How do you start a layout design project?
The sketch above is for a layout design commission that started early 2008. The client leases his residence, and this is a spare bed room with closet (not shown, but stay tuned...). There is a window in the top right wall. Your layout plans don't mean anything unless they are tied to an accurate floor plan from the beginning. The next thing you need is a list of Givens and Druthers.
Givens and Druthers
I asked the client to to provide a list of things that he wanted on the layout, including the type of railroading he liked, operations plans, structures on hand, etc. His initial answer:
- generic northwestern setting, early transition era and before - not looking for towering mtns or forests, just the flavor
- no particular prototype - NW roads I should guess - my loco stable is small; mostly NP
- waterfront 'town'
- logging - I'd like a switch-backed branch to upper logging area
- sawmill with log dump pond
- small brewery
- small factory
- Cornerstone - Interstate Fuel & Oil
- Cornerstone - Farmers Coop grain elevator
- Cornerstone - small freight house
- Bar Mills - Earl's Oil
- Bar Mills - Mooney's Plumbing
- Bar Mills - Majestic Hardware
- quarry or small pit mine with crusher/loader
- small junk /metal scrap yard - a few gondola loads
- passenger depot - I don't plan to model passenger service - perhaps on an abandoned siding
- 4 axle diesels & medium-to-small steam locos
- 40-foot freight cars - I have a penchant for billboard reefers and tank cars
- staging - TBD
- bridge(s) and perhaps a timber trestle - I have one Kato 10-inch truss bridge I'd like to include
Any radius would work with the short equipment, but I'd prefer to stay away from sharp curves on the mainline
My favorite things about railroads? Never really considered that; definitely more a railfan than a rivet counter. I'd like a long mainline continuous run w/freight ops for one. I like to watch 'em roll thru interesting varied scenery.
So this is where we start. The next step is to take a shot at the project with a hand sketch of track plan to fit the room and the answers he provided.