I have been posting news of the S&NE over the last year and felt that I was finally getting somewhere with a permanent HO layout. If you remember, I had written some software to do the scheduling and was getting on wth the scenery and the structures. However, physically, things have been getting worse - rheumatoid arthritis in the lower back is the issue here. I set the level of the layout to be the same as kitchen units - mainly so that I could get an under the counter freezer in the room. However, this is just the height to give my back its worst possible outing and I am now at the point where I cannot work at the railroad for more than about 10 minutes at a time.
The only way forward it to revert to a much smaller layout that I can put on the dining room table to build and hook up with some staging to run. So, all of the existing stuff has come down. I have, fortunately, recovered all of the code 80 Peco track so I have a good start. I am planning a foam board based pike that will be up to a max of about 4' x 1' 3" to 1' 6" with about 6' of staging hanging off it.
I thought that Kalmbach had a book available for small switching roads like this but I can't find anything. One of the problems I have found over the years is that I am not very good at track design and, no matter how hard I try, the final layout always has problems that ruin the fun. This last one had just that - some of the spurs were too short and the caboose track was in the wrong place making yard switching quite difficult and not much fun.
So, how do I go about making sure that what gets built here has a lot of fun available. I realise that I will have short spurs and a tight runaround. Using John Armstrong's ideas, the givens are just the size of the layout. The druthers are that I can spend 30 minutes or so switching back and forth and that I have a small raised platform somewhere so that I can run my New Haven Budd RDC in and out to get in the way. I have at least 10 yards of track and 13 points so track isn't a limiter. I have three steam locos - 2 moguls and an 0-6-0 switcher but these are probably too big for this. I also have a B&M RS-3 but again size is an issue. I can probably justify a Broadway Limited SW-7 or SW1500 for the switcher. I do like DCC and sound so either of these would fit fine. I have over 20 1950s era freight cars and 3 cabooses.
Right, so how do I go forward - any ideas would be welcome. I am retired so I have all the time in the world - smile.