So I got an idea for my first layout... and I have to admit, I am a little hesitant about doing something so 'complicated' for a first timer. My first problem is that I am SURE that the RTS software I used from Atlas is building my layout in HO track, and the layout translates into 13 feet by 9 feet for HO. So I'm gonna try and figure out how to convert it or rebuild it in N scale to see if I can compromise or get it down to a 4x8 table. Or even 4x10 would be okay. The scene is a small mountain rail town in the mid/late fifties somewhere in the Canadian rockies. Mostly freight service passes through, but passenger service does run through at least once per day. The idea is that the layout would in theory be a giant double tracked oval. Where the North West corner of the layout the 'double track' would split abit and intertwine through a 'mountain' mostly in tunnels, but with bridges showing where the train is at. It would only be 2 9" loops really. The north to north east of the track would be primarily straight, mostly a tunnel I think to give me more room for scenery. I got a turn-table in there, and on either side of the double track for about half of the Southern side I got a switch yard going on, with a turn table. I'm going to be putting a engine mtc shed to the eastern side of the turn table. Only 6 of the turn table 'bumper' sections will be covered. And I really don't know what I was thinking with the switch yard to the west of the turn table, but I KINDA like it. I might try to do something like a freight loading area there. This is a first draft, so any and all comments would be nice. I also did inventory of my current 'on rail assets' so to speak. Bachmann 4-8-2 Spectrum light mountain unmarked (on the way from ebay!) Model Power 4-6-2 Pacific CPR (need to get a DCC for it) Model Power FP7 CPR (barley runs, kinda damaged. Might scrap it and get something better) 3 CPR box cars 1 CNR box car 1 CPR caboose 1 BC Rail caboose 1 Texaco short tank car 2 uncoverd hoppers of diff road names 2 covered grain hoppers using Heritage Fund roadname not much I want to get some passenger cars (Pullman style) and definalty more covered grain hoppers of Canadian roadnames. Freight is going to be pretty mixed tho. Mostly grain and oil. But I'll be getting whatever I can with the MT magnetic couplers, and do as much as I can for conversions with my current rolling stock and locos. I also plan to acquire the following locos, keep in mind that while I primarily want to keep things CPR/CNR, I am not restricting myself for the sake of 'realism': Bachmann hvy Mountain Bachmann 0-6-0 swithcer Bachmann 2-6-2 Paririe Bachmann 2-8-0 Consolidation I want two more locos, a F series of some kind, and a Hudson 4-6-4. I will be wiring all the switches up (and there seem to be many. I might make less cross tracks though) to a 'dispatchers' plate mounted off the layout, but attachted if that makes any sense. I want to also go DCC, which is something I know very little about. I only plan to run one of the smaller locos, and two trains on the main line at any given time. If that! So I'm curious what the cheapest 'kit' to go with is. I've been looking at the EZ-Command by Bachmann to get me going. Did some searches here on the forum and people seem to be happy with it. (and I can get one NIB for $50 right now) I don't plan of doing this all at once of course. I'm going to building it up over the year. The first thing I want to get done is to complete the oval and get the height correct. Then build the rest of the switch yard around it. Once all the track is laid and grades are correct I'll start doing scenics. I plan on only adding one more loco (the 0-6-0 or 2-6-2) and some more grain cars within the next two months or so. The rest will be added on over a while. Money, while an object, is not a HUGE concern as I can budget (once the holidays are done with) aprox $100-$150 a month to the hobby. Which I'm sure will be more than enough if I can keep finding killer deals (in my eyes) like I did on my Mountain 4-6-2 today ($70 shipped, NIB, DCC ready) According to the RTS software, my track should run me aprox $280 US. And the prices listed in there are a little more expensive than my local hobby store, and I used lots of straight track instead of flextrack just for measurments sake. My questions are: 1: I got Atlas N80 track right now (lots of 11' and 9' curves lots of 5' straights), should I stick with N80? The track I have is worth less than $20, so it's not a HUGE loss to me. I can alway use it for a 'mini' setup at a later date. 2: Just how good are the spectrum series from Bachmann? It seems most (if not all) of the locos I want are Bachmann designs. 3: EZ-Command. How good for a 3 loco run? 4: Please recommend some good solid, affordable F7 or F3 locos 5: Please judge my layout and give me suggestions and ideas.