Just starting out

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by CAS, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. CAS

    CAS Member

    Hey everyone,:wave:

    I'm new to the forums, and to n gauge railroading. This is my first post. i've been reading the past post for about 2 hours already. Some of this pics i saw of peoples layouts are unbeleivable. Like, i think his name was bob, 250 Loco's, and his yard was awesome.

    I had built a 4x8 HO layout years ago.

    But now i am thinking about a n scale layout. I have the room for a nice size layout. But in the books i been reading about model RR, they say to start small on your first layout. Don't try to do too much too fast. I was thinking about doing a 4x8 in n scale. I don't know if i want to do a point to point, or a loop to loop layout. I will have to go back to decide of what type of layout i want to model.

    But my question is, how or when do you know, when you are done with the first layout. How much is too much?

    Thanks, CAS
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    To start with, welcome to the Gauge. Lots of friendly people here, lots of answers to just about anything you need to know.

    How do you know when your layout is done? Geeze, I don't know anybody that thinks their layout is finished.:D:D The larger the layout, the less likely it will ever be finished. Seems like there's always room for improvement, or always something that doesn't look right or needs to be torn out and changed. :rolleyes: there are people here that have completely torn down perfectly good layouts, just so they can start a new one. I guess those were indeed "finished". :eek::eek:

    I guess only you can decide at what point you think it's satisfactory and time to stop working on it.:wave:
  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I think that why the authors tell you to "start with a small layout" is that most people would get overwhelmed by a large project and tend to give up in desperation of thinking it would never be completed.

    One possibility would be to design your "Dream Layout", but build it in sections. In my case, I would love to model the entire branchline of the Credit Valley Railroad. The CVR had a mainline that went from Toronto to St Thomas, Ontario (121 miles long). The branchline runs from Streetsville to Orangeville, some 35.3 miles with a 27.5 mile spur running from Cataract to Elora.

    I would love to model the almost 63 miles of branchline, but do not have the room right now. So I picked from Cheltenham to Orangeville, a much smaller 18 mile run. It fits in my 11'x6' corner. I will have to wait until I get enough room to build the whole branch line.

    You can start your 4x8 layout and if you design it properly, you will never be done with it, it could form the nucleus of the larger layout. Many people have done this, most notably was John Allen with his G&D, the first layout was just expanded.

    But first, as I did, I found a theme. Decide on era, geographic location, prototype, proto-lanced or freelance style. Also a "reason" for the railroad.

    In my case, the CVR branchline was built along the river, running north to service the many mill towns located on the river and to service a large brownstone quarry. It carries, passengers, lumber, flour, grain, cattle, stone, finished goods from the local artisans.

    The more background you give it, the more interesting it will be to create it.
    But above all, remember, it is a hobby so have fun with it.
  4. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Well said Don,yep yep,never finished.Thats why is called a lifelong hobby ;)
    So welcome aboard Cas and welcome to the Gauge and the world of N scale.

    Cas, i generally reccomend to people beginning a new layout to read through the layout design sigs primer.


    Deciding what it is you want out of your model railroad and designing for those wants can make the differance between really enjoying yourself or becoming frustrated or bored.
    Are you really interested in trains, railroading, modeling and building a miniature transportation system? Or,Are you more interested in modelling an animated diorama(which is what i consider a layout that doesnt actually do something like switch cars, service industries etc.
    Nothing wrong with this mind you and many people get alot of enjoyment from building just this type pike and watching trains go around and around while putting out some fabulous scratchbuilt structures and doing amazing things with animations,lighting etc.

    As to size, you built a 4x8 HO railroad and are ready for something a bit more challenging with more track area and scenery area is what it sounds like.
    Now, the hardest thing for me when i switched from HO to N was scenic perspective.Modelling n and still thinking like HO is a hard habit to break.
    Everything is smaller and an N scale layout built on a hollow core door 36x80 packs in a lot of action and takes quite some time to fill up with scener ,buildings etc.
    More trackage by scale and scenery will fit on this door in N than HO on a 4x8 of plywood with no hard to reach area's.By splitting the door in half lengthwise you can have 2 sides with seperate scenes and using a walk around throttle follow your train around this island.A full large metro city scene ban be accomplished in 16" of depth in N scale.Very difficult if not near impossible in HO.
    N scale because of this also lends itself well to shelf type or around the wall type layouts because you just dont need alot of depth to make the scene.
    So what type layout are you thinking about.
    Point to point?
    Continuous loop?
    Out and back?

    What Era interests you, Old steam?
    Transition era with steam and 1st generation diesels?
    The shake up Era where Mergers created Huge rr's with many differant fallen flag colors(early to mid 70's)
    Or,how about heavy Modern diesels and big modern industry?
    Is operating 1 train at a time enough or do you have a buddy or 2 and 2-3 trains running at a time is a goal?

    These questions are all a part of the decisions(or givens and druthers) that are required before even considering a trackplan.
    Are you leaning towards modeling a specific prototype?(proto modeling)
    A completely ficticious road?? (freelanced )
    Or a ficticious road based on a prototype yet with a differant path through history and your own private Name? (protolanced)

    Cmon back and tell us something about what your hopes and goals are,Pick an Era,a season spring fall etc.and even an area of the country.
    Also tell us where you will build this and how much room you have.
    Armed with this information,you are sure to get a lot of help in designing a satisfying pike. :wave:
  5. CAS

    CAS Member

    Thanks for the replys.

    I been reading the past post for at least 3 hours now. I still can't make up my mind of what era, setting, route, to make. Seen alot of great looking layouts.

  6. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    CAS,these are not the kind of decisions you can make in an afternoon.
    Think about what types of articles you find yourself gravitating to in the forums and in the magazines.Read a little bit in all of the forums,narrow gauge,logging,scratchbuilding,operations etc.
    See what catches your eye.
    Make note on paper of those things that really interest you,moderatly interest and also those you have no interest in. after a week or 2 you'll start getting a better picture of what area's you lean towards :)
  7. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    Hi CAS,

    TileGuy's right, it's not something you will decide immediately, unless there is some past historical interests that lead you in a certain direction. The trick though, is to decide soon enough that you can get some trains rolling & keep the interest up. Years of research will definitely dampen the spark.

    You're in Chicago & your bigger branch libraries may have model railroad magazines in their collections. (My local library doesn't, alas.) I'd suggest spending some time there, speed reading stacks of back issues, basically, just looking at pictures & track plans. Look at a lot. Inevitably you will find yourself pausing at certain subjects and before long, an era or theme will present itself to you.

    Like everyone else, I also suggest starting small, and being one to never waste anything, try to plan for the future incorporating your initial work in a future, larger empire.

    If the initial effort isn't satisfying, and you wish to change direction then you've answered your initial question; you're done with that layout. Sell what you don't want to use on eBAy & start over.

    It's a hobby though, so keep it fun.

  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge CAS, I won't repeat what others have said. I have always found model railroading fun as well as challenging. You won't get bored that's for sure.

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