Back in the Old Days (70's and 80's), my Dad and I set up the trains in the basement for the Thanksgiving -> New Year's time-frame -- then back they went until the following year. At the height of the train holidays, we had this:
It was great to have all eight sets running at the same time, but I never was able to recreate this particular layout in my own home due to space constraints.
Fast forward to today -- The kids are (mostly) out of the house, new shelving has cleaned up the basement floor, and my wife has given the clearance for a permanent layout. The walls and floor have a new coat of paint, and it looks like I'll end up with about a +/- 12'x16' foot area to play with. My goal is to have fun, and I'm not modeling any particular railroad. At the start, I'm planning for three concurrent trains, with a connected double reverse loop. In theory, any train could run on any track. There will be a small yard to hold another set or two on standby. Here's the plan so far:
The layout is made with Ross track. The outer loop is O72, the middle loop is O64, and the innermost loop is O54. I have a recent GS4 that can only run on the O72, but that set will have the longest cars. Everything else is shorter, and I don't plan on getting a Big Boy any time soon.
The colors are as follows:
Yellow - Either a tilt-up or a swing-open bridge to get into the control area.
Blue - The control area. It's about 36" wide. The Blue area is drawn smaller so, the effective width could be larger. This is the area I'm most concerned about -- will it be too cramped? Will I get tired of opening and closing the bridge?
Red Circle - I'll be putting a small layout for one or two sets inside the Red area. These will be shorter pre-war sets, and the layout will be built with my stash of Lionel O tubular track. The base of the Red area will probably be slightly recessed within the outer circle.
Orange Oval - My HO layout(s) will go here. I haven't designed what the track will actually look like yet.
Green - "Z Town" - I have a few Z gauge sets and I think it would be cool to put them into this small area.
In addition to the size of the control area, there are concerns about reach.
The Grey circles are 32" in diameter, and anything not covered by a circle (other than the Yard) may be an issue. I have to figure out how to address derailments in those areas.
In addition to the control area, the primary viewing area will be from the bottom left, to the bottom, and up around the right side of the layout. There will be an approximately 22-24" walk-around for the remainder of the layout, but that will primarily be for maintenance as opposed to viewing.
Unseen in the above plans is my back-burner idea for a multi-level layout. During the benchwork build, I may plan for a subway around the perimeter. A second level above this one may hold additional, smaller O or HO lines.
So what does everyone think? Is this a doable layout?
Thanks for looking!