Criteria for a New Layout

It has been a couple of years since I scrapped the previous layout and I have begun construction of a new one.  I have a track plan and wood working is in progress.

Any layout plan should be judged by how well it fulfills the intent of the designer.  Here is a list of what I am aiming for and why using John Armstrong’s Givens and Druthers framework.


  • Proto:48 (1:48 finescale) – I already have equipment and track materials sufficient to implement the layout.  I prefer working in a larger scale due to advancing farsightedness.
  • Portable – I tend to build slowly and I anticipate needing to move the layout either due to a house move or renovations within the next 4 or 5 years.
  • Achievable – I have started many layout projects and not completed many as my interests change.  (Note the name chosen for this blog).  A modest plan that gets “done” is what I am going for.
  • Switching – I like shuffling cars around most of all.  Some might call this a preference but this is the main goal of the project.
  • 12’x2′ – I have more space but this is the maximum that I can reasonably hope will fit in an arbitrary new location.  This puts the layout in small shelf layout territory for O scale which is fine by me.
  • Reasonable Sourcing – I have abandoned projects in the past due to it all hinging on one small supplier on another continent.  Even locally available but specialty materials can cause indeterminate delays which can lead to a loss of momentum.


  • CN in the early 1970’s.  = I grew up within earshot of the CN Toronto-Montreal mainline and yet have never modeled CN as prototype.
  • Modern Technology – Although the layout will be small and likely only have on locomotive running at a time, DCC enabled sound will add much to the operating experience.  I also want to incorporate some interesting uses of microcontrollers, LED’s and servos.
  • Exhibitable – I want to construct something that could be taken to and displayed at a train show.  This goes beyond mere portability to include finished appearance such as backdrop, fascia and lighting.  It also would need to fit in the back of the wagon or  similar sized vehicle.


2 thoughts on “Criteria for a New Layout”

  1. Thanks, Trevor. One advantage of many iterations of a plan is that you eventually figure out what is important. Note to self: if the autogenerated first post is old and dusty, delete it and do a new one, don’t edit the existing one.


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