I put a considerable amount of thought into what I wanted on a model railroad layout. Developing a list of items I want to model, how I want to operate and the time I want to represent.
I decided the time period would be 1970’s to present, allowing a wide variety of engines, rolling stock and VIA Rail passenger equipment.
-Must be able to run multiple trains on main line while I build trains in the yard
-Must be able to run with a single operator and have the capability of more
-Must be capable of running long freight trains, up to 20 cars
-Must be able to incorporate some of the historical reference in the area
-Double Main Line with passing crossovers long enough for 20 car trains
-Main Line clear of interruptions for continuous run of trains
-Freight Yard with arrival/departure and classification tracks, clear of main line
-Engine Repair/Maintenance Facility with engine storage area
-Car repair shop
-Passenger Yard with Maintenance Facility
-Area to turn passenger trains
-Branch Line with long enough run for independent switching operation
-Tunnel to provide appearance of distance
This is a pretty long list and in order to meet my requirements I spent very long hours researching many layout designs on ModelRailroader.com, old and new magazines and any train show I could get to, asking lots of questions.
I then moved to the drawing process. Using the layout design tool provided by Atlas, I started designing and then scraping several drawing. Eventually I came up with my “Ultimate Dream” layout.
Before I could move forward with the construction, I had to consult what I call the “Happiness Meter.” This is a simple slide rule formula that is influenced by several variables to determine actual layout size and scope.
NOTE: room size is not one of the variables! Just because you have a large room, does not guarantee that you can use the entire space for a model railroad.
After consulting the Happiness Meter, I went back to the design process and reduced the ultimate dream layout to the design that you see posted here.