin that that of stepping into a museum installation. This design philosophy is carried through not only the quality of the modeling, but also the design and construction of the benchwork and the preparation and presentation of the room itself.
- 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 between an hour to two hours depending on the number of cars requiring movement.
- The design should include large industrial complexes and expansive scenic areas as showcases for intricate design and modeling techniques and to serve as focused points-of-interest for the layout.
- The design should also include a faithful representation of a number of prototypical scenes found within the Pend Orelle Valley in the Northeastern Washington/Idaho area.
- 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 time and money, (as I am) this list of "Givens and Druthers" becomes all the more important.