Sounds like the smart budget approach! Although, with an additional power pack you could run two trains...it works much the same way with the panel... Trackplans.... Here is a good site for some ideas http://www.thortrains.net/4holayx.html http://www.thortrains.net/nglayou1.html Give those a go to start with. They should give you a basic idea. You should be able to find a track plan book at Hobby Lobby for a reasonable price. Once you commit to an area and era you can take the basic plan and and tweak it. The NMRA page is an excellent suggestion as well.