I'm brand new to model trains. I grew up in the Lionel period, so naturally I was interested in O-gauge 3 track. But, given the compromises in life, I can only get an 8 x 10 layout space for myself. I went to a local (Chicago area) train show last week and found a layout of S-gauge trains, set up by the local S gauge club.
S-gauge, not too big, not too small. The look is fantastic, especially S-scale. There's even a local shop that's heavily involved, Des Plaines Hobby. It's all good, right? Yeah, not so fast. I want to do this right. I bought an unused modular layout that's 8x10 from Craigslist. So far, so good. The club is actually pretty far from me and they meet at times that I simply can't ever make it. The hobby shop is happy to sell me locomotives, rolling stock, DCC systems, but track, not so much. They are starting to promote and possibly manufacture track from Fox Valley Models. Sounds great. Flexible track with #5 switches. Problem is, it's not available yet. When will it be? Call and check in every week.
So I went on-line, like I've done with every other crazy hobby. Now I'm really at a loss. I've read through a lot of the pages from this and other forums. I've done searches for track, switches, layout planning and command systems. I'm not sure what to put over the plywood. Homasote? Something else? Not sure how to go about designing my layout. SCARM? Design an HO scale layout for an 5.8 x 7.4 layout, then blow it up by 1.36 %?
I really like the look of S-scale. When I was thinking O, I decided to go with Ross track, because I like the wooden ties on cork/ballast look. I looked at Tomalco. Seems like a winner. Except maybe the switches aren't so good. I looked at Railway Engineering. Seems like I have to hand lay the track. Not gonna happen. I found a few S-Scale resource pages. They seem out-of-date.
So, in order I want to:
1. Plan my track layout.
2. Lay the track, preferably over cork and ballast.
3. Set up a DCC system.
4. Buy locomotives, rolling stock, etc.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.